You cannot drive or walk anywhere in Bogota without seeing graffiti plastered on storefronts, the intersection, or an ally. The Bogota Graffiti Tour spends two hours browsing the urban art scene, explaining different techniques and teaching you how to identify some of Bogota’s top artist. You have pieces that are placed in remembrance of people, such as a piece that beautifully displayed a homeless man who was tragically beaten to death. You have other pieces that stand as propaganda to display some of the country’s unruly laws. My tour guide, Jay, who was extremely knowledgeable, went into details about Plan Colombia and the traumatic effect it had on innocent people.
Plan Colombia is the United States military initiative that took place during 1998 and 1999. The diplomatic aid initiative was created by Colombian President Andres Pastrana Arango administration and United States President, Bill Clinton. The primary objective was to end the war on territory, which was known as the Colombian Conflict, and to grab control of the cocaine trafficking of that time. Critics of the initiative were displeased of the use of fumigation pest control that filled the areas with gaseous pesticide. The plan for the use of fumigation was to end the growth of cocoa plants. The leaves of the cocoa plant are used to manufacture cocaine. The pesticide was successful in eradicating cocoa but also was found to cause health effects among innocent people. Another criticism is that the United States’ military trained the Colombian security forces and supported the conflict between right-wing- paramilitary and left-wing guerrilla organizations. This conflict resulted in the death of hundreds including innocent civilians. All of this is depicted in the gorgeous art form of graffiti.
Coming from the states, I have never known graffiti to be anything other than writings on the wall. Walking the streets of Bogota is like walking through a one of a kind modern art museum. Yet walking through the Bogota streets with Jay and other tour guides with the Bogota Graffiti Tour is like an inside look at the artist’s’ inner thoughts. The tour takes place two times a day, every day, with time specifications for the morning and afternoon. This interactive experience is FREE with a suggestion of 20,000-30,000 Colombian pesos, which converts to $6.00-10.00 United States dollars. You honestly will not find a better street tour that will provide you with a glimpse into Bogota’s artists and their most prized accomplishments.