Welcome to the Visit South America series, a monthly contributed post on traveling to South America.
For this month, Bianca Bauza of Nomad Biba shares her favorite countries and cities for street art in South America. I’m a huge fan of street art myself, so I will definitely check out these places when I start my 2-year backpacking trip there!
One of the things that I most enjoy when traveling is searching for street art.
Anywhere I go, I’m always on the lookout for that special artwork—a colorful mural, an ironic stencil art piece, or an original yard bombed object.
When I traveled around South America I was especially pleased by what I found. The street art there is pretty unique: bold and colorful, filled with references to the local indigenous cultures and the natural wonders of the continent.
Below you’ll find some of my favorite places for street art in South America. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list—after all, I didn’t visit every country there
When it comes to street art, few places can match the allure of Buenos Aires. The local urban art scene attracts many foreign artists. Plus, there are also many really good local artists.
If you want to find street art in Buenos Aires, walk around San Telmo and Palermo and you’ll see a few murals scattered here and there. However, keep in mind that Buenos Aires is huge and some of the best artwork is in other less touristy areas.
I didn’t have much expectations for street art when I arrived in Bolivia, but when I started researching I found out about Cochabamba. I’m glad I did!
Located between Sucre and La Paz, this lively city is often overlooked by most travelers. But if you love urban art, you should go. Really. The street art in Cochabamba was one of the best I saw during my trip around South America.
Valparaiso is perhaps the best known city in South America for street art, and its reputation is big. However, no matter how much you’ve heard about it, nothing can prepare you for what you see once you’re there. It’s just awesome.
Wandering around the streets of Valparaiso, you’ll see pretty little colorful houses, lots of cats in every corner, and vibrant murals.
One place that surprised me in Chile was Santiago, the capital. People always talk about the street art in Valparaiso, but you rarely hear about what you can find in Santiago.
If you walk around Barrio Brasil, for example, you’ll be rewarded by some amazingly rich murals. Most of them were by some local artists I had never heard about but whose works I’d find in other cities I visited after that.
During my last trip to Colombia, I stayed mostly on the Atlantic coast. This gave the chance to see how the urban art scene has evolved in Cartagena since my last visit.
I was happy to see that street art in Cartagena is growing and getting bolder. The place to go to see some impressive murals in Cartagena is the working class neighborhood of Getsemaní, located just outside the walls of the historic quarter.
Before arriving in Peru, I was very excited to see Lima. In preparation for my trip there, I read about the street art scene and seen works by some local artists. The city hosted a street art event in 2013 that brought together some of the best artists from Latin America.
As a result, there were some very impressive murals scattered around the city. Sadly though, the stance of the city in regards to street art has changed with the new government and all of the murals in the historic center were painted over earlier this year.
There you go–my favorite (and I think the best!) countries for street art in South America. Which are YOUR favorites? Do share!
About the Author
Bianca Bauza is a world citizen who spent over three years traveling around South America and Europe. Her passions include photography, street art, outdoor sports, and cooking exotic dishes. Last year, she welcomed a baby girl into this world and is now raising the next generation of world traveler—her biggest challenge yet. At the moment, she’s based in the Netherlands. Follow her through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!