Bogotá's most fascinating tour is through the Barrio Egipto with members of La 10ma gang, who have given up a life of crime in favor of this cultural-tourism initiative, started by the Universidad Externado de Colombia in cooperation with Impulse Travel.
Former gang members such as Jaime Roncancio (street name 'El Calabazo' or 'The Pumpkin') will take you on an engrossing tour through the 'hood, which is controlled by four gangs and remains a no-go zone – unless you're under the guides' protection. You'll learn the history of organized crime in the neighborhood (bazuco, a cheap but highly dangerous drug made from cocaine remnants, brick dust, acetone and even human bones, and dudes with names like Carlos Gasolina, both feature heavily), take in outstanding city views, visit the homes of former gang members and, if you're lucky, try some local chicha (homemade hooch made from fermented corn). Spanish speakers can go without a translator – two- to three-hour tours leave Tuesday and Thursday at 11am from Plaza del Chorro del Quevedo (call Jaime or Diana ahead); otherwise, tours can also be arranged (with hotel transfers and a translator) through Impulse Travel for COP$120,000. Tips help support the community; COP$20,000 is a good amount.