The Biggest Skatepark in Colombia
Once again Pereira is smashing our expectations and surprising us with her secrets! And one of those secrets is the completion of the Biggest Skatepark in Colombia. This skatepark features approximately 6,400 square meters of obstacles for skateboard, roller skate and BMX enthusiasts. The park was inaugurated on December 27th 2015 and is still relatively unknown in the skate world but is slowly growing in fame with travelers and locals alike.
This park is a giant concrete monument to the brave effort of some locals in pushing the city to create a safe place for the local skate/skateboard/BMX community to congregate. This park is super-young, largely untried, and ready for years of sporting events for future generation of extreme sports enthusiasts.
The story goes that some locals formed a group and petitioned the city to create the park. Today, their labors have resulted in a beautiful and interesting place for skate-enthusiasts. We asked one of these enthusiasts a little bit about his sport and it resulted in the following.
Local Culture in the Biggest Skatepark in Colombia
We had a quick chat with a local skater who has been around the Pereira Skate scene for 13 years. Juan Diaz, is a local skateboarder who has stayed involved with the scene and even was part of the group which helped push for the founding of Pereira Skatepark at La Villa Olympica. He has seen the ups and downs of the culture as it has grown to a much larger group. He can attest to the change in recent years where it’s no longer such a strange sight to see skateboard/in-line skaters out in the street doing crazy stuff. Says Juan, “For about 3 or 4 years there wasn’t much skate-culture, or many skaters. There was no space. … now people are taking interest again.”
Many outside groups have helped to create projects here to provoke interest. Juan describes the culture as being something where, in the beginning, when he first started out, they would invite people to come try it and hang out. Now there are two skateparks for the community. One is Pereira Skatepark at La Villa, which is the biggest in Colombia and probably the biggest skatepark in Latin America. The other is a smaller park on the other side of the city along the Via La Florida leaving Kennedy neighborhood.
On Skate philosophy Juan replied: It’s the freedom. In the new skatepark especially, you have so much freedom. There are’t any problems. Its like being in another world. Where the only thing is you and your imagination to create new tricks. It’s just you and the other people who ride too.
We asked Juan what the skate community is like:
“The new park is so big… There are many new people. We are relaxed. When someone new arrives, we stay calm and help give them a good environment to learn and improve in. People think that because we ride, we are bajo perfil. But, for example, I ride, but I’m an airline pilot, you can’t judge who that person really is.”
Travelers to the Biggest Skatepark in Colombia:
Not surprisingly, very few gringos have heard of Pereira Skatepark, except for one guy we encountered who had come here for the skate-scene. Here’s what he had to say about his experience in Pereira:
“I lived here 2 years ago for a couple months, then went off to travel. skatepark was in the planning stages then…and the designs had so much potential. They had a bunch of meetings involving all the skaters to give their input and thankfully with some coordination between the designers, builders, and local community of skaters, the finished product was a masterpiece. I came back to South america like 8 months ago, then medellin to see some people…and once the park was ready all the homies here were telling me to come back, so I did 🙂 works well for me, I wanted to be working everyday and skating at night. And I did.” ~ Bryan, Los Angeles, USA
How to get there: Catch any Megabus leaving the center in the direction of Cuba. When you get to the station (you’ll know it by its size), get off and catch a feeder bus that says “Estadio II” it will go down and around, then take you past ExpoFuturo and come out right in the middle of La Villa Olympica. Look for the Olympic Pool and on the other side lies the skatepark. Megabus runs until 11:00, lights usually go on around 7 pm.
Plenty of Opportunity
This is only the beginning of what we hope will be a whole new cool and interesting activity in Pereira. While there are some local organizations, events and even stores which support the skate scene, there is plenty of room for opportunity to support and participate in skate culture abroad. Help become a part of the community effort which culminated in the Biggest Skatepark in Colombia that serves a community of around 5,000 skaters.
It’s the freedom. In the new skatepark especially, you have so much freedom. There are’t any problems. Its like being in another world. Where the only thing is you and your imagination to create new tricks. It’s just you and the other people who ride too. ~ Juan Diaz, Local Skate Enthusiast
Risaralda Today: Biggest Skatepark in Colombia http://risaraldahoy.com/el-parque-de-patinaje-de-pereira-sera-el-mas-grande-del-pais-botero/
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Owner/Editor of OpenMindedTraveler.com, Erin is also the Project Administrator/Editor of Pereira City Guide.com - She has been living in Pereira, Colombia for several years.