Pablo Escobar’s vacation getaway turned into tourist attraction in Columbia has Puerto Triunfo officials to thank for a new lease on life. Nearby residents decided to create something positive from a legacy shrouded in evil. The theme park gives regular citizens a glimpse into opulence once reserved for the drug baron, his family and trusted associates.
Originally situated on 7,000 acres approximately 200 miles from Bogota, Hacienda Napoles gave Escobar an escape from running his cocaine empire. Portraits of individuals harmed during various drug wars line walls alongside images from their respective funerals. The extreme evil that financed Escobar’s lifestyle, including his grandiose mansion remains imprinted in visitor memories.
For approximately $5 United States dollars (USD) as of October 2012 visitors glimpse upon the following items previously enjoyed by Pablo Escobar.
- A private bullfighting ring that provided hours of guest entertainment.
- An airstrip used to accommodate personal and business transportation needs.
- A guard tower stands that maintained security for a man estimated at $3 billion USD in 1989.
- A long abandoned hovercraft sits beside the private pond.
- A tennis court used for leisure that currently sits overrun by grass and other wildlife.
- One of the planes used to transport shipments rests permanently above the site entrance.
- An onsite butterfly conservatory is now open to the public.
The main house no longer exists. Newly added sculptures including a giant pink hippo and Pterodactyl liven up the atmosphere. Water slides and exotic live animals entertain younger guests.
Out of the original 7,000-acre property, authorities gifted 200 acres to former guerillas and gunmen to cease local violence. Local families displaced by war also benefited from Hacienda Napoles land grants. Officials stress that park development had an overall positive effect on the immediate area. The attraction alleviated local violence and homelessness. Public attention shifted away from drug glorification to sympathy for Escobar’s victims.
2011 South by Southwest film festival (SXSW) attendees lucky enough to book vacation rentals austin had a chance to hear Escobar’s son discuss his childhood at Hacienda Napoles. Sins of my Father gave an in-depth look into the Escobar legend as seen by son Sebastian Marroquin and wife Maria Isabel Santos. After fleeing Colombia in the mid-90s, Marroquin never returned to the property.
Transportation / Accommodations
Visitors coming from Medellin can hop any bus at the north terminal headed for Doradal or Puerto Triunfo. Travel time is approximately three hours in one direction. Puerto Triunfo is an extremely small town with limited attractions and one eco-hotel provides overnight accommodations. This may account for relatively modest guest numbers in the beginning but officials plan to welcome 500,000 visitors by 2013.
Hacienda Napoles remains a testament to the splendor and tragedy produced by drugs. Columbian residents find a sense of purpose in the ashes of misery. Officials hope Pablo Escobar’s summer home evokes feelings of wonder and educates visitors.
Image Credit: Rodrigo_Soldon
Derek often likes to blog about tourist attractions and vacation getaways. When he is not blogging, he loves to travel with his wife of ten years to various locations. The following article is for vacation rentals austin.