Ever wanted to take a luxury vacation Pablo Escobar style? Well, soon you can. Colombian authorities want to build a five-star hotel on Hacienda Napoles, Escobar’s lavish property, infamous for its extravagant zoo and debaucherous inhabitants. The Hacienda is currently half prison, half theme park.
When Escobar was killed in December 1993, his 1,805 hectare estate in Doradal, Antioquia was handed over to the State. Most of the exotic animals the world’s most famous drug lord had ordered from Africa starved to death because the Government did not have enough money to feed them. The complex of swimming pools, twelve lakes, a private river and a bullring went to ruin. “The maintenance of the farm was too expensive for the Colombian state”, Omar Figueroa of the State Narcotics Department told El Tiempo.
But the Government had other ideas for the premises. They built a prison for 1,300 inmates. The rest of the terrain was turned into the Hacienda Napoles theme park, where guests are offered to “Enjoy a truly wild adventure”.
The tourists to Hacienda Napoles – of which one-third are foreigners, mainly from the United States, the Netherlands and Italy – can enter the theme park for 20,000 pesos, around U.S.$ 9, and take a tour that tells the life of the “drug lord of drug lords”.
The tour includes horse riding, a hippo park, hiking trails with names like “escape route” and a so-called “jurassic park”. You can also visit the ruins of Escobar’s house, which has a photo exhibition of the drug lord with a special focus on the attacks and assassinations he ordered.
“At no time do we intend to pay tribute to Escobar nor apologize for his crimes. The main aim of exploiting this finca for tourism purposes is to show the damage that he did to the country and to the world”, Oberan Martinez, administrator of the theme park, explained.
The visit to Hacienda Napoles left tourist Monica Velandia with “mixed feelings”. “One feels admiration for Pablo [Escobar] since [he] managed to achieve many things but also caused pain, because everything he built was done with blood”, she said.
Those who want to experience Pablo Escobar’s life for longer than just a day can stay in three different hotels.
To attract even more (upper-class) tourists, the administrators plan to build a five-star hotel by 2011. They also want to make use of 1,280 meter long airstrip – the same one which Escobar used to export cocaine – for foreigners who would like to arrive by plane, Oberan Martinez said.