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Medellin, narco-tourism and Pablo Escobar

Medellin: Is it dangerous? Understand the current situation in Colombia and how narco-tourism is damaging the reputation of this incredible city. Discover the opinion of the inhabitants in relation to narco-tourism.

For my part, and like everyone who has never been there, I was only aware of the prejudices conveyed in the media and by those around me. I received looks of concern when I proudly announced that this metropolis was on my itinerary. Here's what I found and I'm sharing it with you.

Grafitis de la Comuna 13
Grafitis of Comuna 13
Fast Stats Medellin

“The city of flowers and eternal spring” is how Medellin is nicknamed. At least, that's what the locals like to call it. For people from overseas, it is rather associated with narco-tourism. When I arrived in Colombia, this subject did not really interest me and I was a little frustrated that tourists wanted to go to Medellin only for this subject (I thought there must be something else interesting) . The sad reality is that you can't go to Medellin without missing out on narco-tourism, it's at this point. There are many agencies that offer ''Pablo Escobar'' tours, please do not encourage them to stop this wheel. With a little research, you can go to these places yourself and learn about the historical facts of the city. On the other hand, although I am completely against encouraging this industry in some way, it remains an original way to visit Medellin and understand their reality.

So that's what we did. The era of Pablo Escobar is part of the history of Colombia and we cannot ignore it. Yes, I won't lie to you, Medellin is not the safest city in some areas, find out. Despite everything, we felt safe in Medellin and we were impressed by its modernity, so don't be afraid to visit it. So we went hunting for Pablo Escobar.

Le tramway de Medellin sur la Plaza Botero
Tramway of Medellin on Plaza Botero

Who is Pablo Escobar

He began his career around 1975 and was shot dead in 1993. He trafficked cocaine from Colombia to the United States.

Its popularity comes from two facts: Its cartel, at the peak of its activity, supplies approximately 80% of the cocaine consumed in the United States, for an annual turnover of 21.9 billion dollars. Which makes him the richest criminal in history.

Selling drugs makes money, so it's a way of working, that's what he thinks at that time. In poor countries like Colombia, it is a way out of poverty. You may be surprised to learn that his first contact with cocaine came from an American in a nightclub. I believe that we must therefore reflect before passing sudden judgments on the Colombians and putting them all in the same basket. Unfortunately, sometimes it's the travelers who spread the rumors and bad habits...don't bring your habits from home abroad!

The other way is that Pablo Escobar gains popularity with his people, because despite being a drug dealer, he has a good heart. He undertook the construction of several churches, schools and hospitals to help them get out of misery. Granted, his method of changing the world may seem unconventional to most people, but...whose real blame is it?

Unfortunately, he also commits several murders (which undoubtedly come with the job I suppose) and acts of violence for his cocaine trafficking business. He is wanted by the Colombian and American police. He was shot in 1993 in Medellin by the Colombian national police.

Finca la Manuela, maison de vacance de Pablo Escobar bombardé en 1993
Finca la Manuela, Pablo Escobar's vacation home near Guatapé, bombed in 1993


His significant influence plunged Colombia into an incessant whirlwind of violence, is still a little today, but certainly, the people have risen and the metamorphosis of Colombia, and of Medellin, is incredible. The modernity of this city blew me away. Artistic works are part of everyday life, in the street, among others with the famous Botero. The posh restaurants are multiplying and are full to bursting. Their metropolitan transport network is reliable, new, and innovative: Medellin is built in a valley in the Andes Mountains, so to get to the other side of the mountains, locals (and tourists too) can take a cable car, which is much more flexible than a tram for them. Obviously, Colombians have always been a people of heart and will always remain so, do not hesitate to make friends!

So, during our exploration we had heard about the prison that Pablo Escobar had built for himself to lock himself up (yes, when you're rich, you can do anything, even that), and, arrived at places, we realize that now it is a center for the elderly in a way, and we see this sign that opened our eyes to the current situation in Colombia:

Situation actuelle de la Colombie par rapport au Narco-tourisme

I think that's pretty clear! My mission was confirmed. I had to tell people about all this. I was going to change the image of Medellin and help Colombians get rid of this ghost. Because this kind-hearted, generous and most honest people I have ever met deserved it!

All in all, after all, I'm not disappointed that I went hunting Escobar. Whether he was a good or bad man can never be determined, and that's what's interesting about this story. Sometimes you have to be at the bottom to want to go back up, and the reign of Pablo Escobar was probably the kick-start to the evolution of Medellin, the city of flowers and eternal spring.

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