As one of the most infamous criminals in history Pablo escobar definitely left his mark on the world and particularly on Colombia his native country. Here he isn’t glorified or remembered in the same light that he is in other parts of the world. This is because of how he caused mayhem for years, while at the height of his power.
Another thing which he did was buy and build hundreds of properties, this was to both launder money and flaunt his wealth. Many have been taken back by the government or destroyed, while others came to be owned by former employees such as Escobar’s Guatape mansion. Located about two hours south of Medellin Guatape is a popular place for visitors and tourist due to its beauty from a man made lake. It seems Pablo Escobar liked the area also and had a number of houses built for friends and family.
How to visit Escobar’s Guatape mansion:
Escobar’s Guatape mansion is infamous for providing paint-balling on the grounds and this definitely works in attracting backpackers and tourists. There are two ways to book a trip, one through your hostel in Medellin or in Gautape itself if you are spending a few nights. As wee were staying in Guatape we asked our receptionist and he directed us to a local shop.
Side note: Don’t ask locals on the street as they are not particularly happy about these tours.
From memory it didn’t cost a whole lot. The ticket included transport, lunch, all the gear you would need and a tour, so a pretty good bargain. If you come from Medellin your transport will be provided from there but at a little extra cost.
If you just want to visit the grounds this is possible also, but really almost everyone gets involved in the paint-balling.
In the morning you meet at a replica town, the original was swallowed by the lake. Then everyone jumps into or on top of a couple of 4×4 jeeps and you head into the hills to discover one of Escobars Gautape mansion.
The grounds are huge and contain the mansion itself, a stables, a guesthouse and bar located right next to the lake. Here you meet his former gardener, who somehow managed to get ownership of the property and then you take a tour of the grounds.
The guide was brilliant and gave you a good insight into Escobars life and the history of the mansion. Why he choose the location, other houses he built in the area and how he hid money in the walls and floors of all his buildings.
He then discusses how the building was bombed and left to rot for a number of years. It was very detailed and I enjoyed this as much as the games.
The teams were split into opposing cartels the Medellin vs. the Cali cartel. Following this we were told the different games we would play and the rules. The games went on for about two hours.
You don’t actually paint ball in Escobars Guatape manisin as it is to unstable (Bombs do that). Instead we played between the guest house and stables. It was incredibly fun, besides a few head shots.
Also don’t be like me and conserve your bullets. I didn’t keep track of the time and had far to many left at the end of the game. Afterward you have lunch in the former party bar and then take a boat from the docks back to Guatape.
It is a truly unique experience and one I would definitely recommend it.