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Vanity upon vanity — see what Pablo Escobar's $10 million mansion looks like today

The destroyed ruins of Finca La Manuela are becoming a tourist attraction.

Pablo Escobar named the Finca La Manuela estate after his daughter [AFP]

Finca La Manuela, named by the famous drug lord Pablo Escobar after his daughter, is an estate that was once bustling with life. Today, after years of oblivion, its ruins attract tourists from all over the world who want to see up close the traces of megalomania and violence that Escobar left here.

This place was once full of luxury. Within five years, a residence was built here with a swimming pool, tennis courts, a football pitch, stables, exotic plants imported from all over the world, helipads, a guest house, a landing pad and its own bar. However, today, what was once a symbol of luxury lies in ruins.

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In the 1980s, at the height of his power, Escobar invested $10 million in the construction of the La Manuela villa. Situated on the headland of the artificial Guatapé reservoir, the residence offered incredible views of the surrounding area. Escobar, who at the time controlled most of the world's cocaine trade, could admire the lake to the opposite shore.

However, La Manuela was not just home to Escobar's family. It was also a manifestation of the excessive wealth that Escobar had accumulated through drug smuggling. The beautiful facade of the mansion where cocaine and cash were hidden becomes a symbol of this contradiction. The shadow of disaster always loomed over this place.

Despite its picturesque location, Finca La Manuela has become a symbol of the violence that Pablo Escobar's drug cartel brought to the entire country. On the estate, there was a watchtower with a tower and a contingent of about 120 soldiers. In 1993, rival drug gang Pepes carried out an attack that ultimately destroyed large parts of the villa and estate.

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After the explosion, police confiscated cash and drugs from the villa. Fate did not spare Escobar himself. Just eight months after the explosion, he was shot dead by authorities in Medellín. His wife escaped with their two children, Manuela and her brother. Since then, the estate and its ruined buildings have remained abandoned.

Today, the destroyed ruins of Finca La Manuela are becoming a tourist attraction. Tourists from all over the world are drawn to this place to see the traces of its turbulent past up close. Boat trips and guided tours offer insight into the life of Escobar and his family, and bring to life the era of Colombian cocaine smuggling.

But visitors also learn how hard Colombia is working to leave behind the dark legacy of the drug cartel era. To show that the country has much more to offer than its past characterised by drug trafficking and violence, Colombia is increasingly focusing on cultural and ecological tourism.

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This article was first published on Onet Travel.

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