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| 7/22/2009 12:00:00 AM

In Colombia, Tourists Flock To Drug Kingpin's Ranch

Jul 22--What once served as an exotic playground for Colombian drug cartel boss Pablo Escobar is now a theme park with guided tours, horseback riding, a swimming pool and a zoo.

Until police shot him dead in 1993, Escobar was the richest drug kingpin in history. He used that wealth to create an eccentric ranch in northwest Colombia called Hacienda Napoles. He stocked the ranch with life-size concrete dinosaurs and African big game.

With his death, the hacienda fell into ruin, and much of the wildlife died or wound up in zoos — although the hippos remained and multiplied in the murky ponds.

But a group of businessmen has given Escobar's legacy a new twist. Tourists — some 50,000 visited last year after the park opened — flock to see what's left from Escobar's heyday.

Jungle music piped from loudspeakers greets visitors to the theme park. They pass through an archway mounted with an old plane: the Cessna that carried Escobar's first load of cocaine to the United States.
 
Read more here.
 
Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.
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