Pablo Escobar’s grave site in Medellín - Medellin Guru
Pablo Escobar's grave in Medellín has unfortunately become a tourist attraction due to the popular Narcos series. Pablo Escobar tours stop at his grave site.

Pablo Escobar’s Grave: An Unfortunate Tourist Attraction

Pablo Escobar’s grave site in Medellín has unfortunately become a tourist attraction in Medellín due to the popular Narcos series and the notoriety of Pablo Escobar.

The popular Narcos series has created demand from foreign tourists visiting Medellín who want to see Pablo Escobar’s grave and other sites related to Escobar. So, several Pablo Escobar tours now exist that will take you to Escobar’s grave and other sites.

I have been hesitant to cover this topic on the Medellin Guru website out of respect for the victims of this violent man. And in over seven years living in Medellín I never even had the desire to see Escobar’s grave, which is located at Cementerio Jardines Montesacro in Itagüí.

But several readers of Medellin Guru have sent in questions about Pablo Escobar’s grave. So, I finally went to see it and here is an article that I tried to make balanced.

Pablo Escobar's grave is at a family grave site with several headstones

Pablo Escobar’s grave is at a family grave site with several headstones

Where is Pablo Escobar Buried? Cementerio Jardines Montesacro

Pablo Escobar’s grave is located at Cementerio Jardines Montesacro in Itagüí. Furthermore, Pablo Escobar’s grave is at a family grave site with several headstones.

In addition, Escobar’s grave is located in an idyllic setting.  Cementerio Jardines Montesacro is located on a hill with nice views of Medellín and the southern part of the Aburrá Valley.

Note that there is no Pablo Escobar tomb or burial chamber, it’s a gravesite.

View towards Medellín from Cementerrio Jardins Montesacro

View towards Medellín from Cementerrio Jardins Montesacro

When I visited the grave, the site is showing some wear. Escobar’s headstone is worn on the lower part. And the headstone looks to have been replaced compared to old photos I have seen. Also, there was a tile missing below the head stone, which may have been taken by a tourist.

Pablo Escobar's grave showing some wear

Pablo Escobar’s grave showing some wear

While there I saw other tourists (both foreigner and Colombian) taking photos at Escobar’s grave.

I honestly felt strange and somewhat uncomfortable visiting the grave of a man responsible for so much violence and death.

Pablo Escobar Dead, 2006 by Fernando Botero, photo by Jenny Bojinova

Pablo Escobar Dead, 2006 by Fernando Botero, photo by Jenny Bojinova

Pablo Escobar: A Brief History

Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was a Colombian drug lord. His Medellín cartel was reportedly responsible for an estimated 80 percent of the cocaine smuggled into the United States.  Escobar was often called “The King of Cocaine” and reportedly was the wealthiest criminal in history, with an estimated net worth in the early 1990s of about $30 billion USD.

Escobar was born on December 1, 1949 and grew up in Medellín. He studied briefly at Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana but began to engage in criminal activity involving selling contraband cigarettes and fake lottery tickets. In addition, he was involved in motor vehicle theft. In the 1970s, Escobar began to work for various contraband smugglers before beginning to distribute cocaine himself and establishing smuggling routes to the U.S.

By the 1980s, demand for cocaine skyrocketed. And it was estimated that 70 to 80 tons of cocaine were being shipped from Colombia to the U.S. per month. Escobar’s drug network competed with rival cartels, resulting in massacres and the murders of police officers, judges, locals, and prominent politicians.

During the height of its operations, the Medellín Cartel reportedly brought in more than $70 million USD per day.  While seen as an enemy of the U.S. and Colombian governments, Escobar was also seen a hero to many in Medellín (particularly the poor people). He was credited with building football fields and houses, which gained him popularity among the poor.

When Did Pablo Escobar Die? Pablo Escobar’s Death

But later, terror campaigns by Escobar’s organization that resulted in the murder of thousands turned public opinion against Escobar.

Finally, after the assassination of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán by drug cartels, the administration of President Césare Gaviria moved against Escobar and the drug cartels. Finally, Escobar surrendered to Colombian authorities in 1991.

Escobar was confined in what became his own luxurious private prison, La Catedral, which had a bar, Jacuzzi and waterfall. Escobar escaped before being moved to a more conventional prison.

When did Pablo Escobar die? About 16 months after his escape from prison, Pablo Escobar died in a shootout with Colombian police on December 2, 1993.

Cemetario Jardins Montesacro

Cemetario Jardins Montesacro

How to Get to Pablo Escobar’s Grave at Cemetario Jardines Montesacro

Pablo Escobar’s grave is relatively easy to get to. The easiest way is to take the Medellín Metro Line A south to Sabaneta station.

Escobar’s grave is located in Cementerio Jardines Montesacro, which is about a 7-10-minute walk from the Sabaneta metro station.  You walk west from the metro station until you cross the Autopista.

Take a left and you’ll soon see the entrance to Cementerio Jardines Montesacro on the right. As you enter look for the following sign.

Look for the path to the right of this sign

Look for the path to the right of this sign

To the right of this sign is a path that leads to some stairs that take you up to the church on the hill. Pablo Escobar’s grave is located on the other side of the church, right next to the church. This path will save you time versus walking along the road up the the church.

Stairs that go up the the church at the cemetery

Stairs that go up the the church at the cemetery

In addition, many taxi drivers in the city will know where Pablo Escobar’s grave is located. Just ask the driver to take you to “Tumba de Pablo Escobar en Cemetario Jardines Montesacro en Itagüí”.

Pablo Escobar Tours

We previous looked at La Sierra Tours, Graffiti Tours of Comuna 13, Walking Tours of Medellín and a recommended tourist itinerary for a day in Medellín.

Due to the popularity of the Narcos series, demand from foreign tourists has resulted in several Pablo Escobar tours being offered in Medellín:

All of the Pablo Escobar tours stop at Pablo Escobar’s grave at Cemetario Jardines Montesacro in Itagüí.

Some locals in Medellín say that these Pablo Escobar tours do nothing but continue the drug cartel narrative that the city is so eager to put in the past. Instead of focusing on the city’s past, they say they are wanting to look towards the city’s future.

But it is also important to take a look at the past and make sure things like that never happen again. So, if someone wants to go on a Pablo Escobar tour, perhaps they want to learn about this small part of Colombia’s history. Or perhaps they just want to visit because of Escobar’s notoriety or they saw the Narcos series.

Pablo Escobar's headstone

Pablo Escobar’s headstone

The Bottom Line: Pablo Escobar’s Grave at Cemetario Jardines Montesacro

If you do visit Pablo Escobar’s grave at Cementerio Jardines Montesacro, show some respect for the victims and the Colombian people. Keep in mind that Escobar is long dead but is still a sensitive subject. And that Medellín is a completely changed place from the time of Escobar, who died over 25 years ago.

Furthermore, don’t be like rapper Wiz Khalifa in 2017, who visited Escobar’s grave and took the time to lay flowers on the former drug lord’s grave and pose for a few pictures next to it with a joint. Khalifa received a well-deserved tongue-lashing from Medellín’s Mayor Federico Gutierrez, who told Colombia’s Blu Radio:

Instead of bringing flowers to Pablo Escobar’s tomb, this guy should have brought flowers to the graves of all the victims killed by drug trafficking, like any normal person would have done.

In addition, Netflix’s Narcos was an ambitious and popular series about Pablo Escobar and the cocaine trade in Colombia but it has a number of problems. But there are some good alternatives to Narcos and we looked at 13 of the best Colombian movies and series.

Also, “How to get to Pablo Escobar’s grave?” is a common question asked by expats visiting Medellín. So, we included this question in our list of Medellín frequently asked questions (FAQ).

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

Editors note: updated on September 30, 2018 to add additional Pablo Escobar tours available.

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16 thoughts on “Pablo Escobar’s Grave: An Unfortunate Tourist Attraction”

    1. amen to that!

    2. I do believe, no one supports any drug dealer in the world. Even those involved in the drug knew they are doing a horrible job.

      For disclosing the reality before and after Pablo, I wish I had access to the CIA ‘s archive!
      Media, including books and TV series, is quite similar to the NEWS and may not necessarily reflect the truth.

      They are other key players out of the country that we don’t know through media. So, it’s not as simple as pointing the finger to Pablo and closes the story. Although Pablo is resting but believe it or not using the drug is much more than 1990 (s)

    3. I agree that Pablo did some horrible things , but I honestly do think he had good intentions before things got out of hand. With all that money he aquired over the years he could have done great things for the country.yes he threw a hissy fit when he got kicked out of office but just imagine if he had become president….I’m a Canadian and I have very little knowledge on Colombia but I believe in the good in the bad , he could have made poverty disappear and he could have boosted the economy.

      • Good intentions? Pablo Escobar was a criminal from his early days and was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. He even provided a reward for killing police officers, over 600 police died as a result.

        The only good he did was donating money to build football fields and build houses in poor neighborhoods. But this was only to create goodwill among the poor in Colombia. But the eventual murders of thousands turned public opinion against him.

        Escobar as president — that is a joke and never would have happened. Colombia wouldn’t have made the progress it accomplished over the past two decades if Ecobar had become president.

        If you don’t know about Colombia, you should go watch Pablo Escobar: El Patron Del Mar to find out what Escobar was really like.

      • Hi Brady, I recommend you educate yourself about Colombia’s dark days and you likely will have a different opinion about Escobar. The “Pablo Escobar: El Patron Del Mar” series recommended in another comment is good as well as other Colombian movies and series we have listed on this site – https://medellinguru.com/alternatives-narcos-colombian-movies/.

        Also, a good book to read is “There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Colombia”, which is a well-researched and well-written book about some of the worst years in Colombia’s recent history. It’s one of several Colombia books by expats we recommend: https://medellinguru.com/colombia-books-by-expats/

    4. Lorraine June 4, 2018

      I wanted to visit Casa de la Memoria. So I emailed and someone replied promptly that the day I requested for an English speaking guide was not available. So I went to Escobar’s site instead. It gave me an opportunity to learn the metro.

      Your directions were perfect.

      I was surprised there were many flowers at the grave site. There were no tourists except for a couple of Colombians taking many pictures. There were also 2 other Colombian men hanging around.

      Someone was cutting the grass in the cemetery at the exit down the steps and I saw many birds.

      There are also some great views.

    5. geoffrey January 12, 2018

      My own feelings and thoughts on Escobar can only be described as a case of cognitive dissonance; inconsistent thoughts, beliefs and attitudes. On the one hand I am deeply committed to never visiting the grave because it would be an homage to the devil incarnate. On the other hand I watched every episode of El Patron Del Mal starring the uncanny and absolutely brilliant Andres Parra. This version of Escobar’s infamy is the gold standard. There will never be anything as well done on the subject again IMHO. I also saw all of Narcos but it’s very thin gruel by comparison.

      • I agree with you that El Patron Del Mal is much better than Narcos. I should probably write an alternative to Narcos article as there are other good options out there like Los Pecados de mi Padre.

        • geoffrey January 14, 2018

          I wish you would write an article about the other thespian efforts to tell the tale. El Cartel de Los Sapos is also worth calling to your readers attention no? It makes ample use of comic relief as plugged in by narrator and artful dodger Diego Cadavid. I’m amazed by the depth and quality of these series.

          • Thanks, yes, El Cartel de Los Sapos is worth covering. I will probably do an big article about the best Colombian movies/series and better alternatives to Narcos. Colombia has a number of good movies like El Abrazo de la Serpiente, La vendedora de rosas, Viajes de viento, and Los colores de la montana that several expats are likely not aware of.

    6. Having just got back from Medellin in October 2017 and taken one of the Escobar tours, I’d like to offer my perspective.

      It’s easy to condemn those(tourists) who have an interest in Escobar. I get it. Many people suffered and died under his tyranny. I get it. The Narcos series doesn’t help. I get that too. However, let’s not be so hasty in casting a wide dispersion on those who take interest in his life. Pablo Escobar, rightly or wrongly was a historical figure in not only Medellin but in Colombia as a whole. At no point in my tour did I ever say to myself, “Pablo Escobar was misunderstood, he was a true hero to the poor and downtrodden in Medellin”. In addition, none of my fellow travelers came away believing that he was the Robin Hood his current and former acolytes make him out to be. In fact, all of us felt the opposite. The more you know of him and his villainy, the more respect you have for the greatness and longsuffering of the Colombian people. Without the pain of the past there is no barometer for our future. Escobar is long dead but the city and its great people remain to build for the future.

      It’s funny. Every tourist I met was in awe of this beautiful city. The parks, shops, malls, restaurants, nightlife and especially the people were topics of discussion, not Escobar. If they come for Escobar then let them come. When they leave, Escobar will be the furthest from their thoughts.

    7. Pablo Escobar was nothing but a criminal. While he may have been generous with poor people this was just for him to gain power. I don´t think Escobar was a hero and many Colombians think the way I do. Pablo was one of the most wanted criminals in the world. And Colombia has its reputation for crime and drugs because of this man and others. And the Narcos series does not help. Sad that Escobar´s grave site may be of interest to tourists. There are so many better things to see and do in Medellin.

      • I do not think simply wanting to see something that clearly had such an impact on the world is bad. It is not any different than Pearl Harbor, Alcatraz or Auschwitz and I have visited all three. I just arrived in Medellin and want to see the Pablo Escobar sites. He was in the news constantly when I was a kid. The decision to celebrate his life or condemn it is the opinion of the individual. I for one, do not agree with trying to erase or cover up history, simply because it was ugly. If we were indeed supposed to erase all history that was bad the world would be blank.

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