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.
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
Pablo Escobar’s grave is located at Cemetario 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. Cemetario Montesacro is located on a hill with nice views of Medellín and the southern part of the Aburrá Valley.
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.
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: 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.
But later, terror campaigns that resulted in the murder of thousands turned public opinion against Escobar. And 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. About 16 months after his escape from prison, Pablo Escobar died in a shootout with police on December 2, 1993.
How to Get to Pablo Escobar’s Grave
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 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 Cemetario Jardines Montesacro on the right. As you enter look for the following 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.
In addition, most taxi and Uber 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”.
Location of Pablo Escobar’s Grave
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:
- Medellin City Tours Pablo Escobar Tour – 3 hours for $55 USD
- Paisa Road Pablo Escobar Tour – 3.5 hours for 60,000 pesos
- Pablo Escobar Tour – 4 hours for $50 USD to 5 days for $750 USD
- Black Diamond Pablo Escobar Tour – 3 to 4 hours for $65 USD
All of these Pablo Escobar tours stop at Pablo Escobar’s grave.
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 want 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.
The Bottom Line: Pablo Escobar’s Grave
If you do visit Pablo Escobar’s grave, 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 24 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.