Escobar was once one of the most powerful men in the world, at one time, an almost untouchable figure with seemingly endless power, money and resources at his disposal. Escobar was the ruler of an operation so vast, it essentially meant he provided almost all of the supply that the US public consumed in the early 1980s. His wealth became so extreme, that he was essentially able to go toe to toe with the entire country of Columbia, not only in money and resources, but with his very own militia which could take on the official authorities of the country.
Escobar's wealth numbered well into the billions, which in the 1980s made him one of the top five richest men in the world. With such extreme amounts of money under his belt, Escobar was able to acquire an estate that many could only dream of. His property was so lavish, that it was sometimes hard to fathom. Here are twenty-five things about his estate in Columbia we had no idea about!
26 The Home Was Called Hacienda Napoles
Escobar’s property was so large that it officially had its own designation, deemed Hacienda Napoles. The translation for the name in English is Naples Estate which was famous throughout Columbia in its heyday during the powerful reign of Escobar throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
At the height of his power, Escobar’s net worth exceeded an astounding $30 billion which meant that anything he desired, he could quite literally purchase with his almost inconceivable wealth with very little in the way. This included the purchase of his massive estate which was truly like a town all to himself.
25 Its Location Was Strategically Secluded
Hacienda Napoles was secluded, located in the middle of the country’s natural landscapes far away from any major city. The estate was nearly one hundred miles east of the great city of Medellin and over one hundred fifty miles from Bogota in the other direction, giving Escobar and his men unprecedented privacy to run their billion dollar operation.
The miles of road between them and civilization allowed Escobar to strategically place his soldiers alongside the highway as lookouts, giving him a heads up for any incoming visitors heading their way.
23 There Was a Sculpture Park on the Grounds
At times, some of Escobar’s purchases were so outrageous, it seemed as if he had so much money that he simply did not know what to do with all of it. This is highlighted by the sculpture park he had on the grounds of his residential estate. The park included different figures that were meant to be artistic, but came across as seemingly random pieces that made little sense.
One of the more well-known pieces at his park was the giant white mannequin-like hand that held up an almost life-size green tank.
22 The Estate Had a Complete Zoo
According to rarehistoricalphotos.com, “in the early 1980s, after Escobar had become rich but before he had started the campaign of assassinations and bombings that was to almost tear Colombia apart, he built himself a zoo.”
During more peaceful times at the beginning of his operation, Escobar was content with making larger-than-life purchases for his own satisfaction. This included a fully operational zoo on the grounds of Hacienda Napoles, which according to many, brought him great a deal of happiness.
21 It featured a Luxury Automobile Collection, of course
It goes without saying that when someone is worth billions of dollars, their collection of material possessions will include rare and luxurious cars. It was certainly no different with Escobar who had a sizable assortment of automobiles, many of which were kept on his property.
The collection included luxury vehicles like the most expensive line of Mercedes Benz at the time, along with an assembly of motorcycles and even a set of fully functioning airplanes.
20 The Property Had Its Own Private Airport
Because Pablo owned airplanes, it only made sense for the billionaire to have his very own private airport built on the land he owned. This was done for several reasons, but most notably because it offered him the secrecy his operation so desperately needed. These planes, of course, carried illegal items so landing in public airports with police everywhere became more and more risky.
His private airport eliminated many worries for him when it came to the officials who were constantly looking to take him down for breaking the law.
19 The Zoo Had Exotic Animals From Different Continents
According to mashable.com, “the Hacienda also boasted a robust zoo, complete with horses, elephants, rhinoceros, hippopotamuses and giraffes.” The zoo that Escobar was so proud of wasn’t just an average run of the mill operation with a few different animals strewn about. He went to great lengths to fill his zoo with animals that you would find in any major animal park around the world.
He was so proud that he even opened the zoo to the public for their own leisure and enjoyment, free of charge. It was acts like these that often made him a folk hero figure in the eyes of the people of Columbia.
18 The Animals Weren’t Legal
It shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that some of the animals at Escobar’s Hacienda Napoles Zoo weren’t legal. According to rarehistoricalphotos.com, “he smuggled in elephants, giraffes and other exotic animals, among them four hippos – three females and one male.”
Per usual, this was just another grand gesture that Escobar used to openly laugh in the face of authority, an act he relished in. The animals were not only for his own enjoyment, but for his own amusement when it came to flaunting his wealth to those who were always tracking his every move.
17 The Mansion Was Built in A Spanish Colonial Style
The Spanish Colonial style architecture seen in many of today’s mansion is often viewed as traditionally beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. Because Escobar was very eccentric, appearances meant a lot to him, so flaunting his wealth to the government and officials was something he did with regularity.
He chose the Spanish Colonial design for his mansion because it punctuated his massive wealth and bravura.
16 It Included a Go-Kart Racing Track
In an effort to keep his children happy as well as the henchmen he employed, Escobar built a large go-kart racing track on the grounds of Hacienda Napoles. The track was not only used for go-kart racing for the children’s delight, but was also a way for the soldiers who protected the property to let off some steam with actual car races, using Escobar’s expansive collection of vehicles.
Race betting and intense contests between the men were a way for the billionaire to keep them happy, something he felt was important for the success of his operation.
15 There Was Also A Fighting BullRing
In another effort to allow his soldiers the freedoms of gambling and fun, Escobar installed a bullring on the property which was used with regularity for bullfighting spectacles.
Guests were allowed to watch the sport along with his men, which often resulted in massive amounts of money being moved around through illegal gambling on the outlawed sport.
Of course, Escobar had very little regard for the law, so using the bullfighting ring as a means for entertainment was a normal occurrence for his entire army.
14 The Entry Way Included A Giant Replica Airplane
The entrance to Hacienda Napoles was of utmost importance to Escobar who felt that the first impression visitors got was vital to how they perceived him. He wanted others to see him as powerful and grandiose, so he, of course, put a lot of thought into the entryway to his estate.
According to allthatsinteresting.com, “at the helm of the park was Escobar’s pride and joy, a replica of his Piper PA-18 Super Cub plane, which transported his very first shipment into the United States. Resting atop the blue and white arch that marked the entrance to the estate, the plane served as a reminder of the estate’s true purpose – to remind all those who passed under it, that they were all just plebeians, and that Colombia would forever be under the command of the king.”
13 There Were Several Pools
What’s a billionaire’s mansion home without an over the top pool? It simply wouldn’t be complete without one, so Escobar went with constructing three pools on the property, each with their own unique quality. Each pool was situated in their own section of the massive land, located for a certain area that would keep residents content.
The size and design were of the highest class, costing significant amounts of money, something Escobar was always sure to account for when designing anything on his grounds.
12 The Estate is Giant in Size (Bigger Than You Think)
It shouldn’t be a complete surprise that Escobar’s property was pretty massive, considering his multibillion-dollar wealth. But the size of Hacienda Napoles was much larger than most would realize, coming in at about 7.7 total square miles of land.
To put that into perspective, that equates to nearly 5,000 acres of property. One acre is about the size of a football field in size, give or take. So in other words, Escobar’s estate was nearly the equivalent of 5,000 football fields for context. That’s simply massive!
11 The Ranch Featured Dinosaur Statues
In yet another lavish gesture that Escobar had become known for, he decided to have dinosaur statues constructed and shipped to his estate, placing them out in the open grass fields in the distance, which could be seen from the main house. The statues were not of any artistic nature, but instead bared a resemblance to cartoon-like models of the prehistoric creatures.
Children were enamored with the figures which sometimes looked odd and out of place out in the plains, giving off the impression of a Jurassic Park-like attraction on the grounds.
10 It Also Included Prehistoric Animal Figures As Well
Escobar didn’t care much for the historical accuracy of his dinosaur models on site, so he also brought in other prehistoric statues which included animals like wooly mammoths, a favorite among the young children who visited Hacienda Napoles.
The figures, which were scattered throughout the giant estate were not just for decoration, but emphasized the embellished lifestyle that Escobar led, having seemingly endless amounts of money to throw away at will without any worries. This was often seen as a slap in the face by many authority figures in Columbia who knew many of the country’s residents were living well below the poverty line.
9 Although Not on the Grounds, His Estate Included a Prison
At one point during the height of his power, Escobar found himself with less room to operate as the authorities were closing in on him, citing evidence of multiple crimes. Escobar wielded his power and cut a deal – he would serve his prison time, but he would do so in his own privately built prison.
The authorities, looking to avoid conflict with Escobar’s army of men, made the deal and soon after, he constructed La Catedral, his very own prison, which was more of a vacation spot than a location for criminals serving hard time. The prison included all the luxuries his home did, complete with pools, billiards, and much more.
8 The Government Seized the Property in 1993
According to allthatsinteresting.com, “after Escobar was taken down in 1993, the Escobar family found themselves at odds with the government over Hacienda Napoles’ ownership. The government eventually prevailed and took over the land.”
This was seen as a major victory by the Columbian government who wanted to make sure that Escobar’s massive wealth, all gathered through illegal activities, was no longer used to support the lifestyle his family and friends had grown accustomed to for so many years.
7 After His Passing, the Grounds Were Abandoned
Soon after their takeover of the estate, the property fell into ruin with the government allowing it to fall into a state of decay, abandoning the grounds. The gesture was seen by many as a concerted act of defiance by the government of Columbia against the man they chased for decades.
Allowing his lavish mansion and property to fall apart while his family and henchmen could do nothing but watch on the sidelines was a satisfying victory for Columbian officials who dedicated their lives to taking Escobar down.
6 Animals Were Shipped Away Soon After
One item Columbian officials did not overlook was the significant collection of exotic animals that Escobar had gathered at his Hacienda Napoles Zoo. The lions, elephants, giraffes, rhinos and much more, were all sold to sanctuaries or donated to zoos, resulting in a massive shipment effort to animal conservatories spread throughout all of Columbia.
This was viewed as a positive as the care the animals would begin to receive would be administered by official caretakers trained in animal behavior and wildlife science.
5 Today The Estate Is Open to Tourists
Hacienda Napoles became a shell of its former self after the government took control of the land, but it was still an often visited landmark as the people of Columbia were still very much enamored with the larger than life character that was Escobar, even long after his passing.
Hordes of visitors would visit the abandoned property which led to the sale of the land to a developer. The developer saw the interest in the property and decided to restore much of the estate back into a usable space that tourist could come and visit.
4 It Operates As a Dinosaur Themed Zoo and Water Park Today
The usable space that developers went with was a continuation of what Pablo had started many years before. They decided to play off the dinosaur statues throughout the property and made the estate a Jurassic Park styled theme park, along with a refurbished zoo and a water park attraction as well.
The irony of it all cannot be understated – a family-friendly theme park now sits where one of the most notorious criminals in history once resided and ran his empire.
3 Hippos Escaped To Form Their Own Thriving Population in Surrounding Areas
Before the estate was turned into a family theme park, all of the animals were sent away to other zoos and conservatories, except for Escobar’s hippopotamuses.
According to mashable.com, during the period of abandonment the property was under, “the hippos, meanwhile, had escaped to the surrounding jungle, and formed a sizable feral population.” These once Escobar-owned hippos actually overtook the surrounding land and multiplied in population becoming a part of the wildlife for decades now.
2 There Was an Escobar Museum On Site
At one point after the property was privately owned, a museum dedicated to Escobar, the once-owner of the land was erected. The museum included relics of the deceased billionaire along with memorabilia he once owned. The museum has since been shut down, with efforts redirected toward placing an emphasis on the family theme rather than the eccentric Escobar.
The water park and zoo are major draws in Columbia with the park being highly attended.
1 The Escobar Name Has Been in Removed From the Family Park
In an attempt to remove themselves from the stain they considered Escobar to be on the history of Columbia, officials worked with park owners to remove anything that carried the Escobar name. Rather than glorify his once powerful standing in the country, the decision to erase him from memory stems from a deep-rooted disdain for Escobar’s rule which once had a stranglehold on all of Columbia.
The park is now a distant memory of the man and more fixated on the family nature of the business, looking to attract park goers.