About an hour’s sail northwest from the old Spanish port city of Cartagena de Indias are a group of about 30 islands known collectively as the Islas de Rosario. With their bleached white beaches, clear blue crystal waters and abundant wildlife, they are a true tropical paradise. Hundreds of daytrippers from Cartagena descend on La Playa Blanca year round, tourists and locals alike.
But a little further out into the Caribbean Sea lies an island whose way of life has remained largely untouched for hundreds of years. La Isla Grande is home to about 800 islanders who sustain themselves mostly by fishing and farming, cut off from the modern world. With no running water and electrical power lines, daily life still generally revolves around when the sun rises and sets. But this idyll did the get attention of one vacationer, who built a palace, now abandoned.
That would be infamous King of Cocaine, the original El Patron, Pablo Escobar.
Originally published on Atlas Obscura