So when you hear that the number of kidnappings has dropped by 73 percent in Colombia, you know it's high time to head out to Medellín.
The City of Eternal Spring, once a hotbed for drug violence, has seen its homicide rate drop to 35 per 100,000 people—making it a safer bet than St. Louis. Enjoy Medellín's revival with the famous La Feria de Las Flores in August with mass horse rides and dancing down the streets, or check out a fútbol game at the Atanasio Girardot Stadium.
No trip out there is complete, though, without a visit to the nearby Hacienda Napoles, the former estate of the wealthiest drug lord in history, Pablo Escobar. The 5,500-acre estate was home to million-dollar cocaine deals, parties with underage girls, and meetings with shadowy politicians, but has recently re-opened as an odd Jurassic Park-zoo meets surreal Neverland.
When alive, the wildlife-crazed Escobar stocked the grounds with wild animals, exotic birds, and huge concrete T-Rexes and Brontosauruses (soundly rebutting the myth that cocaine dealers don't love dinosaurs). Today, the madness remains: amidst wild animals you can check out a bullet-riddled 1920s Packard, a Coliseum (former bullring now to host local celeb shows), and Escobar's classic car collection that sits in his dusty garage. You can even now fly in via the infamous airstrip used for shipping product.
Just watch out for the Brontosaurus head upon take off and landing.