Is Casa Malca, Pablo Escobar’s Mansion, Worth the Price?
Although I would no longer consider myself a budget traveler, I am still always cautious with my spending. So, when researching attractions in Tulum I was very skeptical of visiting Casa Malca, which has a $91 USD entry fee. Casa Malca is Pablo Escobar’s former hideaway estate that has now been turned into a 5 star resort with restaurants and a beach club.
Every beach club I visited in Tulum also had a minimum spending amount, typically $30-$50 USD. However, Casa Malca differs because $45.50 is simply the entry fee and the other $45.50 can be spent however you desire at the restaurant and beach club. I was able to get one meal and a drink before adding more money. Your card is charged upon entry and then you are given a ticket with your allotted spending, which you use like a voucher throughout your day.
The food was delicious, but fancy restaurant portions, as expected. Nonetheless I left the restaurant satisfied. The huevos rancheros were great, but the main source of my satisfaction was the best drink I have ever had in my life! The Passionfruit Sangria...literally no words. If this blog does convince you to visit Casa Malca, you MUST try this drink.
After breakfast at Philosophy we headed over to the main entrance of the hotel to see the famous curtains and hanging furniture decor. I loved this location for the photo opps. My greatest discovery here was realizing that the curtains are numerous wedding dresses sewn together. Passing the grand entrance brings you to a bar area, chandelier room, and the lobby that opens straight out to the ocean.
Something that would’ve made the experience better for me was a staff member or some sort of written explanation of things at the estate. I had a lot of questions, like why were there so many dolls in suitcases at Philosophy? So, my friends and I found ourselves making up stories about different ways Pablo used the estate. I assumed that Casa Malca was more expensive because it was previously owned by Pablo Escobar and therefore like a museum as well. I thought the art was chosen by Pablo and the decor had been repurposed.
I later learned that the owner, art collectionist Lio Malca, purchased the estate without knowledge of it being previously owned by the legendary Pablo Escobar. All of the art has been collected by Malca at auctions. He’d prefer the hotel to be remembered by its art opposed to being tied to the famed drug lord. Malca bought Casa Malca as a home, to welcome family and friends and have parties and it grew into a boutique hotel. When the media caught wind that Pablo used to reside here the location blew up and eventually expanded from 8 rooms to 41, with multiple restaurants, pools, and bars.
Casa Malca is now a very well known luxury resort, rooms typically range from $636-$1,150. Despite the owner wanting it to be remembered for its art, the link to Escobar has certainly done great for growth. The history of Escobar at Casa Malca has given a lot of free marketing and publicity and led to its great expansion. If you ask me, this was one hell of an investment!
So, is it worth visiting?
Overall, if you are visiting Casa Malca simply because it was owned by Pablo Escobar it is not worth it because there is no trace of anything related to him. There is an awe of knowing he used be there and imagining what may have gone on behind these walls years ago, but that's it, an awe factor. However, if you are just looking for good vibes at a luxury beach club this is a great move! The art is quite interesting and this was the cleanest beach I visited in Tulum.
If I were to return to Tulum I would likely only go back if I were staying at the resort...or I'm at a point in my life where budget isn't in my vocabulary. So, if you are somewhat on a budget I'd recommend going to multiple other beach clubs, your money will go further. But if you are in Tulum for a while, being a big spender, pull up!
If you do decide to go, please just remember these words...Passionfruit Sangria!