Getting on at Parque Lleras and Barrio Antioquia.
By choosing to purchase and use drugs in Colombia, you’re putting yourself at risk. While possessing small amounts of cocaine and marrijuana is no longer a criminal offence, drugs can destroy lives. Partake at your own risk.
Coke is everywhere in Colombia. And I mean everywhere. If Colombia is the cocaine capital of the world, Medellin is the cocaine capital of the fucking universe.
I’ve justified it to myself a thousand times. Visiting Colombia and not trying cocaine is like visiting France and passing on the cheese. Although nobody has been killed over cheese — maybe, the French take their dairy pretty fucking seriously; there have been countless deaths connected to the coke trade in Colombia. Coke was the fuel for the longest civil war in recorded history.
For some, sampling the best coke in the world as much as a draw card as Colombia’s natural beauty — I’m talking about the landscape, not the Paisa women. Drug tourism is a reality in Colombia and South America. If you’re going to do it, you’re going to do it. I’m not here to preach on the socio-political repercussions of sustaining the drug culture in Medellin. This is Pablo Escobar’s home town. For the time being, cocaine is part of Colombia whether you buy it or not. The simple fact is this: People like to get high. Use this information to do it safely.
NOTE: Cocaine possession was decriminalised in 2012. It’s no longer a criminal offense to hold a small amount of cocaine: 1g and under.
If you’re a tourist, I’m guessing you lack connections. It’s not hard to find a couple of lines from discerning Colombianos — Colombians are among the friendliest people I’ve met. Strike up a conversation in a bar with the right people and an offer of a line is in the post. There are two places where tourists can get live in Medellin: Parque Lleras and El Barrio Antioquia.
By far the easiest way to get a bag is to go to Parque Lleras on Saturday night. Lleras is the party park in El Poblado and the Zona Rosa of Medellin. Every Friday and Saturday night hundreds of tourists and locals hit Lleras to drink and socialise. It’s legal to drink on the street in Colombia — bless. By midnight the place is a jumble of all sorts of fucked up.
Look for the guys selling Chiclets (a popular local chewing gum). This is a cover, they’re street dealers. If they don’t approach you fist, simply go up and tell them what you want. Pills, weed and coke are all readily available. The downside is the price and the size of the deal. Prices in Lleras are inflated by at least 50%.
Due to its popularity with tourists, Lleras is one of the safest areas to get on in Medellin. Arguably El Barrio Antioquia is safer and the deals are much better, but you have to deal with the threat of getting pulled over by police.
Barrio Antioquia. This is the drug supermarket of Medellin. I only ever picked up coke and weed, but I’m sure you can get anything you want here.
If you lack transportation, ask a taxi driver to take you to Barrio Antioquia — this is not a place to visit on foot. Requesting a return trip to Barrio Antioquia is like asking, “Can you take me to buy drugs?” Perhaps with a little more tact — perhaps. If the driver says no, just get another taxi. The dudes that drive around blaring reggaton are a safe bet. The driver may ask you what you want to get. If you’re a little sheepish about buying coke, just tell him you want to buy ‘la creepa’. This is the local name for pot.
The taxi driver will know the general area to go in El Barrio Antioquia. If he doesn’t know where to stop exactly, there are series of intersecting streets with guys standing on every corner. It really is not hard to find someone who can hook you up. Just look for the shady guys wearing bum bags.
In my experience, Barrio Antioquia is safe. Safer than Sydney’s Kings Cross at least. The dealing is localised to the one area. The drug dealers know to keep getting business from tourists everything needs to remain chilled. Sure, there’s going to be an instance where you don’t get exactly what you paid for, think 3 joints instead of 4. But if someone was to get kidnapped or shot, the police would come down on the place like a ton of bricks. Remember, you’re breaking Colombian law buying drugs. Although you can carry up to 20 grams (approx.) of weed and 1 gram of cocaine, it’s still illegal to purchase the stuff.
The police do come to Barrio Antioquia from time to time, but in my experience it’s not to bust the street the dealers. Rather, they wait near the exit to the highway and pull over cars and taxis carrying tourists when they want a little extra cash. I don’t blame the police for these actions. The average salary in Colombia is low, only about 600,000 Colombian pesos a month (about US$300). If the police do pull you over, have a 20,000 pesos note to slip each officer. This should be enough for them to let you go, and you get to keep your drugs — not bad. Keep the bribe money separate to the money you use to buy drugs, and keep this money separated from the cash you’re going to give the taxi driver. If you open your wallet to bribe the police and they can see a 50,000 note, they will take it. You’d be hard pressed to ask the police for change.
Also don’t buy too much at a time. If you’re picking up a substantial amount, there’s a chance the taxi driver is going to turn on you. Regardless of how friendly the driver may seem, he’s not your friend and he’s going to sell you out if the opportunity / cost works in his favour.
The key thing to remember is that Barrio Antioquia is like an ecosystem. The dealers, the drivers, the police and the buyers all have their part to play. The dealers are talking to the police and the taxi drivers. Just get enough for yourself for a week and you should be fine. For example, I never purchased more than 2 bags of coke (10,000 each) and 5 joints (2,000 each). A good rule of thumb is to make sure the total value of the deal never exceeds 30,000 Colombian pesos.
As of November 2015, prices are as follows:
- La Creepa: A 1.5 sized rizzla type joint packed with finely chopped green. Each stick can be emptied to make approximately 3 standard cigarette size joints when spun with tobacco. La Creepa joints are 2,000 pesos each.
- La Blasta: A blunt paper packed with chopped weed. This is the goods. La Blasta joints cost 10,000 pesos each and get you high as fuck. Some taxi drivers like to carry La Blasta joints tucked into their side rearview mirrors. I’ve smoked it up with more than one taxi driver in Medellin.
If you order a number of ‘Creepa’ joints, you may get buds instead. The quality is much better.
- Un packette de coca: The dealer will ask you how much you want. The safest bet is to ask for ‘diaz mill’, which is worth 10,000 pesos and is approximately 1 – 1.5 grams.
In the end, you get what you’re given.
Popeye, Looney Toons, a funny little fish (pictured) and unmarked, each bag has a sticker on the front, presumably to differentiate the seller and the quality. In my opinion, the quality ranges from really good shit to really really good shit. The meaning of the markings was lost on me, known to the people of El Barrio only.
I’ve been told Barrio Antioquia is a reliable place to purchase dope, but the coke is shitty quality. I’ve had coke less than a handful of times in my life and I’m not in a position to accurately judge the quality. The best stuff I’ve had at home doesn’t compete with what I’ve had from El Barrio.
Remember to be careful. Careful of the police and careful of the product. Coke is horribly addictive. I know of people who’ve lost it all and gotten stuck in Medellin with no money. There’s a reason they call it blow.