on the trail of Escobar in colombia

Wanderlust is defined as ‘a strong desire to travel’. Tusko have always made films in different parts of the world, but sometimes we just go there for a holiday…or in our CEO’s case; hike, paraglide and canoe along them!

Our CEO Jake decided to take a break in January. But rather than relaxing by a pool, he took a three-week trip of a lifetime deep into Colombia. It was an incredible experience, full of amazing mountain views, jungle wildlife and the chance to learn about the traditions and practices of another culture.

Here are his top four highlights from his travels:

Jake rocking a safety hat on Colombian rapids

Jake rocking a safety hat on Colombian rapids

The Sierra Nevada

Deep in Colombia’s northern Sierra Nevada mountain range, Jake joined a group for a four-day trek into the jungle to find The Lost City. See Jake’s panoramic above!

They travelled through 30 degree heat, 80 percent humidity, past hissing and crawling creatures, colourful birds and lagoons, where they were welcomed by the indigenous Kogi tribe and shown the ancient city of Teyuna, high in the mountains.

The area has a troubled military past, and is known for its infamous connections to the drug trade, but the Colombian Army secured it in 2005, and it has been gaining popularity amongst travellers ever since.


One of the cultural objects that stood out most to Jake was the poporo. Every man in the tribe carried a small woven bag, in which he kept a bundle of cocoa leaves to chew, and a clay pot - the poporo.

These contain a special paste made of ground seashells that activates the leaves. What makes poporos so special is that each time the paste is taken out, the stick is carefully wiped on the side, which over time builds up a hard, calcified ring on the rim.

That makes it a highly individual object which the can read like a book to see what the user’s future holds.

Jake did notice that the women of the tribe weren’t allowed to use poporos. Or cocoa leaves. They did get to weave the bags though.

Street dance crew Black and White

Street dance crew Black and White


Described in 1994 as ‘the most dangerous city on earth’ by Time Magazine, Medellin has now become a hub of innovation and a tourist hot spot.

Jake spent several days in this enigmatic city, learning about its past as a hub for organised crime, and once the home of the infamous Pablo Escobar.

Jake noticed that local young people were wearing t-shirts emblazoned with Escobar’s face and almost looked up to him after being popularised by the Netflix series Narcos.

Some of the older generation however, viewed him as a terrorist. Jake noticed his tour guides tried to refrain from using the drug lord’s name within earshot of locals, despairingly calling him instead, “the infamous criminal”.

Jake was also shown around the Communa 13 area, previously known as one of the deadliest neighbourhoods in the world, and was able to see the Black and White street dance crew perform while in travelling around the city.

Colombia’s graffiti capital, Botoga

Colombia’s graffiti capital, Botoga


This city in the country’s central region has a rich history, and a graffiti tradition that can rival even Bristol’s. Jake took a bike tour of the city to truly take it all in.

Graffiti used to be a risky practice in the city, and an artist was killed by a policeman in 2011. This event spawned a massive counter-cultural outcry, and graffiti artists protested with their spray cans.

Following the outcry, the then mayor flipped the city’s stance on street art and chose instead to embrace it as cultural expression.

The city walls are now full of murals that reflect the country’s painful history and current social issues. Even Justin Beiber has joined in.

The trip gave Jake so much food for thought, and he’s been slowly coming back down to earth at Tusko HQ in Bristol for the last week.

As film-makers and creatives, it’s important we keep seeing new places and constantly expanding our horizons. Now we just need to decide - where should we visit next?