Alternate Title: Colombian Sex Tourism Business Ends in Bloodshed
48-year-old US citizen Noah Goldberg was shot dead in May 2012, the second American killed in Medellin that year. Medellin is prone to violence, but I never felt unsafe during my three trips totaling over 6 weeks. I always wonder how these gringo killings go down. Botched robbery? Drunken argument?
And I always conclude that Medellin may not be as safe as it feels. However, there’s more to the Goldberg story. The newspapers mentioned that Goldberg ran a travel agency, but none reported that it catered to sex tourism. I only learned recently from an offhand comment from a reader email. I started researching the case and wound up going down the rabbit hole. Goldberg’s death was an international news story, and the public (myself included) concluded that his murder was random. The city of Medellin and greater Colombia undeservedly took the blame. However, random violence didn’t kill Noah Goldberg.
Goldberg offered services to sex tourists. He was well known on the sex tourism forums, CostaRicaTicas.com (CRT) and InternationalSexGuide.info (ISG). He offered discounts for CRT members – a paid membership focusing on Costa Rica. He had a reputation among the whoremongers (‘mongers’) as a shameless self-promoter. He worked out deals with hotels to create sex tourism travel packages. He got cuts from every angle. He was building and promoting a full-time sex tourism business with multiple revenue streams. He was immersed in the industry.
Before setting up shop in Medellin, Goldberg briefly worked in Latin America’s sex tourism capital, San Jose, Costa Rica. He quickly made enemies and relocated to Colombia. Much of this article uses less-than-concrete sources. However, this much has been established as fact:
- Noah Goldberg ran Medellin Paisa Tours, a travel agency catering to sex tourism. He made enemies in Costa Rica and Colombia.
- He was killed while with a client.
- In addition to Medellin Paisa Tours, Goldberg had begun loaning money in Medellin.
- He was killed by two gunmen who were drinking beer at an adjacent table. There were no words beforehand, no argument. There was no robbery. They stood up, produced pistols, and shot him twice – once in the head, once in the shoulder.
That’s been established. The rest of this article is based on anonymous witnesses, forum posts, etc.
Here’s a detailed testimonial of Goldberg’s services:
Medellin Paisa Tour Update:
After coming back from Santa Fe, we decided to extend our trip and see more of Medellin. There was a last-minute cancellation of a reservation in this penthouse in Castropol, Poblado…and Medellin Paisa hooked us up with a great deal. So we decided to stay for 3 more days, and our friend from Miami flew in and we stayed in this 5-br penthouse overlooking the city…incredible place, great deal, with views of the whole city. Party palace.
Got set up with a private chef…amazing Italian meal…we then sat in the group jacuzzi.
The more I saw there, the more I smiled. Friends and I were hooked up with amazing women…no bs, no clock-watchers, and not one time did any of them pick up their cell phones. Original deal was for 3 hours with them, and they stayed and partied with us all night. The girls left in the morning and thanked us for a good time.
To add icing to the cake, for our final night, Medellin Paisa kept talking about our “final surprise”. We all took naps in the afternoon and then went out for a nice seafood dinner somewhere off “La Setenta”. I had a delicious red snapper, my friends were all happy. When we asked what the surprise was, he kept smiling his devilish smile. At this point, it was just Medellin Paisa’s crew and our crew, which was all guys…we kept wondering when we were going to see some women.
When the surprise was finally unveiled, we were all pleasantly surprised…we were taken to this discrete, and very private after hours club.
The place was somewhere close to Estadio off one of the circles. We went up to the gate, and were welcomed in and escorted to the second floor, where there was a bar, a dance floor with a pole, and many lounge rooms. In the far back, is an outdoor terrace, where people were smoking cigarettes and talking. The management and staff clearly knew Medellin Paisa very well.
Everyone came up and gave him a kiss or shook his hand. We were given a bottle of aguardiente on the house, and escorted to a private lounge with couches and tables. It was a very relaxed atmosphere…we sat down, and immediately were greeted by 6 beautiful paisas who asked us if there was anything we needed. I ordered a beer for myself and friends, and was pleasantly surprised it only cost 3000 pesos/beer.
We watched some girls dance, the owner, a beautiful blonde paisa, came over and sat down to talk with us. We spent a couple hours just chatting and drinking with the women. No one ever asked us for anything…no pressure at all.
At 2:30 in the morning, I heard the doorbell ring, saw 4 taxi’s down on the street with women pouring out of them. About 15-20 women walked through the door, and we had the choice of women in the place. I chose a tall, black haired beauty from Baranquilla…rocked my world, and only for 70,000 pesos. She eventually came home with me.
I was surprised to see the sun rising…had no idea how much time had passed.
Lucky we still made our flight at 2 pm. The last night was definitely one of the most interesting nights of my life, still with a smile on my face as I type this.
Clients could book an entire tour on the Medellin Paisa Tours website. His prices reflected up to a 50% markup on hotel rooms. He charged $65 USD for a taxi from the airport (which should never be more than 65,000 pesos). This is how Goldberg irked many in the mongers community, which organized to share information and benefit from collective knowledge. One monger published this sarcastic post, summing up the mongers’ criticisms of Goldberg:
I just spent a week in Medellin and I booked my trip thru Medellin Paisa. He had a car waiting for me at the airport for $65. Its okay that the actual rate is about $50, since I was informed that you could get kidnapped if you just grab any taxi.
The Lincoln Hotel was very good. They were kind to tell me that we Americans can not book direct and get the $60 rates because of some law there so we must book thru a third party and pay about 40% more.
Medellin Paisa introduced me to a few very nice ladies. I thought the $150 a night rate was high but they said it was fair. It was strange that no Colombian women give blowjobs, They all hate it.
I don not understand why I need to send them Western Union but, they are poor, so what the Hell.
Everyday I was informed of the multiple muggings all around town and the many hotel break ins.
I am glad I have a friend for life now. This was the best $5,000 vacation that I ever had.
When these criticisms were leveled, Goldberg often mocked and insulted the members. Here’s a senior monger admonishing him:
CRT members can be tough and demanding with their service providers. Fortunately, the successful CRT sponsors live and breath customer service, have very thick skin and offer decent value for their goods or services. You can learn alot from the gulch business owners who address issues and complaints on here. They listen to the feedback from the guys on here and make adjustments accordingly without feeling hurt and throwing insults at potential customers. If a provider offers a decent product, the positive posts you read on here are just the tip of the iceberg… the meaningful, market-capturing kudos are spread via word of mouth & private conversations. Maybe, it’s time to step back and re-evaluate if your business model is not working as planned. Your business should give your customers the product they want at a price that is “fair and reasonable”. Good luck…
Goldberg was known to emphasize the danger in Colombia and drop scopolamine warnings. This is not uncommon among legit, non-sex tour guides I know in Colombia. I’ve never seen anyone do it to the extent he did, but some gringo tour guides exaggerate the danger to justify taking personalized tours. And scopolamine should be on the radar of gringos visiting Colombia, especially if they’re going to be partying with prostitutes.
Here are selections showing Goldberg’s emphasis on the security element in his services:
There are many places in Medellin that are not for the faint-of-heart. The trick is to be discrete!! Todo es Muy Discreto en Medallo.
For example, despite what he says, this Club is not for a guy like Bbrocs who speaks absolutely no Spanish & must rely on his right-hand-man to act as translator & protector. If you offend the wrong person you may be on your last trip to Medallo!!
But the members on this Board seemed to express a true interest in visiting this type of Club (there are many more of these types of underground clubs in Medallo). It can be a lot of fun if you have the street smarts & know how to talk the talk!!
I have brought many friends to this Club & they have had a fantastic time! Take a look at the Trip Report by Kansas Cowboy on the first page in this ever-expanding thread. He & his crew had an amazing evening!!
Medellin can be a dangerous place but the owner of this Club is a wonderful woman (Her name is Kate La Gata) who has expressed an interest in entertaining foreigners. I always feel more than welcome in her Casa.
Just remember that the Narcos like to share their chicas. If a fellow guest expresses an interest in your chica de noche I would suggest that you offer to share…In return they will share their chicas with you!!
I don´t just provide translator services. I have a five man crew of guides and we watch the back of our clients (I know the owners & security at the Club as well).
But at the same time I would never bring a loud-mouth client to this Club (Wink-Wink). It would only be a headache for everyone involved!!
The point I was trying to make regarding Bbrocs is that, whether you speak Spanish or not, if you don´t know ´PEOPLE´down here in Medallo you put yourself at some risk.
I don´t have a corner on this market (knowing People) but I take my guide responsibilities seriously & would never put a client/friend at risk. If a client wants to take a Walk on the Wildside an important part of our job is to make sure that they can focus on enjoying themselves & not have to worry about anything. If a situation arises where it becomes unsafe for our clients, myself & my crew of guides will firmly suggest that it is time to move on. Our job is to anticipate any type of trouble before it even happens. Being a good Brujo is part of what we are all about!!
Once again, I would strongly advise that you only visit this type of Casa if you are capable of reading the eyes of people (i.e you have street-smarts). Just relying on a translator can get you in a lot of trouble. Many Colombians would never consider frequenting this type of Casa.
As they say down here in PaisaLandia….
Usted tiene que leer los ojos de la gente!!
Let´s wait to see & hear from the CRT Membership what kind of experiences they have at the Club. If there is a positive response from both the CRT Membership as well as the owner/staff of the Club I will be happy to include the addresses of other locations. I am being a little bit cautious because I am not completely confident that CRT members can go to a place like this without a proper escort. Perhaps, Jimmy will volunteer to be our test case! If he survives the experience it will prove that almost anyone can go to this type of Club!
To answer your question: The Club is both eat-in & take-out. There is no bar fine involved! But the Club has certain chicas that are on staff & these chicas are not allowed to leave with a client. But at the same time many chicas just show up to party (usually after 2 am) & are free to leave with a potential client, or rent one of the rooms for a private party. Generally the rates for a chica and room are only $70,000. pesos for an hour but I don´t want to commit to this price quote because it can depend on the chica & the type of customer (i.e. YMMV). Also please remember that many of these chicas have never met/nor been with a gringo before. They are Narco Party Girls but you need to be very careful with them if you decide to leave with one of them. I would suggest that for first encounters that you party in the club & rent one of the rooms.
One more bit of advice:
This is not the kind of Casa where you just pop-in to take a look at the menu like other Casas in El Centro! The etiquette is that you come in….they show you to a lounge area…you buy a drink (Only $4,000 pesos for a beer) & other optional party favors…and then you invite the chicas in to your lounge area to party with you….If you want to just pop-in for 5 minutes I seriously doubt that they will ever let you back in through the front door ever again. They also might suspect you of being a DEA agent or some other type of police officer! LOL!
Just remember that this is an underground type of Club. There are rules that must be followed, and these rules are not written down!
That is why I strongly suggest that if you frequent a club like this that you go with someone who has experience dealing with this form of Paisa Entertainment. It is highly unlikely that you will see other Gringos in this type of Club!
He was eventually banned from CostaRicaTicas, so he migrated to InternationalSexGuide. From ISG, here’s Goldberg attacking another brothel tour guide:
Thank God I am not Colombia Jake. Most of his clients seem to get Drugged these days if the rumors are true. Unlike Jake I am fluent in English, Spanish, French & Hebrew!
I am not on steroids, just living the dream in PaisaLandia! I know Medallo in a way that most Gringos will never know the City of Eternal Spring.
Don’t be jealous, because I love to share my knowledge. LOL! Maybe I will throw you a bone just like I have done for TweedleD & Legal Tender. Assuming you will be nice & sweet to me! LOL!
If I come across as if I am on steroids it is only because I provide a very special VIP Concierge service to my clients and that is why I am almost completely booked for the next 5 months.
Colombia Jake is scrounging for clients at the Poblado Metro station. LOL! While I deal in geishas and offer tours of the surrounding pueblos & comunas.
I know Jake & I would never consider him a friend but he aint a bad guy! No! Really!
Before the next two posts, an anecdote about this industry. I once met an American in Bogota on business who had gone to an upscale brothel. His tab was well over $1,000 USD, and he and his buddies were still partying when he was summoned by the manager. My acquaintance brought his translator and sat with the manager’s entourage. After the manager spoke, the translator told my acquaintance to thank the manager for letting him drink with him. The translator helped my acquaintance in saying the words to thank the manager for letting him drink at his brothel.
That brothel is most likely a money-laundering operation for narcos. Any manager who wanted to run a legal, profitable brothel would be thanking a customer who spends over $1,000 in one night. However, this brothel doesn’t need to be a profit center. In fact, it may be able to launder more cocaine profit if it’s not. This money-laundering brothel manager – probably not a powerful position within his organization – felt he was being shown up by the gringo with deep pockets, and decided to throw his weight around.
UPDATE 2014: Do not email me for Bogota Brothel Tours. I am completely out of the business and don’t even live in Colombia anymore. Here is a new Bogota brothel tour service you can contact instead of bothering me. Because I won’t even reply.
The point of this story is to illustrate who’s running many of the legal brothels – narcos. They don’t only run brothels, they launder money in a variety of industries: hotels, cell phones, anything. But money-laundering operations are especially popular in the sex industry. And they don’t announce to clients and tour guides that they’re money-hemorrhaging fronts for other operations. Keep that in mind when reading these next passages.
Here’s Goldberg talking bad about a hotel:
I had a client check into the Hotel Charlee 2 weeks ago. He was renting both of the Penthouses ($$). The major problem that we had was negotiating chicas fees. We thought that we had an agreement with the Charlee GM but at check out time my client faced a Chica fine of $100. Dollars per chica ($1, 000. Dollars). The problem was fixed but only after I contacted the Owner’s Rep in Miami. Be very careful with Hotel Charlee if you plan on bringing back Paisitas to your room because you may get hit with a severe penalty! Sorry! You might be happier at the Art Hotel. Also consider renting a Penthouse from Poblado Rentals.
Here’s an email he sent to a gringo hotel operator:
You know what….I have put lots of $$ in your pocket & you have thanked me but not kicked shit back to me & my crew….I will no longer be putting my clients with you guys….You have too many problems …..Sorry but you don’t seem to appreciate how much I have helped you & will continue to help you in the future….MONEY TALKS….Bullshit Walks……MY CLIENT in [unnamed hotel] still does not have a cell phone…try kicking your service levels up a notch!!
You phucked up big time & mi Brujo Negro taxista was ready to take you for a long ride!
El Brujo Loco!
It’s implied that Goldberg employed a taxista who was also a sicario – an assassin or ‘hit man’.
See that gringo’s business: luxury apartments in Medellin.
Here’s an email I received from someone who met him:
I met him briefly in the winter of 2010-2011. A mutual friend told me he was a nice guy, living in Medellin. I feel kind of bad now, I really didn’t know him well, but it seemed he was potentially treading on dangerous toes, and I didn’t really want to have anything to do with him. In reading other peoples comments, his mental illness was mentioned, and I noticed that he had violent mood changes, he once actually hit me with his fist on the side of the head when we were eating lunch, and then he made me loan him money for the lunch!
Yes about the hotels and “tours” (I was NOT a customer), but I know nothing about the money lending. I read about that in most of the articles about him, but I never heard about it.
At the time of his death, it had been over a year since I last saw him … I don’t really want anything to do with Noah, even after his death. It seems he had friends that cared about him, but I didn’t see the nice side of him. It hurt when he hit me on the head, and he was apparently just kidding. Not my kind of friend.
There’s no shortage of critical testimonials to Goldberg’s character. Here’s a reaction to his death:
I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead but if we can take a learning experience out of something horrible and enrich our own lives then he might not have died in vein. Threatening people over and over to send the motos, or emailing them that you’ll cut there throats over a difference of opinions, or bomb there red truck, or blow up stefs K*ds house. These are all the things he mumbled to myself and people I care about in my life. Anytime I called him on it he would cypher off some crap about PT Barnum, that and being in the Masad a secret Israeli force that one would never admit to being a member because it’s a secret organization
I would get bazaar lunatic emails from him at 3-4am while I was asleep. I wanted to like him, till he said something so dark, so bad I had to just give him radio silence
No one deserves to die but when you wish death on so many people it just takes one person to say, I’ll get him before he gets me not knowing whether it’s PT Barnum theatrics or it really is the truth. I’ll tell you one thing noah, didn’t scare me but I was petrified of his taxi guy he hung out with as late. He was a killer, his eyes were cold as ice, his stories petrified me. I cut all ties immediately. I miss the fun Noah, the other guy who threatened to blow up my car, my friends house, shoot my friend from a motorbike. No that guy got what he promised others, you don’t write or say those things in America nor any other country without maybe something coming back on you. In his barrio there was heavy mafia. He used to hang at their bar, all the time. He had to come off looking like a spy, a dea, they all knew him, but not in a good way. I am sorry for his death, he was like tony soprano, you want to like him but you really just can’t, a snake can or will bite you. Rest in peace
This is the most vile post on Goldberg:
Medellin Paisa aka “Noah goldberg” was a loud mouthed NYC jewish guido who allegedly scammed and screwed his way across costa rica. When the gig was up there, he bailed for Medellin, Colombia. He set up “paisa tours” which were nothing more than brothel tours for gringos. The only problem was his coke habit was so massive he resorted to extorting his clients. For example, if his tour was $100 for the day, he’d tell the client WRONG, you need to pay $400 or my “taxista” is going to take you for a long ride. (aka kill you). His taxi was an old school killer, so MP thought he was GANGSTA.
We’ve seen examples of Goldberg making death threats, badmouthing hotels, and badmouthing other operators online for anybody to see. It’s safe to assume he said worse in private. There are rumors he had beef with another American who was connected to narcos. He was loaning money – a murderous industry in Colombia. There are a million possible motives here. But it’s clear Goldberg wasn’t a victim of random violence. He was targeted and killed by hired assassins, which is evident from the details of the murder.
An anonymous friend with connections in the US government informed me that an unnamed American agency had a file on Goldberg prior to his death. When he was killed, they investigated in so far as to learn he wasn’t specifically targeted for being American. But beyond that, they won’t continue to investigate. They’ve closed his file.
So far Goldberg has been portrayed as a monster in this article. However, after hours of scouring sex tourism forums and reading emails from people who knew him, I got the impression he wasn’t always the guy portrayed in the excerpts. It seemed to me that he’d been sociable and friendly, but towards the end he spun out of control. This email from one of his friends captures that:
Noah was one of the coolest guys I have ever met. He was an articulate, educated guy although he had a tough demeanor. He was about 6 foot, 220 lbs … He loved Medellin and would take people on tours of all the sites. He taught his visitors how to ride the metro and showed them good local restaurants. He would take most of his visitors into his own neighborhood, Laureles/Estadio … He was well known for taking gringo tourists up to Santo Domingo on Sunday afternoons for rocking rumbas. He had absolutely no fear and told me that he frequently walked through some of the toughest Barrios, like Communa 13. He formed friendships with many poor barrio kids and families and helped some of them occasionally …
Noahs guide service really took off during 2012. He was typically booked out 2-3 months in advance. For guys who had the money, he would set them up with high-end girls and go to upscale restaurants. For most guys, he would set them up with one of his “crew” or take them to a casa.
I visited him in February of this year. When I got there, I sensed a change in the guy. He was being a little too blunt and aggressive with me and the chicas we were with. I saw him at a party a few nights after I arrived and the guy was being a total asshole. He was drunk and coked out and being a total dick. I hung out with him a few more times that trip but I couldn’t understand why the guy was acting like an asshole. During my trip, Noah went on a 2-day coke bender with another expat.
One of my other buddies in Medellin told me that Noah was, in fact, in the money-lending business. Loan sharking! He was getting money from the Mafiosos and lending it out to Colombianos! He used the normal enforcement techniques and had his own “enforcers” to take care of business.
After I got back, he was becoming a really aggressive asshole on CRT, shitting on many different guys. He described how he was planning to use one of his moto assassins to kill someone who dissed him. He then started to threaten me after I made a comment. The guy was truly starting to scare people. He had a running feud with one guy named N2Techno on CRT. He began to openly threaten and bait this guy. He sent me a facebook message on how he was going to hunt down N2Techno when he got to town. He had a connection within the Colombian DEA who somehow got a copy of N2Techno’s arrest records back in the USA. He was a convicted sex offender and Noah posted N2’s arrest record on his facebook page.
At one point, he told me he was going to kill me and cut my heart out with a butter knife. Finally, CRT kicked Noah off the site. Noah emailed me how he was going to go to Costa Rica and kill the admin.
I had stopped communicating with Noah for about 3 weeks when I heard that he had been murdered. Myself and other guys have privately discussed what happened to Noah in great detail. Most of us are of the opinion that the murder was related to money laundering. He supposedly was having “collection problems” …
A college roommate said that Noah had a “mental illness” way back then and would frequently “self medicate.” It is my belief that Noah was bipolar. When I first met him, he was grounded and cool. The last time I saw him he was spinning out of control. I think the cocaine was a major contributing factor in his condition.
Despite all the crap that went down, I really miss the guy. He was truly one of the coolest guys I ever met. The guy was leading a cool life (like you) and was fearless. Most of us pussies back in the USA could not/would not lead a life like his. I feel terrible that this happened to him.
The late Noah Goldberg: