jardin: our favourite town in colombia

Looking for things to do in Jardin, where to stay or how to get there? You've come to the right post! Updated in July 2017 just for you.


We're going to let you in on a little secret.

Our favourite pueblo in Colombia isn't in the guidebooks. Whilst Salento and Guatapé are very popular on the backpacker trail, little Jardin was all ours.

It kept on coming up in conversations with locals when we asked where they'd recommend visiting. From our tour guide in Medellin to a travelling priest on top of a rock, every paisa told us that Jardin couldn't be missed.

parque central jardin colombia

And, for the first time in a long time, the reality met the recommendation. 

Arriving on balmy Saturday afternoon, we were greeted by men of all ages wearing cowboy hats and ponchos accompanied by the finest horses they owned. The bars and restaurants surrounding one of the most beautiful and colourful main plazas we have seen thus far were overflowing with true Colombian characters sipping tinto and aquardiente. This was the real Colombia - a land that has probably changed very little. 

the cowboys of jardin colombia

Within minutes of finding a room, we had our cameras in hand - which is where they stayed for the duration of our stay.

We talk of places being a dream for street photographers perhaps a little too frequently to be entirely true, but in this little corner of Antioquia, you can capture the most fantastic photo purely by accident.

colourful streets jardin colombia
church main plaza jardin colombia
colourful main plaza jardin colombia
full bars and empty beers - jardin, colombia

what to do in jardin

Our favourite thing to do in Jardin was people-watch in the square however there are few nice activities in and around town depending on your budget. 

 

Enjoy the view from the Cable-cars

There are two sets of cable-cars in town. The older and cheaper one is basically a garden shed which takes you up to the hills for $4,000.

The newer version is a solitary cab which takes you up to a nice little mirador nestled amongst coffee and banana plants where you can get views like below! It costs $6,000 per person and there's a little café up here too. 

view from cable car jardin colombia

Zip-line

On the street parallel to the newer cable-car, you can do a small zip-line. It definitely won't be the best one you'll do in Latin America, but we thought we'd let you know it's there. 

 

Enjoy a Horse ride trek to La Cueva del Esplendor

The most adventurous activity in town is to ride a horse to La Cueva del Esplendora waterfall in side a cave. We chose not to do this as we wanted to stick to budget and have learned to be underwhelmed by most waterfalls. However, it's a popular trip with the guided trek costing around $45,000 COP per person (including a large homemade lunch) with signs up in most hotels promoting it. It's also possible to hike or take a jeep here - enquire with the tour companies.

 

Or just take Horse ride around town

Horses are bloody everywhere in Jardin and you can easily go for a quick trot around town from the main square. It's cheap too, with a 10-minute trip around the block costing around $5,000. 

 

Visit Dulces de Jardin

Got a sweet tooth? Then don't miss Dulces de Jardin. Founded in 1995 by Mariela Arango Jaramillo, a Jardin native, this was a labour of love by a woman who wanted to create jellies, jams and sweets for her family and friends. And now it's an excellent spot to get a sugar high and a bunch of cavities. Totally worth it though :)

 

Take a tuk-tuk Tour

If you're only in town for a very short period of time, but are keen to see as much of the area as possible, consider taking a tour in one of the many tuk-tuk mototaxis that nip about town. A standard trip will cover all corners of the pueblo, and a side-trip to a famous trout farm about 15 minutes outside of town, via some spectacular scenery.

For a two hour tour, the price should be around $20,000 COP.

 

Vist Reserva Natural de Rocas

With as many as 1,900 species living in the area, Jardin is one of the places in all of Antioquia for twitchers - with Reserva Natural Jardin de Rocas providing a home for around 50 'Gallitos de Rocas', a wonderfully bright red bird which is sadly on the brink of extinction.

Open in the early morning, although general consensus seems to be to go between the afternoon opening hours of 4.30 - 6 p.m. Entry costs 10,000 COP and to reserve your spot, click here.


how to get to jardin

chiva bus jardin colombia

In Medellin, you need to make your way to Terminal del Sur. The best way to do this is exit the Poblado metro station on the left hand side, where you'll find a line of taxis. They'll bring you to the terminal for $5,000. 

Unfortunately, the metro doesn't quite stretch to this terminal, so instead you need to take it as far as the Poblado stop, exit on the left hand side where you'll find a line of taxis at the bottom of the stairs. Hop in one to the terminal - it should cost no more than $5000 and take around 5 minutes.

colourful doors collage jardin.jpg

Buses to Jardin leave with two different companies. The first is located at booth #2 and the other is much further along at #38 - the company is Rapido Ochoa. Buses leave fairly frequently throughout the day and cost the same with both companies at $25,000 (correct June 2017).

If you go with Rapido, be aware that seats are allocated. We made the mistake of being cramped on the back-seat with two others, so try and get a seat booked near the front. 

Travel time from Medellin is about 3.5-4 hours and you'll be dropped off close to the main square in Jardin. 

If you are travelling onward to Salento from Jardin, it will take you around 8 hours. Read this article for more information.


where to stay in jardin

If you arrive on the weekend, be prepared for accommodation prices to increase by 15-25%. As it's still more used to local tourism than international backpackers, there isn't a huge range of options and we didn't find anywhere with a kitchen. 

colourful streets jardin colombia

We stayed at Hotel Diana (if you stand in the square facing the church, it's on the first street left) which was a perfectly acceptable option with decent wi-fi. They initially asked for $60,000 for a double with private bathroom, but we secured it for $50,000. 

If you stay somewhere without wi-fi, the main square has a free and quick connection available. 

Since our time in Jardin, two hostel-type accommodations have opened up to cater to the increasing number of backpackers that have discovered this pretty little town. We have no experience with either but if you'd prefer a dorm bed or to book your accommodation in advance, it's definitely worth clicking here to check them out.


is jardin expensive?

Accommodation is a little inflated, particularly as there are few dorm/kitchen options, but the town itself is cheap to stay and eat in. In the plaza, there are lots of greasy fast food carts, whilst the restaurants are very reasonably priced fora typical breakfast of eggs, coffee and arepas. You can also get two scoops of ice-cream for $1,000!

If you feel like indulging, we can highly recommend the pizzas in Cafe de Europa


 
Our favourite pueblo in Colombia isn't in the guidebooks. Whilst Salento and Guatapé are very popular on the backpacker trail, little Jardin was all ours. Here's our guide to the town.
 

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