In this post, I will give you all the great reasons why you should visit Jardin, Colombia. if you are not sure whether the city is worth visiting and potentially embarking on a crazy route from there to Salento, you will know what to do after reading this post. There is also one reason why you should not visit Jardin, Colombia. Read this Jardin guide to find out.
Jardin is one of those beautiful and authentic Colombian towns that do not always make it to travelers’ itineraries. But I am yet to meet a person that regretted making this stop.
I myself wasn’t sure if I would make it to the last moment. I knew I’d be heading towards Salento and I heard legends about how hard it is to travel from Jardin onwards to Salento. But I decided to risk it. I embarked on the bus from Medellin to Jardin and embraced the unknown.
The moment I arrived in Jardin and looked around, I knew I had made the best decision. I could not stop looking around in awe and whispering ‘wow’ to myself. This town is really something special.
Jardin is a colourful historic town nestled in the hills of Colombian coffee region, where time seems to have stopped and where nothing has changed in 400 years. Almost.
Jardin is located in the department of Antioquia, just a few hours drive from Medellin. Visiting Jardin will allow you to stay away from the tourist trail and immerse yourself in the traditional, slow and relaxed way of living. All that among the most spectacular views and nature.
But if you are not sold on the visit to Jardin yet, here are all the reasons why you should visit Jardin Colombia.
Jardin is beautiful
Jardin is a mesmerizing town. Every single building is beautifully painted. The cobbled streets spread to all sides of the town, ending with incredible mountain views and the main square is one of the most charming squares in Colombia.
Even if you just needed a place to escape it all, blend in (as much as a gringo can) while sipping a coffee, and mindlessly wander the streets – you could do this in Jardin for days and never get bored.
Jardin is a treat for the eyes and balm for tired souls. And a photographer’s paradise!
Jardin, Colombia is still off the tourist trail.
If you are looking for a traditional colourful Colonial pueblo but without all the hoards of tourists and tourist traps – head to Jardin
During national holidays or weekends, Jardin can be a pretty popular escape among Colombians and hostels get booked up then. Try to travel during the week and it will feel like it’s just you and the locals.
Most of the tourists who want to experience the traditional Colombian cities head to Villa de Leyva, Guatape or Salento. Not everyone has the time or knowledge to make their way to Jardin. And that’s a great thing! Please don’t tell too many people, we’ll keep it a secret!
Jardin is a town where the time stopped
Many say that Jardin has remained largely unchanged over the last 400 years. It is hard to believe, but once you arrive you will understand why.
Around Plaza del Libertador, you will see guys in cowboy hats sipping coffee from porcelain cups, or leisurely walking by holding on to their horses. People go about their lives like the world around them never existed.
The architecture of the town remained very much unchanged for decades and the surrounding Andes remind us of how insignificant our day to day problems are.
Jardin is a hikers’ paradise
I didn’t know Jarding boasted so many big walks until I talked to the girl at the reception of my hotel. She handed me a map and pointed out all the great walks I could take.
But only when I left and ventured on the trails did I realize how incredible the hikes surrounding Jardin are. It is at this point that I have already started regretting that I didn’t book a few more days in Jardin!
I went with a very vague plan and allowed myself to go with the flow. I quickly bought into the relaxed atmosphere of the town, and adopted a ‘whatever and wherever’ hiking mode. And I loved it.
I felt very safe walking around Jardin and hiking its trails. The countryside, trails, waterfalls and mountain views were breathtaking.
But if you want to be a little more organized than I was here, here are some of the specific hikes you can take in Jardin Colombia:
- Cerro Cristo Rey lookout point. You will see the hill with the statue of Christ from the town.
- Salto del Angel loop hike leads to incredible waterfalls and views! You can actually book it as an organized tour! Do ask in your hotel for guidance.
- The hike to Cueva del Esplendor cave waterfall is the most spectacular hike in Jardin. It’s a long one though (6 to 7 hours)and challenging at times. You can also horse ride up there if that’s your game.
- Trek to La France waterfall is a beautiful walk. You can combine it with a Cerro Cristo Rei if you feel particularly adventurous.
- And if you want an easier but equally picturesque walk, take a walk to Cascada del Amore and then follow the path around to the La Garrucha cable car.
The La Garrucha cable car is something else as well. It’s not really a cable car. It’s just a wooden and metal box that is meant to take you down to town. It was not in service during my visit, but even if it was, I’m not sure if I would brave it. But hey, you love ones!and challanging at times
Jardin Colombia is nature lovers haven
The name Jardin translates to Garden. And that name is extremely accurate. Jardin is like a garden set in the mountains.
If you enjoy bird watching, you have to visit Reserva Natural Jardin de Rocas where you can spot the colourful Gallitos de Rocas, aka cock-of-the-rock birds.
It is located just on the edge of the town, just before the yellow bridge on Calle 9. The opening hours are 6 AM – 7:30 AM and 4 PM – 5:30 PM, set to the time when the birds are most active. You will have to ring the bell, and the lady that lives here will open the door and take you to the lookout.
The admission fee is 10,000 COPs.
But of course you can just venture into the wild and surround yourself with the most spectacular nature completely free of charge!
Jardin is one of the best places to learn about coffee-growing culture
If you want to learn more about coffee farming, Jardin is a great place to start.
There are many towns and pueblos within Colombia’s Eje Cafetero (coffee triangle), where you can visit a coffee farm and learn all about growing and producing coffee in the most incredible surroundings.
But there is something about the rawness and authenticity of Jardin, which makes this town the best place to start.
During this experience you will learn all about coffee growing. From planting a coffee seed to learning the right way to grind the coffee and how to brew and pour the perfect cup of coffee. If you are a coffee fanatic like me, you will love it!
There are a couple of ways you could take a coffee farm tour. You could book an organized tour which will include transport, or you could visit the coffee farm independently.
The best coffee farms to visit around Jardin are:
- Finca La Florida situated a short 10-15 minute tuk-tuk ride out of town, is probably the best finca offering private coffee tours.
- Tours of the Finca de Los Angeles, cost around $25,000 COP and need to be booked directly with farm owners. You can take a bus from Jardin to the Finca.
- At Finca Milena, you can stay overnight as this is also a hotel. You can also take a taxi or Tuk Tuk from Jardin.
Jardin is a great place for active travellers
Although not many posts were written about ‘amazing things to do in Jardin’ don’t be fooled. If you are an active traveller, you will find plenty of things to do in and just outside of Jardin.
One of the most popular activities in Jardin is horseback riding. Take a trip to Chorro Blanco and you will not regret it! You can also combine horseback riding with a coffee farm visit. There is a local agency that offers these and many other adventurous tours.
Another great adventurous thing to do in Jardin is paragliding. What a better way to admire the city and the surrounding mountains than from a bird’s eye view!
And if you are feeling even more adventurous, you can try canyoning at La Escalera waterfall!
And those seeking to do nothing and not feeling bad about it
If you don’t want to do much and not feel guilty about it, Jardin is a great place to do that too!
Fancy sipping Colombian tinto (black coffee), eating cake and people watching? You are in the right place. Do you just want to stay in a remote hotel surrounded by mountains and forget the world? You are in the right place! Do you want to forget what year this is, when do you need to return (if ever) and walk mindlessly among colourful streets without a goal in sight? Oh, well, Jardin is the place!
Just make sure you don’t leave too soon!
The one reason why you should not visit Jardin, Colombia
Ok, so here is the one and the only reason why you should not visit Jardin.
If you are planning your trip between Medellin and Salento and thinking of stopping by Jardin for one night – don’t do it! Seriously, if you only have one free night, skip Jardin and head straight to Salento instead.
First of all, although it is quite straightforward to get to Jardin from Medellin, the trip from Jardin to Salento is another story. There is no direct bus on this route and you will have to embark on a long, tiring journey involving a chiva bus (Colombian chicken bus) and multiple changes which will take a whole day. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t do it any other way; it was an experience of its own. But I advise you to do so only if you plan a longer stay in Jardin, so it actually is worth the trip.
The second reason is obvious. You really can’t experience and enjoy Jardin in few hours. I mean, you can, but why would you? I have passed by many towns and cities in my life, and I’d never say I’ve been there. Jardin deserves a little bit more than just few hours of your time. And trust me, you will be heartbroken if you don’t dedicate it more time. I’m saving you some misery!
How to get to Jardin
It is pretty straightforward to get to Jardin from Medellin. There are regular buses from Medellin Sur bus station (by two different companies) and the journey lasts around 4 hours. There are no changes and tickets shouldn’t cost more than 30 000COP. That day was one of those crazy moments when I (unintentionally) hugged for the bus ticket!
I arrived at the station and was immediately surrounded by people offering bus rides. In a typical Colombian fashion. With an unimpressed but polite face (necessary) I walked into the place where you are meant to buy tickets and was told it was 35 000 COP. Huh? I was told it shouldn’t be more than 30 000 COP – I said. Ok, 30k then! Only later did I find out that there are busses for 25k as well. Well, you just have to love Colombia!
It is the easiest way to get to Jardin from Medellin, so I recommend to visit Medellin first and then moving on down south.
How to get from Jardin to Salento
To get to Salento from Jardin first you need to take the 8 am Chivas bus from Jardin to Rio Dulce. Please be aware this is a crazy bus. It’s fun, but the bus is open and not very comfortable. Drivers ride it crazy and the roads are hmmm, crazy too. Wear warm clothes, especially when it rains. I was freezing up in the mountains. I also made the mistake of dozing off, and on the sharp turn, I managed to hit my head on the metal rail. Fun times!
The views are great! You will also very likely make a stop in the mountains for some urgent needs where you will also be able to get some hot coffee and arepas with strange cheese.
In Rio Dulce, you will change for a bus to Pereira. It’s a decent bus station, but there is nothing spectacular about Rio Dulce.
Finally, after you arrive in Perreira you will be able to hop on a bus to Salento. The whole journey will take around 8 hours and cost around 50,000 COP.
Where and what to eat in Jardin
There are many great restaurants in Jardin serving both local and international dishes.
If you are on a budget look for restaurants offering menu del dia. I found 2 great places where you could get soup, a main dish and a drink for 10 000 or 15 000COP. And the food was lush! I recommend La Parrilla De Mi Pueblo, Gloria and Momentos de Jardin.
For an international cousin, I recommend Cafe de Europa, where the pizza is so famous that there are queues forming in the late afternoon. I had vegetarian lasagna and a really nice glass of wine.
In the evening make sure you make your way to Plaza Libertador where you can have some greasy, carb-heavy and super yummy Colombian street food like salchipapas!
When in Jardin you need to try a trout! This part of Colombia is famous for its trout and it is absolutely delicious!
Where to stay in Jardin Colombia
For the best prices and no crowds, I suggest visiting Jardin outside the national holidays and weekends as Jardin is a popular escape for Colombians.
There are plenty of accommodation options in Jardin for all types of travellers.
If you are looking to stay in a hostel both Sgt Pepper’s Hostel and Hostal Naty Luna have great reviews and offer great locations too. If you want to experience the stunning nature around Jardin, you have to try the La Tangara Rural hostal.
For my stay in Jardin I decided to rent a private room and I couldn’t have chosen better. I stayed at the Hotel La Casona which is a stunning and very reasonably priced colonial-style hotel with great service and everything the travellers would need.
If you want to splurge a bit of coin for a beautiful accommodation with spectacular views, then you should consider Hotel Plantación.
That’s it my friends! I hope this post will convince you that you just need to visit Jardin! Let me know what your thoughts are! have you been already? Did you love it as much as I did? I hope you found this Jardin, Colombia post useful!
I will look forward to your comments.
Until then, stay free and happy travelling!
If you are still drafting your Colombia itinerary read my Colombia planning post!
Planning to see all the gorgeous beaches of the Colombian Caribbean coast? Here is the guide to all beach towns in Colombia!
And if you are planning your first solo trip, visit this post where I provide all the tips and hacks for solo travellers and backpackers.
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My favourite Travel Resources
- For most of my accommodation management, I use Bookings.com and Hostel World. With both booking platforms, you will often get free cancellation and access to tones of reviews. Read them! You will also get the most extensive selection of all types of accommodation. I hardly ever look elsewhere. If you are travelling in Asia – Agoda is definitely worth checking out!
- Make sure you download Google Maps and, on the first day, download an offline map of your location. This way, even without the internet or Wi-Fi, you will be able to get to your destination.
Moovit is also an excellent and very underrated travel and journey planning app. It works great in many countries and will show you all possible routes by public transport, including the timetables.
12Go — Great for tickets for trains, buses, ferries and charters in Southeast Asia! The best way to buy your ticket for overnight Bangkok train! Rome2rio – Another great journey planning app. If your way of travel is mainly public transport – you will use this app for sure!
- I carry two debit cards with me. Given I don’t have a permanent country of residence, Revolut and TransferWise work fantastic. In case one gets frozen, stolen or simply lost, I have a backup. The great thing about both cards is that you can freeze them straight from your phone and transfer money between them in case you need to. You will also get a great exchange rate and create separate foreign currency accounts.
- I booked most my tours via either Get Your Guide or Viator. I also use TripAdvisor when I spot a good deal. You can also book locally, but I advise you to ask around and follow the local recommendations. For cooking classes and workshops, consider checking out Eatwith.
For more travel tips and recourses, visit Pati’s Travel Tips page!