JARDIN: OUR FAVORITE TOWN IN COLOMBIA

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide
 

Jardin is a quiet town in Colombia, only four hours by bus from Medellin, which has not been yet discovered by many travelers. In translation, the word jardin means garden, and there's a reason why the pueblo carries this name, it is for sure one of the most beautiful towns we'VE visited in Colombia.


JARDIN: A COLOMBIAN SECRET

Jardin, a laidback town in Colombia's Antioquia department, is no secret to local travelers but thankfully, it is still off the classic backpacker's trail.

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide
jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

Not many international travelers pay a visit to this little colonial town with a friendly atmosphere and beautiful hilly surroundings. We always love to discover places like this, where the feel is authentic, no one cares about us (in a good way), and always, when leaving, we are delighted that we made it before the mass tourism will change the town's spirit. 

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

Of course, you will find here a few tour agencies offering horseback riding, bird watching or hiking tours around the town, but it is kept on a low level as almost all tours, if not all are in Spanish (English is not widely spoken in Colombia) and at the moment Jardin is far from being ready for international tourism.

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

 

WHAT PEOPLE DO IN JARDIN FOR LIVING

Since we arrived in Jardin, we couldn't stop thinking, what people from Jardin do for a living. Don't take us wrong there are shops, restaurants, and coffee houses open and we believe they are hard working people, but the first impression when you come to the main plaza is that this town must be full of rentiers.

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

The Jardin's square boasts with coffee houses, every coffee house has its own colorfully hand-painted chairs and tables outside set throughout the plaza, and what is the most interesting, any time of the day we came, tables were usually taken by locals enjoying their cup(s) of coffee.

 

BEST THINGS TO DO IN JARDIN

We like towns such as Jardin as there is a bit from everything, there are no must-see places and no feeling of rush. You can spend your time actively in the surrounding hills, observe the unique fauna and flora or relax in coffee houses, wander around Jardin's streets and do nothing much, but either way, you choose, you'll have a feeling of the nicely spent day.

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

 

EXPLORE COLORFUL COLONIAL STREETS OF JARDIN

Take your camera in hand and set off to explore Jardin's architecture. The best thing about Jardin is that the town is so small you don't need any transport as everything is conveniently located near the plaza and you can get everywhere on foot.

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

During our travels in Colombia we visited quite a lot of small colonial towns which were supposed to be the prettiest or the most colorful, but to be honest, Jardin became our most favorite one, although it is not on the front page of travel magazines.

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

Enjoy leisure stroll in streets leading from the main square, and of course, you can't miss  Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, a neo-gothic style church standing on the square which we found disproportionate to the size of Jardin (understand too big).

 

DRINK COFFEE

It is hard to resist. Everyone in Jardin drinks coffee, the smell of the delicious drink is wafting from every corner, and although we are usually tea persons, Jardin was the place where we for the first time tried the first quality Colombian coffee. For the best coffee in the town, go to Cafe Macanas.

drinking coffee in jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

 

RIDE LA GARRUCHA CABLE CAR

Jardin is set between hills and to get beautiful views of the town, and its surroundings, you can either hike up or take one of two cable cars they have here.

The newer cable car Cable Aereo Jardin didn't seem to work when we visited Jardin, it starts on Calle 8 and leads to a mirador, but you can take a hike to the mirador on own.

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

The second cable car La Garrucha is the old one and cost COP 3 500 one way. The ride itself isn't somehow spectacular and the cable car ends in the restaurant on the hill, more interesting is the cable car itself.

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

La Garrucha is basically a wooden box which can fit up to 5 people, and it was originally built by a local who wanted to get from his house on the slopes to the town more conveniently. The ride is not for fainthearted but is worth it.

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

 

JARDIN BIRD WATCHING

Jardin is a place, where you can spot Gallitos de Rocas alias cock-of-the-rock.

Large birds native to South America are flamboyant and very hard to miss because of their bright red color and unique shape of the head and crest (those are males, females are the opposite, brownish and unostentatious.

bird watching in jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

To see those birds, go to Reserva Natural Jardin de Rocas. The entrance fee is COP 10 000 and opening hours are 6 AM - 7:30 AM and 4 PM - 5:30 PM.

To get there, walk Calle 9 to the river, but do not cross the yellow bridge, instead, turn right downhill and in about 50 meters you will reach the gate.

bird watching in jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

A reserve is a place where some lady lives, so in case she is not near, you can try to shout, or there is a phone number you can reach her at and ask her to open the door for you.

bird watching in jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

In the garden, there are few viewing platforms where you can patiently and quietly wait for Gallitos de Rocas.

bird watching in jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

Binoculars or guides are not needed. There is also an online form where you can make a reservation, but we filled the form last minute and did not receive any answer, and there was no problem we showed up without reservation.

bird watching in jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

 

HIKE AROUND JARDIN

We decided to take only a short trek to the Mirador Cristo Rey (can be reached by a newer cable car when works) standing above Jardin.

The hike in green and lush hills around Jardin was a pleasant one, and although the trail was sometimes muddy, the round trip took us only about 2.5 hours.

The trek is not very well-signposted, but you won't get lost, the best way how to follow it is to have an app Maps.me. From the intersection of Calle 13 and Carrera 2, head down and cross the bridge over creek Paraisa.

jardin hiking guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia

On another crossing, stay left and after approximately 200 meters turn left. There is a restaurant, follow the narrow path leading uphill.

jardin hiking guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia

The muddy path zig-zags uphill, and you'll emerge on the wider road, here turn left again and follow the road. In a few minutes, you'll see a wooden sign Cristo Rey to the left.

jardin hiking guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia

To get back to Jardin, you can either return the same way or from Mirador, when facing Jardin, walk down the left trail. It is a narrow path, and approximately in the middle, you can walk down or turn right.

jardin hiking guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia
jardin hiking guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia

We chose the right one, had to cross one private property with a barking dog (luckily on a leash) and arrived in Jardin on Calle 11 and Carrera 2.

jardin hiking guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia

 

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Probably the most featured activity around Jardin is horseback riding. We didn't do it here though. First of all, we knew we would try this activity in San Agustin, second of all, the price was COP 80 000 each for only 2 hours which seemed to us a bit pricey.

jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

La Cueva Esplendor is a beautiful cave outside the town with waterfall. You can do it as a part of a jeep tour (which we didn't find interesting), or it should be possible to walk there on a day-long hike, but we couldn't find any recent information if it is possible and the lady in the information center told us we must take a jeep tour. We believe the muddy path goes through private properties with strayed dogs and that's why we decided to give it a pass.

 

HOW TO GET TO JARDIN

Jardin can be easily reached from Medellin, and the ride takes 3.5 to 4 hours. Medellin has two bus terminals, to get to Jardin, head to Terminal Sur. From here, take a bus company Rapido Ochoa (several times a day), the ticket cost COP 26 000 per person. Terminal Sur is not connected to Metro we found the easiest to take a taxi, from Poblado district, it cost only COP 5000.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN JARDIN

The accommodation in Jardin is slightly more expensive, especially during weekends when paisas from Medellin arrive to enjoy their days off. We stayed in perfectly situated Palo de Rosa.

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WHERE TO EAT IN JARDIN

We found a great restaurant La Parrilla De Mi Pueblo on the corner of Carrera 6 and Calle 9 with cheap menu del dia for COP 9 500.

where to eat in jardin guide by laidbacktrip | best things to do in jardin colombia guide

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