One of the most magical experiences, I had while travelling in Colombia was my visit to Jardin, a pueblito located between mountains tops in the Antioquia province. A little charming village with colorful houses surrounded by mountains covered in coffee plants, which still has an untouched and unique feel to it far away from mass tourism, and a what’s not to like?
The bus drive through the mountains was in itself an experience (you can read the whole story about my crazy bus drive here) but Jardin was breathtaking!
If you are heading to Colombia, I will highly recommend you plan a visit to Jardin – even if you just have 24 hours to visit this mountain village, you should still do it! To help you plan, I have put together my favorites of how to spend 24 hours in Jardin:
Jardín is properly one of the most charming and photogenic villages that I have ever visited, and the best way to explore the pueblito is simply by scrolling through the streets.
Take your walking shoes on, your camera in hand and walk through the streets on a hunt to find your favorite colored house (yes, I do that kind of stuff even when I travel alone).
Jardin is more than manageable by foot but you can also give it a try, and cruise around in a moto-taxi. I didn't intent on doing this but when I ran out of time before my bus departure, I gave it a try. It was actually great fun!
Like most South American villages, the main spot for encounters is the Jardin's main plaza. And like the rest of the city it is beautifully decorated with bright colored chairs.
Take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee, watch people and see how Colombian country life goes on as men arrives on horses or motos.
By the main square you also have the church, Basílica Menor de la Inmaculada Concepción. Give it a visit, and enjoy the silence for the bustling square on the other side. Religion is a very important part of life in Colombia, and especially in the villages.
Take the cable car up the hill - unfortunately I didn't realize that this option was there until it was too late… so can't say if it is worth it but it sounds cool.
Don’t forget the outsides of Jardín
When wandering around Jardin, you get a taste of the magical landscapes surrounding the village, but with just a small walk away from the village you can experience more of the amazing mountains covered with coffee plants.
A small 20 minutes’ walk outside the city you will find Cascadas del Amor, the waterfalls of love. It is said that if lovers visit the place and kiss in front of the waterfall, their love will last forever. Sweet isn't?
Compared to other waterfalls in Colombia it is nothing but still I found it cute that the village has one. To get there follow the street on your right hand from the main square out of the city. Alternatively, the moto-taxis can also take you there.
When you are out by Las Cascadas del Amor, follow the street a little further until you cross a bridge. By the side of the bridge there is a path leading down to the edge of river that floats by the side of Jardín. Here you can take a quick relaxing bath in the river while enjoying the amazing surroundings of the mountains.
You can also organize a horse ride through Jardín and its surrounding mountains, ask at your hotel or the cafes at the main square.
If you have time, do a trek to La Cueva del Esplendor which is a waterfall inside a cave. It is located around 10 km from the village, ask at your hotel for information. I didn't have time for it but saw some pictures of it, and wish that I would have had time.
How Jardín got its name
The legend goes that when settlers for the first time came up the mountain from the villages below, the area was a savage jungle with flowers and trees everywhere. For them it looked like a garden, and therefore the area and the village was called Jardín, e.g. Garden.
The village of Jardín was founded in 1863, and many of the houses - though today renovated - seems to be the same as when the first settlers starting building here almost 200 years ago.
How to get to Jardín
If you are in downtown Medellin, hit to the Southern Terminal (Terminal del Sur). The easiest is to take the metro to Poblado station, and depending on your amount of luggage walk to the terminal or take a taxi (the drive is around 5 minutes).
At the terminal there are two companies running buses to Jardín, one located between the first booth (can't remember the name, sorry) and another, Rapido Ochoa located around booth number 18.
When I got there was a huge queue by the first one, and nobody at the last one. I even managed to get the very last seat just 5 minutes before departure, and even though I ended in the very front in the smallest seat in the whole bus (read the whole story about my ride here), I got on! So, remember to check out both options.
Current price is 23,000 Colombian pesos, and there leaves approximately 6 buses a day from Medellín. Check out Rapido Ochoa for more information.