If you’re looking for the quintessentially Colombian pueblo, then you might just find it in Jardin. Jardin – pronounced har-deen – is a well-kept – not quite discovered by mass tourism, town in Colombia’s Antioquia province. Jardin is a small, but beautiful town. You’ll find hostels and hotels with decent Wi-Fi, good local places to eat, or pizza if you desire. You’ll find a central plaza lined with colourful buildings, cafes and you’ll find rural Colombians getting on with their lives, almost as amused by you, as you’re intrigued by them.
The scenery here is glorious. There are rivers, streams and mountains covered in trees, banana trees and coffee plantations. Jardin is just 135 kilometres from Medellin, less than 100 miles. Yet it might as well be a million miles away. Jardin is peace and tranquillity. Jardin is old men serenading you as you walk along unpaved roads. Jardin is watching the Paso Fino Horses in Plaza del Libertador parade while drinking a cold beer. It’s glorious and you should go. Now.
Here’s a whole host of other reasons as to why you should go to Jardin and the best things to do there.
What's in This Article?
- Best Things to Do in Jardin Colombia
- Eat Jardin Trout at a Trout Farm
- Jardin’s Food Stalls in Plaza del Libertador
- Take a Spanish Lesson in Jardin
- Visit a coffee farm – fincas in Jardin
- Drink Coffee in Jardin
- Enjoy Plaza del Libertador, Jardin Antioquia
- Explore the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
- Watch the Paso Fino Horses in Jardin’s main Square
- See the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock at the Reserva Natural de Rocas
- Rent Bicycles in Jardin
- Visit the Cueva del Esplendor, Jardin
- Take a Horse Ride or Horse Trek in Jardin
- Have a beer or aguardiente in Jardin
- Enjoy local food in Jardin
- Eat Avocados in Jardin
- If you have a sweet tooth visit Dulces de Jardin
- Take a great short circular walk in Jardin
- Walk to Cascada del Amor waterfall
- Visit Jardin’s Bat Tunnel – tunel de murcielagos in Jardin
- Explore the Coffee and Banana Plantations of Jardin
- Take a Drink Stop in the Plantations
- Take the Jardin Garrucha – Cable Cars in Jardin
- Where to Stay in Jardin, Antioquia
- How to Get to Jardin
- Where is Jardin
- What we regret about Jardin
- Where to Go After Jardin
Best Things to Do in Jardin Colombia
While I’m going to describe a lot of different things to do in Jardin, one of the best things to do in Jardin is simply just to be here. There is a lot to be said just for absorbing the feel of a place, and of our 6 weeks in Colombia on this visit, Jardin was the essence of Colombia that I enjoyed the most. It was peaceful. The coffee was the best I tasted in Colombia. It was a place to drink a cold quiet beer. The bars on the edges of the Plaza del Libertador were full of western boot wearing rowdy locals, tipping a courteous cowboy hat to say welcome.1
Eat Jardin Trout at a Trout Farm
While you can pick up trout at a restaurant in Jardin as part of the menu del dia, the best trout to be had is out at one of the trout farms. In mountain regions in Colombia, you’ll soon come to recognize the trout as THE main dish item to eat. A la Plancha is usually the healthiest way to eat it – on the grill. But trout from a trout farm is the freshest. The closest trout farm to Jardin is the Estadero El Arka. You can your own trout for lunch or simply pay someone else to.
Jardin’s Food Stalls in Plaza del Libertador
On an evening in the Plaza del Libertador, the food stalls set up. They’re great value for money, with a burger or hot dog being the favourites amongst the locals. You’ll also find empanadas, buñuelos, arepas and papas rellenas. The burgers are awesome in a fast food but slow sort of a way. The best food stall by far is the roasted potatoes stall. These tiny little potatoes are just amazing. They’ve been boiled and then roasted and a little oil or butter.
Take a Spanish Lesson in Jardin
We spent 2 months in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala back in 2016 taking Spanish lessons with the amazing Catalina at Sol Latino. 5 hours a day, plus homework, plus ALL the additional trips they put on was a brutal schedule. But it was amazing. I think we did it the wrong way. Knowing what I know now. I’d take lessons for a while – maybe 2-3 weeks, then I’d travel somewhere, do something and then take more lessons.
That’s what we did in Jardin. There’s a drop in session that you can take – like literally drop in. For an hour if you want to. Jardin is a fabulous place to take Spanish lessons. You are unlikely to be surrounded by other English speakers, so the environment is great. The lessons are as informal or formal as you want them to be and the pueblo of Jardin is as cheap as chips to live in. Plus little to no traffic pollution, the noise levels are low < seriously if this doesn’t get you here, nothing will – this is Latin America and EVERYWHERE is loud!
Visit a coffee farm – fincas in Jardin
There are several excellent places to go and visit a Coffee Finca in Colombia. One is Salento, where there are a bunch that you can visit – you can read about them here, another is Jardin, where you can visit two seriously interesting coffee fincas. You can take a Jardin Coffee Finca tour at
- Finca de Los Angeles
- Finca Milena Coffee Tour
Finca de Los Angeles Coffee Tour Jardin
This is the best Jardin coffee tour to take if you speak reasonable Spanish. If you understand the concept of coffee production, then your understanding of Spanish can be less rather than more. If you want to brush up on your Spanish, then Jardin is an amazing place to take a Spanish lesson or two!
The coffee tour of the Finca de Los Angeles isn’t just about learning about coffee production, in fact, you’ll learn more about the life of the coffee farmer and producer than coffee production as a whole. And that isn’t a bad thing. Learn about the migrant population of Colombia coffee pickers who move around Colombia picking coffee – as all the coffee here is picked by hand.
Learn how it takes just 12 days to get from bean to cup here. And get here under your own steam too.
Tours of the Finca de Los Angeles cost around $25,000 COP – and you’ll need to book directly with the owner’s wife to confirm (pay cash when you arrive). If you’d like to have lunch here as well, its 20,000 COP on top of the tour. There is a tour at 10 am and one at 1300. Take a bus from the bus terminal at Carrera 6 and Calle 8, pay $3,000 or a taxi for $15,000 COP. It’s best to contact via Facebook
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Finca Milena Coffee Tour Jardin (also known as Finca Margus)
This is more a hotel that’s also a coffee finca. They provide amazing coffee tours, great food and are located outside Jardin. It’s just a 15-minute tuk-tuk ride from Jardin, (or a 45-minute walk) and you can organize your attendance by WhatsApping Martha on (+57) 311-398-1236. Tours cost 50,000 COP per person.
Drink Coffee in Jardin
There are several great coffee places in Jardin, it stands to reason, it’s a coffee town in one of Colombia’s most important growing regions. You’ll find many places to “enjoy” the locally preferred “tinto” – which is the Colombian name for the heavily sweetened black coffee that you’ll see everywhere in flasks.
There are several great coffee shops in Jardin though that are worthy of a visit.
- Café Macanas on the main square by the church gets rave reviews and has a great garden in which to enjoy your java.
- Café de Los Andes also on the main square also is well recommended.
- El Artesano – on Carrera 3 between Calle 11 and 12 – this place does amazing coffee – choose your bean, then choose how you want it prepared – from French press to Chemex, to cold brew.
Enjoy Plaza del Libertador, Jardin Antioquia
Jardin’s main square, named for Simón Bolivar, is surrounded on all sides by vividly painted two-story colonial buildings. Cafes, bars and small stores line the edges, the stunning Basicilia of the Immaculate Conception sits at the top of the plaza.
There’s a fountain in the centre, trees to provide shade and the vividly coloured wooden seats of the cafes and cars spill into the centre area. At night there are food stalls, prancing Paso Fino horses and a fantastic local vibe.
Explore the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
You cannot miss Jardin’s Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It’s located at the top of the main square, the plaza el Libertador. This is one of the few churches in Latin America that is as gloriously photogenic on the inside as it is on the outside.
It was first built in 1872, although construction of the current church didn’t start until 1940. It is almost entirely from locally quarried stone – as a penance for sins, parishioners brought hand carved stones from a local quarry – their penance was apparently that they have to bring the weight of their sins in stones.
Watch the Paso Fino Horses in Jardin’s main Square
The Paso Fino horse is unique to South America and is a purebred recognized for their rapid trotting gait. There is no greater treat in Jardin than to see these gorgeous creatures being put through their paces – you’ll hear them before you see them – on the square or the streets around.
See the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock at the Reserva Natural de Rocas
You don’t have to be a hardcore birdwatcher to head to Jardin, nor do you have to get up before sunrise to see stunning bird life. You can walk to the Reserva Natural de Rocas in five minutes from the centre of Jardin. It’s here in Jardin that you can see one of the world’s most unique birds. Dusk is the best time to see them as they gather in this small reserve. Here you’ll see around 50 of the Gallitos de Rocas – the Andean Cock of the Rock.
Entry to the reserve costs 10,000 COP and the best time to go is the afternoon opening time of 1630-1800. There were just 6 other visitors when we visited. The owner speaks Spanish only, but you can wander around on your own, the reserve is small, but the birds are very obvious. No flash on your camera, but definitely head to this place, it’s a unique opportunity.
Rent Bicycles in Jardin
Rent a bicycle in Jardin to see a little more of the countryside a little more quickly. There’s a bike rental shop in Jardin close to Plaza del Libertador, or you can check them out on Facebook – or simply ask at your hotel or hostel.
Visit the Cueva del Esplendor, Jardin
The Cueva Del Esplendor is unique and can be visited as a hike or a horse ride from Jardin. It takes around 3 hours to hike here. This cave has a hole in the roof, where the waterfall cascades in from. It’s possible to swim in the resulting pool. Organize a trip with your hostel or hotel or the tour company Cueva Del Esplendor in Jardin.
Take a Horse Ride or Horse Trek in Jardin
You can combine a horde ride with a visit to the Cueva del Esplendor – taking a horse trek to the cave will costa round $45,000 COP per person although this does include lunch. If you just want to take a trot around the town, then a 10-minute ride will costa round $5,000 COP.
Have a beer or aguardiente in Jardin
I don’t think I’ve been to a town in South America that has more bars and cafes than Jardin. They’re quaint, original and lovely. They’re a fabulous place to people watch, whether your drink is coffee, beer or aguardiente. Check out the bars at the corners of the Plaza del Libertador and hang out in the window seats for the best overview of Jardin life.
Enjoy local food in Jardin
Many of the blogs about Jardin that you will read explain about the international cuisine available in Jardin. And that’s true. If you want pizza, pasta and brownies there are cafes here where you can get them. And they get rave reviews from other travellers. If that’s your penchant, then you’ll want to head to
- Cafe Europa: Cosy with a focus on Italian favourites like pizza and pasta.
- Bon Appetit: Everything from curries to pasta to noodles.
- Las Brazzas: a meat-focused restaurant, which also provides sides that include salads and rice, plus excellent dipping sauces.
- Café de Los Andes – great for Sunday brunch with fabulous ham, eggs and croissants.
However, we recommend that for a little more local flavour and a lot more food for your peso, go to Calle 9 between Carrera 5 and 6 for two great value local spots. You can fill up on a menu del dia for very little money. If the main meal in the middle of the day isn’t your thing (it’s rarely ours), then ask for it “Para Compartir” – to share. And you’ll get the same menu del dia (meal of the day) for the same price, but with two drinks, two plates and two sets of cutlery for the same price. We find it more than enough for lunch!
Eat Avocados in Jardin
You can’t fail to miss the fruit stalls in the Plaza del Libertador – if you’re here at the right time of year for avocados then you MUST try them. Locally grown and just so, so creamy, they’re enormous and a meal in themselves.
If you have a sweet tooth visit Dulces de Jardin
Dulces de Jardin was founded by Mariela Arango in 1995 and is located on Calle 13 between Carrera 5 and 6. You’ll find all manner of homemade sweet stuff here – jams, jellies, candies, biscuits, although it’s the arequipe that is the main attraction. A sauce made of natural flavourings and condensed milk it often has additional flavourings added. Prepare for a sugar coma.
Take a great short circular walk in Jardin
We mapped out this circular walk to take in a number of attractions and things to do in Jardin, so we’ll take them in order. This route as described is just around 4 kilometres from the Plaza del Libertador. First walk to the corner of Carrera 9 and Calle and 11, where you’ll find a signpost and a narrow cobbled path. This circular walk will take in waterfalls, the bat cave, fabulous coffee and banana plantations, (where you may be lucky enough to be serenaded by local musicians like we were), and then you can return to town on the Garrucha – cable car if you dare!
If you decide not to take the Garrucha, then continuing on to walk and return to the Plaza del Libertador will make the walk a total of around 5.3km.
Start at the fabulous Plaza del Libertador and walk up past the Dulces de Jardin to the corner of Calle 13 and Carrera 8. Take the signposted route to the waterfall.
Walk to Cascada del Amor waterfall
It’s just about 1.5 kilometres from the Plaza del Libertador that you’ll find the Cascada del Amor waterfall. The walking is easy, slightly uphill, but on a quiet unpaved road after the cobbled path ends.
Visit Jardin’s Bat Tunnel – tunel de murcielagos in Jardin
As you hike up the road from the Cascada del Amor waterfall, you’ll spot, on the left a great pool to cool down in (and it’s freezing!), on the right, there’s a gate with a sign on it. Hang around here and meet Nicole, who will take you for a tour of Jardin’s Tunel de Murcielagos.
This is also known as Jardin’s Rock Garden Tunnel and you’ll see it on Google maps as Charco Corazon. The tunnel was built completely by hand by Rubén Darío Rendón Díaz, his brother-in-law Don Mario and Nelson Darío Naranjo Acevedo, between 2008 and 2011 in their spare time. The reason? To create a tourist attraction originally. The tunnel measures 160 metres long and is 2.5 metres wide. The tunnel is not cramped and it’s easy to walk through, although you should take a red lighted torch for easier walking.
There are thousands of bats that now live in there, there are vampire bats, hone creepers and porcupine bats too.
The owners plan to open a wine bar in here in the future, at this time the price for a tour of the tunnel and an explanation of the bats (in Spanish) is $5,000 COP per person.
Explore the Coffee and Banana Plantations of Jardin
While there are organized tours of the coffee plantations here in Jardin if you continue up the road from the Bat Tunnel and take the right when the road forks, you’ll be in the midst of Cofee and Banana plantations. While these are private property, walking down the road in their midst is peaceful and an easy walk.
Take a Drink Stop in the Plantations
There’s a small covered area on the right-hand side as you wander along – grab yourself a cold beer, or a michelada, or perhaps a coffee and enjoy the peace of the countryside. Or, if you’re lucky you’ll end up being serenaded by some of the locals.
Take the Jardin Garrucha – Cable Cars in Jardin
While there are reports of two cable cars in Jardin – an old one and a newer one. The newer one apparently still out of service for maintenance, However, it’s the old one, the Garrucha, that you want to head to. The Jardin Garrucha cable car is operated by a mechanical pulley system and the cars themselves resemble a brightly painted garden shed.
The Garrucha was originally used for those workers living in the hills to get easier access to town, and you’ll likely share your ride with locals. It’s perfectly located to take a walk up through the banana and coffee plantations and then return to Jardin by the Garrucha – after of course sampling the fares at the café at the top of the Garrucha while enjoying the views and waiting for the next available car.
If you just want to ride La Garrucha, its at the corner of Carrera 9a and Calle 12. A return trip is $8,000 COP, with a single trip costing $4,000 COP.
Where to Stay in Jardin, Antioquia
There are a good variety of places to stay in Jardin, although this is a weekend hotspot for Medellin residents, so you’ll want to book in advance if you’re planning a weekend or holiday trip.
Hostal Naty Luna
We had a private room with private bathroom at the very convivial Hostal Naty Luna. The room was internal, so there was no road noise and the hostal was quiet. Breakfast is included and there are shared rooms also available. The location, not far from the Plaza is superb. The internet is good here and Juan is a great host and extremely friendly.
Hotel La Casona
This is a gorgeous Hotel with a lounge. Each room has a private bathroom. Each room also has a flat-screen TV with cable. The hotel is colonial style, located just off the main square. It’s traditional and friendly.
Hospedaje Rural La Boira
Located just outside the town this is a peaceful haven and surrounded by gardens. You’ll get a balcony or terrace with your room and free wifi. Each room is ensuite and there’s also a washing machine and a barbecue are available on site. Get some fabulous rural Colombia life here!
How to Get to Jardin
You are likely to arrive in Jardin from Salento or travel from Medellin to Jardin. Both trips are easy bus trips if a little arduous. We’ve covered these two primary bus routes to Jardin below, with information valid in December 2018. We’ve detailed the bus times to Jardin and how to book your bus ticket to Jardin too as well as how long it takes to get to Jardin from Medellin and from Salento. The bus journeys don’t change often, but at least one of the bus routes was new in December 2018!
How to Get to Jardin from Medellin
The bus journey time from Medellin to Jardin is 3.5 – 4 hours and all buses depart from Medellin’s Southern Bus Terminal. The drop off in Jardin is outside the bus company offices in Jardin. Both companies that run this service have offices close to Jardin’s main square, the Plaza del Libertador.
To get to Jardin from Medellin you need to take a bus from the Terminal del Sur. This is close (about a 25-minute walk) or a short (5 minutes/COP6000) taxi ride from the Poblado metro station.
There are two bus companies that travel from Medellin to Jardin. You can buy tickets online here from their website or simply go to the bus station and buy your tickets from there.
Rapido Ochoa Jardin runs buses to Jardin from Medellin throughout the day, there are 6 each day. Seats are allocated when you buy your ticket, so check to see what seat you’ll get before booking the time. Tickets from Medellin to Jardin cost $27,000 COP. The first bus to Jardin from Medellin is at 04:45 and the last bus is at 18:45.
A second company Transporte Suroeste Antioqueño also runs buses 6 times a day, but it’s not possible to book these online.
How to Get to Jardin from Salento
Getting to Jardin from Salento is infinitely easier now in 2019 – instead of being an entire (and very long) day of at least 3 buses, there is now a route that takes 2 buses with a leisurely connection in Rio Sucio. Read our guide on how to get from Jardin to Salento and vice versa.
Where is Jardin
Jardin is 135 km (83 miles) to the south west of Medellin. While not far away, most of the route is along winding mountain roads with lovely views (so long as the weather is not set in). Jardin is in the Antioquia department.
Map of Jardin’s Location
Jardin Town Map
What we regret about Jardin
Jardin is a picturesque pueblo in the hills of Colombia’s state of Antioquia. She is unspoiled and still only receives a handful of visitors. You’ll find it busier with Colombian visitors at weekends and holidays so you will need to book Jardin accommodation ahead if you’re arriving at those times. Set in a stunning location with friendly folks who will call out a “Buenas” to you as you walk past, no matter the time of day, who’ll welcome you to their town, we have just one regret about Jardin. And that’s that we didn’t stay longer.
Where to Go After Jardin
Try visiting Medellin after visiting Jardin – you can check out our recommendations on what to do in Medellin here!. If you’ve arrived in Jardin from Medellin why not head to Salento in the middle of the coffee triangle? In both places, you’ll miss the tranquil, local feel of Jardin, but experience some great Colombian hospitality.
Here’s our guide on how to get from Jardin to Salento and when you get there what you should do in Salento.