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As the bus wound its way up the mountain towards Jardin Colombia, my nose was pressed to the window. I was the only person left on the bus so I shuffled seats to catch the best views over the valleys below. The Andes are unforgettable. I’ve been running into them on this South American journey and breathtaking doesn’t even do them justice.
On arrival in Jardin Colombia, (in Spanish, there is an accent on the i – Jardín Colombia), dusk had fallen and I knew I had hit the jackpot. Men were spilling into the narrow streets chatting, drink in hand. I made my way to the hotel, passing the main plaza filled with Colombians, food stalls and live music. It was Friday night in Jardin, Colombia. What I didn’t know was that the horses hadn’t arrived yet.
Travelling in Colombia? Don’t miss Jardin, Antioquia
Antioquia, one of Colombia’s 32 departments or regions, is located in northwest Colombia. While Medellin is its capital, Jardín is the darling of Antioquia. Tell a Colombian you are headed to Jardin, Antioquia and a palpable sense of pride emanates, without fail.
5 Reasons To Visit Jardin Colombia
1. Jardin Colombia | It’s The Real Deal
Did someone say authentic? Sombreros and ponchos slung over a shoulder. Locals sipping coffee on brightly coloured wooden chairs in the main plaza. Colourful two-story houses. Cascading blooms. All nestled into the Andes. Visit Jardin, Antioquia, and step back in time.
Breathe deeper. That Andes mountain air is good for the soul. S- L- O – W right down. It’s not hard to do in Jardin Colombia.
You just never know who will come riding into town.
2. It’s Kinda Pretty (Understatement Of The Year)
Apparently, it rarely rains in Jardín but it poured while I was there. The mist rising from the Andes unveiled verdant green landscapes, spectacular enough to consider a permanent move here.
The aluminium spires of the church gleam as they watch over the main plaza. Jardin Antioquia keeps schedule with the clanging bells that can be heard right to the town’s edge.
And an array of brightly painted houses line every street.
Kinda pretty – right?
3. Things To Do In Jardín Colombia
Don’t worry about having everything organized before you arrive. There are plenty of tour operators in Jardin Colombia that can find exactly the activity you are seeking, including ziplining and paragliding. Here are a few suggestions for what to do in Jardin Colombia.
Parque Natural Jardin de Rocas In Jardín Antioquia
Add these guys to your list of things to do in Jardin Colombia. Even if you are not a bird nerd (closet one over here), seeing the flash of crimson red and grey flitting through the cloud forest is a quite the sight. The male gallitos de las rocas (Andean cock-of-the-rock) appear every day at the same time to strut their stuff for the females, who are more difficult to spy.
Time: 4:00 – 5:30 pm; Ring the bell at the gate.
- The Parque Natural is also open early in the mornings but the owner did not encourage this visiting time as much
Getting There: Follow Calle 9 to just past the edge of town. Pass the bar turn right down a country lane. Do not cross the yellow bridge. From Jardin, it is less than a 10-minute walk.
Cost: COP$10000 ($7 Cdn)
Bird Expert: Like birds? Call Guillermo at Aramacao Tours. I met him while watching the gallitos de las rocas. He had taken a small group of people birdwatching that day and seen over 40 species. The ladies in his group raved about him. Jardin Colombia is a small town so I ran into him again the next day and we talked… yep…about birds!
Trek To Cueva del Esplendor From Jardín Colombia
What to do in Jardin Colombia that involves a full day trip and a little adventure? Other travellers I met raved about the waterfall at this cave. It is a full day trip involving hiking and/or horseback riding to arrive at the gorgeous site. Some trips offer a jeep ride part way.
Visit A Coffee Farm In Jardin Colombia
I visited a coffee farm in Salento but coffee farms abound around Jardin Antioquia also. Colombia produces some of the best coffee in the world. Take a tour of a coffee farm to see how it gets from the plant to your morning cup of Joe!
Ascend Cerro Cristo Rey In Jardin Colombia
Another thing to do in Jardin Colombia is visit Cerro Cristo Rey. From this lookout point, the enormous white Christ statue watches over Jardin Colombia. It is clearly visible from the main square. Get to Cerro Cristo Rey by cable car, hiking or on horseback to take in the marvellous views.
People Watch In Jardín Colombia
People watching is the absolute classic thing to do in Jardin Colombia. The plaza in Jardin is the perfect place to people watch. Pull up a colourful wooden chair and just tune in.
School children, in their blue tartan uniforms, saunter home at lunch to a chorus of clanging church bells. Men clad in checkered shirts, rubber boots, sombreros and a poncho tossed over their shoulders share a drink together. Fresh fruit is cut precisely at the food stalls in the plaza.
Stay still and watch what unfolds.
While I was people watching, I was also being observed. I saw him coming towards me as I ducked under the eaves in the pouring rain. The checkered shirt, the wound rope in hand, the rubber boots. A true Colombian. I couldn’t understand a word he said, but a girl knows when a man is asking her for a drink. He really tried to make himself understood but at ten in the morning, I graciously declined with my smile and “No, gracias.”
4. Jardin Colombia | The Perfect Getaway From Busy Medellin
Jardin Antioquia is a 4-hour bus trip from Medellin. It is an easy weekend getaway and is the perfect antithesis to Medellin’s hustle and bustle.
5. Where Else Do Horses Line the Main Plaza?
Still wondering what to do in Jardin Colombia? The prancing horses are a must.
Prancing horses clipping into the square on a Saturday night is a regular event if you live in Jardin Colombia. But as a foreigner the spectacle was memorable. Horses danced down the cobblestone streets in their high stepping prance carrying their riders to the bar. Young boys held the reins of the horses lined up waiting for the return trip.
On Sunday morning, a few of the horses return while their sombrero-clad owners sip coffee with a friend.
Is Jardin Colombia for real? It’s so dreamy, you’ll think you’ve stepped into a fairytale.
FAQ About Jardin Colombia
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