Jardin is a small town that is located around 3 hours drive from Medellin. Jardin is one of the most beautiful towns in all of Colombia. This is the place to experience the real Colombia. People here, same as a hundred years ago, follow their traditions, and their lifestyle hasn’t really changed from those times. Most of the people in Jardin are farmers that know how to work and how to relax. For those who are planning on visiting Jardin I wrote the complete guide with all the necessary information on how to get there, and the best things to do.
Since Jardin doesn’t have an airport close by, the only way to get to this town is by a car or a bus. The easiest and the cheapest option will be taking a bus. Feel free to read my guide with the specifics of taking a bus from Medellin to Jardin!
There are many buses every day from Medellin bus south terminal (Terminal Sur). At the bus terminal there are a few companies that operate on this route. So just look for the sign that says “Jardin” and ask about the departure times.
The ticket costs around 32 000 COP per person, and the drive will take 3 to 4 hours depending on the traffic.
Jardin weather is mostly the same all year around. Of course, there might be days when it rains more than others. Usually rain doesn’t affect your plans, since it rains for an hour or two and then stops.
If we are talking about the day of the week, I would recommend visiting Jardin town during the weekdays. Jardin has become a popular destination for local tourists that mostly arrive on weekends. Also, if it is possible, stay for the Friday night if you like to check Jardin’s nightlife. The restaurants and bars around the main square are very lively on a Friday night.
I found that Jardin is quite a safe town, and you can walk outside alone at any time of the day. There are not a lot of petty crimes as well. But remember that if you are looking for trouble, trouble will usually find you. So stay aware regardless!
The duration of your stay will depend on whether you want to do a few tours and hikes, or not. Jardin town is not just famous for its beautiful architecture and puebla vibe, but also the amazing nature all around the area, along with some great hikes.
For those who are planning on not just visiting the town, but exploring around, I would recommend staying three nights. If hikes are not for you, and you just want to soak up that real Colombian vibe that Jardin offers, one full day would be enough.
You actually have to decide first whether you want to stay in the center of the town, or outside Jardin. Both locations have their pluses and minuses.
If you stay in the center of Jardin, it will be very convenient to explore the town, visit cafes and restaurants, and you don’t need to take a tuk tuk almost anywhere. But chances are that your accommodation is pretty cramped with thin walls (no soundproofing) and no terrace or balcony.
Casa Passiflora Hotel Boutique
Casa Passiflora Hotel Boutique is actually a very nice place that has a great location and a great big territory with an outside terrace and a hot tub. This is one of those places that have everything, including a great water pressure in the shower, which is very rare in Colombian villages.
Hotel Jardin has a great location, right at the main square. This is a place for those who plan on going out every night. Besides the location, the hotel building is very beautiful, and the rooms are pretty comfortable. It might not be that open and spacious in the courtyard, but you have a whole main square next to you, so definitely not a bad choice.
Hotel Casa Grande
Hotel Casa Grande is another great place to stay for those who look for something in the center of the city. This hotel is located right on the corner from the main square. The hotel itself is kind of cute and they offer breakfast included in the price, which is always nice.
If you stay outside the town, you will enjoy fantastic nature, probably will have a great view, big territory around the property, and complete tranquility.
Hotel Villa Adiela
This is the place where we stayed during our trip to Jardin. It is located 10 minutes away from the center. We actually got very lucky with this accommodation. Because we came on weekdays there weren’t any other guests and we got the whole villa to ourselves for three nights.
Villa Adiela is located on a hill and has a great view. But the highlight of this place is a beautiful big terrace with a hot tub from where you can enjoy that amazing view.
Finca Mariposa is a coffee farm that also offers accommodation. Here you can enjoy nature, do some hikes and have a coffee farm tour. It is a great place to stay for a few days.
Casa Ramon Antigua
Casa Ramon Antigua is yet another great place that offers very cozy accommodation, great views, and complete tranquility. It has everything for a nice stay, including a very nice host.
Jardin town is one of those pueblas that was able to keep its identity and wasn’t destroyed by time and money hungry people. Not much changed here, you would not see tall modern buildings that look alike, or big factories that destroy the environment.
Every building in Jardin is unique and full of colors. Every street here is similar to an exhibition in a museum. So my advice is just put your google map away, get your camera, and just follow the colors of Jardin’s streets. Getting lost is always the best way to find something unexpectedly awesome.
One of the reasons why many people come to Jardin is to see the Cock-of-the-rock bird. This bird is extremely rare and hard to find in most places. Fortunately for bird lovers, a family in Jardin decided to plant special trees that attract these birds. So, now you don’t need to go on long hikes into the jungle to spot a Cock-of-the-rock, you can just visit this family’s garden and enjoy bird watching.
You can visit Parque Natural Jardin de Rocas every day from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM. The late afternoon is the time when the birds are the most active and you can hear them screaming (exactly, it is not singing like most of the birds, it is a very loud and quite funny screaming that reminded me of pig’s screaming). To visit the garden is 10 000 COP per person.
The family that planted all those trees also built a few terraces (lookout points) with benches where you can better see the birds.
Because Parque Natural Jardin de Rocas is located a few minutes from the center of Jardin, you can visit it on the way to dinner.
Jardin is located among mountains and hills, therefore it is no wonder it has a cable car. Jardin actually has two cable roads, but during my visit one of them was closed down (the new one). The open one is the one you would visit anyway.
The La Garrucha cable car is quite old and it hasn’t been modernized. And although it looks like it will fall down, it is actually quite safe and people use it all the time (and I mean not just tourists, but locals as well).
The view out of that old fashioned cable car is fantastic. It takes just a couple minutes to cross to the other side, but it is totally worth the ride. On the way back you can also take a cable car, or just walk back to Jardin and see some great scenery.
One way ride on the La Garrucha cable car is 5000 COP.
Central Square in Jardin is a great spot to get a drink and people watch, or socialize with locals. The square itself is quite big with a beautiful church in the middle of it and a cute flower garden.
Around the square you will see tons of cafes and restaurants. Every single one of them has tables outside on the sidewalks, and they are pretty much always full.
The whole scene looks so cozy, that it made me feel like all of those people were neighbors that decided to hang out together. I guess this is one of the pluses of living in a small town, everywhere you feel homey.
As I already mentioned a few times, the nature around Jardin town is splendid. This place is a heaven for people who love hiking. Hills and mountains are full of beautiful waterfalls, fast rivers, tall trees, colorful flowers and overall fantastic views.
One of the hikes is especially famous for its final destination. Just outside Jardin town, up in the mountains, there is a cave that hides one of the best waterfalls I have ever seen. It’s called the Cave of Splendor (Cueva del Esplendor) and it is one of the must do things during your stay in Jardin.
To get to that cave you can go on your own or with a tour company.
To visit the cave of Splendor with a tour group will be the easiest option and not really expensive. It costs 60 000 COP per person, and it includes a Jeep ride up the mountain, almost all the way to the private property where the cave is located (you need just to walk 10 minutes). There you will be offered refreshments (sweet tea and pastry). After that you climb down a slim and pretty dangerous trail all the way across the river to the cave.
The final destination is totally worth your struggle. Especially if there is not a big crowd. The place looks magical due to a big hole through which water falls and sunlight comes. Besides taking amazing pictures, and climbing rocks around the waterfall, you can swim next to the waterfall, but be aware that the water is icy cold.
On the way back you will again be offered refreshments and the Jeep will be waiting to drive you back to the city.
For those who prefer to do this hike on their own, you can either take a tuk tuk as far as possible (expect to pay around 25 000 COP) and then hike for an hour – an hour and a half to the house of the cave owner, or hike on your own from the start (around three hours). There you will have to register and pay 20 000 COP to visit the cave with the owner (you cannot go down on your own). So at the end it will cost you without a tuk tuk – 20000 COP, with a tuk tuk 45000 COP.
The best time to visit the cave of Splendor is on weekdays, when there are not a lot of local tourists.
Jardin is a place where people use horses as vehicles on a daily basis. You will definitely see a lot of Colombians dressed in their cowboy hats on horseback going into town to get a morning coffee and chat with friends.
This is also something you can do as a tourist if you are interested. There are people around the town that offer you a ride on a horse back in the town. Or you can rent a horse by the hour and explore on your own!
You don’t need to be afraid of horses getting scared by cars or something else, the horses are quite used to town noises. Plus Jardin town doesn’t have that many vehicles to begin with, so the streets usually are quite empty.
Besides visiting the Parque Natural Jardin de Rocas and seeing Cock-of-the-rock birds, you can book other bird watching tours and spot many other birds.
If you are a serious birder I recommend contacting Guillermo at Aramacao tours and taking a full day trip high into the cloud forests of the Andes for an amazing experience. This is what Cody did one of the days and saw some gorgeous and very rare birds only found in that area.
The price isn’t cheap at around $200, but it is fair for what you get. A jeep drives you up to the trails and from there you and the guide get to explore all around the mountain. You also get breakfast and lunch, and if you are a photographer then Guillermo can give you a masterclass in hummingbird photography!