As you may know, when we go backpacking we love “less touristy” spots. We think it’s great to experience real life as much as possible during our travels. Jardín is the perfect place for that in the inland of Colombia. The village is still authentic and not extremely discovered by tourists. The main activities in Jardín are: drinking coffee in the central village square, a ride up with the cable car and bird watching at Parque Natural Jardín de Rocas. In addition, there are various hiking tours in the Jardín area that lead you through the green nature to some nice waterfalls.
Most travel routes go from Bogota to Medellín with a stop in Salento. Salento is an absolute must because you can visit the Valle de Cocora here. The big difference between Jardín and Salento is that the impact of tourism in Jardín is much less. The environment is also completely different; we have fallen a bit in love with the green, mountainous surroundings of Jardín.
The village is ideal for a visit of 2 to 3 days. There are a number of good and cheap hostels in Jardín. We slept in Hostal Romana and only paid € 15 per night for a double room with private bathroom.
Tip: do you like coffee? Then you are in the right place here. You can drink the best coffee on the square at: Los Andes cafe and Macanas cafe.
Contact with the locals
Although we had little contact with the locals in Medellín, it was completely different in Jardín. The villagers were genuinely interested in us and that led to nice conversations in our poor Spanish. A local even offered a beer in a cafe and he insisted on paying for it.
The most important activity in Jardín is an afternoon strolling through the pretty streets and enjoying the local life. You can easily combine this with a ride in the Cristeo Rey cable car or the antique La Garrucha cable car. We have chosen La Garrucha and this cost 6000 COP per person (for a return). At the end you will find a nice terrace with a beautiful view over the village. Jardín is also known for the special bird “Andean cock-of-the-rock”. You can spot this at the end of the day at Parque Natural Jardín de Rocas. This park is located on the edge of the village on a short walking distance of the central square. You pay 10,000 COP entrance fee to get in.
Bus Medellín to Jardín:
The bus leaves from Terminal Sur. We went with the bus company Rapido Ochoa (ticket desk 34). The bus tickets currently cost 27,000 COP per person and you can also book them online through Redbus. The bus takes almost four hours.
Bus from Jardín to Salento / Filandia
Most people combine Jardín with a visit to Salento or Filandia. We could choose from two options:
– Departure at 8 a.m. to Riosucio. From Riosucio you can go via Pereira to Salento or Filandia (in total about 8 hours)
– Departure at 06.25 to La Felisa. Also from La Felisa you travel through Pereira to Salento / Filandia (this would take about 7 hours in total but it took us a few hours longer due to a detour)
Please note: for both options you only buy a ticket in Jardín to the next place. In the place where you transfer you can buy a ticket for the next bus ride.
Another possibility is a shared car with driver. This was when we were not available due to maintenance of the car. It will probably be a little more expensive, but also a lot faster.
The only drawback of Jardín is that it is quite difficult to reach. If you don’t have much time in Colombia, the long bus journeys can be seen as an obstacle. At the same time, that is perhaps the reason why this place is not yet full of tourists. Still in doubt? Not necessary; deviate a little from the ‘standard route’ and enjoy the real Colombian life in Jardín.