Just a few hours from the Colombia’s bustling second city lies a small town called Jardin, a perfect place to get off the tourist track and soak up the countryside.
The town, or “pueblo”, of Jardin is located in the central state of Antioquia just three and a half hours south of Medellin. The cool weather enjoyed by the picturesque pueblo gives visitors a chance to breathe the clean mountain air and appreciate some Colombian countryside living.
The beauty of the surrounding landscape lends itself to one of the most popular activities in Jardin, walking.
Throughout the area there are a number of hikes and walks to enjoy, including a route to a trout farm past a river (suitable for swimming in) — where visitors can catch their own trout to have it prepared at the onsite restaurant — and a three hour walk to a system of caves and waterfalls called ‘la cueva de esplendor.’ The cave walk usually requires a tour guide, which can be easily found in Jardin.
For those less keen on exercising their muscles, the pueblo’s cable car, or “teleferico”, rises high above the houses and affords its passengers a birds eye view of the town from a small restaurant that sits on the lookout point.
But Jardin’s most unique aspect is the fact that it has remained virtually unchanged for the last century. The buildings and layout of the town retain a colonial charm, all the men wear cowboy hats, and local campesinos still ride their horses around the main square each evening — a main square declared as a national monument by the Colombia Minister of Tourism in 1985.
Each restaurant and bar located on the main square sets out colorful tables and chairs for its patrons, making the area a prime place to sit and chat with friends, sip on a beer or a Colombia’s famous export, cafe tinto. Alternatively you can simply indulge in a spot of people watching, which will invariably prompt a few conversations with friendly locals, possibly because Jardin is not the most tourist-filled of Colombia’s destinations.
It is important to note that Jardin is a popular weekend destination for Medellin dwellers and other Colombians, so the atmosphere changes radically from Friday-Sunday compared to the rest of the week.