For years, la Zona Cafetera has been one of the most popular areas of Colombia, and large numbers of visitors, Colombian & foreigners alike, have flooded this part of the country. Jardín, a comfortable 3 hour ride from Medellin, is a welcome change! So close from the main tourist centers, and so much Off The Beaten Track: even if the city is no longer completely a well-kept secret, only a handful of “Gringos” can be seen there…
A Superb Colonial City
This “Pueblo” is made of whitewashed one or two story houses with brightly colored wooden doors & balconies harboring flowers all year around. But the heart of the city is on the main square. Dominated by the imposing Basilica Menor de la Inmaculada Conception, surrounded by beautifully restored, colorful colonial houses, this cobblestone Plaza is doted with colorful chairs & tables where people seat all day long, chatting, drinking coffee and watching quietly life pass by…
A Unique Atmosphere – Authentic & Off The Beaten Track
This authentic, relaxed, enchanting Colombian village is a true invitation for long and aimless strolls. Soak in the unique atmosphere of this “Pueblo”. Watch people in their daily life, a lot of which occurs on the street or in small shops on the first floor of many houses. Enjoy the beautiful colonial architecture. Have a cup of coffee on the Plaza. Just slow down and adapt to the local rhythm…
And authentic it is, not as some other too perfect, even museum-like, overrun colonial cities you find in Colombia. This village lives as it has in the last decades (century?)
A Bird View With An Antique Cable Car
This small, outdated cable car will take you to a “Mirador” that overhangs the city. From there, the view of the village and the surrounding mountains is stunning. Just seat down at the coffee shop next to the cable car, and enjoy a cup of coffee or a cold beer, watching the postcard-like view of Jardín…
An Area Of Small Fincas
Jardín is situated in the northern part of the Zona Cafetera. The specificity here? Fincas are family owned and of rather small size: approx. 2 to 2.5 hectares, with 8.000 to 10.000 coffee trees, that can be taken care of by a family without hiring extra workforce.
Of course, thanks to the best possible conditions (soil, climate, altitude) and a know-how that is transmitted from generation to generation, you find here the best of the best Colombian coffee. Well, at least this is what is being claimed…
I visited the Finca Milena, and Gustavo, who caters for this Finca with his family, gave us extensive explanations about how coffee is produced. For details, check what we wrote about coffee growing in Salento .
No, It’s Not Just Another Waterfall
I am always careful with those tours to some (unspectacular) waterfalls… Well, Cueva del Esplendor was a spectacular day… And this for several reasons!
- Horseback riding on the small paths up and down the mountains of the Zona Cafeteria was challenging and even, at times, downright scary. No need to go Bungee Jumping here if you like adrenaline-pumping activities!
- The Landscape is really nice, a moment of pure relaxation (when not concentrated on not falling from the damn horse) in total quietness.
- The waterfall within a cave is something quite unique!
Well, after 6 hours (3 for each way) on a horse, I was dead, but happy about a really nice day through the beautiful landscapes of the Zona Cafetera!
A Place For Adrenaline Junkies
Is this all too slow and not exciting enough? Well, you have tons of adrenaline-pumping activities around Jardín, like Paragliding, Rappelling, Canopying, … I haven’t tried them though, but this area might be an alternative to the so popular San Gil…
All In All?
Jardín is an invitation to slow down, relax, and soak in the unique atmosphere of a still quite authentic small Colombian Pueblo…
Have a coffee on the main Plaza. Enjoy some of Colombia’s great fruits. Take a book and read in the shade. Wander around aimlessly until you drop. Take pictures of the many beautiful colonial houses… Venture in the surroundings of Jardín. Whatever! Just slow down, and appreciate… This is what traveling is all about, isn’t it?
This is why Jardín turned into one of my highlights in Colombia and probably in South America!