Jardin Colombia: An Incredible Weekend From Medellin

The small town of Jardin Colombia has nudged its way into the tourist trail by way of its colorful colonial architecture and proximity to Medellin.

But it’s the outdoor attractions, such as hiking to Cueva del Esplendor, visiting a coffee farm, birding, and paragliding, that keep travelers engaged.

Chances are somewhere along your travels in Colombia, you’ve been told you must visit Jardin Colombia.

But you probably have more questions. How long should you stay in Jardin? Is Jardin a day trip from Medellin? What are the best things to do in Jardin?

I definitely recommend spending at least two nights in Jardin Antioquia. Since it takes three and a half hours to take a bus from Medellin to Jadin, a day trip would only allow you to see the town itself. And as a result, you’d miss out on so much that the area has to offer.

As a slow traveler, I spent one week here, splitting my time between a farmhouse about one mile (uphill!) from the center of town and a hotel just a few blocks from the main square.

Keep reading to discover everything there is to do in this intriguing Colombian town.

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21 Best Things to Do in Jardin Colombia

There are a surprising number of things to do in Jardin Colombia, especially if you’re a coffee enthusiast or nature lover.

But don’t let this list of the 21 best things to do in Jardin intimate you. Several of these things to do can be combined into one day.

1. Hike to Cueva del Esplendor

If you’re a nature lover, you will thoroughly enjoy a guided hike to Cueva del Esplendor, or Cave of Splendor. Now limited to 40 visitors per day, you can only access the cave by paying a fee for entrance and a guide.

While technically you don’t need to hire a tour, it’s the easiest way to get to the access point unless you’re keen on walking a few miles up to the mountain before you start the hike.

After a scenic one-hour Willy Jeep ride through the landscape surrounding Jardin, everyone on the tour had properly bonded and we set off for the hike.

We stopped at a traditional rural Antioquian house which acts as a pit stop to refuel and a way to control the daily visitors. After being served a snack of chocolo (a sweet arepa) with cheese and cafe con panela we took off for the entrance to the hike.

The sweeping valley views disappeared as we started down the trail. Enveloped by tropical plants, the humidity noticeably increased and all the plants became a rich, vibrant green. A cable handrail proved useful during slippery parts of the trek and I certainly recommend wearing good shoes, even better if they can get wet.

At one point we crossed a small stream that required taking off your shoes and socks. Again, the cable provided assurance as the cold water passed over our feet and ankles. At the entrance to the cave, we were greeted by large rock walls covered with small plants flourishing in a mist of water falling over the rock face. It was beautiful.

Then as I turned towards the cave, my eyes met with a column of water streaming through the opening at the top, into the pool below. The sound of the water, amplified by the rock walls was powerful. It is then that I realized its splendor. 

2. Visit a Coffee Farm Near Jardin Antioquia

The region of Antioquia is one of several areas in Colombia known for coffee. You really can’t visit Colombia without learning about coffee production. And what better place than a coffee farm in Jardin?

When you book this Jardin coffee farm tour, you’ll visit a traditional coffee farm to learn about the history of Colombian coffee, explore a day in the life of a coffee farmer, and taste a delicious cup of Colombian coffee.

Go Birding in Jardin Colombia

The lush landscape of the rolling hills surrounding Jardin makes it a haven for tropical birds. Keep your eyes and ears open for a sighting anytime you are hiking. If you don’t have a lot of birding skills (ie. patience!), there are two easy places to see striking birds in Jardin.

3. Reserva Natural Jardín de Rocas

On the edge of town, by the river is a forested ravine – the perfect habitat for the Andean Cock of the Rock. Living throughout the Andes mountains of South America, it is perhaps one of the most recognizable birds because of its dazzling orange-red color and fan-shaped crest.

A Cock of the Rock bird, perched on a branch. His red-orange fan shaped crest with eyes on either side make him noticeable under the canopy.

A woman that lives at the edge of the ravine built viewing platforms and opens her yard to inquisitive guests for a few hours each morning and afternoon. After reading about it, most people concur that the best time to visit is in the afternoon. Immediately upon arriving I could hear the call of the male birds and spotted their bright plumage.

4. Mi Jardin Encantado

With a love of plants, cacti, and other succulents, the owners of Mi Jardin Encantado (My Enchanted Garden) have planted an array of fruit trees, orchids, and other tropical plants at their home just outside of the town.

They also set out fresh fruit on several simple platforms to attract nearby birds. You can book a stay at their home or simply visit for a short time during the day. Unfortunately, I found out about this place too late to visit, but it gets rave reviews.

Send an Email or WhatsApp: +57 312-845-3628 or +57 312-607-9336

5. Go Horseback Riding in Jardin Antioquia

After a couple of days in Jardin Colombia, you’ll quickly realize this is a small town that mostly revolves around nature, coffee, and horses. And the verdant hills of Antioquia are the perfect place to explore by horseback.

When you book this affordable horseback riding tour in Jardin, you’ll have an opportunity to explore three other things to do in Jardin that made this list. The first stop is the viewpoint of Cristo Rey which delivers sweeping views of the town below.

Then you’ll have lunch at a trout farm before continuing to Cascada La Escalera – one of many waterfalls near Jardin. All in all, it’s a great way to explore several activities in Jardin in a half day.

6. Discover the Architecture of Jardin

Jardin is the type of small town in Colombia where visitors are perfectly content to simply wander the streets, admiring the colors and detail in the architecture, the flowers, and the day-to-day life.

Put the map away and just wander, taking in the sites of colorful doors, balconies filled with flowers, and windows decorated with hand-painted wooden cutouts.

Once you’ve had your fill, enjoy a tinto or beer in the main square while you people watch. The color of the tables and chairs correspond to the cafe to which they belong. Have a seat and someone should be with you shortly.

7. Relax in the Main Square With a Tinto

With its colorful tables and chairs and sweet little garden, the main square in Jardin is likely a place you’ll find yourself returning to again and again.

Whether you sit in the square to people watch or sip a cup of tinto, it’s a great place to relax and absorb the slow vibes of Jardin.

8. Admire the Main Church in Jardin Colombia

While you can find a beautiful church in the center of just about every town in Colombia, Antioquia in particular is quite religious.

With its two bell towers that flank each side of the church, you really can’t miss The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Jardin.

The outside of the church is a two-tone brick with grey spirals at the top of the bell towers and several statues.

But it’s the inside that really stood out to me. The ceiling is painted a bright turquoise with gold accents, very similar to one of my favorite churches in Jerico Colombia.

9. Spend the Afternoon at Mirador la Herrerita

I know what you’re thinking. This list of the best things to do in Jardin is loaded with places to go for views of the town.

But once you get a glimpse, you’ll understand why. Jardin Antioquia is one of the most picturesque places I visited in Colombia.

Mirador la Herrerita is one of the latest places to take advantage of the stunning views. They also have a net to sit on that is perfectly perched over the coffee and banana fields below.

Tip: Arrive in the morning or evening if you want to take full advantage of the surrounding nature and do some bird watching.

10. Ride the Cable Car

The yellow wooden slate cable car transporting passengers between the town and the mountain.

As the single 10-horsepower motor turns, this self-made cable car rises from town, above a valley of verdant banana trees. Turn around for lovely views of the town from afar. It’s a short but scenic three-minute ride from the edge of Jardin to the Serranias neighborhood.

A view from inside the cable car looking out over the cables and banana field below

The cable car was built by Jardin resident, Alejandro Velez, in 1995 as a way to get from his house to town more quickly. It became a convenient mode of transportation for those in the area, thus it was opened up to residents and tourists. There is a small cafe at the top where you can order coffee, beer, and snacks. I recommend riding the car up and if you feel like it taking the short walk down to town.

📍 Map Location
📆 Hours: Mon – Fri 9:30-12:30 and 1:30-6:00, Sat and Sun 9:30-7:00
💵 Cost: 8,000 pesos round trip

11. Go Paragliding in Jardin

If you’ve been wanting to try paragliding, Colombia is a fantastic place to get off the ground!

And paragliding over the Andes mountains surrounding Jardin Antioquia proved to be a great warm-up to Chicamocha Canyon near San Gil, another place you should definitely plan to go paragliding.

In Jardin, I chose La Tienda de Parapente because of their great reviews. And they did not disappoint.

The guides are experienced and the entire operation is professional. After meeting at their shop, four of us plus two guides rode in a jeep to the top of the mountain.

After setting up the equipment, we took off for the skies in groups of two, each gliding for over 20 minutes (air time varies based on the weather).

I was lucky to be in the second group since we descended into the town of Jardin (the first group returned by Jeep). As we lowered into town, views turned from hidden jungle waterfalls to the colorful houses, main square, and church of Jardin that I admired throughout the week. As we got closer, my guide checked in and determined I was ready for a few tricks. 

He tested playing with the thermals, sending us into light spins and as I approved, he continued. Throughout the flight, I could tell he loves his job and took care of each client into his hands. It’s an experience I highly recommend, even if it means cooking at home an extra night to keep things within budget.

📍 Map Location
📆 Hours: 2-3 hours, starting with paperwork at the office.
💵 Cost: 110,000 pesos, plus 20,000 pesos to rent their GoPro (bring a usb to transfer)

Note: I’ve since seen many people bring their own camera. For my first go-round, I didn’t want to worry about anything so I paid the extra money to rent a camera. Luckily in Jardin, the guide let me hold it myself so I could shoot the scenery and not just selfie mode.

12. Go Canyoning at Cascada La Escalera

Adventure lovers will want to put canyoning La Escalera waterfall at the top of the list of things to do in Jardin. When you book this canyoning tour in Jardin, instructions and all of the gear you need is included in the price.

After meeting at the main office, you’ll walk for about 45 minutes together until you reach Cascada La Escalera.

Then your guide will provide safety instructions and descent techniques as well as safety equipment. After a further 10-minute hike to the top, you’ll begin the canyoning adventure.

13. Study Spanish in Jardin Colombia

If you’ve always wanted to improve your Spanish skills, consider spending an extra week in Jardin to study Spanish. The tranquil environment is the perfect location to focus on your studies.

And Jardin is lucky to have Alejandra, a native Colombian woman who also speaks Spanish, French, and English. When you book this 4-day Spanish immersion program, she’ll customize Spanish instruction based on your level and what you want to learn.

The program includes a room to stay, breakfast each morning, and a few excursions so that you can explore Jardin. Alejandra will also set up a time to meet with locals so that you can practice your Spanish with a variety of Spanish speakers.

My partner and I took a week of Spanish lessons with Alejandra at Hablea and it was AMAZING! Each lesson with her she took us to a new place in Jardín, which was so helpful when you are travelling. After our week of lessons we finished off with a coffee tour at a local coffee farm. It was the best coffee tour I have taken. The family was friendly and knowledgeable.

– Viator Review (Read More Reviews)

14. Participate in a Temazcal Ceremony

This ancient steam ritual is rooted in spirituality, giving you a unique experience to relax, rejuvenate, and connect with yourself more deeply. 

While I’m more familiar with temazcal ceremonies in Mexico, the misty mountains of Jardin are the perfect setting to experience this beautiful ceremony.

To schedule a temazcal, you can contact Luis and Monica via WhatsApp +57 322 763 5859

15. Eat a Trout Lunch at a Trucheria in Jardin

The fresh rivers that flow from the lush mountains in Antioquia give life to the numerous trout farms in the area. And because the mountain water is so pure, this is some of the freshest trout you can eat.

I recommend eating lunch at one of the many trucherias located in the mountains surrounding Jardin. With some planning, you can fit a trout lunch between many other activities.

At many trucherias, you can opt to catch your own trout and have it prepared as you’d like or simply order your preferred preparation from the menu.

As far as my favorite way to have it prepared? Well, you can rarely go wrong with fried trout, although I also enjoy it cooked with garlic and butter.

16. Take in the Views from Mirador Cristo Rey

Several small towns in Colombia have a statue of Christ positioned on a hillside overlooking the town, including Villa de Leyva, Jerico, and of course Jardin Antioquia.

More of a draw than the statue itself is the stunning views from above. There are several viewpoints overlooking Jardin Colombia, but this one is relatively close. And if you don’t feel like hiking you can even take a tuk tuk there for about 15, 000 COP.

Two trails will take you to Mirador Cristo Rey. The most direct route is also the steepest and could be quite muddy if it rains. It takes about an hour and starts at Calle 11 con Carrera 2.

The other path starts at Calle 13 con Carrera 2 and takes about 90 minutes, though it is a bit easier. If you decide to take this route, you’ll want to stay left at both the forks and then take a left turn when the road ends.

There is a restaurant at the Mirador Cristo Rey, although I recommend either going to Cafe Jardin (see next) or sweeping around to one of the trout restaurants nearby (see previous).

17. Sip a Cup of Coffee at Cafe Jardin

If you can’t get enough of the mountain views surrounding Jardin, hike further past the Mirador Cristo Rey to Cafe Jardin. 

This small cafe features stunning views and delicious coffee prepared in various ways. It’s also the location of the instagrammable sign with a large red heart and the word Jardín.

18. Eat Sweets at Dulces del Jardín

If you like sweets, you are in luck! This family run sweet shop and cafe has been serving Jardin for over 20 years. They have a cafe on site with a few snacks, sweets, and of course coffee. It’s a great place to buy some gifts from the wall of various arequipes (Colombia’s name for dulce de leche), natural honey, cookies, candies and jams made from fresh local fruits. In fact, you are encouraged to try before you buy.

Plants in colorful pots hang on the wall in front of the cafe at Dulces del Jardin

19. Visit Cascada del Amor

From Dulces de Jardin, find the path labeled Camino de la Herrera (Calle 13 y Carrera 6) which takes you through a cobblestone path and towards Cascada del Amor, or Waterfall of Love. It’s an easy walk, which is good since the waterfall is a simple yet beautiful stream flowing down the rock face. Continue past the waterfall and over the bridge to the swimming holes, Charcos Corazón (see next).

Past the bridge to the right is the main swimming area and Charco Corazón Restaurante. On my visit, these pools were churned up with sediment so I followed others back to the left side of the bridge where the water was much more clear for swimming. The landscape of this area is also more interesting as pools tier from one to another with several areas to rest along the side of the river.

20. Take A Dip At Charco Corazon

Just past Cascada del Amor is the appropriately named Charco Corazon. This river flows south of Jardin and forms an area to swim with large rocks. It’s a local swimming hole with quite refreshing (read: cold) water.

While there are several areas to swim, you’ll want to be careful here as the current can be strong during the rainy season. Since I’m not a fan of cold water, I sat on the rocks listening to the flowing river and used the time to rest, relax, and contemplate my travels to Jardin.

21. Cueva de los Murcielagos

After you swim at Charco Corazon, continue the road south, past the curve to the cave of bats. You know you’ve reached it when you see a bright turquoise door.

For 10 000 COP an older gentleman will show you the cave and waterfall. The cave has become a haven for bats which you can see up close.

While there isn’t a ton to see here, it’s inexpensive and the gentleman makes the experience. Plus I love supporting quirky projects like this.

Where to Stay in Jardin

The popularity of this town has exploded in the past few years and so have the places to stay in Jardin.

Many Jardin hotels and hostels are conveniently located in the small town, which is great if you’re only staying in Jardin for a few days.

Otherwise, you may prefer to stay in a rural hotel in Jardin with breathtaking views overlooking the town.

I’ve included my top three places to stay in Jardin below. Continue reading for my other top Jardin hostels and hotels.

Best Places to Stay in Jardin – Quick View

Passiflora Boutique Hotel ($$$$) – Luxury hotel with garden and jacuzzi in a great location.
Gulupa Ecolodge ($$$) – Ecolodge tucked into the mountains with gorgeous views and included breakfast.
40 Amigos Hotel ($$) – Modern rooms and ensuite bathrooms at a fabulous rate.
Sgt Pepperts Hostel Jardin ($) – Social hostel in a great location. Perfect for solo travelers.

Jardin Hotels

If you’re specifically looking for a centrally located Jardin hotel, these are the top three in a range of budgets.

Casa Passiflora Boutique Hotel

If you’re looking for a luxury hotel in Jardin for an affordable rate, you’ll want to book a room at Casa Passiflora Hotel.

The traditional building features spacious rooms with private bathrooms and air conditioning. But it’s the relaxing garden and hot tub that bring this boutique hotel over the top.

Guests rave about the friendly staff, great location, and fabulous included breakfast.

Hotel Plantación

This is a sustainable hotel in Jardin that features modern rooms with rich colors. Some rooms at Hotel Plantación feature a terrace or balcony with fabulous views.

The location is great – a short walk from the center but removed from the noise. Guests love the emphasis on sustainability, delicious vegan breakfast, and hot tea selection.

40 Amigos Hotel

Featuring modern rooms with ensuite bathrooms, this budget hotel in Jardin is a fantastic value.

Located about a 10 minute walk from the center of Jardin, 40 Amigos Hotel is in a quiet location. With included breakfast and welcoming staff, this is one of the best places to stay in Jardin on a budget.

TIP: If you’re looking for peace and quiet but still want to stay at a hotel in Jardin town, avoid a hotel or hostel directly on the main square. While the balcony overlooking the square is enjoyable during the day, it can become noisy at night, especially during the weekends.

Rural Hotels in Jardin

Gulupa Ecolodge

Tucked into the mountains north of Jardin, this eco lodge is a true paradise. When you book a room at Gulupa Ecolodge, you’ll wake up to the sounds of the birds, surrounded by nature.

Keep in mind, this rural Jardin hotel is best accessed by car or tuk tuk. But the stunning views and peaceful environment are worth it.

Cabañas Filo de Oro

Tucked into the coffee and banana plants, these beautiful cabins are a great place to stay for groups and those that want privacy.

Named after the mountain in which they are located, Cabañas Filo de Oro include a hammock on the balcony with breathtaking views of Jardin and the surroundings.

This is the place to be if you want to relax in your own rural apartment with a private kitchen.

Best Hostels in Jardin

If you’re a solo traveler or looking for an inexpensive place to stay in Jardin, a hostel may be your best bet.

I’ve included two of the best hostels in Jardin below. The best one for you will depend if you prefer to be in the town or just outside.

Sgt Pepper’s Hostel Jardin

This is a traditional house turned affordable hostel in the heart of town. Shared and private rooms are located upstairs with a balcony overlooking the central courtyard.

When you book a room at Sgt Pepper’s Hostel in Jardin, breakfast is included in the rate. This is a great location for solo travelers.

Ayahuasca Casa Artística

This Jardin hostel is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a community feel with beautiful mountain views.

Located about one mile outside of town, Ayahuasca Casa Artistica features large balconies with hammocks and incredible artwork adorning the walls.

Activities at this hostel in Jardin include free salsa lessons, movie nights, and campfires.

Restaurants in Jardin

Like places to stay, the restaurant options in Jardin have expanded as well. There are a few traditional places to eat such as Restaurante Gloria, which was always packed with locals. But there’s also an opportunity in Jardin to take a break from traditional Colombian food. I thoroughly enjoyed an incredibly flavorful vegetarian lunch at Destino Silvestre. I also recommend the delicious, thin pizzas at Café Europa, the pressed sandwiches at Cafe Habana, or Las Brazzas – a reasonably priced restaurant specializing in flavorful meat.

Medellin to Jardin by Bus

Leaving Terminal del Sur, buses regularly travel from Medellin to Jardin beginning around 5 am until 6 or 7 pm. Between 8:30 and 3, the buses are more frequent (leaving every couple of hours).  It will take three to four hours depending on the stops along the way. The bus station in Jardin is located in the center of town, making it easy to walk to most accommodations. There are also tuk tuks for hire.

If you are headed back to Medellin, you’ll find regular bus schedules for return. However, if you are going to another small town from Jardin, such as Salento or Jerico, I recommend checking the bus schedule ahead of time. You may even need to buy a ticket one or two days in advance.

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Along the hike to Cueva del Esplendor with text overlay.
A colorful Chiva bus with the words Jardin across the top and text overlay.