Not sure what to do in Jardin, Colombia? Worry not.
Jardin, a beautiful Antioquian small town located 4 hours South of the city of Medellin, is a tourist destination that many people skip when traveling in Colombia’s coffee region. However, the word is out and many tourists are now flocking to Jardin for incredible waterfalls, hikes, and exotic caves.
After falling in love with this charming town and spending some considerable time there, we knew we had to share our discoveries with you.
Below we have selected the 15 best things to do in Jardin for your visit and also some tips and information for visiting Jardin.
What To Do In Jardin: 15 Best Things To Do In Jardin, Colombia
Here are some of the best activities in Jardin:
1. Hike To The Hidden Waterfall Chorro Blanco
To be honest, I had never heard of Chorro Blanco until I arrived in Jardin. I can bet almost no travelers have heard of Chorro Blanco before they arrive.
Chorro Blanco is a gigantic waterfall located in a very secluded part of the lush environment in Jardin. It is so hidden that you will not be able to find Chorro Blanco on Google Maps.
But that only piqued our interest. Typically waterfalls are overrun by tourists. If you have visited the waterfalls in Bali Indonesia, you will understand. Chorro Blanco is a waterfall that rarely sees any tourists.
We were pleasantly surprised by Chorro Blanco when we arrived, despite the difficult way to get there. It is how a waterfall should be enjoyed, in isolation and at one with nature. Don’t miss out on Chorro Blanco, it is our favorite thing to do in Jardin.
- How to Get to Chorro Blanco from Jardin?
Getting to Chorro Blanco from Jardin is quite complicated but worth the effort. I have written a completely separate guide for Chorro Blanco here.
Long story short, it will be a full-day activity that can take about 4+ hours of hiking, depending on which route you take.
2. Discover A Waterfall In A Cave At Cueva Del Esplendor
Now Cueva Del Esplendor is the opposite of Chorro Blanco. Before I even arrived in Jardin, I heard from many travelers that you have to see Cueva Del Esplendor when you visit Jardin. It is known as one of the most famous landmarks in Colombia.
Cueva Del Esplendor did not disappoint.
A huge waterfall enters through the opening of the cave, powerful enough to wash away anything in its way. It is no doubt one of the best places to visit in Jardin.
Swimming in the waterfall is possible but be prepared for the freezing water! Or, if you are like me, change into your swimming gear and take a photo by the waterfall.
- How to Get to Cueva Del Esplendor from Jardin?
There are three ways to get to Cueva del Esplendor from Jardin – tour agency, public transport, and mototaxi.
The easiest way is through a tour agency, which you can find easily through one of the tour companies in town. Though we don’t recommend this method because you’ll be sharing the cave with tons of other people, it does mean you don’t need to hike for 4 to 5 hours.
The other option is to take public transport at the bus terminal. The shared jeep takes you quite far up the road but you will have to hike the last 1.5 hours on your own.
The only problem with that is on the way back it will be difficult to find transportation and you might have to hike for 3-4 hours to get back. The way back is mostly downhill and passes through some amazing scenery so it isn’t that bad.
The last option is taking a private taxi (mototaxi). They drop you off at the same place as the Jeeps but you will have flexibility as to when you want to leave. You will have to let the driver know you will be coming back after a few hours so he will wait for you. There is no cell service on the trail.
3. Get A Panoramic View Of Jardin At Cafe Jardin
When you are not hiking or chasing waterfalls, take a break at one of the beautiful cafes called Cafe Jardin.
Cafe Jardin is located up in the mountains of Jardin and in my opinion, is the BEST viewpoint there is in Jardin. Not only will you get a panoramic view of Jardin from above, but you can do that while enjoying some Colombian coffee and sweets at an incredibly cute cafe.
After you are done being amazed by the beauty of Jardin, the “I love Jardin” sign is conveniently located adjacent to Cafe Jardin. Time to tell your Instagram followers you are in Colombia!
- How to Get to Cafe Jardin from Jardin?
There are two options to get there: hike via Cristo Rey or take a mototaxi (tuk tuk).
The first one is to hike via Cristo Rey which takes about 30-45 minutes. The way is entirely uphill. I recommend you to do a loop starting with Cascada La Escalera, then to Cafe Jardin, then Cristo Rey, and finally returning back to Jardin.
The second way to get to Cafe Jardin is through one of the mototaxis in town. You can flag them down and pay a small price for them to take you there.
4. Take A Short Hike To The Double Waterfall Cascada La Escalera
Want to go see some of Jardin’s most beautiful natural wonders but don’t want to hike for hours? Then the waterfall Cascada La Escalera is perfect for you.
Though not as impressive as the waterfalls in Cueva del Esplendor or Chorro Blanco, you get what you paid for (or hiked for). The double waterfall is situated on the side of the path. It isn’t a very high waterfall nor does it have a pool at the bottom, but that doesn’t stop locals from going in for a refreshing soak!
If you come after rainfall, the Cascada La Escalera will be much more impressive.
- How to Get to Cascada La Escalera?
Cascada La Escalera is conveniently located 45 minutes away on foot from the city center of Jardin. Travelers usually stop by Cafe Jardin after visiting Cascada La Escalera to enjoy some delicious snacks and coffee before making the full loop and returning to Jardin.
5. Ride A Wooden Cable Car At La Garrucha
The wooden cable car Garrucha is one of the most iconic attractions in Jardin, if not, all of Colombia. Only in Colombia would you find cable cars that are made out of wood, and no one would find that slightly unnerving.
As far as we know, this wooden cable car is safe and is used by the locals to transport both passengers and goods up to the viewpoint. The cable car ride lasts about 5 minutes but you are flying (slowly) through the banana and plantains trees. It is quite an experience and a unique part of the history of Jardin.
At the top of the cable car, you have a viewpoint where you can see the entirety of Jardin as well as a restaurant where you can get food and drinks.
However, I still much prefer Cafe Jardin over La Garrucha.
- How to Get to the La Garrucha?
To arrive at La Garrucha, you can take the scenic route through Charco Corazon (a cute little river), which will take you about an hour. There is a less scenic hiking trail that is about 30 minutes shorter. Or, you can just get the cable car up to La Garrucha!
6. Check Out The Viewpoint At Cristo Rey
There are plenty of stunning viewpoints in Jardin and Cristo Rey is one of those. The Cristo Rey is a statue of Christ Rey that can be seen anywhere in town. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Jardin.
Besides offering visitors panoramic views of the city, there is a restaurant where you can do it while eating some delicious Colombian dishes.
- How to Get to Cristo Rey?
You can get to Cristo Rey via a 30-minute hike from the city center of Jardin. Though only 30 minutes, the hike is quite steep so come prepared. If you don’t want to hike, there are options to arrive on horseback or a mototaxi as well.
7. Take A Dip At The River Charco Corazon
Charco Corazon is the river that borders the southern border of Jardin. You have the option to swim in several places but just be careful as the river gets quite strong, especially during the rainy season.
Visitors are more than welcome to just walk by and admire its beauty, especially if you are visiting in the winter when Jardin can be cold due to the elevation.
- How to Get to Charco Corazon from Jardin?
It’s a quick 30-minute walk to get to Charco Corazon from the town center of Jardin. Just use my best travel buddy Google maps and it will take you to the right place!
8. See The Basilica Of The Immaculate Conception At Town Center
In every Colombian town, there is an incredible church that stands in the main square of town.
Jardin is no exception.
The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is Jardin’s iconic church in the main plaza. Built by the “sins” of the local people, the church is a beautiful piece of art. The high ceiling inside and the detailed paintings are definitely some things worth checking out.
Not only is it the tallest building in Jardin, but its neo-gothic architecture just commands attention. The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is one of the sights in Jardin!
Luckily for you, it is conveniently located in the main plaza so you can’t miss it!
9. Explore A Man-Made Bat Tunnel
The bat tunnel is a unique thing to do in Jardin. It is a hidden attraction so not many people know about it. But if you ever walked the scenic route to La Garrucha, you will notice this greenish door that doesn’t look like it belongs there.
That is because it doesn’t. The owner of the Bat Tunnel carved the entire thing by himself. (You can call him Batman.) The whole experience is very surreal as he takes you through the cave and shows you all the bats that live inside! Don’t be afraid though, they don’t bite.
The end of the cave leads you to a hidden waterfall!
- How to Get to The Bat Tunnel from Jardin?
The Bat Tunnel is next to the Charco Corazon and on the way to the La Garrucha. Visitors can find the owner of the bat tunnel at the Eco Parque Camino De Piedra!
10. Visit A Coffee Farm
Jardin is situated inside Colombia’s famous coffee triangle, which means there are plenty of excellent coffee farms in the vicinity. Most of the coffee plantations in Colombia are quite small and privately owned.
For visitors, they offer tours that showcase the entire coffee-making process – from planting to tasting.
One of the best coffee farms near Jardin is Finca La Florida. It is situated a short 10-15 minute tuk-tuk ride out of town. As some of the best places to visit in Colombia, don’t leave without going to a coffee farm!
Want a tour guide to take you around and provide you with more information?
Check out our recommended coffee tour here!
11. Go Have a Cup of Coffee in the Main Square
The main square of Jardin is the liveliest part of town. In the center, it is a beautiful green park that is often full of locals out to enjoy Jardin’s beautiful weather, children having a good time, and the town’s main church.
On the perimeter of the main plaza are some of the most authentic coffee shops you will find. Many locals come and spend an afternoon here, just enjoying a tinto (an iconic Colombian long black coffee) and people-watching.
For tourists, the cafes in the main square are the perfect place to try some Colombian coffee and observe the local life! (Just don’t expect any spectacular coffee because all the good ones are exported for more money.)
12. Go Horseback Riding
If there is one place to go horseback riding, it is Jardin’s and its beautiful countryside. Going on foot might be a little bit too exhausting, simply because there is so much nature to explore in Jardin.
Horseback riding allows you to take in the expansive and lush views this region of Colombia is known for, minus the sweat and exertion.
13. Go Bird-Watching At Reserva Natural Jardin de Rocas
Located on the outskirts of town is Reserva Natural Jardin de Rocas, one of the best places in Jardin to see Gallitos de Rocas (the Andean cock-of-the-rock). It is widely recognized as the national bird of Peru.
The Gallitos de Rocas most identifiable feature is the difference between the male and female. In the male, the bird has a large crest with a bright orange head. The tail and wings are all black. On the contrary, the females are a lot less flashy with a smaller crest and an overall brown color.
The natural reserve has multiple platforms designed to optimize your bird-watching experience. If you plan on visiting, we recommend doing it during the sunset as they are the most active.
Also, be aware that the opening hours for the Reserva Natural Jardin de Rocas are very flexible. Make sure you double-check before visiting.
14. Visit the Dulces del Jardin Dessert Shop
For anyone with a sweet tooth, then the Dulces de Jardin Dessert Shop is a must-visit. Built in 2002, this is one of the oldest shops in Jardin. Everything is made in-house, and visitors will find some of the best marmalade, dulce de leche (our favorite), fruit curds, and traditional sweets in town.
Of course, you will also find yourself a nice coffee to go with all this!
Besides having incredible sweets, this shop is extremely photogenic. Every corner is an Instagram opportunity with its colorful tiles and hanging plant pots. Along with its cozy atmosphere, it is the perfect place to hang out and relax for a few hours!
15. Go to a Trucheria (Trout Farm) and Try Fresh Trout
Thanks to the numerous trout farms in the coffee region, one of the most popular dishes to try in Jardin is trout. The pure water from the streams rolling down the side of Colombia’s lush mountains is used in these trout farms, so the quality of the trouts is incredible.
Many trout farms offer visitors the opportunity to fish their own fish, a unique and fun activity, especially for the kids. After they’ve been caught, you can have them prepared in many different ways. Our favorite is just trucha frita, which is fried trout.
The dish doesn’t need much, as the trout is just so fresh!
We recommend checking out La Trucheria, a trout farm located around 10 to 15 away from the center of Jardin by tuk tuk.
Jardin Colombia Attractions Map
Located above is a map of all the best things to do in Jardin, Colombia. As you can see, not all of the attractions are located in the city. In fact, some like Chorro Blanco and Cueva Del Esplendor are located quite far away.
Using this map, we hope that you are able to plan out how many days you are going to be staying in Jardin. To see all of its main attractions, we recommend staying around 3 days. Every one of these three days will involve some sort of hiking, so free feel to stay longer if you wish to space out the hikes.
Make sure you click the start next to the name of the map to save it onto your own personal device.
Jardin is a charming sleepy town (very much like Salento or Barichara). Beautiful colonial buildings and charming cobblestone streets dot the small walkable town. It is not hard to spend quite a few days in Jardin, Colombia!
Where To Stay In Jardin, Colombia
Best Hostel In Jardin – Creo Ecolodge Jardin
If you are visiting Jardin, chances are, you want to enjoy the pristine nature this charming town has to offer. There is no better place to do so (affordably) than Creo Ecolodge Jardin.
Located 2 kilometers away from the center of Jardin, the hostel is situated in the most gorgeous setting in Antiquoia. Wake up to sweeping views and a complimentary breakfast to start your day, then go to bed every night listening to nature’s tune. The hostel is also environmentally friendly and sustainable, so what is there not to love?
(Just keep in mind that the hostel is located a ~30-minute walk from the center of town, but you can always take a cheap mototaxi to get there.)
Best Hotel In Jardin – Casa Passiflora Hotel Boutique
With the quality of a luxury hotel, it is surprised that Casa Passiflora Hotel Boutique offers such high quality at a low price. Everything from the interior decor of the hotel to its friendly staff is just perfect. Did I mention the gorgeous courtyard with the exciting whirlpool?
Where To Eat In Jardin, Colombia
Jardin is situated in the Antioquia Department of Colombia, the same as the touristy city of Medellin. So if you want to try some typical Antioquian food such as Bandeja Paisa, you will have plenty of chances to do so in Jardin. Here are some of the restaurants in Jardin we recommend!
- Bon Appetit – For some strange reason, Jardin is full of excellent Italian restaurants. Yes, we said we would show you some Colombian food, but the pasta from Bon Appetit is some of the best I’ve ever had in my life!
- La Parrilla De Mi Pueblo – Translating to “The Grill of My Grandfather”, La Parrilla De Mi Pueblo is one of the best local Colombian restaurants in Jardin. Visit during the afternoon, get the menu of the day (menu del dia) and you will be rewarded with big portions, great taste and affordable prices.
- Donde Andrés Restaurante – A cheap restaurant serving home-cooked food, Donde Andrés Restaurante is where the locals go for a good menu of the day. One of their best dishes is the trout (trucha), so make sure you try it if you get the chance!
How To Get To Jardin, Colombia?
Jardin is situated on the hillside of the Antioquia Department, meaning that it isn’t the easiest to get to, especially since Jardin doesn’t have its own airport. If you are a tourist in Colombia, the best cities to come from are Medellin or Salento.
you can take a direct bus from Terminal del Sur to Jardin. Terminal Sur isn’t connected by Medellin’s amazing metro, so you will have to take a taxi or Uber. The journey takes about 4 hours.
There is no direct bus to Jardin from Salento or vice versa. Your best bet is to take a bus to Rio Sucio, and then make a switch to Jardin.
The bus to Rio Sucio departs early in the morning, so it is a whole-day endeavor to get to Jardin. There is only one bus that departs for Rio Sucio per day and its time varies. Make sure you go to the bus station one day earlier to get your bus ticket!
How Many Days To Stay In Jardin?
Anyone planning a Colombia itinerary must wonder how many days to stay in Jardin. After staying nearly a week there, we can guarantee you that 3 full days is more than enough.
Jardin is a small town and requires less than a few hours to walk around. The only reason why a few days is needed is to see the natural wonders around Jardin such as waterfalls and caves.
One full day should be spent at Cueva del Esplendor. Another one should be spent hiking to the various viewpoints near Jardin (such as Cafe Jardin and Garrucha). A third day is optimal for just relaxing and exploring the town. There are some nice restaurants in town.
There are plenty of hikes to do around Jardin, so feel free to stay longer if that is something you enjoy!
Jardin Colombia FAQs
Is Jardin Safe?
While Colombia doesn’t exactly have a good reputation when it comes to safety, Jardin Colombia is very safe. Because it is a small town where all the locals know each other, crime is very low. However, when you are exploring the hiking trails, you might run into some aggressive dogs.
Is Jardin Colombia Worth Visiting?
Jardin Colombia is definitely worth visiting and in fact one of our favorite places in Colombia. The colonial town is charming and is surrounded by incredible natural wonders from waterfalls to caves and great hiking trails.
What Is Jardin Colombia Known For?
Jardin is known for its lush landscape that surrounds a beautiful colonial town dating back to the 1800s. It is one of Colombia’s so-called Pueblos Patrimonio, or “Heritage Town” in English. If you are into nature and activities like hiking, chasing waterfalls, or just relaxing in a small mountainous town, then Jardin is perfect for you. Plus, it is inside Colombia’s coffee triangle, so there is great coffee!
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Those are the 15 best things to do in Jardin Colombia. I really hope you get to do at least a few of the popular ones.
As we said, Jardin was our favorite town in Colombia so we hope you enjoyed or will enjoy it!
If you have any questions, leave a comment or contact us via email!
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