Jardin came up a few times during conversations with locals when asking them for recommendations of nearby towns to visit. Normally, you'll hear about
Guatape, but once in a while Jardin will come up. It got me curious enough to check it out.
Jardin is located south of Medellin, about 3 to 3.5 hours by bus. Though I was told that if you drive you can get there in about 2 hours.
To get there by bus, go to the South Terminal (
Terminal del Sur) near the Poblado metro station and look for the bus companies Rapido Ochoa or Transporte Sureste Antioqueño. The bus fare is 18,000 COP each way. Depending on the schedule, you may get a bigger bus or a van. The bigger buses have more leg room.
Get a window seat (
ventana) if you can as the views on the way there, through the mountains, is beautiful. I went on a Saturday and there was a bicycle race going on. So the trip that was supposed to take 3 hours took around 4 hours as we were pretty much moving at the pace of the cyclists for some time. Apparently, cycling is the second most popular sport here in Colombia (after soccer, of course).
We arrived in town close to 2pm. I walked around a little bit and ended up in the main plaza. It's probably one of the nicest plazas I've seen in Colombia. There's a fountain, church, and many restaurants with outdoor seating around. This is a pretty common setup here. The gothic-style church really stood out.
I thought about looking for a hotel and spend the night here. I stopped by a couple of hotels and both were full. This town is really popular on the weekends it seems. So I decided to just continue exploring the town and saw a cable car going up a nice-looking viewpoint. I headed out that way and paid the 5,000 COP (around $2) roundtrip ticket.
At the top, there's a cafe/restaurant where you can grab seats giving you a beautiful view of the entire town of Jardin. Behind the restaurant, you can also hike up further if you like. I just had a cappuccino here for 2,000 COP (for 1,000 COP more they'll add liquor to it). The main thing you'll notice is how big the church is, especially compared to the size of the entire town. It takes up an entire block. Seeing that the town is really small, I decided to just leave the same day, taking the last bus at 5pm, giving me a couple more hours to explore the town.
From what I heard, there's a cave you can visit outside the town, around a 3-hour walk. I also met an American couple and they told me they're looking to go horseback riding and there's apparently a coffee farm you can visit as well. I also saw people paragliding.
Jardin seems to be a more popular destination for Colombians, didn't see many non-Colombian tourists here. I was chatting with the guy maintaining the cable car and he told me weekends here is always busy, all year round. I was also chatting with a Colombian family on the way down in the cable car who live in Medellin and they told me they're there just for the day to celebrate their mom's birthday.
I walked around a little bit more then just hung out in the plaza, watching people and enjoying the breeze until my bus' scheduled departure. It was a short stop but definitely worth a visit. Doable in one day, even if you plan to do the trip to the cave, but you'll have to leave early.