Colombia is one of the most beautiful countries in Latin America. However, some towns get more spotlight than others.
But what we have found, is that the ones that don’t get as much attention are often the most charming. Jardin is one of those hidden gems.
Since you won’t find as many blogs or articles written about the town, we wanted to give you some must-know tips before visiting Jardin. Let’s get started!
What to Know About Jardin, Colombia
As if it was created with a paintbrush, this small town located in the Antioquia department is distinguished by its well-kept houses with colorful facades, its streets full of flowers, and the tranquility that characterizes it.
After Colombia’s dark times of violence and drug trafficking in the 80s and 90s, the idyllic landscape of Jardin quickly began to attract national and international tourists.
However, it still doesn’t get the attention that it deserves compared to places like Guatape and Salento. Sure, Jardin doesn’t have El Penon or the Cocora Valley, but what it still holds is an authentic Colombian experience.
Since it is authentic and still colonial there are a few things you should know before visiting. Keep reading for our 12 tips for visiting Jardin!
1. There Isn’t an Airport in Jardin
You may have guessed, but since Jardin is such a small town, there isn’t an airport. Some pueblos like Salento, have a nearby airport in a neighboring city that can be used to fly in and out.
But Jardin is deep into the Andes so the only way to get there is by car or bus. The drive from Medellin takes about 4-5 hours, and from Bogota, it’s a 10-12 hour journey.
This could be one of the reasons that the town doesn’t get as much tourism. However, this also makes it the perfect place to disconnect and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
2. Cash Only Establishments
You will spend a lot of time finding a restaurant or cafe that takes cards because the vast majority are cash only.
There are a few places in the center of town that do take cards but be prepared to have cash on hand for things like taxis, souvenirs, and tipping.
Although Jardin is known for its flowers, there aren’t many ATMs around either. There is a Banco with an ATM at Parque Principal that you can use.
However, we highly recommend bringing plenty of cash upon arrival. It’s not fun realizing that you don’t have enough money to buy lunch because all the places only take cash.
3. Coffee, Cerveza, and Aguardiente
Not sure why, but one of the coolest things about Jardin is the locals hanging around the plaza. In the morning you will see groups of men (and sometimes women) sitting around drinking coffee and chatting.
As the day goes on, some switch to Club Colombia beer, and by nighttime, most are sipping aguardiente. Aguardiente is a sugarcane liquor that is popular in Colombia. It tastes like vodka with a black licorice aftertaste.
However, drinking coffee never stops and neither do the groups of people. It’s a great place to sit and people watch or even strike up a conversation with a local.
We highly recommend trying the coffee when visiting Jardin because it is some of the best in Colombia. If you’re not a coffee drinker, no worries! There are plenty of fruit juices and agua de panela to try.
4. There is One Main Mercado
Like our 8 tips for visiting Salento, Jardin only has one main mercado located at the plaza. You will still find mini-markets throughout the town but for supplies, you will need to head to the mercado.
Here you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses as well as some household items. It’s a great place to buy lunch because they have a section with prepared foods.
Don’t expect it to be like a Walmart though. The mercado is small and only has the essentials. If you need anything else, you may need to wait until you get back to the city.
5. Few Cafes Have Wifi
If you are a digital nomad and were hoping to set up shop in a cafe with wifi, you may be disappointed. We only found a handful of cafes with wifi in Jardin and most were located in the plaza.
The good news is that Jardin is a great place to disconnect and take a break from technology. However, if you must stay connected, make sure to ask about wifi before you order.
Even if your Airbnb or hotel has Wifi, it may be spotty or non-existent in certain areas.
6. Take Advantage of Tuk-Tuk’s
Tuk-tuk’s or moto-taxis is one of the best ways to get to places outside of Jardin. If you want to check out a restaurant with a view then flag down one of these guys.
While most of Jardin is walkable, if you have a lot of luggage or groceries, it may be worth it to take a tuk-tuk.
Tuk-tuks are inexpensive and are a dime a dozen in Jardin. You can even find them roaming around the plaza or parked near popular restaurants.
If you want to take a tour of the coffee farms, there are plenty of tuk-tuk drivers that will point you in the right direction.
It’s always a good idea to get their Whatsapp number so they can pick you up when you’re ready to go back to your Airbnb or hotel.
7. Wide Variety of Cuisines in Jardin
Even though it is a town of 10,000 people, Jardin has a surprisingly wide variety of cuisines. While most of the restaurants are Colombian, you can also find Italian, Thai, and American Food.
Don’t believe us? We have listed the best restaurants in Jardin in our previous article. You will be quite surprised how good the non-Colombian food is!
Plus, the food is inexpensive and made by friendly locals. What more could you ask for?
8. Tap Water in Jardin is Safe to Drink
Like Medellin, the water in Jardin is safe to drink. This is great news for budget travelers because you don’t have to spend money on water bottles.
Of course, if you are not used to the taste of Colombian tap water, then you may want to stick to bottled water. But for those who are glad to save a few pesos, go ahead and fill up your water bottle at the sink.
9. Jardin is a Safe Place to Visit
While anywhere is safe if you use common safety precautions, Jardin is especially safe. We never felt like we were in danger while walking around or taking public transportation.
Plus, Jardin has a strong presence of police so you can always flag one down if you need help. We never had any problems in Jardin and we felt very safe the entire time.
Of course, don’t leave your valuables out in the open or walk around with a wad of cash in your pocket. But other than that, you should have no problem enjoying your time visiting Jardin.
10. When it Rains it Pours in Jardin
If you visit Jardin during the spring or summer then expect rain. And when it rains in Jardin, it pours. The good news is that the rain usually doesn’t last too long.
You will quickly see, that the plaza is the center of social life in Jardin. When it rains, everyone runs for cover in the bars and cafes.
Since the rain is short-lived, it’s not long before people are out and about again. Being higher in elevation, expect cool nights year-round so bring a jacket even if it’s summertime.
11. Don’t Pet the Stray Dogs
Really, you shouldn’t pet stray dogs anywhere you go. In Jardin, there are stray dogs everywhere.
Even though they are strays, there are some that are almost impossible to not want to pet.
While most of the dogs in Jardin are timid and will run away if you approach them, some may be more aggressive.
However, the real risk is getting fleas onto your clothing. You will not only get bug bites but you will bring them into your bedding.
For that reason, it’s best to just admire them from afar.
12. Limited Parking
If you rent a car from Medellin then be aware that parking can be difficult to find in Jardin. The cobblestone streets are narrow and there are very few parking spots.
You may have to circle the block a few times before you find a spot. Once you do find one, be prepared to walk a bit because Jardin is not a car-friendly town.
You are better off seeing if your hotel or Airbnb has parking. If not, just leave your car in Medellin and take public transportation to Jardin. You will save yourself a lot of headaches.
Expect a Great Time in Jardin
With these tips in mind, you are sure to have a great time visiting Jardin. This quaint little town is the perfect place to relax and enjoy all that Colombia has to offer.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Jardin today!’
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