Researching for a trip can seem pointless sometimes. Especially when traveling in a place where schedules are just suggestions and word of mouth is the new information super highway. It’s really pointless when combined with the way the internet pulls my brain in a million different directions. 2 hours and 20 tabs later I still don’t know what bus to take or if I’ll have a place to stay.
So, I’ve traveled with no plan before, I totally get the appeal. But other times, those hours on the internet produce nuggets of traveling gold. That’s how I heard about Jardin. There were rumors, passed around on other travel blogs, about a tiny town in the Colombian mountains. The coffee was amazing, the locals friendly, and there was a home made cable car. I went to cross check with Lonely Planet but it wasn’t in there, another guide book barely mentioned it. I was on to something good.
If someone asked me what there is to do in Jardin, I’d have a hard time answering. You sit in the plaza, drink coffee, walk along the narrow streets, and play volleyball with the kids. The attractions, such as the cable car seem tongue-in-cheek. A quaint box pulled by a go-kart engine will take you up to a good view. Someone looking for a “once in a lifetime” ride and “jaw-dropping” scenery might be disappointed, but we didn’t come for a spectacle. We came to hang out.
But that doesn’t mean it was boring. At night the plaza comes alive with kids and old folks and everyone in between. Cowboys and gals trot their horses from shop to shop. If you’re friendly you might get to take a ride yourself. I always felt safe, even after a conversation with “la loca vieija.” She was in her 90’s at least, wore dark sunglasses all night long, and sounded like a chain smoking Oscar the Grouch. It was hard to make out everything, but I did catch “banditos,” “pistolas,” and “everyone died.” I’ll just chock it up to one of the many stories that are waiting to be found up in Jardin.
Buses from Medellin are easy. We took Transporte Suroeste Antioqueño for about 7.00 US. Getting out proved a bit trickier. Our next stop was Salento, and this involved a full day with several transfers that cost closer to 14.00 US. We started with Rapido Ochoa, as they had the only office in town. Even with some decent bargaining, the price was high because they knew we didn’t have many options.
We stayed at a Hospedaje in a hundred year old house on the Plaza. Beds were private and basic and the owner friendly. It didn’t have a proper name but you can find in the middle of the square, to the left if you’re looking at the church. A few houses up from Blanco y Negro discotek.
One last tip, if you’re tired of pretty plain Colombian food, the polleria 1 block off the square (to the back right if you’re looking at the church) has tasty arroz con pollo with hot sauce.