Despite choosing to live in Medellín for the moment, the real charm of Colombia is it’s Pueblos (towns). Guatape is usually recognized as a favorite around here. While Guatape is wonderful, my favorite so far has been Jardin.
Jardin is a relaxing, peaceful town about a three or four hour bus ride from Medellín. While it doesn’t have the tourist attractions like the giant rock that Guatape has, Jardin does have some interesting waterfalls and caves that people enjoy exploring. There also wasn’t nearly as much international tourism of Jardin.
To tell the truth, I didn’t really take advantage of the tourist activities available in Jardin. I spent my time meeting locals and making new friends… That is, whatever time I didn’t spend napping in the hammock or playing with the dog at the hostel I was staying at.
How I Ended Up In Jardin, Colombia
The more interesting part of this story was getting to Jardin. I had just returned from my three weeks in Ecuador the day before and was having lunch. A guy that I had met once before stopped by and started telling me he was leaving for a small town in a couple of hours and asked if I wanted to go. Why not? He said a local friend of his would be coming as well and he would take care of getting us around so there wasn’t much need to worry about making sure we had directions ahead of time. Oh, if only that were true.
We met his friend at the southern bus terminal and they spent half an hour bickering over which bus to take. We finally got tickets for what should have been classified as a van, but it was rather comfortable and only about $1 more than the big bus. We were dropped off in the center of town and the American guy went into a panic trying to get to the hostel without asking for directions. He paced back and fourth for about 20 minutes right in the park trying to recall what he had seen from a map. Finally, he agreed to let his ultra-laid back Colombian friend ask for directions. When the mototaxi driver said it was a little far and recommended not walking with our luggage, the American guy insisted that the guy was lying to us to get us to use his taxi service. And that was the end of my interaction with that American. Later that night he said “We’re going hiking at 8 AM.”
I said “Who is WE?”
And my group trip turned into a solo trip real fast. The two guys did go out with me in the evenings and we had a generally decent time together. Every morning they would get up to go hiking with a plan of being gone for two or three hours, and every afternoon they came back, the Colombian guy all smiles and the American pissed that they got lost looking for whatever cave they had been looking for that day.
After dumping my co-travelers, I made some local friends who showed me around and introduced me to everyone under the sun. It was good. We ate and drank together and I had a wonderful time just getting to know the people. If I ever go again, I’ll make sure it’s with someone that I can tolerate hiking with all day.
Before I Share My Photos….
I’d like to share this brilliant video done by some dude visiting Jardin. I have no idea what Google’s copyright policies are so I won’t embed it in my site but feel free to click the link here of this video of Jardin Colombia.