The ideal small Colombian pueblo (town) with a warm climate, El Jardín, is filled with colorful colonial buildings, horses and carts roaming the cobblestone streets, and a vibrant authentic energy that lives in the Antioquia region. While at the same time being surrounded by lush green rolling mountains, banana trees, rivers, streams, and coffee plantations.
While most travelers only visit El Jardín to trek La Cueva del Esplendor (Cave of the Splendor), there is so much more to this small pueblo than meets the eye. In Spanish “jardín” means garden and to be honest after some time here you will see why this pueblo nestled in the countryside holds this name. Continue reading about the hidden gem of El Jardín and all the different ways you can explore here.
Discover El Jardín
El Jardín can be accessed by driving 4 hours through scenic roads of the Colombian coffee region and will welcome you with an authentic travel experience. While many miss El Jardín as it is not a big city, there are action-packed adventures and hidden gems in this region that are must-visits.
It is without a doubt the perfect place to explore the authentic Colombian lifestyle and surrounding countryside alongside the locals. If you are a traveler seeking an authentic atmosphere, awe-inspiring views, a rich coffee culture, and peace; wandering through the cobblestone streets of El Jardín is the perfect destination in the diverse country of Colombia.
Best Things to Do in El Jardín
– Trek to La Cueva del Esplendor
Known as the town’s main attraction, La Cueva del Esplendor is a cave carved out by a river where Jardín waterfall gushes through a hole in the cave created by millions of years of Mother Nature. Nestled in a grove of a tropical forest, the cave will entice you to take a dip in the refreshing enclosed natural pool in La Cueva del Esplendor or simply take in the beauty.
However, first, to get there you need to explore an entertaining six-hour trek starting from the town of El Jardín. Following a path that will lead you through a narrow, rocky, and steep trail alongside the Colombian Andes and will allow you to immerse yourself in the countryside while passing cows, horses, birds, and banana and coffee plantains along your way to La Cueva del Esplendor.
– Horseback Riding La Cueva del Esplendor
If you are not a hiker, but still want to enjoy the scenery of La Cueva del Esplendor, take a jeep far up in the mountains to the stables to meet the caballos (horses) that will take you along your journey.
This tranquil 3-hour horseback ride through the endless rolling green mountains, banana, and coffee plantations allows you to enjoy the same landscapes as the trek all while relaxing and taking it in without hours of hiking.
– 4 Epic Waterfalls Hike
If you search for off the beaten path adventures, take another day to enjoy the 6–7-hour hike that will take you past 4 rushing and cascading waterfalls in the middle of the Colombian Andes. Within the first 15 minutes, you will see the first waterfall, Cascada la Escalera, which many choose to rappel down the giant rocks that the waterfall cascades over
Following farmland and plantations, you will find the second waterfall Caída del Dragón (Fall of the Dragon) is a long waterfall that winds itself down the mountain. Continue through a lush green forest into the jungle to climb your way down with ropes in search of the third and fourth waterfalls.
With the adrenaline rushing inside of you climbing the jungle with ropes you will reach the third waterfall, Cascada Cueva de Los Guacharos. Catch your breath as you watch and listen to the water flow down the giant rocks enclosed by lush greenery.
With one more waterfall left, the thrill will continue to amaze you on this trek. After crossing the river and just 200m away from the river, you will reach the final waterfall, Salto Del Angel. Standing 50m high, this waterfall received its name from its resemblance to an angel covered in dense greenery.
– Sample Coffee at A Local Farm
When you are not chasing waterfalls or hiking through the countryside, take a break in the city with a rich cup of Colombian coffee from its birthplace. However, with coffee fincas (farms) lining the mountainside you can do more than just enjoy the coffee.
At Finca de Los Angeles you can learn about coffee production, the life of the coffee farmer, and the producer. As you focus on learning and experiencing the local Colombian coffee beans with your own hands, it is a great authentic opportunity to learn how it takes just 12 days to get from the bean to your cup.
– Catch and Enjoy Your Own Trout
After exploring the town, it is time to indulge in the trout that is famous in this area. Although it is offered at nearly every restaurant, why not go straight to the source, and enjoy the full experience?
Take a quick 15-minute ride out of town to a local trout farm along one of the largest rivers in the area. At the trout farm, La Trucheria, you can fish for your own fresh trout that you will enjoy moments after being prepared for you. However, if you don’t want to fish for your trout, you can watch them select and prepare the perfect trout for your meal.
– Spot an Andean Cock-of-the-Rock at the Reserva Natural Jardín de Rocas
If you are not a hardcore birdwatcher, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock is probably not what you thought it was at first. The Andean Cock-of-the-Rock is a unique bird that captivates eyes from all over the world and is common in the region. While the males are the most striking with their bright red heads, the females appear a bit of a duller brown; but still, share the same unique personalities.
Watch them bob their heads, interact, listen to their distinct bird calls, and their unique habit of gathering at dawn and dusk jumping up and down singing at the top of their lungs in hopes of attracting a mate.
While you can get lucky to see them in the wild, Reserva Natural Jardín de Rocas is a protected area to allow these birds to live in their natural habitat. With viewing areas, you can get up close and personal in the reserve where they live and breathe.
– Ride A Cable Car to Get the Best Views of El Jardín
Without a doubt, anyone in town will tell you to take the cable car, La Garrucha, up to the top of the mountain for the best views of this pueblo. With a slight resemblance to a painted shed, this cable car was originally for workers living in the hills for easier access to town.
Today, many tourists will join the locals on this exhilarating ride up La Garrucha flying slowly through plantain treetops. Not only will you be able to take in the aerial view, but it is also the perfect location to take a stroll through banana and coffee plantations and enjoy a nice local café at Café Jardín.
How To Enjoy El Jardín with Kuoda
Although tours can be done alone, in small pueblos it is best to have a local guide, especially when taking rugged trekking expeditions, exploring unique waterfalls, and experiencing the truly authentic lifestyle in this region.
At Kuoda, we specialize in tailor-made travel packages that can bring you authentic travel experiences and closer to nature at the same time. Contact us today to discuss with one of our expert trip designers to perfect your experience in El Jardín and the surrounding Antioquia region for your upcoming vacation to Colombia.