Next pueblo on our list was Jardin, a beautiful town in one of the most fertile area’s in Antioquia. The landscape changes as we climb up to Jardin via a winding road that takes us through lush, green mountains filled with coffee, banana trees, cacao palms, mandarine trees, … The big, heavy clouds roll over the rim and look threatening while they close in. It has been raining a lot this month and roads are starting to get flooded, with mud & trees dangerously sliding down & leaving a trail of destruction.
note to self: do not drive when it starts pouring down
We arrive in Jardin together with the rain and we get soaked while looking for a place to stay. Our hostel ‘Jardin es tuyo’ is on the main square and has a balcony that looks over the bars, church & the vivid chattering of the locals. Unfortunately, as was the case in Santa Fé, the beautiful & famous main square was being renovated and left us with a whole different image of this authentic little mountain village.
Our hostel turned out to be very noisy -of course, it’s on the main square where everything happens !!- but the beds were fantastic so we didn’t loose any sleep over it. And the activities in Jardin are plentiful so by 8pm we’re exhausted.
We went hiking, passed trout farms, tasted all the dulces in Casa del Dulces with a fantastic interior, visited waterfalls and got soaked in the rain to be completely dry again after 10 minutes in the sun, drank one of the best coffees in Colombia in a coffee bar where they roasted the coffee on the spot -again with excellent interior, watched the locals drinking tinto and aguardiente & watching the Football World Cup preselection, …
We also visited a coffee farm where Jos was an excellent interpreter for our Chinese compagnons who didn’t speak a word of Spanish. We picked coffee beans and saw the whole process from plant to coffee. Twan & Gus were feeling right at home on the farm climbing trees and harvesting mandarines and lulo but our highlight of our Jardin trip was definitely the adventurous horse riding !!
We finished our visit to the coffee farm with a horseback ride through the coffee plantations. The horses of the finca were not used to calmly walk around with tourists but instead were very, very eager to get out of their stables and have some fun !
Gus was too young -later I understood why- to ride one of these horses, so he got a donkey which he absolutely adored and after everybody mounted their horse we rode off into the hilly & thick coffee fields. Apparently, the plant owner thought -after his good translating performance- of Jos as the leader of the gang & gave him … the alfa horse. This alfa horse, a stallion with the promising name “huracàn”, couldn’t stand being second so as soon as he felt another horse closing in, he started galloping in speed tempo and as he was the leader the rest followed his example. Needless to see, we had quite a wild ride. It was absolutely FANTASTIC and adventurous and in the end we were going as fast as we could while we were laughing like kids. Twan was even slapping his horse’s ass to get to the front !!
If you ever get to Colombia, this is definitely a place to visit. Jardin has it all: history, culture, authenticity, beauty, adventure, nature, bird watching paradise, friendly people, culinary delight, and simple Colombian living.