Jardin is an authentic Andean town in Colombia, located south of Medellin. We had heard about Jardin from friends who told us that it was a great place to stop as we made our way from Medellin to Salento by bus.

We did our research and determined that 1-2 days was plenty, as the list of ‘things to do in Jardin’ doesn’t run too long. Our goal for Jardin was to relax and enjoy the ambiance of small-town life.

What’s there to do in Jardin, and how should you get there? Let’s jump in!

Where is Jardin?

Jardin is a small town, even called “the best colonial town in Colombia,” south of Medellin. Medellin is the nearest major city and major airport. The next-largest city that Jardin is north of is Armenia. Armenia does have an airport (AXM), but that won’t get you too close to Jardin, either.

Jardin is located in the mountains and is surrounded by gorgeous green hills. This is part of its perfect charm! It is located in the “department” (province) of Antioquia, just like other places you may have heard of in our guides, like Medellin, Guatape and Santa Fe de Antioquia. Antioquia is a BIG region.

How to travel to Jardin

There are a few ways you could get to Jardin, especially if you are beginning in Medellin during your trip. Jardin is 130-140km (80-85 miles) from Medellin.

Take a bus from Medellin

We recommend taking a bus from Medellin to Jardin. You are able to book a ticket in advance with gottoGO.

For prebooking with a company like gottoGO, remember to book MORE than 24 hours in advance in order for the vendor to secure your ticket effectively! Last-minute bookings cannot be honored.

If you choose to buy your ticket at the terminal, go to the terminal early to ensure that you get a ticket! Also, getting out early will allow for enough time to spend a full(ish) day in Jardin. We arrived to the bus terminal at 8am and were on the first bus out.

How long does the bus take?

Keep in mind that the bus ride takes about four hours, even though driving would be more direct and faster. Given the length of the bus ride, it’s a perfect way to watch two entire movies (what Dan did) or see the sights out of the window (what I did).

Drive a rental car

Driving a car will take three hours, without stops and any traffic leaving Medellin. Prepare for a very pretty drive, especially as you’re getting close to Jardin!

Take a private tour with transport included

If you don’t feel like figuring out buses at Medellin’s bus terminal, and if you won’t be renting a car, opt for a stress-free day trip with a tour guide. Given the distance, you can see in a Tripadvisor tour that the whole day takes 11-12 hours and may leave quite early! Many travelers think Jardin is one of the best day trips from Medellin.

What’s great about going with a full-day private tour is that you’ll be with a Spanish-speaking guide, and there’s a visit to a coffee farm in Jardin, too.


Unfortunately, but maybe fortunately, there are no airports near Jardin, so reference the other ways to get there!

Where to stay in Jardin

We really liked this small hotel, Kantarrana Hotel, where we stayed for a night. Our favorite part was climbing up the steps to a part of the hotel that has a covered deck, where you can get a nice view of the mountains and the town’s tallest church.

There are more places to stay in Jardin, too. Gulupa Ecolodge, Hotel Plantación and Hotel Valdivia Plaza all have great reviews and excellent locations.

Where to eat in Jardin

In the streets that surround the public square, you’ll find family-owned establishments that offer typical Andean fare like the famous ‘bandeja.’ Bandejas consist of a spread of all the parts of a Colombian main course - meat, eggs, rice, plantains, salad, beans and usually an arepa. They’re supposed to be shared as they are a giant plate of food!

For drinking, there are local bars surrounding the public square. We opted for coffee at the of the cafes facing the plaza. Did you know that in Colombia, if you do what locals do, you’ll wind up drinking instant coffee?

We learned that the high-quality coffee beans are prioritized for export, and Colombians rarely drink the coffee their country produces in its pure high-quality form. This is why we’ve visited so many “third-wave cafes” in Colombian cities like Bogota.

What to see in Jardin

With one or two days in Jardin, you’ll be able to see everything! Here’s a list of the highlights.

Basilica Menor Jardin

Jardin’s main cathedral looks rather out of place in a town that’s otherwise painted in bright colors and looks like it’s from a postcard. The cathedral is stone and dark on the outside, but go inside!

It’s bright, with tints of blue. Overall, this is a unique building. You can learn a bit more about it at the info page for it on Lonely Planet.

Jardin’s Town Square

It’s kind of quiet here, but the cafes and restaurants surrounding the square set up tables and chairs everywhere, so people mill about and sit out for coffees and beers. Enjoy sitting out on the colorful chairs, and visit the shops and cafes that surround the plaza!

Teleferico de Jardin

This is a small cable car with nice views that leads to the mountainside from where you can catch a sunset. We were directed vaguely by locals in a direction (there are two - an old and a new, but it seems no one is directing anyone to the old one anymore).

It costs about $1-2 USD per person and the ride up takes about five minutes to the top of the hill. From the top, there is a cafe and some wooden benches with a fantastic and unobstructed view of the small valley, some farms, and an expanse of the town.

Is Jardin a good trip with kids?

My friend Alex, who lives as an expat in Medellin, suggested a trip to Jardin as one of the things to do on a Medellin trip with kids. As Jardin is safe for tourists, it is a nice place for families. Kids will like the relaxed pace of life.

Where to travel from Jardin

Jardin is the ‘end of the road,’ so to speak, and it pays to look at the most up-to-date information you can find when choosing where you should head next.

It nearly made sense to go four hours back to Medellin on a faster bus, than heading northward to an interchange where we could head south to Salento.

Getting to Salento took 10-12 hours due to bus transfers (AKA 5 or 6 movies!), so we recommend allowing time for bus timetables and changes to your itinerary. (Note: if you choose to rent a car and drive in this region, you’ll have greater flexibility and can avoid the transfer time with buses.)

Jardin is a charming place, and we recommend visiting to enjoy small-town Colombian life and a sunset from the top of the valley.