Jardin, Colombia January 2020

The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is the highlight of the town square in Jardin.

Lovely, quiet, quaint Jardin (Har-deen). Hardly another tourist to be seen. As soon as we stepped of the bus we felt like we were in an authentic Colombian village from the past.

Inside the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, a National Monument and functioning church.
Beautiful streets of Jardin.

The main square is full of rose gardens, locals in white cowboy hats, and pigeons playing in the fountain. There are also tons of colorful wooden tables with chairs all made from painted cowhide (by town decree, no metal or plastic is allowed).

The colorful painted chairs are made of cowhide and wood.
Everyone hangs out in the plaza drinking Micheladas, coffee and tea in the afternoon.

There’s impressive bird watching to be had at Parque Natural Jardín de Rocas, just 4 blocks from the town center. For only $3 US each you can watch the dramatically squawking Cock of the Rock birds as they come home to roost. I also caught a glimpse of the blue Motmot with it’s unique tail. Plan accordingly because it’s only open from 3 to 6 PM.

The splendid Cock of the Rock birds.
The Motmot swishes their double feathered tail back and forth like a grandfather clock.

To get a fine view of town from above you can take the rickety La Garrucha cable car across a gorge and up the mountain into the coffee and banana plantations. Then take a quiet 2 mile walk back to town passing a river and waterfalls with nice swimming holes.

La Garrucha cable car enables farmers easier access to the town.
View of Jardin from the top of the cable car.
Coffee branch with unripe and ripe coffee cherries, and buds of blossoms on the tip.

The weekend was spectacular with the cowboys prancing their show horses up and down the cobblestone streets and riding up to one of the many bars around the square where a barman comes out with a tray of shots and passes them out. They don’t even get off their horses!

The cowboys arrive in the evening to ‘pony up to the bar’.

With all those horses around we decided to take a ride ourselves. The lady who runs the Fami Hotel La Posada where we stayed made a phone call and half an hour later a young man walked up to the table where we were enjoying a cerveza with 3 horses in tow. We saddled up and for $14 US each we had a three hour ride through the gorgeous countryside, stopping at a waterfall and even a coffee farm for a fabulous cup of Joe.

Me, our guide and our horses.
Coffee, cerveza, fabulous view of Jardin!

And now, Ian’s Take:

As I mentioned before, Colombians love music. And even in this quaint rural town of Jardin things get cranking come nightfall. The four sides of the town square contain about 20 bars which are all playing their own choice of music. The music starts at about 10 in the morning which is a tolerable mix of latin ballads from decades past. But as evening approaches, the music gets louder with more bass. Some of these bars even turn on some spinny light contraptions to give out a disco party vibe.

Open, and loud.

The rest of the bars seem to enjoy some darker ambiance. And by darker ambiance I mean lights out, no candles. They are full of people sitting at tables full of beer bottles (they don’t seem to like to remove the empties) and at first glance the bar looks closed until your eyes adjust and your ears realize they are blaring music as well. So as the night goes on, each bar slowly turns up their favorite latin boom boom music to drown out the neighbors boom boom music as in some competition to have the best and loudest boom boom music. So loud this becomes that you notice that the loudest bar has now driven all their patrons down the street and is now empty. But hey, I guess they win. Well time to put in some earplugs and head out for a cerveza. Ciao!

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