After spending almost 6 Months of Quarantine in Medellin, I finally started traveling again in the month of September. Needless to say, I was really excited and bit cautious about traveling. Armed with Mask, Alcohol gel with a focus on keeping social distance, I begin my more than 2 months long travel in Colombia after Quarantine. Those 2 months of travel was quite easily one of the best traveling experiences of my life. My first destination was the beautiful small town called “Jardin” in the Antioquia region. It was approx. 3 hrs bus ride to reach Jardin from Medellin. I stayed for a week in Jardin, getting used to traveling in the post-quarantine and the current pandemic world.
Jardin is a gem of a small town and Colombia is full of such small gems which I discovered during my travels in Colombia post quarantine. Jardin is just my kind of place. A beautiful small town with stunning architecture surrounded by breathtaking nature. The first day I went to the Main Park and saw almost everyone is greeting everyone. It is a kind of town where virtually everyone knows everyone. Every small town in Colombia has a Main park with an overlooking church and a Mayor’s Office. The people in the town were pleasantly curious and surprised after meeting me as I was supposedly the only foreigner traveler around and everyone has the same question i.e. How do I reach here haha. I used to tell them about my quarantine time in Medellin and they used to listen with utmost interest. I met a group of friends in Jardin on the day of my birthday. We tried local food (Fish & Banana with cheese) and a local Cold coffee. They invited me for Uno night. We played Uno card game while sipping local red wine which is made with ginger and Jamaica flower. Yep, you read it write. It was nothing I had tried before. As they say in Spanish “Que Rico”! A birthday well spent! On the following days, we met again for dinner and this time I cooked Indian food for them and they loved it!
EXPLORING JARDIN BY WALK
One day, I went for a long walk from Charco Corazon path to Garrucha(a wooden cable car on the nearby mountain). A breathtaking walk. The walk comprises of mountains, waterfalls, cave, river, nature with different species of beautiful birds. A must-do walk when in Jardin. The usually touristic walk was just for me. One of the things which I really loved about my travels after the quarantine was most touristic places was almost entirely just for me but also I had to get used to the fact that several touristic places were still closed like the bat cave I found during this walk which is really unique as it was entirely carved by a local person. The thing I loved about Jardin and many small towns in Colombia is one can go anywhere in the town by walk and for me, that is the best way to explore any place.
EXPLORING BY BICYCLE
Exploring Jardin by bicycle is a must. I rented a bicycle for a day to explore the beautiful town of Jardin but soon after I decided to go to the nearby town called “Andes” by bicycle. It is 16 kms from Jardin. The way from Jardin to Andes was really breezy and easy. I was loving every minute of it. Going down the mountainous road. Andes had really hot weather and completely opposite to the weather of Jardin. I drank Chontaduro Juice in the town. The local fruit is known for its aphrodisiac qualities and energy booster. It is a non-touristic town with nothing much to do. The idea of riding a bicycle in the mountainous region triggered me to undertake this journey. I reached Andes rather quickly but the journey from Andes to Jardin was an uphill task. After a while, I gave up and started walking with a bicycle and as luck would have it, it starts to rain. After my unsuccessful attempts at hitchhiking, I decided to rest for a while sipping on Orange juice. Finally, it stopped raining and I somehow reached back to the town. Thus ends one of many adventurous days of my travels. As always I loved every minute of it.
There are two viewpoints in the town which should not be missed. The first one is at Cristo Rey where the statue of Christ Rey is at. The whole Jardin can be seen from here. From Cristo Rey, there’s a shortcut to go down to the town. Try to avoid taking this path at night especially as I did this mistake and walked town this muddy path while chased by crazy dogs. Not so far away from Cristo Rey, there’s a Cafe Jardin. Great place to see the sunset while sipping on local coffee at the Cafe.
There are several waterfalls to see in and around Jardin. The most famous one is the Cueva Del Esplendor which was closed when I visited Jardin. I decided to Salto de Angel waterfall alone. On the way to Salto de Angel waterfall, I saw La Escalera waterfall followed by Charco Corazon river. After passing along the river, I met a Colombian family who used to live in Medellin. We decided to walk to Salto de Angel together but after walking for 40 minutes into the mountains, we encountered a small waterfall and the family decided to not go further and stay at this waterfall. I continued my journey and after walking for more 15 minutes, I found a big waterfall and with that, I too finished my expedition. After taking a dip in the waterfall, I started my descend and met the family again who gave me a ride back to the town. Next day, I left Jardin for my next destination in Colombia. At the bus station, I met the couple from the “Group of Friends” I had dinner with who wished me well for my onward journey and I could feel that it was the beginning of an amazing journey.