I’ve been here in Jardin Colombia for a few days now exploring the area, as you probably read in my adventure two days ago hiking to the Cueva del Esplendor.
I definitely feel Jardin Colombia is off the gringo trail and I may just be the only non-Spanish speaker from here to Medellin.
Instead, I’m surrounded by authentic gauchos, horses and a town that beyond having internet, seems pretty authentic to what I imagine life in Colombia used to be like a hundred years ago.
I’ve been taking my Colombian coffee breaks at a great cafe in Jardin Colombia called Cafe Macaras. It’s rated #1 on tripadvisor but there are only three restaurants listed for the entire town so that doesn’t say much, but it does have good coffee, a charming atmosphere and is very clean, so Macaras it is.
I had read that Jardin goes bonkers on a Saturday night and they were right.
Every cowboy in the area rides into the main square, there are street food vendors, a million screaming kids, and every bar around the main square is trying to outdo each other by playing very loud Colombian country music.
Unfortunately there was no great vantage point to accurately portray HOW crazy it was, so you’ll just have to trust me and use your imagination.
Yesterday my hostess at the hostel told me that I should do a trail she recommends to everyone, the Sendoro Charco Corazon.
It all started good enough, but again with a poor map, unmarked side trails leading up to everyone’s property and no clear path, I again got lost.
I ended up slogging through a rotting palm tree field until I arrived at the Garrucha, which is a very small aerial tramway. At the garrucha I inquired for directions to find my way back to the trail and they brought in a nice man named Omar who spoke English.
Omar pointed to the river behind me and said, “thats the river, but there are guerilla’s that way so we don’t go there, you know what guerilla’s are?” and made a gun sign with his hand and pointed it at my kneck.
Oh right… those guerillas.
So, I forfeited my plan to finish the rest of the trail and took the garrucha back over the valley back into Jardin for lunch at Pollos a La Brasa Mario.
I had this delicious and huge Chicken Bandeja Paisa for $3.89 USD.
Some people say Jardin Colombia is their favorite small town in the country… but for me, there are WAY too many people in the main square and it seems incredibly busy for how many people there are. I’m definitely missing the quietness and charm of Salento.
Luckily my hostel is 4km out of town by the river and I’m going to enjoy my last few moments there laying in a hammock wondering if it’s this river that the Guerillas are on the other side of…