Hiking in Jardin Colombia: 6 Best Day Trips

The trails below are the perfect mix of easy and moderate hikes in the most beautiful town of Colombia.

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Jardin is a beautiful, aesthetic, colonial town located in the department of Antioquia, about 4 hours from Medellin. Thanks to its lush vegetation, topographic location, and plenty of freshwater sources, Jardin is one of the best hiking spots in Colombia. In this post, we’ll tell you about the 6 best hikes Jardin has to offer.
We will lead you into spectacular natural phenomenons, some of them inside the jungle and others along the streets of the town. We will also tell you about the best cup of coffee in town and the most popular places to stay.

Basilica aglow at nighttime with Christmas lights
The Basilica of the immaculate conception at night

The heart of Jardin is its vast plaza full of cafes and food carts where the locals meet for their cup of coffee every morning, and where every evening feels like a festival.

Jardin's plaza
Jardin’s plaza

With colorful balconies and painted houses, every corner in town will put a smile on your face. Overlooking the plaza, the basilica of the immaculate conception looks like an enlarged model of Disney’s Cinderella castle.

The streets of Jardin with mountains around
The town is surrounded by wild nature

Where to Stay in Jardin

Candileja Hostel

With a perfect location, just a few steps from Jardin plaza, Candileja Hostel is our choice for the best hostel in Jardin. It checks all the boxes of what we are looking for in a hostel: great staff, a great location, a communal kitchen, spotless dorms, private rooms, and a public area to mingle with other travelers.
Jonny, the owner, is a unique and fun character who will give you all the information you need about hikes in the area and the cool spots of Jardin.

Creo Ecolodge

If you wish to be surrounded by nature during your visit to Jardin, then Creo Ecolodge should be your choice of accommodation. The hostel is located on the outskirts of town, 20 min walk from Jardin plaza. It is a beautiful structure constructed from ecological materials. The atmosphere is hippie bohemian with fresh food and yoga classes. Choosing Creo Ecolodge also brings you closer to the town’s waterfalls.

Hiking in Jardin

Jardin offers a huge amount of day trips in various difficulty levels. We gathered a list of 6 of our favorite hikes, starting from easy to more challenging hiking routes. Enjoy!

1. Cristo Ray and Cafe Jardin

Cafe Jardin and the view around it
The view from Cafe Jardin
  • Time: 45 min – 1 hour
  • Distance: 1.6 km from Jardin’s plaza

A fun, easy walk for any day, you don’t have to prepare at all, just take a small bottle of water with you. At the final destination, you can expect the best cup of coffee Jardin has to offer, along with flaky delicious pastries.

Coffee plans in the nature
Coffee plantations scattered around

We highly recommend using the Maps.me App during this hike. The route is shown perfectly on the map, and the application works offline.
Walk from the center of town, down to to the river stream, and cross the bridge. After the bridge, climb up until you reach the statue of Cristo Ray. From there, you’ll have a beautiful view of the valley and town of Jardin.
The climb to Cristo Ray lasts around 30 min, and it’s pretty steep, so wear your hiking boots or comfortable shoes.
After taking a few pictures and resting with a cold beer, continue climbing up for an additional 10-15 min until you’ll reach Cafe Jardin.

A bridge over a river stream in Jardin
The bridge on the path to Cristo Ray

Cafe Jardin is a well-put-together coffee place with quality pastries and the best cup of coffee you can find in town.

With a hint of sour flavor and slight bitterness, cafe Jardin has the best espresso in the whole Antioquia department. You’ll surely be in a dilemma between ordering another cup of coffee or trying their famous Malteada (milkshake).

If you’re too lazy to hike but still want to taste the best coffee in town, you can take a tuk-tuk from Jardin’s plaza to Cafe Jardin. The ride costs 15,000 COP (4$) and crosses through a different path from the hiking trail.
Around 5 people can fit inside one tuk-tuk 😉

A view of different trees in Jardin's land scape

2. Birdwatching the Rare Cock of the Rock

The Cock of the Rock bird
The Cock of the Rock
  • Time: 10 min
  • Distance: 500 m from Jardin’s plaza
  • Price: 10,000 COP (2.5 $)

We can’t really call it a hike but rather a leisurely stroll around town. In any case, watching the rare Cock of the Rock in its natural habitat is totally worth an hour or two of your stay in Jardin.
You don’t have to be a birder to go and see the majestic bird of South America.

Head down Calle 9 into a pebbled road towards the direction of the yellow bridge. Then turn right to a steep street and reach Gallito de Roca Reserve. There are a few balconies where you can sit and spot dozens of the beautiful red males.
Because it’s a privately owned territory, you’ll have to pay 10,000 COP to enter inside. If you’re into birdwatching, it’s a good idea to pre-book your tickets, opting for a tour with a licensed guide for 37000 COP (9$). They’ll point out the remarkable ‘cock of the bird’, and tell you all about this unique bird species and the vital conservation efforts taking place in the reserve. (click here to pre-book your tickets with a guided tour)

Gallito de Roca Reserve is one of the only places left in South America to see the Cock of the Rock bird. The nature reserve is simply a short walk away from Jardin’s plaza. The reserve is open 2 hours a day, between 16:00-18:00.

A trail within the Gallito de Roca Reserve
The Gallito de Roca Reserve looks like a botanic garden

We were lucky enough to meet on the balcony a birdwatcher together with his telescope and take some fantastic pictures for you.

The Cock of the Rock bird

If you’re not in the mood to pay 10,000 COP, keep walking to the yellow bridge, and you may spot some birds. The yellow bridge is located far above the nature reserve, yet it’s hard to miss the bright red Cock of the Rock.

Cock of the Rock bird hidden between the branches
We spotted the Cock of the Rock from the yellow bridge as well

3. Cascada del Amor

Waterfall-cascada del Amor
Cascada del Amor
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Distance: 3 km from Jardin’s plaza
  • Route type: out & back
A walking trail in Jardin leading to cascada del amor
The trail from Jardin to Cascade del Amor

Another short and easy hike, almost entirely on a flat path. In the trail, you’ll cross some of the lesser-known accommodations the town of Jardin has to offer. Most of them aren’t even shown on many platforms all of us book from.
If you’re not pressured in time, you can stop by, ask the price and have a night or two in this part of town.

After 30 min of a leisurely stroll, Cascada del Amor will appear out of nowhere. It won’t even make a sound. It will just be there in front of you, falling gracefully, on the side of the trail.

If you’re into exploring and wondering, getting lost but not too far away from town, this part of the Jardin is relatively flat. From the waterfall of love (cascade del Amor), you can choose to walk on a few other different trails in the area.

4. Hiking to La Escalera Waterfall

La Escalera waterfall
La Escalera waterfall
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Distance: 6 km
  • Route type: out & back

Another beautiful hike you can do even with your flip-flops. It’s an easy walk, with moderate ascent and glorious sights that appear immediately after leaving the town of Jardin. The hike is a perfect afternoon activity because you have the chance to see many birds, hear their singing and enjoy the concert of nature.

Jardin's open landscape
The view reminded us of The Shire from The Lord of the Ring

While walking up the trail towards cascade La Escalera, you’ll notice several guesthouses on the side of the mountain in the broad open landscape of Jardin. If you are keen on spending a few days out of town and close to many hiking trails, you will find the best accommodation option in our “where to stay” section.

The trail passes by farms and banana crops and reveals Jardin’s mighty mountains, valleys, and dramatic topography.

Arriving at the waterfall is practically effortless, but la Escalera is far from being common. We are talking about a 60 meters high waterfall divided into two levels.

Cascada La Escalera owes its name to the particular way the water runs down the waterfall. Creating stairs thanks to the rocks on the cliff’s surface and a tranquil pool in the bottom that allows you to enjoy a cold soothing bath.

5. La France Waterfall

La France waterfall
La France waterfall
  • Distance: 8 km.
  • Time: 3 hours.
  • Route Type: out & back.

We’re climbing up the difficulty ladder with this beautiful hike to La France waterfall. The path to the waterfall includes the steep climb to Cristo Rey and cafe Jardin with another additional 2.5 kilometers of fairly easy ascent.

If you already did the first hike on our list and do not wish to do it again, take a tuk-tuk to Cafe Jardin and save some kilometers. A tuk-tuk from Jardin’s center to cafe Jardin costs 15,000 COP (4$).

Jardin's cathedral and town from the top
The beautiful town of Jardin

After you reach Cafe Jardin, you can relax and maybe even grab a cup of coffee as you are done with the hard part of the hike.
From Cafe Jardin, the path is relatively flat and comfortable.

The rest of the trail is easy and peaceful, with soothing views, cows grazing in the meadow, and horses herding in the fields. About 20 min after cafe Jardin you’ll pass some farms with guarding dogs. Don’t let their barks deter you. Just keep on walking, and they’ll leave you alone.

A waterfall
Just a random waterfall along the trail to La France waterfall

Yes, La France waterfall is beautiful, but it’s actually more about the hike itself and the surroundings.
Beside the waterfall spreads a vast meadow on the mountain slope with bright green grass just begging you to lay on it and stare at the sky. Another great advantage of the hike is that It’s not as famous as the other waterfalls in town, so you’ll probably have the place for yourself.

A meadow
The meadow

If you’re using the Maps.me App keep in mind that a 100 m before the waterfall Maps.me shows the wrong route up the hill. Just keep on walking with the water stream to your left and follow the sound of the waterfall.

6. Hike to ‘Cueva de Los Guacharos‘ on the Path of the 4 Waterfalls (Las Cuatro Cascadas)

The Crown Jewel of Jardin’s Hikes

  • Time: 7-8 hours
  • Distance: 16 km
  • Route type: loop

We saved the best for last.

The hike to the four waterfalls was one of the most uplifting hikes we have ever done!

The path combines several different landscapes and takes you to 4 outstanding waterfalls. You’ll pass quaint farms and plantations, climb up green mountains, and wander into jungles and forests. It’s a moderate-advanced hike, but it’s totally worth it.

As it is a 16 km hike, we divided it into 5 legs.

In the 1st leg, you’ll hike to Cascada La Escalera

From Jardin’s plaza, start walking towards Cascada la Escalera. As we mentioned before, the road is around 3 km of a flat path.

Waterfall La Escalera
La Escalera waterfall

You should expect a full day of hiking, so in case you already hiked to Cascada La Escalera, or simply wish to save these kilometers, take a tuk-tuk to the waterfall for 15,000 COP (4$).

The 2nd leg of the hike is 2.5 km of moderate ascent up to the ‘Fall of the Dragon Waterfall.’

On this part, you’ll cross a trout farm and climb up to the mountains, overlooking the marvelous valley.
The trail up the mountain is not very clear but using the Maps.me App can help you understand the general direction. After crossing a few cattle gates, you’ll enter the jungle. As you get closer to the ‘Fall of the Dragon’, the sound of water falling on the rock will take over, and not long after, the waterfall will appear.

Steep green slops and a view to a valley
The view from the top just before reaching The Fall of the Dragon waterfall
The Fall of the Dragon waterfall
The Fall of the Dragon waterfall

The 3rd leg of the hike is the most challenging and the most rewarding.

To reach the next waterfall, ‘Cueva de Los Guacharos,’ expect 1.2 km of adventurist hiking. Even though this leg is 1.2 km, it took us an hour. The hike is within the jungle’s dense vegetation with a combination of steep descents and extreme crossings.
Where needed, there are ropes for extra support and safety.

A sign declaring a privet territory
During the hike you’ll pass a private area, please be respectful to the land
A women crossing over a steep slop using a rope
Let the fun begin

Finally, after slipping in the mud and maybe with a scratch or two, you’ll arrive at a waterfall we can only describe as a glorified creation of mother nature.

Cueva de Los Guacharos is a fierce waterfall with a small pebbled area. While the water softens the rock, the rock provides boundaries to the force of water. Stone and water interact and create a waterfall falling into a cave.

Three people looking at a waterfall with rock formations around
There are certain moments in life where all you can do is stare at the power of nature and admire it
Waterfall falling into a cave
After cooling down, physically and mentally, we were ready to move on

In the 4th leg, you’ll hike to Salto del Angel waterfall.

Climb up the same way you came from, using the same ropes. After 5-10 min, you’ll reach a fork, choose the trail leading to the river (and not the one leading up, where you came from).
You’ll have to cross the river twice.
In this part, we recommend you to take your shoes off unless you’re wearing water shoes. It’s a short river crossing, and a rope is there for extra support.

A rope tied over the river
Cross the river using the rope

After putting your shoes back on, walk up to Salto del Angel waterfall. It’s a 20 min walk.

Salto Angel waterfall and a small pond in it's bottom
The water in Cascada Salto Angel moves so gracefully that it seems it moves in slow motion

Cascade Salto del Angel is a high and peaceful waterfall. Even though it’s 50 m high, you can barely hear the sound of water as it falls down so softly on the ground. A lovely cool spray of water will touch your face and body as you get closer.
There’s a little pond at the bottom of the waterfall, perfect for a dip after a long walk.

5th leg -The path back home to Jardin

The trail continues 2.5 more kilometers through the jungle, passing a forest, and finally meets a gravel road.
From the gravel road back to Jardin, it’s 5.3 km of a downhill trail. This part of the trail can be tedious after the exciting “Four Waterfalls Trail.”

We were fortunate enough to meet a guided group that gave us a ride back home to Jardin.
If you are lucky and a jeep crosses by, don’t hesitate and ask for a ride. Otherwise, consider it a meditative walk and enjoy the fresh air.

A pebbled trail
5 km of dirt road back home to Jardin

You can hike the “4 Waterfalls Trail” independently, as we did. Or, if you don’t feel comfortable doing it by yourself, take a tour with Jardin de Adventura. Although you should keep in mind that the guided tour includes only the last two waterfalls: ‘Salto del Angel’ and ‘Cueva de Los Guacharos.’

Scattered guesthouses in the open landscape

What to Pack

You should pack a bit of everything before going to Jardin. It has a combination of sunny and cloudy days and occasional showers.

Arrive with your beloved backpack and an additional daypack for your hiking days. You should always have sunscreen along with a rain poncho and a water bottle. Places like Jardin with excellent fresh tap water are an opportunity to reduce plastic waste. 

In addition, because trails get very muddy in Jardin, use proper waterproof hiking boots

If you are backpacking with your baby or toddler, choose a baby carrier comfortable for your baby and yourself. 

How to Get to Jardin

Most travelers usually go to Jardin from the Antioquia department’s capital. And indeed, Jardin can be easily reached from Medellin.
Medellin has two bus terminals.
To get to Jardin, head to Terminal Sur. The ticket starts at 25,000 COP (6$) per person, and the ride takes around 4 hours.
Terminal Sur is not connected to Medellin’s Metro. We found it the easiest to take a taxi. It costs 8,000 COP (2$) from the city center, and from Poblado district, it costs only 5,000 COP (1.5$).

The bus terminal in Jardin is a small station, a walking distance from the town’s center.
Later, we continued from Jardin to Salamina to spot the Wax palms in San Felix (it’s the untouristic alternative to Salento and Cocora valley). It was a long ride, and we switched a few buses, but it was totally worth it, and the view was absolutely stunning.

Final Thoughts

We spent more than a week in Jardin and enjoyed every moment of our stay. We found the charming town to be the perfect home base for daily hikes and a portal to Colombia’s coffee production and culture. Jardin is surrounded by beautiful and wild nature, so every hike on our list is unique on its own. In addition, as Jardin is not yet flooded by mass tourism, it still retains that small-town magic with welcoming locals and small businesses.

We urge you to visit Jardin on your trip to Colombia and enjoy its wild nature, unique culture, delicious coffee, and gorgeous waterfalls.


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