Jardín: The Colombian Cowboy Town Enticing A New Wave Of Digital Nomads

Travelling to Colombia with your laptop? A three-hour bus ride from Medellín, the heritage pueblo of Jardín is a calmer, greener alternative to the Antioquian capital


Jardín, Antioquia, Colombia.

Why now?

Colombia recently announced the launch of a digital nomad visa - cue, all eyes turning to the country's best-known work-from-anywhere hotspot, Medellín. The city's old-hand estrangeiros, meanwhile, have started venturing out on weekend escapes into the surrounding mountains - perhaps to avoid the inevitable uptick in laptop-wielding visitors. Our pick for a Colombian mountain break? The Antioquian town of Jardín, around three hours' south along a scenic winding road.

Situated between the San Juan River and the western Andes, in a valley flush with purple sietecueros and fragrant yellow guayacán trees, this heritage pueblo has remained largely unchanged since it was established in 1864. With a plaza landscaped with roses and hemmed in by colorful colonial houses, Jardín lives up to its name. But it's the trails - best explored either on foot or horseback - that dot the landscape, winding past organic coffee plantations and waterfalls such as the romantic Cascada del Amor, that keep people coming back.

Jardin, Colombia
Mountain, Jardin, Colombia

Jardín, left, and the surrounding mountains. | Photo credit: Mehdi33300 / Shutterstock.com

Don't miss

At the weekend, at around 8pm, the plaza becomes the backdrop to a lively parade of Paisa cowboys. As music blares, smartly suited-and-booted riders wearing wide-brimmed sombrero vueltiao hats storm the streets on majestic Paso Fino horses performing a specialised four-beat gait.

Where to stay?

Hotel Plantación is a masterclass in sustainable luxury. Owners Daniel Hernández and Verónica Arango envisaged it as a "laboratory", carefully designed to show how ecological thinking and hospitality can go hand in hand. Upstairs, pared-back rooms open onto private terraces; downstairs, the in-house vegan café's famous plantain and yucca waffles await.

Where to go for dinner?

Óleo Bistró, a quiet restaurant serving fresh fish caught from the region's truchereas (trout farms). Try some grilled, with a little garlic butter.

Bedroom, Hotel Plantación, Jardin, Colombia
Garden, Hotel Plantación, Jardin, Colombia

Hotel Plantación.

And for a drink…

With its Latin vaudeville vibe, Cero Cero (3-12 Calle 10) feels like the oldest bar in the square. Expect to hear salsa and vallenato blasting from a crackling speaker behind a heavy-set wooden bar. Locals sit with painted chairs leaning back against the wall to gossip. Sip a shot of fiery aguardiente to join in.

Who to take with you?

A twitcher. The valley teems with birdlife in all colours of the rainbow, and it's more fun if you're with someone who'll know their potoos from their parrots. Plus, it's one of the best places to spot the rare, but garrulous, Andean cock-of-the-rock.

Essentials to pack

Pack a pair of Cloudrock 2 Waterproof all-terrain boots. Trust us, you'll kick yourself if you don't.

How to get there

You'll have to make a connection. British Airways flies from London Heathrow to Madrid, from where you can take an 11-hour flight direct to Medellín's José María Cordova Airport with Avianca. Head to Medellín's Terminal del Sur to catch a bus for the three-hour journey to Jardín. And don't be alarmed if someone hops on board with a live chicken...

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