Escaping the Time Warp in Jardín

Jardin, Colombia

There is something about Jardín that makes you feel like you’ve entered a time capsule and transported back to a non-descript time in the past.

Hanging out in the main plaza Jardín
Hanging out in the main plaza Jardín

A time when people did nothing much other than hanging out on the main plaza and drinking coffee or tea.

Was there ever such a time?

Regardless, at first we wondered, ‘Do the people here do anything else?

Then the next thing we know, we found ourselves doing exactly that: hanging out and drinking either on the plaza or our hostel balcony that overlooks the plaza. And nothing else. For 4 straight days.

If you know us (or me in particular) – staying still for that long is not something that we like to do very often. But in Jardín, thoughts such as ‘We came here to do something. What was it?’ and words such as ‘agenda‘ and ‘list of things to do‘ soon faded away.

Jardín seems to have that effect on us.

Overview of Jardín
Overview of Jardín
Nature in Jardín
A fast flowing river that passes through Jardín

Maybe it’s their location: in a valley surrounded by farmlands and mountains on all sides. Maybe it was the weather – nice and cool with spotty rains. Or the plaza – it was filled with inviting tables and chairs set out by the bars lining the plaza.

It could be the 25-cent coffee, the 80-cent fresh fruit juice, or the 90-cent shot of Aguardiente anywhere in the pueblo.

Or it could be the fresh trouts available from many trucheras (trout farms) surrounding the pueblo. You even get to ‘fish’ the trouts yourself if you’d like.

'Fishing' for trout in one of the many trout farms in Jardín
'Fishing' for trout in one of the many trout farms in Jardín

Or the people – ‘paisas’, how people in this region is called are known for the friendliness.

Or it could be the friendly and curious kids – the kids who were never told not to talk to strangers. We spent an evening talking to kids we met on the plaza about Suarez’ handball in the last World Cup, how much we dislike claro (boiled milk and corn and tastes worse than it sounds), and how it’s not really nice to call somebody ‘lesbian’.

It doesn’t matter.

The days blurred into one it was easy to forget how long we’ve stayed there. And it was easy to be convinced to extend just another day.

We didn’t want to leave.

But our obligation in Ecuador is calling and we had to keep moving south – so we yanked ourselves from the time warp, donned our backpacks, and left with a heavy heart for an 11 hour journey to Salento.

And in an attempt to talk out of it (as if the 11 hour journey was not enough), on the day we left the grey clouds over Jardín departed and it was as a perfect day as it could be.

Jardin plaza
Jardin plaza and its slightly creepy-looking cathedral

Good bye, Jardín. Thanks for the time warp.

Info box

  • Jardín is a 4 hour trip south from Medellin
  • We stayed at Fami Hotel that has a nice balcony facing the plaza. 27000 COP per person including breakfast and dinner. No internet, but you can piggy back off the plaza’s wifi.
  • Horseback riding to La Cueva del Esplendor – 35000 COP – is worth it. The journey is as exciting as the destination.

Did you ever visit a place that gave you a time-warp experience?

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
  • Resource Toolbox: How I find cheap flights, accommodations, and other travel hacks.

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18 Replies to “Escaping the Time Warp in Jardín”

  1. Absolutely. Itacare in Brazil wormed its way into my urgency to BE somewhere else. It's not necessarily being propelled into another time, more like dates, rushing or time itself just stops for a few days. This place sounds great and you guys have such a way of bringing the reader there with you!

    1. There were many places in Colombia that have a similar effect. I've learned to just give in to the pull and enjoy the time-still moments. Thanks for coming by and for the kind words 🙂

  2. I love time warps!! My favorite one was in Mazunte, Oaxaca where I camped in front of the ocean for 10 days & did nothing but watch breath taking sunrises, lay on my hammock, soak in the sun, enjoy beautiful sunsets & hang out with new friends =) It is great to just be while traveling =)

  3. Yea, this looks like my kind of place… 🙂 I'll have to head down there when we get over to Medellin soon. That said, where I'm staying now – the little village of Mogotes, an hour east of San Gil, is a bit of a time warp itself with its horses and donkeys and people hanging about the plaza just like the coffee drinkers in Jardin!

    1. I love these Colombian pueblos! There are so many that I'd love to visit but didn't get a chance to. Like Mompox, Moqui, Villa de Leyva… Never heard of Mogotes but it sounds like I need to put it on the list of pueblos to visit next time we visit colombia.

  4. Cuenca, Ecuador for certain! I was there a few years ago and like you, didn't want to leave. We made friends with the family who ran our hotel (Casa Ordonez) and sat about every evening sipping wine and telling stories. Awesome!

    But now you have me Jonesing to go to Columbia! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  5. You've built this whole romanticized notion of Colombia for me with your pictures! I only wish my 2011 weren't fully booked already (thanks to my new gig); otherwise, I'd be booking a trip down there…

    1. Colombia was a pleasant surprise. Things just got better after we got to Medellin – and the whole Santander district and the coffee region? Beautiful!

  6. Hi Jack and Jill. I just wanted to tell you that I came across your site right around mid April and have enjoyed reading about your adventures. I will definitely keep following your adventures! Jardin looks wonderful.

  7. Jardin looks purely idyllic! Thanks especially for your little "info box" at the end of each place – with your hotel name and prices for hotel, excursions, etc. I wish more travelers would do that.

  8. How cute! Man, there are so many places you've been in Colombia that we missed, and your pics make me want to go back! Another time…

    Many of the small towns in Argentina have that same time warp appeal, largely because of all the old cars still in use. Loved it!

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