Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jardin, Colombias best keep secret

Jardin is a small pueblo (town) that seems to be lost in time and space. Its retained all its old town charm and character, the people on the streets greet one another, smile and are always eager to strike up a conversation. I say its lost in space because amazingly its escaped the guide books and most parts eluded the gringos path, not such a bad thing because we had the whole town to ourselves. Now the town has many tourist attractions but the travelers to this garden of eden are the Colombians themselves. The town square is dwarfed by the massive cathedral, cafes on both sides of the church, fruit vendors in the square, and eateries and bars surround the park.
missing road to Jardin
massive cathedral

typical building of the region colorful 2 stories

pretty even at night

chatting with the locals
one the many individual painted chairs

Our 1st day we visited Dulces de Jardin, a small natural sweets store thats been serving jams, cookies, sweets for over 20 years. When we entered the owner a sweet lady greeted us while she was serving and sharing small talk with a local, than she turn to us and offered us samples and not just one we could have sampled the whole store and she would have been happy to do so. Everything was delicious and we ended up buying 2 different jams, cookies and some white jelly that was her first product plus she throw in a box of coconut caramel that melts in your mouth. All this cost only $12 and after she offered a tour of her factory we were really surprised how modern and sterile it looked. This place is definitely on our redo list. Later that day we took the cable car to get a panoramic view of the town. The cable car is not just for tours its also used by the locals to transport bananas from the top of the hill. Just 5 years ago before the town had the cable car they had been doing it by foot and donkey.

dulces de jardin 

white jelly that melts in your mouth
waiting for the cable car
notice the car was full coming down
full of bananas from the hillsides
on top of Jardin ride only $3
enjoying the view with a cup of coffee 

friendly cable car operator/guide

helping myself to some free bananas, kidding!
On our last day we to enjoyed people watching and a cup of tinto (Colombian coffee) in the town square. Its so comforting to see them sipping coffee, reading and chatting at a cost of .30 cents a cup who wouldn't love it. After that most amazing cultural experience we drove 20 minutes out of town to visit the Arka trout farm. The farm had stunning hillside views but the restaurant was what we had been waiting for and it didn't disappoint, Ji ordered the garlic trout and I tried the egg battered trout they had this sweet fruit salad and a side of fresh salsa. To top it off we had a glass of guandolo juice not sure what it was but it tasted like sugar cane with honey and lemon yummy. Cost of lunch for both only $14 priceless.

not your ordinary fish farm

best food in Colombia hands down