Sometimes you plan ahead a little. We mostly do this to make the most of our time here, to be efficient, so to say. At times this means that we book hotels or buses for the next step and save time. At other times, this means that we book hotels or buses for the next step and really regret leaving a place a little too soon.
Hit and miss
For travelers in most countries, there is a so called “beaten track”. And even though we would like to stray from this path every once in a while, the beaten track is usually popular for a good reason. So we try to combine the two and to be honest, sometimes it’s awesome and sometimes it sucks.
In Colombia, we started in Cali. This was more or less by accident and not really our first choice of cities to visit. Changing this was costly so we rolled with it and boy were we glad. Cali is a very friendly city that has more than enough to entertain you for a few days.
We recommend taking the free salsa and art tour, even when you don’t like salsa. It’s provided by a enthusiastic guide and shows you Cali in a way that is just a little different.
We read that, after the pretty coffee town Salento, it was a good idea to head on to Manizales. Supposedly the atmosphere there was relaxed and even with a lot to offer, it’s not overrun by tourists. We set our minds on a hike in the nearby national park, but finding one on weekdays turned out to be hard as well as costly. Combine this with the fact that we accidentally ended up in a hotel where you could also rent our room by the hour (for 2 euro’s) and you get two people that are very, very eager to leave.
While trying to get out of Manizales asap, we set our minds on Jardin. But because we were a little sceptic about online sources, we already booked a good hotel deal in Medellin after two nights in Jardin. That was a mistake. Jardin is colorful, surounded by awesome trails, caves and waterfalls and the people are so friendly that you never want to leave this town again. Well, better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
We spent our one full day in Jardin with a hike to 4 waterfalls. Waterfalls, at times, turn out to be a bit disappointing but in this case, we got our money’s worth. We booked with the owners of our hotel and our guide Mario safely guided us through rivers, mud, ascents and descents. Mario is originally a tuktuk driver but since he knows the routes he is now also a guide. A very good one, in our humble opinion.
After we still had some hours to wander around and with every step we regretted our decision to leave after one day. So take our advice and go to Jardin before it is added to the beaten track and enjoy it’s colors, food, people and surroundings while you still have them all to yourself.