Jardin is currently a tourist hot spot! I never knew when I first came to live with my cousin that Jardin was or would become this touristy! For one, it’s great that more people get to experience Jardin and that the people here get so much interaction with foreigners that introduces them to new languages, food, religion, cultures, and ideas. On the other hand it’s sad because it makes Jardin change to accommodate tourism in ways that some people say are ingenuine.
According to people I’ve talked to including my cousin and locals, so much has changed even in the last few years in Jardin. Christopher moved here in 2015 and has seen prices rise and tourism flourish. Jardin is still very affordable (and therefore an even greater tourist spot). When people come to Jardin they usually check out the trucheras (trout farms- one of which I have blogged about), go on hikes (La Escalera, Cueva del Esplendor, Saltó del Ángel, Charco Corazón, Cristo Rey), see coffee farms/coffee processsing, go birdwatching, drink/eat in the park or many of the surrounding restaurants or go on the Teleférico or La Garrucha. There’s a lot to do in Jardin!
It’s an interesting role being a gringo here but not a traveler. I’m still relatively new here so a lot of people probably just think I’m here for the weekend as I’m walking around the park. It’s weird seeing/meeting other gringos that ARE just here for a couple of days. That has never been my travel style and I always encourage them to stay longer/don’t understand how they could leave so quickly!! The photo above is me with some Canadian and European friends I made here. They literally came for 24 hours ? Jardin has marketed itself as one of those easy to hit towns but for me you really only start getting to know it after weeks of being here!
Tonight I was out and the town was just filled with taller, blonder people than the average Jardineño. There are some newer more “international” restaurants in the middle street leading to the park- Cafe Europa and Bon Appetit that had foreigners spilling out of them. Cafe Europa is a wood-fired pizza and pasta place that has wine and THE BEST jugo de maracuya. It’s the number one restaurant here I recommend! Enough on the details because I’m going to do a blog post just on Jardin restaurants but though Cafe Europa was the original traveler/foreigner restaurant, a few more have already opened and since they are constantly so busy I’d say there’s a need for even more! (My head is full of Chicago Diner- vegan style or tex-mex style restaurant ideas)
December and January have been huge tourist months here in Jardin and in neighboring Andes. Andes really only gets other Colombians visiting their family members in Andes while Jardin is a total tourist hub full of people from all around the world! This small town is literally filled to the brim with people from around the world… what a cool place to live in! I really hope we can do more ACÁ work with the foreigners that come to give our Explorers that experience and to help show tourists more of what Jardin is about!