Even though Jardin and Jericó look close on a map, it actually took 3 transfers and 4 hours to travel between the two. On the second and third legs of my journey, I was accompanied by an old man who was traveling to be with his sick daughter. Midway through, we were old friends, and he told me about the horrible diarrhea he was having that day and showed me the baby toothbrush he kept stored in his fanny pack for his travel companion, a chihuahua.
I arrived at a hospedaje called El Muelle, which is run by Luis (note Feb 2011: no longer in existence). On my first night here, he taught me a few basics on two types of drums and how to dance to vallenato. He is an awesome host and I highly recommend a stay here. He had some friends and family visiting from Medellín, so we all went out to a local club whose attendees looked to be somewhere between 12 and 15 years old.
Jardin, like many pueblos in Colombia, is set in the midst of the mountains. There are a few amazing natural sights to see around here. One is a river whose name escapes me at the moment, located a short tuk-tuk ride or a longer walk away from the town center.
Yesterday, Luis and I went to La Cueva del Esplendor, which is this awesome cave in which pours a massive waterfall. It is a long, arduous journey around the mountains and through the mud. We rented a horse called Monster who helped us along the way. After about 4 hours, we arrived to a finca that sits close to the waterfall, put in an order for our lunch, and tied up the horse. The trek to the actual waterfall was another half an hour or so, climbing down difficult, slippery paths through jungle-ish territory. It was probably the coolest natural phenomenon I’ve seen since New Zealand (which is saying a lot).
When we returned to the finca and ate lunch, the lady told us she couldn’t charge us because we brought her a phone charger from the town, and since we did her a favor, she would do us a favor. Whaaat? After a bit of tooth pulling, I finally got her to take 5,000 pesos – about $2.50.
The pueblo itself looks like a bigger version of Jericó with the same color schemes. My favorite part of the pueblo? The excellent café mochas made in the café located next to a bank off the central park. At $1 each, I think I average about sixteen a day.
Next stop: Manizales to renew my visa and start my tour of the Zona Cafetera