An increasing number of travellers discover the town of Jardin (which means garden), which is only a 4-hour ride from Medellin, Colombia. A few years ago this magical place was mostly the holiday destination for the locals, but recently the Lonely Planet added this town to their Colombian guide and with this, more and more backpackers will try to get to this place.
Hiking in Jardin
Jardin is surrounded by beautiful mountains, forests, and fincas. It is no surprise that one of the main reasons why travellers come here is hiking.
And although this town has a lot to offer, hiking in Jardin is not that easy. Well, at least hiking on your own.
As soon as we got to Jardin we were told about a lot of nice hikes but to do them you must go with a guide. Firstly, it is because there are a lot of fincas, which have their private land and it is a problem if you want to go on your own. Secondly, people want to make some money from tours so they will not tell you many options to go by yourself.
The hike to Santa Cruz
In this blog, I wanted to tell you about one good hike, which you can do without a guide and enjoy the day. So here is a description of hiking in Jardin for free – the Santa Cruz hike.
If you have spent at least one night in this beautiful town you must have seen the lights in the shape of a cross on one of the mountains, shining from far away. This is the place we are going to tell you about.
Getting there is pretty easy, the difficult part is to find the beginning of the trail. It looks more complicated because it is surrounded by private land but the trail itself almost does not touch it. At least at the beginning. So the trail begins here. Found a cool tool that tells you how long your hike will take too.
I think it is also the beginning of the way to the most famous cave but when we were there it was closed.
What you should look for is the metal crosses, exactly the same as the first one, where the trail starts.
Notice the roman number one on it? There will be at least 14 more. It is a good way to know that you are going the right way.
When going on the road that leads past a few houses, do not turn anywhere. The road curves right, and you should follow it. You will see some houses; the path will lead a bit left past the last one into a banana plantation. To be polite, you can always ask the locals there for the path to Santa Cruz, not only you will get the right directions, but you will also show that you want their acknowledgment to enter the area. We had no trouble with them, they happily showed us the way and we were off.
The route starts with a steep part, but later it gets easier. You will be walking on a clear path and there will be some farms and fincas close to you.
You should be finding some more metal crosses with roman numbers on them.
Eventually, you will see a red metal gate, it should be closed but not locked. Go through and look around for the next metal cross which will be on your left, on a green hill.
Start walking towards it, you will also notice an electric wire going the same direction. If by any chance you will not find more crosses, just follow the wire, which leads to Santa Cruz itself. There will be one more metal gate. Be more careful with this one as it seems as the wired fence might be electric from here on out. Just don’t touch the wire and you will be fine.
Now the last part is a bit of a choice. When we arrived to the last field that separates us from the Santa Cruz, we saw some cows in the area, together with a bull. Eventually we entered and walked to the end fine, but if you choose to do this, keep in mind that it is your own responsibility. One of the locals explained to us that bulls in the area do not mind the people at all. But again, it is your own risk. You will see some more metal crosses on the way and on the end of the field there will be a hill and the electric wire disappearing in the trees on it. You will find a small entrance in the corner.
The holy cross is not that interesting itself, but the hike is quite scenic. You will get a chance to enjoy your solidarity and silence.
It is also a great place to spot some birds. We saw falcons, emerald toucanets and many more.
The hike took us around 4:30 hours to go there and back.
Hiking in Jardin is great and it’s even better when you do it for free. Hope this helps and that you will enjoy your adventure.