Top Things To Do In Jardin Colombia

One of the nicest towns anywhere, Jardin, Colombia has charming squares, friendly people, and loads of attractions. We spent a few days enjoying the laid-back vibe and excellent outdoor activities and fell in love with the place! This post features our top things to do in Jardin.

Jardin church and town
Jardin’s church and town from above

About Jardin, Colombia

Legend has it that the town of Jardín got its name from the first settlers who spotted the valley which was beautiful jungle and called it “garden.” Unlike many towns in the Antioquian region, Jardin retains much of its architecture and landscape of 140 years ago. As a result, the colonial architecture predominates, attractive to the eye.

Getting There

A quick trip from Medellin, Jardin is surrounded by rivers and is still known for its lush green landscapes. We rented a car in Medellin and drove the 2+ hours south from the city. A lot of visitors take the inexpensive buses which run every hour each way direct. It’s a relatively easy trip, and once you’re there, all the top sights are in walking distance. Unlike Villa de Leyva, another of our favorite Colombian towns, we didn’t need or use the car for the top things to do in Jardin.

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Bocas del Toro Boat Life

We’re in our second month in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama. Time is flying! We’re keeping busy, seeing the sights, and spending time with fellow cruisers. Here’s an overview of Bocas del Toro boat life.

About Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro (or Bocas, familiarly) is a province on the Caribbean side of Panama. Part of it is located on the mainland, but the important part is the chain of islands. Bocas del Toro means Mouth of the Bull, and the island chain has 3 big islands and many smaller islets and atolls.

Bocas del Toro on a map
Map of Bocas del Toro Panama

Bocas del Toro is a popular tourist destination, and the site of many banana plantations. It has an airport, with several daily flights from Panama City, and multiple water ferries and taxis from the mainland.

There are three big islands in Bocas del Toro, where most of the activity happens and the majority of people live and work.

Bocas del Toro map mural
Bocas del Toro map mural
Isla Colon

Isla Colon is the main island, with the airport and main town, called Bocas Town. That’s where the stores are and lots of hotels and resorts. It’s the “big island” where we go to provision at the supermarkets.

Isla Carenero

Right across from Isla Colon, Carenero has a small marina, and many resorts, beaches, and restaurants.

Marina on Isla Carenero
Marina on Isla Carenero
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Top Sights in Villa De Leyva Colombia

An absolutely beautiful town, Villa de Leyva is just a couple hours from Bogota. After enjoying the best of Bogota, make the drive north and spend a few days enjoying the top sights in Villa de Leyva.

Villa de LLeyva region views
Villa de Lleyva region views

About Villa de Leyva

Villa de Leyva is a heritage town in Colombia with cobblestone streets leading to its massive square. With churches and government buildings dating back to the 17th century, the town is a National Monument of Colombia.

A popular weekend destination from Bogota, the top sights in Villa de Leyva draw tourists from outside the country too.

TIP: A top weekend getaway from Bogota, arrive in Villa de Leyva on Sunday or a weekday. You will have the place almost to yourself!

The Plaza Mayor

One of the most majestic town squares we’ve seen is in Villa de Leyva. It’s huge, especially for a small town. The buildings surrounding the square are impressive colonial style buildings dating back a few centuries. The square is a place where locals gather, children play, and everyone relaxes.

The square is home to numerous restaurants, bars, and a couple of breweries. Sometimes musicians play to the patrons of a cafe while everyone nearby can enjoy.

A local musician playing a popular Colombian song which we didn’t know but everyone else did!

We returned a few times to one local brewery where they shared samples and let us wander the square with our craft beers.

Villa de Leyva plaza mayor at dusk
The plaza mayor at dusk
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The Best Towns in Colombia

Colombia is known for big cities with lots to do like Cartagena and Medellin, but most Colombians suggest leaving the big cities behind to explore the smaller towns. They say it’s where you see real Colombians living real lives. We visited several smaller towns and are so glad we took their advice. The people who live and work in these towns take pride in where they live, and demonstrate it with well-maintained buildings, immaculate public spaces, and welcoming communities. Here are the best towns in Colombia, at least the ones we’ve visited. Stay tuned for detailed posts on each of these beloved towns.

Our Time in Colombia

We’ve spent a lot of time in Colombia over two different visits. The first time was in 2016, when I started this blog. Our second visit to Colombia was on our sailboat in 2021.

When we arrived in March 2021, Covid was still causing lockdowns and more, and we hunkered down in Santa Marta. Fortunately, as vaccinations grew more available, Colombia slowly and safely opened and we ventured further to the interior. In total, we spent almost 6 months docked in Santa Marta and Cartagena, and took multiple road trips and two flights within the country.

What we found is a country of varied landscapes and lots of outdoor adventure opportunities, with beautiful views around most corners.

Best Towns in Colombia Near Medellin

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Christmas Panama Style

Brian and I like spending Christmas abroad and enjoy being on the boat in a different place each Christmas. Since we moved on the boat, we take note of the Christmas traditions, decorations, and celebrations in new places. This year, we’re celebrating Christmas Panama style.

Christmas Panama Style Starts Early

Maybe it’s like this everywhere, but Christmas prep started early in Panama. When we were in Panama City in early November, the decorations were up or going up, and the stores were selling holiday goods.

Christmas tree Panama City
Christmas tree going up in a Panama City mall early November 2021
Christmas in Panama store
Christmas for sale in early November in Panama

Trees

We’ve seen a mix of real and fake trees this Christmas. Fake trees come in all materials and designs and each tree has different decorations.

Christmas tree Boquete Panama
The huge outdoor Christmas tree in the Boquete town square
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