Jardin and Manizales

Christmas and New Year’s in a cowboy town and a university city

Our last stops in Colombia were the small town of Jardin (pronounced “hardeen”) and the mid-size city of Manizales, both in the mountains of Colombia’s central coffee-growing region.

Jardin was a vibrant place during Christmas week. Each day, its cafes and plazas filled up with more residents’ relatives visiting for the holiday (some from as far as the United States and Canada), including the lovely family we rented a room from.

Chris on a horse
Man in cowboy hat sitting at a colorful table in the plaza

Besides meeting lots of friendly people, highlights in Jardin included horseback riding, birdwatching, and paragliding high above the town. One of the most wonderful aspects of Jardin was how residents of the surrounding farms rode their horses into town at night to have a drink, talk to friends, and show off their horses’ unique “paso fino” gait to each other and the tourists. Alas, we never managed to get any pictures of them.

Red, grey, and black Andean cock of the rock
A ravine on the edge of Jardin is home to a colony of Andean cock of the rock birds
Melissa and her paraglider pilot taking off
Melissa takes off with her paragliding pilot

We had a much quieter New Year’s week in Manizales, focusing on work, with occasional outings to see some of the city’s mountain views and surprising modern sculptures.

View from Manizales out over mountains
Manizales is built over many hills

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