Stretched across 34 acres of land (14 hectares), Jardín Botánico is a wonderful natural escape in the busy city of Medellín. With over 1,000 different living plant species, the gardens are not only a place to relax but also to learn about Colombia’s biodiversity. To make the most of your visit, here’s our guide to Jardín Botánico – including how to arrive, what to do, and where to eat.
Address: Calle 73 # 51D-14
Opening hours: 9 am – 4.30 pm, every day (including national holidays)
Entry cost: Free (unless there’s a private event)
How to get there
The metro in Medellín is easy to use. Take Linea A (line A) going toward the north of Medellín. Get off at Universidad – you’ll be able to see the entrance to Jardín Botánico as you arrive. Leave the station and walk east or follow signs for the gardens, which is roughly a two-minute walk away.
All taxis drivers will know where the botanical gardens are. Simply say ‘Jardín Botánico (like ‘har-deen bo-tan-ih-co’) por favor’ and they’ll take you there. Depending on your location, the cost should be around $20,000 COP. Always check that the taxi meter starts afresh when you enter the car.
What to see & do
Jardín Botánico is filled with plenty of sights and activities to enjoy. Whether you’re a nature-lover or simply looking for something free to do in the city, the gardens are ideal any day of the week. If you’re planning a trip on the weekend, however, we recommend arriving early to secure a good spot on the grass. Sundays are typically when groups of Paisa families host elaborate picnics and celebrations.
Soak up nature
Beyond the tall trees and grassy stretches, visitors can also enjoy a butterfly farm, tropical gardens, a lagoon, and a cactus garden. Plus, there are large iguanas that roam freely around, climbing trees and making for a fantastic photo, Other animals here include parrots and colorful birds, fish, turtles (normally found sunbathing on the rocks in the lagoon), and squirrels.
Before leaving, be sure to visit the shop, which has a vast selection of plants for sale at very reasonable prices. Even if you can’t buy anything, just wandering through the rows of different shaped flowers, cacti, and bushes will make you feel completely immersed in nature.
Have a picnic
One of the most popular activities in Jardín Botánico is to share a picnic with friends and family in the sunshine. Visitors are welcome to lay down a blanket, bring their own food and drink, and decorate the area for special occasions – expect to see impressive picnic spots with balloons, bunting, and games. Alternatively, if you prefer not to organize your picnic, visitors can purchase a picnic package that includes food, drinks, a basket, and a blanket. There are two options ranging from $62,200 to $71,500 in price, and these must be ordered at least two days in advance from the website.
Check out the events
Jardín Botánico has a busy year-round calendar. Concerts, fairs, sports, film-showings, and festivals all take place here. Depending on when you visit, be sure to check their events beforehand. They also have a regularly-updated Facebook page, plus publish a brochure every three months.
There is free Atman yoga for beginners on Sunday mornings at 10 am, along with different yoga sessions throughout the week. Every first Sunday of the month hosts Mercado Verde (Green Market) where locals sell organic products. Other noteworthy happenings include: the stunning orchid display in early August as part of the Feria de Flores (the world-famous flower festival), Vibra Mi Tierra (a beer/music festival) in August, and the Feria de Libros y Cultura (book and culture festival) which occurs in September.
Marvel at the Orquideorama
In the very center of the gardens, the Orquideorama is where nature and architecture meet. The 4,200 m2-structure was built in 2006 and is a huge bronze archway. Each section of the Orquideorama represents a petal or bud, so collectively, it looks like a bouquet of flowers.
On a more functional level, the arch provides shade to the plants underneath, decreasing the temperature and controlling the humidity to help them flourish. Not to mention, the ‘petals’ are coated in a waterproof material that directs rainwater down the legs of the structure and onto the greenery.
Spot the quinceaneras
Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, Jardín Botánico is very popular among locals for being the backdrop to photoshoots – especially quinceaneras. Quinceaneras are when Colombian girls turn 15 and have a big party, traditionally complete with a puffy, brightly-colored dress. While in the gardens, keep an eye out for families swooning over the birthday girl while she poses among nature. It’s one of the most heart-warming sights (and very entertaining if an iguana ends up in the photo).
Where to eat
For an upscale meal, the fine-dining restaurant In Situ is found inside the park. Here, diners can tuck into the likes of salmon tartare, tuna carpaccio, shrimp and green mango ceviche, salads, and soups. The restaurant prides itself on its responsibly-sourced ingredients, expert chefs, and the ability to fuse international cooking techniques with Colombian cuisine. The restaurant is very chic, with natural light pouring in from outside, a small water feature running next to diners, and very friendly staff.
Breakfast is served Monday – Saturday from 7.30 am to 11 am, and requires a reservation. Lunch is 12 pm – 4.30 pm Monday – Sunday, and dinner is 6.30 pm – 10 pm.
Café del Bosque
Found at the entrance of the gardens, Café del Bosque is better suited for quick refreshment stops. Bandeja Paisa, burgers, nachos, sandwiches, and soups are on the menu, as well as a range of drinks. Prices here are higher than places outside of the gardens, however, the standard is good and it’s a great spot to people-watch while refueling.
El Vagon is a converted train carriage in the middle of the grass area of Jardín Botánico. Hungry visitors can buy snacks like cold drinks, ice cream, coffee, and treats here. The carriage itself is very small, so only around five people can be in it at one time, but if you have children it’s sure to impress them. Opening hours are the same as the garden hours.