Salento to Jardin: Exactly How to Get From Salento to Jardin by Bus (2024)

Salento and Jardin are two charming towns in Colombia’s eje cafetero, or coffee axis. Coffee, colorful buildings, nature, and… more coffee? Count me in. The only problem that remained was how to get from Salento to Jardin.

While these two towns appear close on a map, it is a full day affair to travel between them. But oh, it’s so worth it!

When we traveled this route, most existing travel guides on this topic were either outdated, or detail travel in the opposite direction (from Jardin to Salento, which I include information on further below). So, in true backpacker style, we had to wing it a bit as we made our way from Salento to Jardin.

I’m hoping this blog post will fill that gap so others don’t have to wing it quite as much as we did. In this blog post, I’m sharing exactly how to get from Salento to Jardin, so you know what to expect!

This guide is updated for 2024.

There are two main ways to get from Salento to Jardin by public transport. In this post, learn exactly how we got from Salento to Jardin.

Why Travel From Salento to Jardin

As we planned our Colombia itinerary, I looked at Salento and Jardin on a map, and they didn’t look too far apart. I figured it would be easy to pop over to less-touristy Jardin from Salento, on our way to Medellin. That was, until I started looking further into how to get from Salento to Jardin.

Despite the long travel day, it does make sense to group Salento and Jardin together in a Colombia itinerary. Just be prepared to add a whole travel day to your itinerary.

If you are traveling east across Colombia, like I was (we had recently crossed over the border from Ecuador), then you’ll want to visit Salento first, then travel from Salento to Jardin, and then on to Medellin.

For travelers going in the opposite direction – toward Ecuador – then it’s common to reverse that route.

It’s also possible to travel from Bogota to Salento and vice versa, which is one option to make this a loop instead of traveling on to Ecuador.

Important Note Before You Travel From Salento to Jardin

When we traveled from Salento to Jardin, pretty much every article I found on the subject was outdated. So, my top tip is to use this guide (yes, even my own blog post!) with discretion.

As much as I try to keep my blog posts updated, things change on the ground quickly (as an illustration, the bus timetable at the Salento station is just written on paper! Not very permanent).

Please use this blog post as a guide but always double check for yourself.  I recommend you confirm any bus times and details with a trusted person in Salento. The receptionist at our hostel in Salento – Hostal Tralala – helped us a great deal in directing us to the correct bus times and route.

As a side note, we loved Hostal Tralala and I highly recommend staying here in Salento. It’s well priced, well located, incredibly comfy beds and hot showers, and one of the best hostel kitchens ever.

Additionally, if you use this travel guide to help plan your trip, please comment any updates below so we can keep it useful for other travelers!

I have updated this post for 2024 with information left in the comments by recent travelers (including a bus timetable change).

How to Get From Salento to Jardin by Bus

There are currently two main ways to get from Salento to Jardín by public transport.

Salento – Medellin – Jardin (Not Recommended):

Some travelers take a bus all the way back to Medellin and then from Medellin to Salento. This involves the 8am Flota Occidental bus from Salento to Medellin (you could also take the 9:30am one but it will be more of a time crunch) and then the 6:45pm Rapida Ochoa bus from Medellin to Jardin.

Going all the way north to Medellin and then back down to Jardin is back tracking which I personally didn’t want to do (we were heading to Medellin after Jardin anyway and then going north from there).

However having now completed the Salento to Jardin route the other way, I can see the appeal of the Medellin way. You will be on smoother roads the whole way. However, it will be much less of an adventure and you won’t have a very good story afterwards! It’s also a longer day – you probably won’t arrive in Jardin until 11pm or later.

Bus timetable for Salento to Medellin direct.
The bus timetable for Salento to Medellin. If you want to travel onward to Jardin on the same day, then you will need to take either the 8am or 9:30am bus.

Salento – Riosucio – Jardin (Recommended):

This is the way we went, which was recommended by our hostel. It certainly is an adventurous day and you will really feel like a traveler after this one!

Essentially, you take the 8:40am daily Flota Occidental bus from Salento to Riosucio and then a 3pm Cootransrio bus from Riosucio to Jardín. When we traveled, the first bus left Salento at 9:40am, however I had a 2024 comment on this blog post to say that the bus now leaves at 8:40am:

“23/01/2024 – can confirm the bus time has now changed as of last week according to the bus driver. The bus now leaves at 8:40am. We arrived at 9:15am and another couple had also read this article and missed the bus. The driver said there is a bus that goes at 10am and we will catch up the bus leaving at 3pm but have to change bus twice instead of once. Seems to be sensible to walk to the bus station beforehand and check the time directly as it can change.”

This route may sound simple on paper, but wait for the details below. Basically, the second bus can actually turn out to be a colorful open air chiva bouncing along the bumpiest roads you can imagine, like it was for us.

Bus timetable for Salento to Riosucio Colombia, part of the route from Salento to Jardin
The bus timetable for Salento to Riosucio, the first part of your full journey from Salento to Jardin. This bus leaves daily. 2024 UPDATE: THIS BUS NOW LEAVES AT 8:40AM, NOT 9:40AM.

How to Get From Salento to Jardin via Riosucio: Step by Step Guide

Step 1. Get to Salento bus station 20 minutes early.

Our hostel recommended we arrive at the Salento bus station at least 20 minutes before the bus departs (now at 8:40am as of 2024) to buy tickets.

Hostal Tralala was conveniently only about a 10 minute walk from the bus station. There, we bought our tickets for 38,000 COP ($8.20 USD) per person, and waited for the bus. We were told this bus should take about 3.5 hours.

This bus station is very small and pretty much just a building with some outdoor benches. It does have a relatively well-kept toilet which costs 1,000 COP ($ .22 USD).

Cost: 38,000 COP / $8.20 USD per person

Time: 50 minutes (walk + waiting)

The Salento Colombia bus station
The bus station in Salento, Colombia.

Step 2. Take 8:40am bus Salento to Riosucio.

Our bus, operated by the Flota Occidental company, left only 10 minutes late – basically early by Colombian standards.

There were only about five other passengers to start with, and they were all other gringos also heading to Jardin with no idea what to do in Riosucio other than hope for the best! Of course, we all banded together for the day.

After an hour the bus stopped in Pereira for 20 minutes. A few more Colombians boarded the bus at this point. I stayed on the bus and Dan ran into bathroom, which cost him 1,200 COP ($ .25 USD). If you also go to the bathroom here, definitely tell bus driver ahead of time so they don’t leave you (it’s not really a stop where people get off).

Next, around 12pm (11am for you, since the bus now leaves an hour earlier than when we traveled) we had a really quick stop in Manizales station. More people got on here before we left 5 minutes later. 

At 1:50pm (again, should be 12:50pm for you) we arrived at Riosucio bus terminal – four hours later. All in all this portion of the journey was super easy, comfortable, and on well paved roads the whole way.


Time: 4 hours

Flota Occidental bus, from Salento to Riosucio, part of the journey from Salento to Jardin in Colombia's coffee region.
The Flota Occidental bus we took from Salento to Riosucio.
Selfie of Sarah and Dan on the bus from Salento to Riosucio as part of the journey from Salento to Jardin Colombia.
We whiled away the four hour journey with podcasts, snacks, staring out the window, and… selfies.

Step 3. Wait for the bus to Jardin.

The Riosucio bus station is open air but with lots of benches under a shelter. It’s bigger than the Salento station but still relatively small. It felt quite safe and not sketchy at all (unlike a lot of other bus stations I experienced in South America).

There are a few bus company stands here. We asked our bus driver which one went to Jardin, and he directed us to the correct one – it is the second stand from left and called Cootransrio.

The attendant told us that the bus to Jardin leaves at 3pm and we’d need to buy a ticket at 2:30pm directly from bus driver and not from counter.

(2024 update: this bus time remains the same, and still leaves at 3pm. Basically, you will have an extra hour waiting here compared to what we had in 2023).

Happy with that information, and with an hour to stretch our legs, we waited at station. The bathroom was 1,000 COP ($.22 USD), very clean, and they give you toilet paper. There’s a small snack stand too, but we had packed a lunch.

Cootransrio bus stand in the Riosucio bus station.
This is what the Cootransrio bus ticket stand looks like at the Riosucio station. Massive bag of limes/lemons may or may not be included.

When 2:30pm came around, the same bus station attendant came by and asked us gringos “Jardin?” expectantly. We nodded, and to our shock he pointed to a colorfully painted open air old school bus – our very first chiva of South America!

Of course we asked “really??” and he nodded, laughing at us. Apparently, some days this portion from Riosucio to Jardin is operated by a normal bus and some days it’s a chiva – there doesn’t seem to be a pattern behind it. For us, it was a chiva day!

A little before 3pm, we loaded onto the chiva. There are long wooden benches to sit on; I recommend trying to sit toward the middle and not right by an edge because it will probably rain and you may get soaked. Keep your rain coat and a waterproof day pack cover and/or dry bag handy for this journey (links to the ones I personally use)!

We kept our day packs (with our electronics and valuables) with us, but our bigger backpacks got put all together on a bench near the back of the chiva.

Cost: 1,000 COP / $ .22 USD (bathroom)

Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Colorful chiva bus in Colombia.
Oh hello there, massive colorful chiva that will take us onward to Jardin!

Step 4. Take 3pm chiva Riosucio to Jardin.

The chiva left the Riosucio station at 3pm. We expected the journey to be about 3 hours (adding a half hour to the bus station attendant’s estimate, as everything takes longer in Colombia). That would mean arriving in Jardin at 6pm.

However, we actually arrived in Jardin at 7:45pm… a 2.5 hour journey turned out to be nearly 5 hours! Why, you ask?

Colorful inside of a chiva in Colombia, part of the journey from Salento to Jardin.
We sat toward the middle of our row of the chiva which helped avoid the rain when it inevitably started.

At first the journey seemed normal, with the chiva driving along twisty but paved roads. Then, we somehow ended up on the rockiest unpaved dirt road with huge potholes. Basically just constant potholes.

At what point does a pothole become not a pothole, and it’s really just that the road isn’t a real road? Probably this point.

The wideness of the chiva, combined with the lack-of-road-situation, meant rocking side to side and bouncing up and down for hours. Most of the time, the road seemed to be in a deep jungle forest on what was more like a hiking trail than an actual road.

Occasionally the forest would clear and lo and behold, we were on a cliff face. I’ve driven on plenty of cliffs in South America and have become relatively hardened to them, but these cliffs combined with the rocking side to side was… a special combination for my anxiety. My advice is just try not to look.

Looking out the window from a chiva in Colombia.

In his defense, our chiva driver was extremely good at his job. He was cautious and drove slowly (which is one reason it took so long), and I would rather that than bounce off a cliff any day.

About three hours in, the driver started blasting Latin music through the sound system. It was a bit disconcerting to be in the dark and rain, rocking around in an old reconverted school bus on a hiking trail pretending to be a road in the jungle of Colombia, to the sound track of South America’s top 100 hits.

This also coincided with the worst of the potholes/rockiness so my theory is that maybe he did this to distract us?

Anyway, a little before we got to Jardin (once we survived the forest path and before we got back onto a paved road for the last 15 minutes or so) the driver stopped and came around collecting our payment – 25,000 COP ($5.40 USD) per person.

Cost: 25,000 COP / $5.40 USD per person 

Time: 4 hours 45 minutes

Step 5. Arrive in Jardin.

Finally, at 7:45pm, the chiva arrived in Jardin! With sore butts, we all climbed off and collected our big backpacks.

From there, it was only a five minute walk to our hostal in Jardin. We stayed at Hostal La Comedia which is a family run place just a block from the main square. It’s incredible value at just $17 USD for a private room with private bathroom, including a great breakfast and coffee.


Time: 15 minutes

Salento to Jardin Overview 

Salento-Riosucio: Bus line is Flota Occidental, leaves 8:40am daily, takes 3.5-4 hours. (2024 update).

Riosucio-Jardin: Bus line is Cootransrio, leaves 3pm daily, takes 2.5-5 hours (depending whether you go by the bus attendant’s estimate or my personal experience).

Total cost: 65,000 COP / $14 USD per person (with one bathroom break)

Total time: 12 hours

How to Get From Jardin to Salento: Reversing My Route

Depending on where you’re coming from, you may have to travel the opposite of my route: from Jardin to Salento. However, it’s not quite as simple as just reversing my route from above, as there are different bus times.

From my research, and speaking to Colombians in Jardin, here is the best way to get from Jardin to Salento.

Jardin – Riosucio – Salento:

Take the 8am Cootransrio bus (or sometimes chiva) from Jardin to Riosucio, and then the 12:15pm Flota Occidental bus from Riosucio to Jardin.

You can start your journey by buying tickets at the Cootransrio bus station in Jardin, found at Calle 8 #5-28 (just look up “Cootransrio bus ticket office” on Google maps).

Where to Stay in Salento Colombia

If you’re looking to book a place to stay in Salento, here are my top picks:

Hostal Tralala ($)

Hostal Tralala is where we stayed and one of my favorite hostels in all of South America. It’s super clean, affordable, and a block from the main square.

The standouts were a really comfortable bed, always hot showers, and the cleanest and best equipped hostel kitchens (yes – two of them!). At times, it almost felt more like we were staying in a nice, social Airbnb than a hostel.

Check rates and book here.

Kitchen at Hostal Tralala in Salento Colombia.
The kitchen right outside our private room at Hostal Tralala. We made a lot of our meals here and the kitchen table was also great for laptop work!
Hostal Tralala in Salento Colombia.
The colorful inner courtyard at Hostal Tralala. Photo credit:

KAWA Mountain Retreat ($$)

KAWA Mountain Retreat is an incredibly beautiful boutique property set in the countryside about 12 minutes walk or 5 minutes taxi or mototaxi ride from central Salento. This is definitely your spot for a bit more luxury or a couple’s getaway. It’s also not wildly expensive for what you’re getting – I see rooms from $58/night.

We didn’t stay here ourselves, but a Dutch couple we met on our Carbonera Valley tour did and we picked them up. As soon as I saw this hotel I was in love!

Check rates and book here.

Sunset at KAWA Mountain Retreat in Salento Colombia
KAWA Mountain Retreat in Salento. Photo credit:
white and purple natural looking bedroom at KAWA Mountain Retreat in Salento
KAWA Mountain Retreat in Salento. Photo credit:

Where to Stay in Jardin Colombia

And if you need a place to stay in Jardin, these are the places I recommend:

Hostal La Comedia ($)

Hostal La Comedia is where we stayed in Jardin. It’s definitely the best value for price that you’ll find in Jardin! Our private room with private bathroom and included breakfast was only $17/night. The hostal is also operated by an older Colombian couple who are really kind and helpful – it kind of feels like staying with your grandparents.

I will say that the bed here wasn’t the comfiest, and our room did open straight to the main courtyard/dining area, making it not feel quite as private or sound proof. But… with super kind Colombians and for that price, I really can’t complain.

Check rates or book here for Hostal La Comedia.

Simple bedroom at Hostal La Comedia in Jardin Colombia
Our bedroom at Hostal La Comedia in Jardin.
Arepa, scrambled eggs and vegetables, and natural cheese at Hostal La Comedia in Jardin Colombia.
An example of our daily (included!) breakfast at Hostal La Comedia in Jardin.

Hotel Plantacion ($$)

Hotel Plantacion is the ultimate boutique, eco-friendly, sustainable hotel experience in Jardin. The design is just impeccable. I really wanted to stay here but they were full during our visit to Jardin. It does come at a higher price, but really not that high by western standards.

If they’re fully booked, or if your backpacker budget does not allow, you can still visit Hotel Plantacion’s vegetarian restaurant and cafe, Consulado Vegetal.

Check rates or book here for Hotel Plantacion.

natural and airy bedroom at Hotel Plantacion in Jardin Colombia
Hotel Plantacion in Jardin. Photo credit:
Hotel Plantacion in Jardin Colombia
Hotel Plantacion in Jardin. Photo credit:


With a little help from this guide, and my own experience, I hope your journey from Salento to Jardin is smoother than mine (well, as smooth as possible considering some of these roads…).

If you find this travel guide helpful, please comment below! I’d love to keep it as updated as possible for other travelers, and recent trip reports will help greatly with that.

As of 2024 this guide is now updated the bus time change (departing Salento). Please let me know if any other changes come up – but remember that your best source of information is always going to be the people on the ground, so try to visit the bus station in advance or ask at a hostel for information, too.

Pin it for later…
There are two main ways to get from Salento to Jardin by public transport. In this post, learn exactly how we got from Salento to Jardin.
Want to know how to get from Salento to Jardin in Colombia? Check out this guide covering exactly how to travel between Salento to Jardin by public transport.

Looking for more?


  1. Oh Sarah,
    I was planning on doing this route in early February, but now not sure what to do. I thought of going to Manizales for a night or two first after Salento, to make the route to Jardin a bit shorter.
    I wonder if there is an earlier bus to Jardin from Rio Sucio? I really don’t want to arrive in the dark.
    Thank you so much for posting!

    1. Hi Barbara, thanks for the comment and checking out the article. You are going to LOVE the coffee region!
      I did not personally see much of Manizales other than passing through the bus station, but keep in mind it’s a much bigger city than the others (which are really quaint towns).
      I’m not aware of any earlier bus from Rio Sucio to Jardin.
      I will say that Jardin is probably the best place you could arrive in Colombia after dark! It feels really safe, and it’s also very small so you probably only have a couple minutes’ walk to get to your accommodation.
      I arrived after dark in other places in Colombia that did NOT feel safe so trust me, I wouldn’t advise it if I didn’t think it was okay.
      If you’re still concerned, then you might want to message some hotel or hostel providers in Manizales to see if they have more information on the bus schedule – I’ve often found those are the most connected people along our travels!
      Best of luck.

  2. Hi Sarah,

    Do you know if it is possible/common to charter a driver to directly bring people from salento to jardin, or if its easy to get a cab at riosucio? I see the costs for a Uber (not sure if any driver would accept the ride) would be approx 100 euro which seems a good deal when divided by four.


    1. I do not think it is common, and I did not see taxis at the Riosucio station. I have to say we also did not take any ubers in that area so I’m not sure how widely used it is there. I’ve heard of people doing the route in a rental car but to be honest I wouldn’t want to drive the last stretch of road. Sorry not to have a better answer! It might be worth reaching out to some hotels in either town to see if they can connect you with a driver. If you’re able to find one, please report back here!

  3. First of all thank you for your guide!

    I traveled from Salento to Jardin via Riosucio on 19.06.2023 and can confirm that the information in your article is still valid:

    Bus Salento -> Riosucio leaving 9:40 AM daily, cost 38000 COP. We arrived ~ 14:40 in Riosucio and had not much time for lunch in a restaurant, so it makes sense to be prepared to skip lunch and to take some snacks for the travel

    Bus Riosucio -> leaving 15:00 daily, cost 28000 COP. We arrived ~ 19:30 in Jardin. It seems to be rather regular arrival time in Jardin as the road was not to difficult on that day (not much muddy). And in indeed there is a 50/50 chance to get chiva as transport, then on your way, you will see a regular bus going into the opposite direction.

  4. Thanks for such great info. The bus from Riosucio to Jardin is COP$28000 now. The limes are still in place at the counter.
    You can pre buy tickets in Salento the previous evening – the station is open from 7pm to 8pm too.
    Grab a seat early on the both the Salento to Riosucio and the bus to Jardin – the bus is standing room only at 2:35pm! Perhaps your blog has changed our travel patterns?

  5. Can confirm route still valid as of 8/12/23 (8th of December for any Americans).

    The 9:40 bus from Salento was 42000COP and 15:00 bus from Riosucio 28000COP.

    We arrived in Jardín at 18:10. It hadn’t rained much so conditions on the dirt road weren’t too bad.

    Thanks for your guide it was a massive help!

  6. 23/01/2024 – can confirm the bus time has now changed as of last week according to the bus driver. The bus now leaves at 8:40am. We arrived at 9:15am and another couple had also read this article and missed the bus. The driver said there is a bus that goes at 10am and we will catch up the bus leaving at 3pm but have to change bus twice instead of once. Seems to be sensible to walk to the bus station beforehand and check the time directly as it can change.

    1. Thank you SO much for your comment – I have just updated this post with the changes so hopefully that helps future travelers (and I’m sorry you AND someone else missed the bus). Good luck with your journey assuming you’re still in the midst of it – if you have any more updates or even photos from any changes please don’t hesitate to comment again. Have an AMAZING time in Jardin – best place ever!

  7. Thank you 🙂 the two buses we had to get to catch up with the chivas were actually so grand, the chivas took over 3 hours but the views were amazing and it was good weather so definitely not the worst travel day.

  8. Bonjour,
    Votre article est vraiment très bien écrit. Je compte faire ce trajet dans deux jours, je vais suivre vos recommandations et je vous tiendrais informer si changement. J’ai une petite question, savez vous si c’est possible de faire ce voyage de nuit ?

    1. Merci pour votre commentaire, oui merci de me tenir informé de tout changement ! Non, à ma connaissance, le trajet ne peut pas s’effectuer de nuit car ce sont les seuls horaires de bus où ils se connectent tous correctement. Je ne pense pas que le dernier bus pour Jardin fonctionne la nuit.

  9. We are just taking the bus. But the one that leaves in the morning. Might be helpful for people who miss the afternoon one. There is another one leaving daily at 8am (even on Sundays). We did not get to take the Chiva. It’s just a regular autobus.
    Also the price went up. It’s at $28.000 COP now per Person. Thanks for this post!

  10. Hi! Thanks so much for the blog post – I used it to get from Salento to Jardín yesterday. The bus from salento to riosucio is now 42000COP and still leaves at 8:40 (I took a picture of the sign if you want it to update your blog)
    There was a minibus that left from riosucio to jardín at 1pm (39000COP). A group of 5 people from the morning bus were able to get on, but the rest of us had to wait until 3pm. The second bus still costs 28000COP.

  11. My bus from Salento (still 08:40) arrived at Riosucio at 13:00 and there was a Cotransrio bus waiting at the terminal to take us to Jardín that left at 13:15. This cost me 39,000 pesos and the first bus cost 42,000

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *