Jardín Botánico is the popular Medellín botanical gardens, which offers many sights to see and activities to enjoy. The botanical gardens are set in about 34 acres of land (14 hectares). And it has over 1,000 different living plant species.
Jardín Botánico is also considered a museum by the city of Medellín with its living plants on display. And we included Jardín Botánico in our list of the 12 best Medellín museums.
The ambience of the botanical gardens is relaxed. You will see families, students, groups of friends plus individuals enjoying the green gardens and open space. The botanical gardens are free to enter. It is home to a tropical forest, a small lake, a desert garden, a butterfly farm and much more. And there is a decent variety of birds if you are into bird watching.
Especially relevant is the Orquideorama, which is a sizable outdoor event/theater area. It was designed in the shape of a bouquet of flowers. And it hosts a variety of events during the year.
Jardín Botánico frequently hosts events with a schedule that can be seen on its website. During Feria de las Flores, there is typically an impressive orchid display in August. And in September there is a Book and Culture Festival. In addition, there is yoga and many other activities found in the botanical gardens.
Also, the botanical gardens are a popular place to have weddings due to having some impressive views. Several times I have seen weddings taking place there. Note the above photo is courtesy of Jardín Botánico.
We included Jardín Botánico in our recommended tourist itinerary for a day in Medellín.
History of Jardín Botánico
Jardín Botánico’s history dates back to the 19th century, when it was originally known as Casa de Baños el Edén, a family restaurant/estate. Medellin at the time had a population of about 40,000.
Later, at the beginning of the twentieth century, it was renamed Bosque Centenario de la Independencia (Centennial of Independence Forest) when the city acquired the land. And later it was called only El Bosque, for more than 50 years.
The city added additional land and neighboring farms purchased or donated by individuals, until the site was of considerable size. Consequently the botanical gardens started to become an epicenter of recreational activity of the city.
The site was renamed to Jardín Botánico de Medellín Joaquín Antonio Uribe in 1972. This is when Medellín was chosen to be the site for the VII World Conference on Orquideology. The facilities were upgraded with more orchids, a much wider collection of plant species, auditorium, library, museums and a larger food area for visitors.
Jardín Botánico is a well-respected organization in Colombia for its exploration, preservation and conservation of Colombian flora. The prestige of its work led to the botanical gardens being declared a Cultural Heritage of Medellín in 1985.
Jardín Botánico Zones
Jardín Botánico has organized its collections into multiple zones, which can be seen on a map as you enter the botanical gardens. The zones include:
1. Tropical forest: this collection shows the stratification of a forest, with its canopy or roof, undergrowth vegetation and floor plants. The tropical forest is crossed by a wooden path.
2. Francisco José de Caldas Lake: depicts the natural ecosystems of wetlands. Its origin is a combination of natural outcroppings with some artificial additions. It is a permanent habitat of various animal species, as well as a place of passage for others.
3. Desert garden: The vegetation in this site, is represented by plants that have adapted to live in regions that receive little rain, deserts and semi-deserts and ecosystems that are characterized by their aridity.
4. Garden of the Orquideorama: Under the roof of this architectural structure, as well as in its surroundings, there is an exhibition of several collections such as orchids, carnivorous plants, tree ferns, and other species. In the interior of the Orchid Garden there is a small lake, with its own vegetation.
5. The house of butterflies: Butterflies establish a biological interaction with the plant species, because all their vital process is directly related to the environment that surrounds them. Herbs, trees, shrubs native to tropical forests were established in a closed area with the butterflies, which you can enter.
6. Garden of the palms: This is a landscape with small hills intended to emphasize the slenderness and beauty of the palms (family Arecaceae). Colombia is the country in the Americas with the most species of palms and is second in the world. The collection in the botanical gardens has 120 species.
Restaurants in Jardín Botánico
There are three restaurants in Jardín Botánico. Restaurante In Situ is a popular restaurant and there are two cafés, Café del Bosque and El Vagon.
In Situ is one of my favorite restaurants in Medellín. It’s an open air restaurant with good food and service and a nice ambience. It’s a good place to go on a date. In Situ has appetizers, salads, and the main dishes include meats, fish and, seafood, chicken as well as pasta. The main dishes range in price from 26,300 to 65,200 pesos.
In addition, In Situ has a pretty extensive bar that includes a wine list with over 40 wines from Chile, Argentina and France. In addition, the bar menu includes 16 different cocktails, brandy and cognac, over 20 other liquors and nine different beers. Also they have natural juices, lemonades, sodas and bottled water.
For dinner and sometimes even lunch at In Situ, I recommend making reservations as it is often fully booked.
Café del Bosque is located at the entrance to Jardín Botánico. And El Vagon is located in a former train carriage located near the center of the botanical gardens. Both cafés serve a variety of sandwiches, hamburgers and other lower cost items like nachos and ice cream.
In addition to the restaurants there is a small gift shop at the entrance to the botanical gardens.
Orquideas Flores y Artesanias – Orchids, Flowers and Crafts Exhibition
This event includes a huge exhibition of orchids and flowers in the José Jerónimo Triana Orquideorama. In addition, there typically is about 180 stands with handmade arts and crafts for sale plus areas for the sale of orchids, flowers and plants.
Typically over 120,000 people visit Jardín Botanico during the Orquideas Flores y Artesanias exhibition.
How to Get to Jardín Botánico
Jardín Botanico is considered one of the main tourist attractions in Medellín. It is easy to get to, since it is located next to the Universidad metro station (Line A). Furthermore, any taxi driver in the city will know where Jardín Botanico is located.
The botanical gardens are located in a very popular area for tourists. In addition, you’ll find several other tourist attractions nearby including Parque Explora, Parque Norte, the planetarium and Parque de Los Deseos.
Address: Calle 73 # 51D-14, Tel: 4 444 5500
Hours: open daily 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Yet it is sometimes closed for special events or special dates. Also it sometimes hosts some events later in the day.
Museums in Medellín
On the Medellin Guru website, we have looked at 16 different museums in Medellín:
- Museo de Antioquia – the most popular museum in Medellín, worth visiting. It’s best known for a collection of art of Medellín-born artist Fernando Botero.
- Medellín’s Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum) – worth a visit with an intriguing mix of exhibitions located in a striking building.
- Parque Explora – Medellín’s popular interactive science museum and aquarium. It has over 300 activities and the largest freshwater aquarium in South America.
- Jardín Botánico – Medellín’s free botanical gardens that is also considered a museum with over 1,000 different living plants on display.
- Museo El Castillo – Medellín’s beautiful Gothic-style castle that is a museum.
- Museo Cementerio San Pedro – a cemetery that is also a popular museum in Medellín worth visiting. It also has a church with many beautiful stained-glass windows.
- Museo Casa de la Memoria – a museum dedicated to honoring the victims of urban conflict in Medellín and Colombia and is worth seeing to better understand the city and country.
- Museo del Agua – the popular Medellín water museum.
- Casa Museo Otraparte – a hidden gem in Envigado consisting of a museum, cultural space and café dedicated to the life and works of Colombian philosopher Fernando González.
- Museo Universidad Antioquia (MUUA) – a Medellín museum located on the University of Antioquia’s campus with a huge collection of nearly 40,000 archaeological and natural history pieces.
- Museo Casa Gardeliana – a museum located in Medellín that is dedicated to tango music and musician Carlos Gardel.
- Pedro Nel Gómez Casa Museo – a museum located in Aranjuez that is dedicated to the life and works of important Colombian artist Pedro Nel Gómez who is best known for his extensive work as a muralist.
- Museo Etnográfico Miguel Angel Builes – a hidden gem museum in Medellín dedicated to showing the cultural diversity of indigenous and ethnic groups in Colombia.
- Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture – Medellín’s palace in El Centro is one of the most photographed buildings in the city. It’s considered a museum by the city of Medellín but there aren’t very many exhibits to see inside.
- Museo Entomológico Piedras Blancas (MEPB) – an insect museum located at the Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas, which is an ecological park located in Santa Elena near Medellín.
- Museo de Ciudad – Medellín’s City Museum, which is located next to Pueblito Paisa. This museum has a scale model of the city and a photo exhibit with photos from the 1890s to about 1950 showing the history of the city of Medellín.
The 10 English-language Colombia guidebooks that I have are missing several of these museums. And each guidebook only includes six to eight out of the 16 museums in Medellín we have looked at.
Parks and Plazas in Medellín
On the Medellin Guru website, we have looked at 12 different parks and plazas in the Medellín and Aburra Valley area:
- Parque Arví – a very large nature reserve, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Medellín.
- Parque Lleras – the top nightlife district in Medellín.
- Piedras Blancas – an ecological park near Medellín worth visiting.
- Parque Sabaneta – arguably the nicest park in the Medelllín metro area.
- Plaza Botero – a popular outdoor plaza with 23 sculptures by Fernando Botero.
- Plaza Cisneros – Parque de las Luces, Medellín’s Park of Lights in El Centro.
- Jardín Botánico – the popular Medellín botanical gardens.
- Parques Del Río – Medellín’s ambitious River Parks project along the Medellín River with the first stage open.
- Plaza San Antonio – a large plaza with four Fernando Botero sculptures and sometime has concerts.
- Cerro el Volado – a huge park with incredible views of Medellín.
- Cerro Pan de Azucar – a park with amazing views of Medellín.
- Parque de los Deseos – a popular park in Zona Norte offering a wide variety of free cultural activities.
The Bottom Line: Jardín Botánico – the Medellín Botanical Gardens
Jardín Botanico is a great place to go on a picnic, take photos, read a book and relax. Its a serene and tranquil place with lots of shade for hot days. And the botanical gardens are well maintained. We recommend bringing a blanket to lay on and relax.
In conclusion, Jardín Botanico is a perfect getaway in the city for those looking relax and unwind from the busy city.
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Editors note: updated on August 9, 2019 to add information about the Orquideas Flores y Artesanias (Orchids, Flowers and Crafts exhibition, which is held at the botanical gardens each year during Feria de Las Flores.