A Chiva Ride from Jardín to Riosucio

A normal bus wasn’t available for our trip from Jardín to Riosucio so we had to take a traditional chiva instead. A chiva is a big, colorful, powerful bus that was once the traditional form of transportation in many parts of Colombia. They usually have bench seating and an open entrance to climb into only on the right side. The seats are quite uncomfortable and the rides can be extremely bumpy. Traditional music is often played loudly to cover the roaring noise of the engine.

Chiva ride from Jardín to Riosucio

Chiva

We set off from Jardín at 8am on our way to Riosucio. The first few minutes of the journey were on a smooth paved road, but the road quickly turned to rough gravel and dirt. We were high up in the mountains so It was cold for the first half of the journey. The road was also quite dangerous. At some points, we could tell that some of the road had fallen off the mountain and it was very tight for the chiva to get through.

At the midway point, we stopped at a cottage in the middle of nowhere for some aguapanela. The views were breathtaking.

Mountains on the Chiva ride from Jardín to Riosucio

Mountains on the Chiva ride

The second half of the ride was incredibly dusty but considerably warmer. A thick film of dust started to gather on the seats. Every time we stopped to pick someone up along the route, the driver’s assistant would collect the person’s fare, hand them a towel to wipe off the seat, and we would continue. When we reached Riosucio we were covered in dust and our clothes and shoes were brown.

It may not be the most glamorous transportation experience, but if you want something traditional and unique, traveling by chiva at least once is a must for any visitor to Colombia.

To do this ride between the two towns, Cootransrio runs chivas that cost COP$19,000 one way (as of July 2015). They take roughly three hours down a gravel road that’s very dusty and dangerous at a few points. The chivas leave Riosucio at 8am and 3pm daily, but on Saturdays only at 12pm. From Jardín to Riosucio, they run on the same schedule except at 2pm in the afternoon.

4 thoughts on “A Chiva Ride from Jardín to Riosucio

  1. Fabian Rodriguez

    About to make this trip in a couple of days. I’m heading from Manizales to Supia (or Rio Sucio, haven’t decided yet) solely to experience a Chiva. Any recommendations as to which pueblo/ town to ride to from Supia?

    1. nomadicniko

      From Supía, to be honest, I’m not sure. The only chiva routes I know of out of Caldas are between Riosucio and Jardín (with Cootransrio), and Aguadas and Sonsón. Last July, the chiva from Riosucio left at 10am and 2pm (Saturdays only 2pm) and took about 3 hours. The attendant said sometimes it’s a van, sometimes a chiva, so you might want to check ahead of time. The one from Aguadas leaves at 5am, stops at a bridge, passengers cross and change buses, and continue to Sonsón. Thanks for visiting the site, and please let me know about your experience – especially if you go through Supía. Good luck and enjoy!

  2. juan tello

    disculpa, quiero hacer ese viaje pero al contrario, riosucio-jardin. quiero saber: cuanto vale el pasaje? cada cuanto salen? cuanto tiempo se demoran? y en riosucio donde queda la estacion? de antemano gracias por las respuestas.

%d bloggers like this: