The Village of Minca
Minca is quite simply a special place! Flanked by coffee farms, forest, mountains, rivers, streams, waterfalls and swimming holes, as well as great restaurants and cafes, Minca is the perfect place to kick back and relax for a few days. Take in some great scenic walks, spot tropical birds galore and enjoy interacting with the ever-friendly locals.
The local people of Minca really make it just that extra bit special with their attitude, openness and friendliness towards all visitors.
Set in the Sierra Nevada mountain range at 650 meters above sea level, Minca offers a nice year- round climate, a refreshing change from the heat of the coast, although you’ll still be able to see the sea!
Minca is located just 14 km from the city of Santa Marta with easy access via shared taxi.
The town has lots of great restaurants and food hangouts, serving a variety of dishes and snacks including local coffee and chocolate brownies.
Minca has its own time and you can enjoy great short walks or longer treks or simply enjoy kicking back in a hammock and soaking up the views.
What to do in Minca
Here are some of our recommended walks and sites:
Las Cascadas Marinka
A walk to Las Cascadas is a beautiful start to any day. Or, that said, a perfect round off to the day.You pass lots of beautiful river spots, walk under giant bamboo (or “Guadua”) and, if you’re lucky, spot a mountain of tropical birds and butterflies.Once there you can take a natural shower under the waterfalls and fool around in the small pool under it.
Pozo Azul is a set of two picturesque swimming holes with smaller waterfalls and rocks that you can jump off if you dare!The water is very cold but certainly refreshing. We recommend that you strip off while still walking and jump straight in!
Las Piedras is a beautiful local spot where the stream from the waterfall meets the river. So there are two sources of water. As you arrive, the stream water is to the left and gives you some secluded spots to splash yourself.Cross the small bamboo bridge and walk across the rocks (piedras) to the left and you will reach a spot where you can jump (no diving) into the water from two different rocks. You can occasionally use some rocks as a slide too, depending on water levels and rainfall. There are some restaurants and beer joints along the river for a refreshing stop on the way back.
Los Pinos trek
The day trek to Los Pinos and back to Minca is a stunning walk, great for wildlife spotting with stops possible at waterfalls or swimming holes. It is also great exercise – as it’s a good 2.5 – 3 hours hard walking uphill whichever way you go!You will pass through cloud forest at the top and enjoy spectacular mountain views. If you’re lucky you may meet a local farmer who will invite you for a coffee.
Sunset at Casa Loma
At Casa Loma we enjoy spectacular views over the City of Santa Marta plus the mountains of the Sierra Nevada.Sunset is a special time at Casa Loma and acts as our plasma screen TV every night around 6:00 pm!Climb up our hill around 5.30pm. Just be here—trust us!
Visit La Victoria coffee farm
The coffee farm tour is very interesting as they have all of the original machines still working and ingenious systems using water to transfer the coffee to one point from anywhere on the huge farm. Learn all about the coffee process from an export quality farm for just 5000 COP.
Dear Lazy Bums
Ok, so all but no. 5 involve doing something energetic so here’s great news for the lazy bums!! Minca is a special place—a place where you can enjoy the day just soaking up the atmosphere and enjoy “Minca time” in the natural surroundings;So, you can have just as much fun with a snooze in a hammock, drink a beer by the river, sip a coffee and scoff a brownie in the town, talk to the ever-friendly locals, practice your Spanish, sleep in a bit, read a book.
So go on, be good to yourself, you deserve it —rest up for a day! It’s tiring being a traveller sometimes. Make the most of “Minca time.”
Trek to Cerro Kennedy—viewpoint for Los Nevados (snow peaks)
Absolutely stunning views over the Sierra Nevada and of the highest snow peaks this close to the sea in the world. You can see the sea, the city and the snow at the same time. A truly unique view (with a bit of luck with the clouds!)Various options for completing the trip, depending on budget and how much exercise you want!
When we first went to the family’s house they asked us for some help to get money to finish the house and grow more food. We said it was an amazingly natural place and if they were willing to show guests around we would be delighted to help.They have 10 children and are the most amazingly warm people you could ever hope to meet. They are all as honest as the day is long, friendly, and love the fact that we are here, enjoying and promoting their country. They are exactly the type of people that we came here to meet and are the reason that the people of Colombian endear themselves to so many travellers.
They live simple yet fulfilling lives and grow as much of their own food as possible. Their house offers outstanding views from 5 or 6 different viewpoints over Minca, Santa Marta, Rodedero and the mountains. Plus you can sometimes see as far as Barranquilla—simply amazing.
They will show you the simple “by-hand” methods they use to farm coffee, make sweets from fruit and grow fruits and vegetables. This is not a commercial tour and not the type of thing you can do anywhere. Here, you see a true taste and reflection of family life in the mountains. Highly recommended if time permits.