At the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains, the small village of Minca is sited with less than 1000 of population. The temperature in this region of the country is a bit colder than anywhere else. Still, it is ideal for relaxing outdoors, being pleased by some coffee while inhaling the fresh air, and appreciating the spectacular outdoor natural features.
One’s time here is spent wandering through the woods from farms to waterfalls, revealing cacao and coffee roots, capturing rare species of birds. Although it takes less than an hour to reach Minca from the shore side city of Santa Marta( about 20 km), visiting this village wasn’t common among the travelers. However, now Minca is one of Colombia’s most loved destinations for shoestring travelers who tend to break out from their everyday routines. Here is a list from the most incredible places of Minca, Colombia, helping you to arrange an unforgettable trip:
Join a Coffee Tour at La Victoria
The coffee farm of La Victoria has been one of Colombia’s earliest. It hasn’t renewed the old equipment since the early 1890s, functioning entirely with water power of nearby mountain brooks. You can walk there, or use one of the available Moto-taxis. By joining La Victoria’s tour, everyone will have the opportunity to learn about coffee processing and interact with the harvesting procedure. This tour, running every day from 9 AM to 4 PM, costs around 15000 COP (about 4.5 $), with some coffee as a gift. Between November and February, the coffee-picking period seems to be the perfect time for a tour since there is a lot to do and see. Any time of year will be suitable, though.
See a Cocoa Farm
Let’s talk about cocoa. Besides many coffee-related tours, which are usually for family farms, cocoa farms are something that you can’t miss. The Colombian cocoa is lovely, and luckily, some of the most significant cocoa farms of Colombia are near Minca, giving you the chance to get familiar with the chocolate processing method from the first step to the final step. Finca La Candelaria, El Paraíso de Tuki B & B Café y Cacao Farm, Finca San Rafael, and Finca Carpe Diem are among them. Some of these cocoa farms hold a place for sleeping and other stuff. Most of them are close to Minca so walking to these places is good. Also, don’t forget to buy their unique chocolates!
Minca has a lot to offer! After coffee farms and cocoa exploration, there is a chance to enjoy the most beautiful waterfall you coil ever see.
A one-hour hike or a fast moto-taxi ride leads you to the incredibly stunning sequence of two waterfalls outside the town. Actually, it’s a not-so-easy path, but the waterfall is where one can swim in the fresh cool mountainous water, take a soothing shower, and adore the beautiful landscape. To enter the waterfalls region, paying a small sum of money (5,000 COP or about 1.5 $ for every person) is required. A restaurant and a giant cool hammock make the walk to Marinka waterfall even better. Note that it may be crowded at some specific hours of the day.
Pozo Azul’s clear waters (formed of many natural swimming holes) are an enjoyable and relaxing place to spend an afternoon, taking less than an hour to walk from Minca through the jungle( even less if you take a moto-taxi). Three pools exist there, but if the first is full of people or too deep, just skip the water and turn to the left-hand edge of the pool for the path.
Climb the not-too-long trail, and you will quickly reach two more lakes; one of them has a unique place to jump into the water. It’s quite popular among tourists, so it gets really crowded, especially in the afternoon and during the peak season. If you prefer calmness, it would be better to visit it early in the morning so it may be less crowded.
Hiking to Los Pinos (The Pine Trees)
You get incredible views all across the Minca Mountains and top to bottom of both the coast and Santa Marta from Los Pinos. Based on your physical state, hiking to Los Pinos takes around 4 to 6 hours, providing incredible landscapes over the vast Caribbean Sea and Sierra’s mountains. The most challenging part of the trek will be hiking upward. Again, depending on you, it may take two hours or more. It’s indeed better if you start your walk in the early hours of the morning, mainly because it gives you the option to hike on a bright day when the weather is not that hot and the sunshine is not that bright.
There is also Casa Elemento, probably with the most incredible views of any Colombian hostel. There are available Moto-taxis which can take you to Casa Elemento. If you don’t feel like walking or the path is difficult for you. This place can also be a nice stop, offering cold drinks and fine meals and other facilities. And don’t forget about the world’s largest hammock. You probably have seen some pictures of it on Instagram. When walking to Los Pinos, make sure to bring an adequate amount of water and some snacks. Wearing suitable shoes and carrying sunscreen are among the requirements either.
Birding in Minca
Colombia is the world’s leading country for bird ecological diversity and an ideal destination for people interested in bird watching. With 162 of the 300 bird species found in the Sierra Nevada, among the most significant natural habitats on the earth for biodiversity and endangered species, Minca is the best of the bunch. You can even see beautiful birds without having to leave the area of Minca itself.
Local bird specialist Jungle Joe is the perfect guide for novice birdwatchers or passing admirers. With just 30,000 COP for three hours, his early morning birding tour around Minca would further reveal to you the fundamentals of bird watching. You can select a particular tour or reserve a full-day program. Tourists can see juncos, hummingbirds, flickers, toucans, woodpeckers, and owls with the help of a careful and welcoming guide.
If you are a more advanced birding expert, eager to pay a bit more on an expert local guide, just ask the local travel agencies, and if you don’t understand Spaniol, find an interpreter to help. El Dorado birding reserve is an excellent choice for you if you are a professional birder. It may take a bit longer to get there, but most visitors claim that it is absolutely worth it.
Museo Minca (Memorial Museum of the Sierra Nevada)
Particularly for the travelers willing to effectively provide finance for the local society of Minca, the very first museum of Minca is undoubtedly worth visiting. The purpose of this museum is to make sure that the region’s heritage and traditions are not forgotten, voices are heard in their community’s future, and multicultural respect is cultivated.
This museum is running by a greeting and kind couple, placed in the oldest home of Minca. It examines the history of the area, starting with the indigenous communities, the first families who entered, the history of coffee, in what way Minca was established by coffee farmworkers, rituals, and customs. There is a profound emphasis on how Minca has shifted due to tourism and its economic issues. Entry is free, but you should make a donation if you wish to join in a 45-minute tour, and all profits go to a diversity of community development activities.
A Place to Stay
One of the best things in Minca is numerous lodges and hotels with great views. You can literally expect a unique experience in each of them, and that’s what makes it hard to choose. Some of the mentioned places have a lodge either so that you can look up for them in your schedule. Luckily, you don’t necessarily have to put a considerable amount of money into it since many of them are reasonable.
Get familiar with a few of the sweetest places to stay at Minca. Casa Loma Hostel, Mundo Nuevo Eco-Lodge, Sweet Harmony, Minca Ecohabs, and Sierra Alta Finca Boutique are the most recommended ones. Note that some of them may be out of the village, so you have to walk for about 20 minutes. You can also take Moto-taxis, which needs another budget if you want to stay there for a while.
Food in Minca, Colombia, is something you don’t need to worry about. Great restaurants are based there, offering an excellent menu of different dishes, including healthy food, traditional dishes of South America, snacks, fast food, vegan food, and drinks. Here is a list of the best places in Minca, mostly located inside the village, chosen by the travelers: La Miga, Lazy cat, El Bistro de La Victoria, Restaurante Santisabella, Shagú, Hotel Restaurant Casa D’antonio, Smoothies Restaurante – Bar, and DUNI.
Best Time to Visit
Choosing the best time to travel is really important. Some months seem to be more popular and consequently more crowded, and other months may result in some problems. Still, you can choose, considering your taste.
December, along with June, July, and August, are the time full of visitors’ activities, so if you’re trying to deter so many tourists, it may be wise to skip this season. Necessary to mention that throughout this season, hotel prices often increase.
The spring in Minca is recognized from March to May, and it’s the least busy time to travel if you are just likely to get nice affordable hotel deals and empty walking paths. The weather is already cool and ideal for hiking during that time. September to November is also a pleasant time to visit, although the most rainfall occurs in those times, making hiking can get a little hard since the paths get sticky. With good climates, no rainfall, and sunny, clear days suitable for walking, the finest periods to see Minca are November to February.
|Min. Temperature (°C)||17.9 °C||18.3 °C||18.7 °C||19.5 °C||19.7 °C||19.8 °C||19.4 °C||19.4 °C||19.6 °C||19.3 °C||19.1 °C||18.1 °C|
|Max. Temperature (°C)||28.6 °C||29.3 °C||29.4 °C||29.6 °C||29.4 °C||29.3 °C||29.7 °C||29.5 °C||29.2 °C||28.4 °C||28.5 °C||28.9 °C|
|Min. Temperature (°F)||64.2 °F||64.9 °F||65.7 °F||67.1 °F||67.5 °F||67.6 °F||66.9 °F||66.9 °F||67.3 °F||66.7 °F||66.4 °F||64.6 °F|
|Max. Temperature (°F)||83.5 °F||84.7 °F||84.9 °F||85.3 °F||84.9 °F||84.7 °F||85.5 °F||85.1 °F||84.6 °F||83.1 °F||83.3 °F||84.0 °F|
|Precipitation / Rainfall (mm)||30 mm||5 mm||12 mm||78 mm||244 mm||286 mm||235 mm||303 mm||434 mm||457 mm||293 mm||72 mm|
Minca is the best choice to run away from the usual life. It has become one of the must-see places in Colombia and South America with the growing tourism. Waterfalls, bird watching, hiking, coffee, and the cacao industry, in a small place like Minca, seem to be miniature heaven. However, there is more to search for.