In the north of Colombia in the jungle, but near the coast is the tiny town of Minca located. The jungle is beautiful, the mountain views breathtaking and the atmosphere relaxed. Close to other Colombia highlights such as Cartagena, Palomina, and Tayrona, a visit to this mountain village is always on your route. Do you need even more reasons to add Minca to your travel itinerary? Then read our blog with the ten reasons to visit Minca. Are you convinced now? Then continue reading our ultimate travel guide for Minca!
How to get there?
Easy! Minca is close to Santa Marta, one of the largest cities in the area. It is easy to reach Santa Marta from pretty much everywhere in the country, by bus or domestic flight. And from there, it is only a short journey by taxi, motor taxi or collectivo (shared taxi) to Minca. Santa Marta itself is not a particularly nice town to visit, so make sure you don’t have to spend the night here and continue to your next destination right away.
Once you arrive in Minca, it may be quite an adventure to reach your hotel or hostel. There are beautiful hotels and hostels in the village itself – Casa Loma has idyllic huts and is the perfect location for sunset – but many great places can be found further into the mountains. A taxi or motor taxi is the easiest way to get there. You can find them in the main street of Minca.
Tip: make sure you get enough cash in Santa Marta, as there is no ATM in Minca.
The best accommodation in Minca
Waking up with a mountain view? Enjoying a beautiful sunset from your cabin in the evening? Chilling on the largest hammock in the world? Minca probably has the most beautiful hotels and hostels in Colombia! We suspect that there is no place in the world with such a high concentration of accommodations with an 8 or higher on booking.com. We have listed the most beautiful ones for you in this blog.
Tip: make a booking for your hotel or hostel (well) in advance, as Minca is becoming increasingly popular. But don’t worry: there are so many beautiful accommodations that you will also have a great place to sleep if your first choice is already fully booked.
This is how you get to all the sights in the area
The jungle of Minca is a beautiful area to explore. From the town of Minca you can easily reach all the sights by motor taxi. I absolutely loved it! My driver asked if I was scared to drive around on his motorcycle. When I answered that I wasn’t, he responded right away by racing over the mountain paths. One of the coolest drives ever!
Do you prefer to walk and hike? All sights are at hiking distance, so this makes a perfect way to explore the jungle and to enjoy the best views from the mountain. In clear weather, you can even see Santa Marta and the sea from the mountains around Minca!
How to spend your time in Minca?
#1 Waterfall hopping
In the area, you will find many beautiful rivers and waterfalls for swimming. The most beautiful waterfall is the Cascadas de Marinka, where you can take a shower under two huge waterfalls. Love it! Next to the two waterfalls is a restaurant with large hammocks where you can relax above the water. The cascades are an hour and a half hiking from Minca. To do this, take the road towards the church and simply keep walking for an hour and a half. A much faster option is the motorcycle taxi.
Another recommendation is the Pozo Azúl, not far from Minca. Three pools are located here in the jungle, separated by waterfalls. Jump from one of the cascades into the water! Not just because it’s fun, but also to get right into the water. Dipping into the ice-cold water centimeter by centimeter is like torturing yourself. Sebastiaan dared to go for a swim and went completely under right away, but I didn’t get much further than my waist. The Pozo Azúl is a half-hour walk from Minca. Take the road that runs from Santa Marta to Minca and walk further up the hill. It is clearly indicated where you should turn right. At that point, there is also a supermarket, if you would like to buy some snacks or drinks.
The Las Piedras is less than a 15-minute walk from the main street. Because of the large rocks and stones in the river, there are some small waterfalls and minor rapids. It is a wonderful place to take a cooling dip among the rocks on a warm day. Watch out for the huge water spiders. I was not aware of them and I almost scared myself to death when I turned out to be sitting on a rock right next to one.
The jungle at Minca is the ultimate place for beautiful mountain hikes. Are 15 minutes already enough for you or would you rather go on a hike for two days? And do you prefer to look for waterfalls or a mountain viewpoint? You can walk to highlights such as the Las Piedras (15 minutes, easy), Las Cascades de Marinka (one hour, medium), the Pozo Azúl (30 minutes, easy) or the coffee finca Victoria (1.5 hours, medium ). Popular hikes are also the longer ones to Los Pinos and the Cierro Kennedy.
The Los Pinos hike leads to the Los Pinos viewpoint on top of the mountain. It is a hike of 5 to 7 hours. The hike is a loop with Minca as the starting and ending point. One of the reasons to go on this hike is that it passes many of the Minca highlights. Depending on which direction you choose, you will first pass the Pozo Azúl, then the Finca Victora and the Cascades de Marinka. We started the steep climb up in the direction of the Pozo Azúl and Finca Victoria. It is not a particularly nice trail, as you follow the dirt way to the top. The dirt way leads you to El Campano – with a small shop where you can stock up on some water and snacks, but don’t count on it always being opened – where you turn right towards the Los Pinos viewpoint. From the viewpoint, the road mainly goes down and the trail is the most beautiful. It will lead you along beautiful fincas and the Cascades de Marinka where you can cool of in the water.
Tip: is 5 to 7 hours a bit too much for you? You can cheat a bit by taking a motor taxi up to El Campano. This way you’ll also skip the less interesting part of the hike on the motorway.
The Cierro Kennedy is a two-day hike. The hike was told to be quite heavy and a guide is recommended. Ask your hotel or hostel to arrange your guide and if you can leave your bags there.
#3 Bird watching
The jungle of Minca is popular for its bird watching. You can get around by yourself with your own binoculars to spot one of the hundreds of bird species in the area. It is even more fun to join a bird watching tour with one of the better bird spotters in town! We hear Jungle Joe is highly recommended.
#4 Enjoying the sunset with a cocktail
Casa Loma is a great place to sleep, but the highlights are the beautiful sunsets. Every evening we saw the sky turning yellow, orange, red and pink colours during sunset. Breathtaking! This is also the moment the hostel has its cocktail hour. Lucky you!
#5 A tour at Finca Victoria or one of the other coffee or chocolate plantations
Minca is located between the coffee and chocolate farms and you can get a tour at many of them. Just ask your hotel or hostel for the nearest plantation! From the town of Minca Finca Victoria is closeby. During the tour at this finca, everything about the coffee process was explained to us. From the growing process of the plant to the various stages to dry the bean. Have you always wanted to know what determines the quality of a coffee bean? And how you taste the difference between the different ways of roasting? This is your chance to find out!
#6 Visit Casa Elemento for a beautiful view from the largest hammock in the world
Casa Loma is not the only famous place to sleep in Minca: the shared first place is for backpacker favourite Casa Elemento. It is a mecca for backpackers with a bar, music and the largest hammock in the world. The hammock hangs above the jungle and offers a view over the treetops to the sea. Even if you don’t sleep here, you can visit the hostel for a small price to chill in this hammock. You can hike to Casa Elemento from Minca, but it is even further from the town than the Los Pinos viewpoint, so that will take a while. The easiest and fastest way to get there is by (motor) taxi.
The My Maps map above summarizes all our tips. The menu on the menu has separate layers that mark the best coffee spots, sleeping places and highlights. Click on the star to save the map to your own Google Maps or open the map in a new window for a larger version. Enjoy!