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Minca, a small town with a population of one thousand, tucked away in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, really has it all and here are the things to do in Minca for all backpackers travelling to Colombia (my favourite country to backpack around!)
Santa Marta to Minca
Head to Calle 11, Carrera 12 and catch a 4 x 4. This will set you back 7 COP / £1. 80 (cheap). The only draw back is you need to wait on enough passengers to fill the car. Then it’s a forty minute ride out of town and into the mountains.
When you arrive, locals on motorbikes will be waiting to offer you a lift to your hostel. If like us, you are staying with Casa Loma there is no need to take a mototaxi, just walk to the church and take the next left. Then it’s a hefty climb up some stairs but it’s worth it for the view.
Things to do in Minca
There are three options to visit watering holes / waterfalls in and around Minca which is perfect for the clammy weather and mosquito bites.
Las Cascadas De Marinka
We visited Las Cascadas De Marinka (entry 3 COP / 77p ), it can be reached by mototaxi for 6 COP / £1.54 or takes one hour to walk there and 45 minutes back. We took a taxi there and walked back. The easy trek back was actually very nice.
The water was shallow but a nice dip in the heat.
These are smaller waterfalls pools, pretty to look at but not for swimming according to another traveller. It is free though and only a 45 minute walk there / 30 minute back.
This is a stream from a waterfall which then meets the river Minca, it only takes 15 minutes to walk according to the Casa Loma bible.
If you are feeling like a challenge and don’t want to miss any of Minca’s hotspots there is the Los Pinos Trek which take 5 – 7 hours and is intermediate in difficulty but does pass both Pozo Azul and Las Cascadas (add more time if swimming!)
The locals love a fiesta on a Saturday night! There are quite a few bars in the main town which sell food and drink. Two even have WiFi! Minca really is a special town in the mountains.
Accommodation in Minca
We had the pleasure of staying at the rustic Casa Loma, a massive tree house! Loma means hill and this makes sense when you see the eco hostel.
We stayed in a cute private cabana which is a round room. Luckily for me each room has a mosquito net. The bathrooms and showers were directly behind us.
If you need a bit of luxury in your life, Casa Loma has a ‘presidential suite,’ El Mirador Room with private views of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
At the other end of the scale there are fourteen hammocks with nets and also a personal locker for your belongings.
There are also practical dorm rooms which have private curtains and lamps, very much like our stay at Kokopeli in Cusco.
Similar to Costeño Beach Surf Ecolodge, the hostel encourages socialising at meal times. Everyone dines together at 19:30-20:00. Meals are mostly vegetarian and thumbs up for the veggie burger and banana bread for pudding. Breakfast is also on offer, I was happy to buy some porridge. After dinner, everyone retires to the bonfire, led into the woods by bright lights which shine on the trees, nice touch.
The magic really happens before dinner… Happy hour cocktails from the outside bar whilst watching the sunset was just incredible.
Jay and Anne, who run the eco hostel (which utilises rain water where possible) are very helpful. They have an organised ‘bible’ which gives you a history lesson about the hostel; ideas for things to do onsite such as yoga (15 COP), Spanish lessons or forest cinema (!) plus suggestions in and around Minca. If you seek out unusual accommodation why not check out how to stay in a castle in Scotland?!
Address: Calle 1, No 5-160 , Minca, Colombia
Contact: 313 8086134, 321 2246632
Price: 90 COP / £23.11 to 17 COP / £4.37
Thanks to Casa Loma for housing us for the night, these opinions are our own but the views are all Casa Loma / Minca
26 thoughts on “Things to do in Minca in the Mountains”
What a wonderful place! It looks peaceful and relaxing. I have never stayed at a hostel, but this one looks amazing. Did you see families with kids?
Love your bright and colorful photos,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist
I did! I met a German mum with her seven year old son. I thought, what a lucky kid!
Wow you made that mountain city look so interesting!!! Love the photo of the man among what appeared to me to be huge grass! I am also a sucker for things yellow, so that fiesta bar looks so inviting!!! Thanks.
That’s a type of bamboo tree, massive and slightly terrifying. They were creaking!
Looks just beautiful! I’d have to go for the Presidential Suite those hammocks while they look fun would kill my back. Cheers!
Something for everyone Sue!
That place looks wonderful! Reminds me of the lodge we stayed at in the Amazon jungle. And I think the prettiest sunset I saw was on a Maine windjammer cruise 🙂
On a cruise? I be that’s spectacular.
Colombia! i want to go now!
You have to now Will, before the whole world learns that it actually safe and my favourite country so far!
I would love the spend a night in one of those hammocks! Looks like a neat place !
I need to brave it and spend the night on one!
Looks like the perfect mountain retreat to me.
I would highly recommend it.
What a lovely place to stay and be surrounded by beautiful nature! Maybe too close to nature for sleeping there for me, but it’s great they have the mosquito nets everywhere, lol
Honestly Gloria, we get eaten alive and seemed to be OK here surprisingly!
Amazing find! I love places like this that encourage socializing at meal times. What a gorgeous view.
I know, Costeña Beach was the same and I really enjoyed it. And the social rum time…
That round cabana is adorable! Same with that cocktail bar 🙂 I’d love to explore this area, seems just perfect to relax and also get up to a fun adventure 😛
The views were glorious and the accommodation spot on.
Hope to join you guys and the party at some stage..very jealous about Colombia! Cheers!
Tell us when you make plans!
Awesome list guys. Just been to Minca and ticked all of these off 🙂
I was just looking at pictures of Colombia as well, very envious! Where next?
Very good guide. I haven’t stayed at Casa Loma, but walked up there one day. That view is spectacular! Minca continues to grow as a destination but still feels small and not overcrowded.
That’s great to hear Adam. I really adore Colombia.