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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