For so long I’d heard about Minca, a town on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast on the way up to the peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
One weekend out of the blue we decided to escape from Barranquilla’s city routine and immerse ourselves in nature.
Two hours by car from Barranquilla and just 40 minutes on dirt mountain roads from Santa Marta, lays Minca at an altitude of 650 meters (2,132 ft) high from the city lights. If you don’t have a car, you can get there on a shared taxi from Minca station in Santa Marta (calle 11 con carrera12), or motorcycle from any place in Santa Marta to Yucal, there you’ll change to another motorcycle that’ll take you to Minca.
Once you arrive, you’ll see the town itself, it´s a regular Colombian town, nothing special about it. BUT, surrounding Minca, you’ll find a still virgin nature of cascades and trees that sets you apart from civilization. You’ll also encounter hotels such as the Ecohabs (www) that allow you to mingle with the mountains and the jungle that surrounds it.
The Ecohabs are really ecological; electricity works with sun power, so there are no fans. Considering this, even though Minca has a mild tempered climate, the best time of the year to visit is the windy season, which goes from December to April because you’ll find fewer mosquitos.
If you are not so into nature when it comes to sleeping, don’t hassle, there are plenty options for accommodations like bed & breakfast, hostels and homey look and feel hotels like Sierra’s Sound and El Mirador.
So we arrived late Saturday afternoon to Minca, we had a reservation for one night on the Ecohabs. I would really recommend your stay to be for at least two nights, but in our case, that’s all the time we had so we had to make the best out of it. We were so amazed by the sunset view from our kiosk, we just laid there on the balcony’s hammock watching the sunset vanish through the mountains.
It was soon dinner time, but we hadn’t really been to the town, so we decided to walk around, get to know it and find a nice place for dinner. As it is common on Colombia’s coastal towns, we walked by several market shops were locals were drinking bear, playing pool and hearing LOUD music on huge speakers called “picó”.
We were actually looking for a quiet place, so I called a friend from Santa Marta that works on the tourism industry to recommend us a place to eat. Her recommendation, Bururake turned out to be exquisite. We ordered their ‘Color Beers’, which are served like cocktails and steak with cocoa and chile and another steak with pepper and coffee. We were actually surprised to find such a gourmet place in a small town. They are open from Wednesday to Sundays and Mondays when it is a holiday (we have a lot of those in Colombia).
Other restaurants we were recommended are Casa Antonio (Spanish food), and Sierra’s Sound. Walking back to our hotel, we were lucky to have our phones with lantern because not all streets are lighted.
Next morning we woke up late, so we skipped breakfast to go do some outdoor activities. There was all kind of options from Coffee Tours through coffee farms; canyoning through rivers, waterfalls, trees and cliffs; birdwatching; mountain biking and trekking among others.
Since we had to go back home that same day, we decided to do a “short” tour (took us about three to four hours) of trekking, canyon and rappelling. We walked through the jungle, crossed rivers, climbed a cliff and descended from a 30-meter (98 ft.) waterfall that ended at a natural pool.
Exhausted and exited, we headed back to our hotel to pack and leave. On our way out of town, we stopped at Minca Café to buy natural jams, peanut butter, cajun sauce and organic coffee from the area.
It was a short visit, but we sure made the best out of it!
Splendid view, nice food, and tons of adventure!
Travel Tips Shared by Silvana Puello