Minca in Colombia was the last stop on our travels through Latin America. The small town is tucked away in the Sierra Nevada mountains, some distance from the bustling coastal city of Santa Marta. When we were putting together our itinerary through Colombia, this place almost inevitably made it to our highlight list. Because Minca is very conveniently located on the Caribbean coast between 2 of the biggest highlights of Colombia, the Tayrona National Park and the colorful colonial city of Cartagena.

We were very happy that we had chosen Minca as the end of our trip through Colombia, because we had a wonderful rest in the small town and just let our souls dangle. Something you normally do on the beach. But we had plenty of that on our trip, and so the nature experience just did us good. But why should you travel to Minca and what are the best things to do there and where should you stay? In our Minca travel report we want to answer these and other questions and give you valuable travel tips.

What to expect in Minca Colombia

Minca is simply a complete contrast to the rest of the tourist developed area, which is mostly close to the sea or at least in the lowlands. Minca itself is located at an altitude of just under 650 meters (the higher accommodations are even at 1000 meters! ) only 45 kilometers from the coast. The highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta even reach almost 6000 meters and are thus also the highest mountains in all of Colombia.

Minca Colombia

You can hike a lot, relax and enjoy nature. Minca is also the gateway for multi day hikes to Ciudad Perdida*. We didn’t have the Lost City on our itinerary, but if hiking through the jungle for several days is something for you, you should read more about it and definitely to this tour.

Book a Multi Day Hike to the Lost City | Check Availability*

In Minca you can find not only the biggest hammock in the world, but also great hikes, coffee farms, waterfalls and mototaxi rides through the jungle. By the way, we found the city itself rather unspectacular. That’s why we were happy that we looked for an accommodation further outside, because the real star in Minca is the nature around it!

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The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

This coastal mountain range, considered the highest in the world, is still home to several Indian tribes. A total of 20,000 members of the indigenous peoples are said to still inhabit the Sierra Nevada today. The history of the Sierra is eventful. In the 70’s and 80’s, the area was known for growing marijuana and later coca.

For a long time, this region was dominated by the FARC guerrillas, with whom the government was only able to reach a ceasefire in 2016. Only after this ceasefire, tourism could develop and is now one of the strongest sources of income for the inhabitants of this region.

Minca, Kolumbien

The Climate in Minca

This was also one of the things we were looking forward to, the supposedly cooler climate. After weeks (or months) of heat and extremely high humidity, we were looking forward to experiencing cooler and drier air in the mountains. But when we got out of the minibus in Minca with our backpacks, we were disappointed to find that it was not cooler at all.

It was still close to 30 degrees and even if the humidity was somewhat lower, we had really imagined something else. Minca is about 650 meters above sea level and therefore 650 meters higher than Palomino or Santa Marta. After we took a cab to our accommodation (Colores de la Sierra*), which is almost 400 meters higher, we could finally enjoy the cooler climate. Up there it was finally significantly cooler and thus also made the hikes that you can do in Minca much more pleasant.

How to get to Minca

Getting to Minca is not difficult at all. The starting point in all cases is the city of Santa Marta, which is about 40 minutes away from Minca, directly at the sea. So no matter where you are, you have to get to Santa Marta first. You can easily get there by bus from Cartagena, Palomino or Tayrona National Park.

From Santa Marta you can either take a cab (about 60.000 COP – 16€) or a bus for 8000 COP (2€) per person up to Minca. How to travel by bus to Minca (especially if you start from Cartagena) we have described in a separate travel report:

Where to stay in Minca?

We had thought a long time in advance about the best place to stay in Minca. The alternative was the town itself and several hotels, which are located at a greater distance from the town in total peace and solitude. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

In the end, we decided to stay in a quiet place close to nature. Because we wanted to be closer to nature than to the amenities that a city can offer you. Why we decided this way and where exactly we stayed overnight we will tell you in this chapter.

Pool in Minca, Kolumbien

Staying in Minca itself

Although Minca is not as big as we had imagined, there are some (smaller) supermarkets, restaurants and bars. This was also the reason for us to choose the place as an overnight stay. But Minca itself does not have much more to offer. Minca is really a very small dreamy town with only a few streets and is not necessarily inviting.

The beauty and highlights of Minca are outside in nature. So if you don’t necessarily want to enjoy the advantages of a city (restaurants, supermarkets etc.), we would recommend you not to stay directly in Minca. Then you will have more of the Sierra Nevada.

Staying outside Minca in the Middle of Nature

Since you come to Minca to enjoy the incredibly beautiful nature, you should also stay overnight there. There are some hotels that are 20-40 minutes away by car or motorcycle, so they are in the middle of nature and surrounded by silence and green jungle. It’s not necessarily easy to get there and especially you can’t get back to Minca to buy something or visit a restaurant.

But the beautiful nature and tranquility that will surround you are well worth it. If you stay overnight outside of Minca, you should pack enough snacks and water and take them with you to your hotel. Most of the time you can buy something in the remote hotelsn(water definitely), but it will probably be more expensive.

And to go out to eat you usually have no other option than to use the restaurant in your hotel. If this should become too monotonous at some point, you still have the option of taking a mototaxi to Minca to visit other restaurants there.

Hotel Recommendations in Minca

We had 3 hotels in the shortlist before our trip and finally decided for the Colores de la Sierra. However, we would like to introduce you to the famous Casa Elemento and the Hotel El Paraiso de Tuki with its coffee farm La Candelaria.

The Colores de la Sierra in Minca

This hotel is located about 30 minutes by cab or motorcycle from Minca, is wonderfully quiet and secluded, but still offers some comfort. The accommodation is located at almost 1000 meters above zero and thus also 400 meters higher than Minca itself. You can definitely feel that in the temperatures. The rooms are kept simple but there is a great lounge area with billiards and many board games.

In addition, there is an amazing viewpoint with hammocks from which you can look down to the sea and even a pool. If you need a little more action, you can also walk along the hotel’s own hiking trail or just chill out at one of the many hammocks. Hummingbirds are also frequent visitors here, as extra nectar pots have been hung to attract the small, beautiful birds.

The Amazing Colores de la Sierra | Check Prices*

The Casa Elemento

This hotel is very famous for its huge hammock from which you have a great view of the mountains down to the sea. The Casa Elemento is also very suitable for a day trip, because you can spend some relaxing hours there (combined with a strenuous hike up). The accommodations are said to be a bit outdated, but nevertheless I don’t want to leave this hotel unmentioned. Because it is still one of the highlights of Minca.

The Casa Elemento with the largest hammock in the world*

Hotel El Paraiso de Tuki

This hotel is even further away and cannot be reached directly by mototaxi or car. You have to walk the last 20 minutes (with your luggage) up a steep path. At the top you are guaranteed peace and quiet and the famous coffee farm La Candelaria is right next door.

The El Paraiso de Tuki with its own coffee farm*

Things to do in Minca

Minca turned out to be a great oasis of peace and relaxation. Our hotel*, which is located far outside the city in the mountains, offered a pool, hammocks and a great viewpoint, contributed to this. But there are many more ways to pass the time.

#1 Jump into a Waterfall

Pozo Azul is a very popular, though not very big, waterfall near Minca. There are a total of 3 swimming areas next to the waterfall and you can jump off the rocks into the cold water. To get here you can either take a mototaxi for 6000 COP (2€) or hike from Minca in about 2 hours. The first pool is a bit shallow and usually a bit crowded. Therefore it is best to go further back to reach the other two pools where you can also jump from the rocks into the water.

#2 Visit a Coffee Farm

Even though Minca is not the most famous coffee region in Colombia, there is some really outstanding local coffee here. And there are also great coffee farms here where you can observe the craft first hand. The two most famous are Finca La Victoria, which is fairly easy to get to, and Finca La Candelaria, which is a bit more remote.

You can visit the coffee farm by yourself or with a guided tour from Santa Marta*

Coffee- and Cocoatour from Santa Marta | Check prices *

Finca La Victoria

About a 90-minute walk or 20-minute mototaxi ride from Minca, this small coffee farm sits in a small valley. A guided tour costs 10,000 COP (about 3.50 €) and you even get a homemade coffee with it. In the own restaurant you can buy delicious cakes and tasty sandwiches. Definitely worth a visit. Here you can find the finca on Google Maps.

Finca La Candelaria

Finca Candelaria is located just outside of Minca (link to Google Maps) and can be reached by mototaxi in just under 15 minutes and on foot within an hour. In addition to a coffee tour, you can also take a cacao tour here. You can also stay overnight here (link to Booking.com*) and experience the view of the beautiful landscape.

#3 Take a Hike to the Lost City

This 5-day hike to Cuidad Perdida is the most famous hike in northern Colombia. The Mayan site excavated there is mentioned in the same sentence as the fabled Machu Picchu in Peru. From the pictures, the excavation site looks much less spectacular than its Peruvian brother, but for this even the hike through the jungle is said to be amazing. For 4-5 days you torture yourself through the jungle of the Sierra Nevada and cross rivers and dense forests. If you feel fit enough and want to do something special, the Lost City is for you.

Book a Multi Day Hike to the Lost City | Check Availability*

#4 Relax in a Giant Hammock

If you Google Minca, a photo of the giant hammock at Hotel Casa Elemento inevitably pops up. This hammock isn’t actually a hammock at all, but rather a large net to lay in. But it still looks like a lot of fun and you can take great photos here (Instagram says hello). A 2-hour hike from Minca (or 20 minutes by cab) will get you to this hotel, which is very popular with tourists, and you can enjoy the view here. For a day pass you pay 10.000 COP (about 3,50 €), if I don’t stay at the hotel.

#5 Enjoy the Sunset

The highlight of our Minca stay was definitely the daily sunset, which we enjoyed from the hammock of the observation deck at Colores de la Sierra*. There are of course other hotels in the area (including Casa Elemento) from which you can have a similarly brilliant view. In all our travels we have seen few similarly brilliant sunsets. The big city of Santa Marta sparkles in the distance, the hummingbirds buzz around in the surrounding mountains and the red glowing sun sinks theatrically into the ocean. In a word: Wow!

Sonnenuntergang un Minca, Kolumbien

Our Experiences in Minca Colombia

We had deliberately chosen Minca as the last stop on our trip through South and Central America and had really hit the bull’s eye with this small town. We had planned a few things to do in and around Minca. But in the end we did only a fraction of it. For example, we also wanted to hike to the hammock at Casa Elemento, or walk to the waterfall Pozo Azul, but in the end we just rested. Minca, KolumbienWe lounged a lot in the hammocks of our accommodation, enjoyed the insane view of the surrounding mountains and Santa Marta lying on the sea.

And, of course, we made jumped in the pool and played many board games. And watched hummingbirds that were almost within reach. The nature in Minca is simply amazing. The lush green hills that surround us reminded us of the Caribbean island of Providencia. There we felt similarly comfortable as here in Minca. If we had been a bit more athletic and fit, we would have definitely done even more hikes. And would have seen even more of the wonderful landscape.

What did you experience in Minca, Colombia and what do you think is missing on our list? Feel free to write us a comment below the travelogue.

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