In our entry Minca Ultimate Travel Guide, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta we tell you all about this wonderful destination in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Two weeks ago (mid May 2021) I made a quick visit with my friends and here I will tell you how my experience was hanging around Minca.
To get to Minca initially I took a 1-hour flight from the city of Bogota at El Dorado International Airport (BOG) to the Simón Bolívar International Airport (SMR) in Santa Marta. From the airport I took a cab to Mamatoco, 17 km away (30 minutes). Once in Mamatoco I found there are 3 possibilities to get to Minca: bus, cab or motorcycle.
Getting to Minca
In my case I took the alternative of motorcycle, the fastest option. After 30 minutes and a distance of 16 kilometers I arrived at the village of Minca.
To get to the Costeño River Hostel the motorcycle had to travel on a dirt road for 10 minutes. There is an alternative to reach the hostel walking just 10 minutes walk, but you must cross the river Minca.
It is worth mentioning that the hostel is Gay Friendly. The atmosphere in its facilities and the management of the staff is very friendly with the guests. The hostel has private and shared rooms, in my case I took one that had a view of the river from the bathroom. There is not need for hot water since the warm environment keeps the water warm and suitable for bathing.
Costeño River has a space that has 2 terraces in the form of meshes where you can appreciate the mountains of the Sierra de Minca, besides being able to easily appreciate species such as Iguanas, Squirrels and Geckos.
The lodge administrators, in support of the inhabitants of Minca, offer the tours that can be done, supporting the ecotourism in Minca.
Hanging around Minca
Hanging around Minca can be done on foot, but if you have little time you can do them on a motorcycle with a local guide. In my case I did the tour on a motorcycle, since I only had two days to visit all the places.
Pozo azul is located a 45 minutes to walk from the center of the Minca with a medium intensity, the road reaches the entrance of the well 100 meters away from the contact with the water.
When you reach the entrance of the well you will find a bridge that is currently closed for maintenance, when you reach the well there is a waterfall of no more than 2 meters.
It is possible to appreciate different species of butterflies along with several coffee crops, the water is very cold in the well because the entrance of sunlight is scarce.
Finca La Victoria (Farm)
Finca La Victoria has its origin in 1892 as an association of 5 investors among them an English couple that after their admiration to Queen Victoria wanted to call it that way. The farm has 1223 hectares, 217 hectares are dedicated to the cultivation of arabica coffee, 300 hectares of pasture land.
Also the facilities of the farm is the craft brewery La Nevada, which is in operation since 2015; has 4 beers in its portfolio: black coca leaf-based (Happy Coca), golden (Happy Nebbi), red (Happy Tucan) and a coffee-based (Happy Colibri).
Happy Colibri is in the top 10 worldwide among the best craft beers and is only available between the months of December and March.
When you arrive at La Victoria Farm you can take a tour of the entire coffee production process from the cultivation to the packaging of the final product. At the end of the tour you can enjoy a delicious freshly ground coffee or a refreshing beer while you marvel at the view and tranquility that the farm has to offer. The entrance fee to the farm is COP 15,000 for the tour, if you do not wish to take the tour you can enter and consume any of the products offered.
Mirador Los Pinos
This viewpoint is located 11 km from Minca, about 30 minutes by car or motorcycle or 3 hours walking; it must be said that the intensity is high, as it is the highest part of today’s tour; from this point it is possible to see Minca, Santa Marta and the swamp.
Sierra Minca Hostel
Sierra Minca Hostel is a beautiful hostel located in the middle of the sierra where in addition to the lodging they offer tours to travelers who wish to take a picture in the famous Mano de Dios which has a panoramic view of the entire mountain, it also has a mesh terrace where 15 people can be accommodated and hanging beds where you can lie down and feel like you are sleeping among the clouds.
The entrance fee to the hostel is COP 15,000 for unlimited time.
Marinka Waterfalls are two falls of crystalline waters that at the end give rise to the Marinka Lagoon. Marinka in indigenous language means “Regenerate Body”, due to its beauty and tranquility.
To get to the Arimaca House-Farm, where is the access to the waterfalls, it is necessary to make a detour from the main road 500 m. There is a payment of COP 10,000 per person.
The distance is 3.3 km from the village, if you decide to walk, it is an hour’s walk with a medium intensity.
Waterfall El Oido del Mundo
The origin of the name has 2 versions:
1. The indigenous people of the highlands said that at this point it was possible to hear what the mother earth, Pacha mama, wanted to tell men.
2. A foreigner after knowing it indicated that the rocks were shaped like ears and from there began to share this location as the “El Oido del Mundo”.
To get there is a 20 minutes walk from the town with a low difficulty.
The recommendations to enjoy these places is to wear a bathing suit, comfortable clothes and change at the end of the tour, insect repellent, sunscreen and plenty of water. At the end of the tour reach the center of Minca to taste the delicious pistachio ice cream at IL GELATO NEVADO, this artisan ice cream shop is the only one in town.
The next day I made the trip to Cerro Kennedy by motorcycle. Cerro Kennedy is the highest point of Minca, it is 3100 meters above sea level, below you can see the cloud forest, and the temperature ranges between 8º to 18º C. At this point there is a military post so it is safe to reach it.
Cerro Kennedy is located 26 km from Minca and there are 2 ways to get to this point:
1. Cerro Kennedy by walking
You can arrive walking, it will be 2 days with a high demand. At the end of the second day you will rest for a few hours, since you will start walking again at 4 in the morning to reach the summit before sunrise. From there you will be able to marvel at the bed of clouds covering the Sierra.
Also, from there you have a wonderful view of the peaks of the Simón Bolívar and Colón snow-capped mountains, Santa Marta and part of the Tayrona National Natural Park.
2. Cerro Kennedy by motorcycle or car
You leave the center of Minca at 3 am, as the road is unpaved and it is a difficult journey due to the fact that the road is not paved. The last part of the trip must be done on foot to reach the top.
At the end of the tour to Cerro de Kennedy and back to the hostel I decided to walk around the village, where I tasted Arabic food and some delicious French muffins in a small French bakery in town.
It is important to note that all the excursions I did in Minca were by motorcycle. The guides give you a protective helmet during the tours. The road is partially paved and belongs to the Cincinati trail, after the crossing at the El Campano store. The rest of the road is unpaved and very muddy.
During the rainy season, the guides told me that the difficulty of mobility increases, and recommended that those who walk the trail should wear rubber boots.
Finally, I returned to Mamatoco by bus. The trip lasted more than an hour, once there I continued my trip along the Magdalena department.
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About the authors
Engineer, world traveler, amateur photographer, traveling blogger, and foody.