If you are traveling the coast of Colombia be sure to spend at least 1 night in Minca. I went for 1 night and stayed for 3. Up in the mountains, the fresh mountain air made it a welcome relief from the heat of the coast. It is also surrounded by coffee farms and so far Minca wins my best coffee in Colombia prize! To help you plan your trip here is my guide to 24 hours in Minca Colombia.
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything! Travel insurance has always been high my list of things to get before I travel but now more than ever its at the top of my list.
I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So when looking for travel insurance it’s important to check it covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, Hey Mondo, Passport Nomads, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master all provide cover for this.
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover. You even have the option to start the cover when you are already on your trip, although you won’t be covered for the first 72 hours. For me my favourite feature is their app which offers you a 24/7 Dr chat and the ability to file a claim direct in the app.
Passport Nomads provides the most comprehensive cover for Digital Nomads. The game changer with them is that you have a red card and if you find yourself in need of medical care you just contact them and they will pre load your card with the funds to cover your treatment, meaning you won’t need to pay out of pocket and then put in a claim later.
Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. They have an excess of $250 and it’s simple to make a claim through their website. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy and I like that it renews on a monthly basis, so I don’t have to pay out a big lump sum up front.
I also use Travel Insurance Master for some short vacation type trips.
If you are doing shorter trips or an extended backpacking trip then Hey Mondo or Travel Insurance Master are the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for Passport Nomads or SafetyWing.
How to get to Minca from Santa Marta
To get from Santa Marta to Minca you will need to get up early and the Santa Marta Minca bus… Which is actually not a bus but a 4-wheel drive. If you take the bus early from Santa Marta so you arrive with a full day to explore.
When you arrive in Minca you can either walk or get a moto-taxi to your accommodation (I would book accommodation online during peak season as everywhere gets booked up fast). Dump your bags and head to Tienda Cafe Minca for a coffee.
If you want to travel from Cartagena to Minca then you will still need to take the bus to Santa Marta and then change there.
Need to book transportation in Colombia?
I highly recommend booking all of your Colombia transportation with GuateGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from my time living in Guatemala and they really do look after their customers. So if anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them and they are always there to help.
If you book through them you will pay a little more than if you book in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security in my opinion. Click here to search for transportation in Colombia.
Things to do in Minca
There are lots of things to do in Minca Colombia, here are a few of my personal favorites:
Visiting a coffee farm in Minca
From here take a moto-taxi (or hike uphill for an hour and a half to Candelaria coffee and cacao farm. The tour takes 2 hours and cost 20mil. I decided on the cacao tour as I wanted to save to coffee tour until I visit the coffee region.
Pozo Azul Minca Waterfall
After the tour take a different path down the mountain towards the Pozo Azul Minca Cascades (waterfall). It’s a stunning walk with so many incredible views.
It also had this really cool bridge!
You will probably be hungry so if you haven’t brought any lunch there is a small farm shop close to the waterfall where you can get a great veggie sandwich, some cold water, and a beer! If you want something a little more filling there is a restaurant next to the river you can get lunch.
Be warned the water is COLD even after the hot and sweaty jungle track to get there it was too cold for me to get in. So I just paddled for a while and cooled off before continuing back down to Minca.
Once back in town take a stroll around and grab a smoothie or juice before making your way back to your accommodation for a shower and to check in. I always try to shower just before the sun goes down, that was I’m hot enough to not mind the cold water, and the water is still warm from the sun! It gets cold in the mountains so showering at night and early in the morning can be a little chilly!
Another option is to walk to the less popular swimming spot: the Marinka Waterfall (Cascadas de Marinka). From the centre of Minca it is about an hour walk to reach the waterfalls or you can get a moto taxi to take you most of the way there. On the way you will follow the river and see another smaller waterfall, so I would say it’s worth taking the picturesque walk there if you have time.
On arrival you have to pay 10K COP for entry and then can spend as long as you want there. Down the steps there is the first waterfall which has deep water to swim and refresh yourself with after the walk there. I say refresh yourself before the water is very cold, but nice once you get in.
You can then walk up to the second waterfall with has shallower water to paddle in, but is equally as pretty to look at. Before your walk or moto-taxi ride back into town you can grab some food or drink at one of the cafes there or relax on one of the net hammocks with a beautiful view.
Where to eat in Minca
After you have washed up and spent some time chilling in a hammock go for dinner at The Lazy Cat. It is the most highly rated place to eat in Minca and for good reason. They also have a great selection of veggie options (rare in Colombia!).
Breakfast (and maybe some yoga?)
If you like yoga and don’t mind early mornings Casa Yoga offers a 6:30 am class in Spanish (by donation) and an 8 am class in English (I think the cost is 20-25mil). Or enjoy a lie in!
After morning yoga have breakfast at the French bakery or Duni for some fresh artisan bread. It’s some of the best bread I have eaten in Colombia!
The chocolate bread in … is to die for!
Spend the rest of the morning enjoying the quiet and cool weather before heading to your next destination.
Where to stay in Minca
I stayed at Hostal Casas Colibri, however, I would not recommend staying here.
The place is great but the owner is not. I stayed there because it was one of the few places that had WiFi. Sadly the WiFi didn’t work anyway. Without going into too much detail a lot of guests were very unhappy about the behavior of the owner who decided to stay up partying loudly. I cut my stay short after one of the owners ‘friends’, who he has been up all night partying with, came over while I was skyping my dad (it was Christmas morning) and started shouting abuse at my dad and showing him the drugs he was smoking. The owner did nothing to stop this he just sat and watched. As you can imagine I was very upset.
My recommendation for accommodation is Casa Loma or Rio Elemento.
Rio Elemento Hostel is a 5 minute walk out of the centre of Minca and is right on the river (as the name suggests). It has so much space and is a great place to relax. They have huge pool, a great bar area, and lots of swings and net hammocks right over the river.
Casa Loma has unbelievable views and, even if you don’t stay there, it is a great place to go watch the sunset and enjoy a refreshing drink.
Here are some other recommendations hostels in Minca:
Finca Hostal Bolivar – Casa Mango
I hope this is helpful if you are backpacking in Colombia be sure to check out my other guides! Also, you can follow my 1-week, 2-week, and 3-week Itineraries for the Caribbean coast.
Are you planning a backpacking trip around Colombia? Take a read of my other guides here.
This post was proofread by Grammarly