By Erin Hancock
Minca is this charming little town -and I mean little- located in the hills of Colombia southeast of Santa Marta. If you want to find a milder climate and you don’t mind leaving the beaches for a short time, Minca is a neat place to visit. Below are a few highlights. Spending a couple days there is probably sufficient to get a taste of it. If you want to take it slow, enjoy a relaxed pace of life and do all of the hikes, a week would likely be more than enough.
You can’t do Colombia without doing coffee. Colombia produces arguably some of the world’s best coffee. Of course, getting good Colombian coffee is often easier outside of the country as most of the best crops and beans are reserved for export. A lot of the coffee is farmed and processed through producer co-ops, hence the international co-op symbol -the twin pines logo- on the bag of coffee (above right photo).
We visited the Finca Victoria (finca = coffee farm), although there are several fincas in town to choose from. This one uses some equipment from 1892 which seems to still be in pretty good shape, along with some more modern equipment. The coffee was delicious and made for an energized walk back down the hill to the town, despite the high heat and direct sun.
Beside Finca Victoria is a micro brewery called Nevada Cerveceria which has two core beers: Happy Jaguar and Happy Tucan. Both were delicious served cold on a hot day. It’s hard to say how they would taste on any other day, but all was good.
Minca has lots of hiking trails available. Starting early is probably a good idea and incorporating a swim at some waterfalls would also be helpful to mitigate the heat. It may be slightly higher elevation than the coast so naturally a little cooler, but it sure doesn’t feel that way when you’re hiking up a mountain.
Cascades Marinka is a lovely little nature spot. Like all places listed in this blog that are up the mountain, you can get a motorcycle ride at least partly up so you don’t have to endure the whole walk. There is a canteen that rests on the mountain overlooking the falls. You’re in a little fold in the mountains so it’s a nice little spot to just enjoy the immediate scenery, reading or conversations with your travel mates.
Pozo Azul is a popular spot to swim for locals and tourists alike. The water is refreshing. You might find little worms on you after but they are harmless (we later found out after heading straight back to the hostel for a shower).
Hostal Mirador has a great view (above left photo) of the mountains all the way to the Santa Marta coast. You can get some drinks and eats in the big open-air lounge as the sun sets. After dark, head back to the center of town for a little night life.
The town is pretty cute too with a disproportionate amount of fun for its size.
The animals volunteer themselves to be served to you in Minca…right into the fire.
Hotel tip: The Green Emerald Guest House came recommended to us by Canadians who had traveled to Minca previously. It’s run by an Irish guy who really makes you feel at home. He’ll give you all the info and advice you need to make a great stay in Minca. You’ll probably also share a few drinks. It’s really well run, very clean and you can count on a great night’s sleep.
More Colombia adventures to come so stay tuned!