Located at 5-hour drive from Cartagena, perched at 600m high up from Santa Marta, Minca is a small mountain village in the Sierra Nevada known for its green landscapes, organic coffee farm, hiking treks and especially, much cooler temperatures than the rest of the sweaty coast. With only 800 inhabitants and a surprisingly large young French expat community, Minca is an ecotourism gem that offers a rich spectrum of activities that can keep you busy for at least 3 days.
Sweet dreams are guaranteed at Eco-Habs with cute cabanas nestled in the lush jungle, at just a couple of minutes away from the center of the village. It’s a great option for travelers looking for premium housing options with respect for the surrounding nature. Breakfast is served in a beautiful restaurant overlooking the valley, the perfect moment to observe hummingbirds and other bird species. If you are lucky, you can even receive the morning visit of a majestic toucan, ready to pose in exchange of a little bit of cheese. Keep your camera close.
Minca has a surprisingly large range of restaurant options. We’ve tested the casual but delicious Lazy Cat restaurant. The menu displays a large selection of sandwiches, hamburgers, salads and Mexican selections.
Our “foodie” recommendation is to indulge yourself a morning of farniente in the world’s largest hammock at Casa Elemento hostel. Besides the opportunity of taking pictures that will make your friends envious, Casa Elemento has a unique restaurant with delicious and creative menu, worthy of any successful restaurants, at very affordable prices.
At night, relax with a drink and dinner at Mar y Monte, an authentic hostel and restaurant. The night view over Santa Marta and the coast’s twinkling lights are perfect for a day debrief with other travel fellows.
The easiest way to get around is to schedule a day trip with a local tour guide. You can book your travel at EmbaSSY with Rafael, also known as Rafa. His office is located in front of the village church, next to La Minca Panaderia coffee shop, serving probably the best chocolate bread in town, so you can’t miss it. Rapha will prepare you a tailored made experience, recommend the best happy hour bars, advise you on where to eat a sancocho, the Colombian traditional soup or book a taxi to Santa Marta, all of these in the blink of an eye. Bonus: his local guide, a Colombian born Australian, speaks perfect English and will happily share a lot of knowledge about Colombia and the area.
Start your day with a hike to the hidden waterfalls. The path can be a bit steep but your efforts will be rewarded with a fresh relaxing dive in the Minca river.
In the afternoon, hop on a motor bike to discover Finca Victoria, a self sustaining coffee plantation, using water from mountains streams to power generators. You will learn everything about coffee production and its production and enjoy a cup of excellent coffee at the end of the tour. From Finca Victoria, get back on the bike to enjoy the afternoon at the newly opened guesthouse Casa Viejas, with stupendous views over the mountains, launched by a trio of young French entrepreneurs.
For the rest of your stay, you can choose longer mountain trips to Pozo Azul, a natural popular swimming pool with two small waterfalls or Los Pinos/The Pine trees with an amazing panorama of the mountains, the coast and the ocean.
All of these destinations are accessible by motor bikes driven by an experienced local driver or 4×4 vehicles. There are no roads per se, so the journey is an adventure in itself. But the mix of adrenaline and the beauty of the bamboo forests make every minute of these trips totally worth it.
Information and booking: Eco-Habs
Rooms starting at $50 USD.