How to Spend 48 Hours in Minca

Minca | © Mark Rowland / Flickr
Minca | © Mark Rowland / Flickr
Photo of Chris Bell
20 December 2017

Minca is a lovely little mountain village in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It’s highly popular with travelers due to its relaxed atmosphere, beautiful landscapes and excellent hostels. However, many visitors don’t have weeks to enjoy chilling out in the village, so here’s a quick guide on how to make the most of 48 hours in Minca.

Arriving at lunchtime from Santa Marta, the first thing to do is grab a bite to eat in town, and there’s nowhere better to do that than at The Lazy Cat, a great little restaurant just opposite the village church, which overlooks the river and serves the best burgers and burritos in town. Then wander across the bridge towards Cafe Minca for a local coffee. Even if you’re not staying there, the adjacent Hotel Minca is worth a visit to enjoy their amazing hummingbird feeders, which attract an array of the colorful little birds.

Lovely hummingbird at Hotel Minca | © Chris Bell / The Culture Trip

It’s then time to head for your hostel. The best place in town to stay is the delightful Casa Loma Hostel, which is perched on a hillside above the village and commands amazing views over the distant Caribbean Sea and the gorgeous green mountains. Check in here, order a delicious vegan dinner for the evening, then spend the rest of your first day relaxing, enjoying the view and waiting for the sunset. Casa Loma has the best sunset views in town, and there’s even a great happy hour to make the evening pass even quicker. Get an early night, because there’s a lot to do tomorrow.

Wake up nice and early (it’s much cooler and fresher in the morning), and head down into Minca to grab a mototaxi up into the mountains to La Victoria Coffee Farm. This working coffee farm is one of the oldest in Colombia and offers a fascinating glimpse at the old machinery once used to harvest the magic little beans, which is still in use today! Take the tour at La Victoria in the morning, then stick around for lunch to enjoy one of their delicious sandwiches and an ice cold Happy Toucan Beer, which is also brewed on site. After lunch, walk back towards Minca from the farm along the road towards Pozos Naturales (grab another mototaxi if you’re not the hiking type).

Coffee drying at La Victoria in Minca | © Chris Bell / The Culture Trip

Pozos Naturales is a lovely little swimming hole on the river between La Victoria and Minca, and is the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing dip in the cooling waters of the Sierra Nevada (don’t forget to pack your bathing suit when you leave in the morning). There are many stalls along the road from the Pozos to Minca, where you can sample local chocolate and honey products, and enjoy the mountain views. Always keep an eye out for Toucans as well: they are commonly seen along this road. Grab some dinner in Minca – you’re forgiven if you choose The Lazy Cat again – and head back up to Casa Loma: there’s still the happy hour to look forward to!

On your final morning, rise nice and early and meet up with Jungle Joe down in the village – he offers excellent beginner’s birding tours on the trails around the village and is the perfect man with whom to discover the feathered joys of the Santa Marta Mountains. You can see toucans, parrots, owls, woodpeckers and much more with Joe, and he’s a patient and understandable guide. You’ll be finished by 9:30 am, which gives you a couple more hours to enjoy: hop on a quick mototaxi and head to Marinka Waterfalls to enjoy a last cooling dip in the river, before you head back down the mountains to the sweltering heat of the coast.

A beautiful waterfall near Minca | © Niek van Son / Flickr

So there you have it: 48 amazing hours in Minca. Coffee farms, birding, waterfall swimming, great food and even some booze thrown in too. You really couldn’t pack more into your two days in Minca if you tried!

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