If you have been researching Minca, Colombia, there is much information out there but not all in one place. This is all the information I have gathered during my trip there and everything you will need to know to have a carefree trip. Do not skip Minca, Colomba, just because it is not so simple.
Minca is a small town located about 45 minutes away from Santa Marta into the mountains. There is very little around here in terms of infrastructure, which is great but make sure you bring everything you need. This is a place most people come to relax, hike, swim, and do things in nature. I loved it there and I promise you will too. There is not great connection and the wifi is horrible, so not a great place if you are looking for that. Just bring a book and enjoy the calm.
An important piece of information is that there is no ATM in Minca so make sure you bring enough cash with you. Some places accept card but because the internet connection is so bad many places do not. So make sure you grab some before heading up here so you are able to survive.
Getting there and around
Minca, Colombia, is far from reality and that is how getting there is too. You will need to take a small van from Santa Marta. These buses run once every half an hour to one hour from the crossing of Calle 12 and Calle 9 right outside of the old part of the city. The tickets are 8000 pesos one way. You can also buy return tickets right away, but there is no need to do so. The buses only run until 6 pm so if you arrive later than that stay in Santa Marta overnight and go up in the morning. If you prefer to take a taxi up you can do that too, but it will cost you approximately 40'000 pesos which is a lot for me.
Once you reach Minca the only form of transportation is mototaxis and taxis. The taxis are great to get to your accommodation, but mototaxis are a lot cheaper and more common. These are motorcycles that will get you from one destination to another. I am sure about the safety, but most drivers give you helmets and do drive safely especially if you are not in a rush. You might want to use them to get to some of the sites instead of walking.
There are many hostels in Minca so you will have your pick. I have read many posts before going and kept coming across the name Casa Loma. I was intrigued so I booked it and was not disappointed.
Casa Loma is one of the most popular hostels in Minca. It is located above the city and has an amazing view all the way to Santa Marta and the ocean. They have different types of accommodation from hammocks to private huts. You can also buy breakfast, lunch, and dinner up there and it is amazing vegetarian food. The only downside of the hostel are the stairs. You cannot reach it on a simple road but have to climb about 5 minutes of stairs. They are really steep and hard, but once you are up it is worth the climb. Do not let them discourage you from staying.
The other hostel that is super known in Minca is Casa Elemento. This has been a great hostel a couple of years ago with a giant hammock, but the owner has changed and now there is techno music all night from what I have heard. You can still hike up there and enjoy it for the day, but there is no need to stay there overnight.
Minca is known for hiking and nature, so here some of the ones you can do and how nice they can be. While I was there I did not get to complete the long hike I wanted to do since it started raining around 1 pm every single day, so that was depressing, but I hope you have better luck.
This is the longest hike you can do here up to a gorgeous view from a clearing on top of the mountain. It will take about six hours total walking up to Los Pinos and then back down. You have many stops along the way, such as waterfalls and Casa Elemento. I would suggest walking towards Poco Azul. That way you will have an easier walk up with more of a proper road and easier physically. You will also get to the gorgeous waterfall Cascada Marino on the way down and you can decide if you have time to stop. You should stop for lunch at Casa Elemento up top and get a day pass for 10'000 pesos which includes the use of the hammock to take pictures and enjoy the view. Make sure you leave early in the morning so your experience doesn't get ruined by rain.
This is the closest waterfall to the town and the most popular. It only takes about one hour to get to and you will have an amazing time. There are some small stores at the entrance so you can bring snacks but also buy some there if you want to. I have not gone here myself, but walked by the entrance and meet many people heading there so you will not go wrong.
This is a longer hike to a bigger waterfall. This takes about 1.5 hours uphill but once you are there it is gorgeous. I loved going up here and the hike through the forest is great. You can also take a mototaxi up here for I believe 10'000 pesos if you don't want to hike. Once you are up, you will need to pay an entrance fee of 5000 pesos per person for them to maintain all the infrastructure around the waterfall. I would definitely recommend this hike because it is the perfect morning or afternoon trip and you will have just enough time to get back before the rain if you want to.
While there are many great ones to try in Minca, I ended up mainly eating at my hostel and the Lazy Cat Caffee. They have amazing western food in case you are getting tired of always eating rice and beans. I tried many different things from their menu and they were all amazingly delicious. I would suggest you stop by here at least once while in Minca to for a taste of home.
That is all my information about Minca. I hope you have found everything you need to convince you to visit this adorable little town and stop by for a few days to enjoy the peace and calm. If you have any of your own tips, please share them in the comments below. I love to hear from all of you.