Minca Travel Guide

Waterfalls and organic coffee plantation, Minca is a peace of heaven where you want to stay a few days.

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All the info to prepare your trip to Minca. How to get in, maps, activities to do,...
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Minca is in Magdalena Department, Colombia. It is located about 20 miles south east from Santa Marta. Minca is a small village of about 600 people at an elevation of 650m in the Sierra Nevada above Santa Marta.

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The road reading to Minca is quite bumpy, so if you are driving be prepared to drive very slowly and stop often to get around potholes. Local Santa Marta taxi drivers are willing to take you up to Minca for about $200,000 COP for the day. They will drive you around and wait for you and then take you back to town. There is also a shuttlebus that leaves from the marketplace in Santa Marta that cost 7000 COP and leaves when the car is full, it normally takes 15-20 min for the car to fill up so dont be in too much of a hurry. From there you can also just pay a car to take you instantly for 30.000 COP.

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The region is beautiful and is best explored on hiking or motorbikes. The roads are extremely low quality so it is advised to have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, although if it is not raining a regular car should do. There are almost 40 moto taxi drivers operating in Minca, they hang out near the main junction. They run a sort of cartel and some can become aggressive. Know the price before approaching them (ask your hostel), or they will rip you off. Try to take one of the quieter drivers who hang in the background and don’t hassle you.


  • La Victoria Coffee Plantation located just north, uphill of Minca is one of the major attractions. It is a completely self sustaining coffee plantation, using water from mountain streams to power generators. Coffee beans are moved and processed using only gravity and power from the generators. People who own the plantation will sell you a cup of coffee they make and will be pleased to give you a tour of the place.
  • Los Pinos/The Pine trees, Los Pinos (Up). From Los Pinos (the pine trees) you have an amazing view all over the mountains of Minca and all the way to the coast and Santa Marta. it takes 2.5 hours from town to walk there or you can make a trip of it seeing the Marinka waterfall, sleeping in a hostel up there and then walk the last bit the following morning, or just pay a mototaxi to take you up there. There are two roads leading to the spot one is the main road and other is off-track, taking small paths leading you through coffee-plantations. Ask your hostel for information 00.
  • Marinka waterfall. Also visit the Marinca waterfall, its a beautiful waterfall with a natural pool for swimming down below. You can walk there in 40 min/1 hour depending on how fast you walk, or take a moto taxi for aprox 6000 COP. There is a small entrence fee since it is on private property of 3000 COP.
  • Pozo Azul is a popular swimming hole with two small waterfalls. You can jump from the top of the second waterfall into the refreshing water below. Reached by walking for about 45minutes from Minca town – if coming form the church, walk to the junction, then turn right and follow the signs.
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There are several tiendas in the village for your basic needs, but expect to pay more than in Santa Marta.

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There are several restaurants in town and near the waterfalls. The Lazy Cat is the only one with WiFi, which of course means it is slightly more expensive.

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There aren’t really any bars in town, but your hostel will sell you beers (COP3,000-3,500). Locals also sell beers at the waterfalls (COP2,500). At Los Pinos lookout ask for a delicious milkshake.

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  • Casa Marinka (hostel), Below the waterfall Marinka (Leaving the town walking towards the waterfall Marinka you will find the hostel), ☎ +57 304 4401198. checkin: anytime; checkout: anytime. Newly opened hostel started by two young climbers wherefrom they offer different kinds of tours and activities with extreme sports like canopying, rock climbing, rappelling etc. Prices vary depending on whether you want private room with private bathroom, dormroom or just want to crash in one of their many hammocks on the roof. You can order a meal for 7-13.000 COP, if you just want to stop by on your way to the waterfall Marinka or you want to go to the Pinetrees (Los Pinos) 7-15.000 COP.
  • Casa Elemento is a COP15,000 moto taxi or 2hr+ walk above Minca (elevation 1,200m). There is a spectacular panoramic view of Minca and Santa Marta from their giant net (aka “hammock”). Accommodation options vary from private rooms to dorms to tents and hammocks (use theirs or bring your own). Bring coconut oil as there are lots of sandflies here – but no mosquitos so you can sleep in your hammock outside without a mosquito net. No wifi, the nearest is back in town – but there is 3G signal, so consider buying a Colombian SIM card if you need to stay connected.
  • Casa Loma is a 10minute walk uphill from behind the church in Minca. Great view from the patio area, accommodation from hammocks to dorms to privates. Communal meals, but vegetarian only. You can always walk down to town for some meat, or to use the internet (Casa Loma is a “wifi-free zone”).
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The only place in town with wifi outside of expensive hotels (January 2014) is the Lazy Cat restaurant (closed every Friday). There is an internet café next door with just a couple of computers. It is a good idea to buy a SIM card with a data plan (very inexpensive) before arriving here if you want to remain connected.

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  • Mamancana is a private game reserve where you can do wallclimbing and canopying. Check out their facebookpage or talk to your hostel for arranging a trip.
  • Take a moto back down to Yucal and a bus from there to Santa Marta, or wait at the crossroads for a colectivo to fill up (both about COP7-8,000). From Casa Elemento you should be able to hire a 4×4 to take you all the way to Santa Marta for COP 25,000p/p (minimum 6 people, but there will likely be plenty of people leaving every day). If you are going to Cartagena or Palomino you don’t need to go all the way back into Santa Marta. Get out at “La Bomba” and flag down a bus for Palomino, or take a moto taxi/taxi/hitchhike to the bus station (out of town on the highway) for Cartagena.
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Minca is, a small village of about 600 people at an elevation of 650m in the Sierra Nevada above Santa Marta and home to waterfalls and an organic coffee plantation. Located about 20 miles south east from Santa Marta, with fresher nights, Minca is a peace of heaven where you want to stay a few days.

Travel and tourism in Minca. How to get in, maps, activities to do, where to eat and sleep. Download the Free Minca Travel Guide.


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Michel Piccaya


As a freelance travel photographer, Michel Piccaya has been on the road worldwide for more than 20 years, exploring the most incredible itineraries. He’s currently based in Brussels however never stays at home for a long time !

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