How to get to Minca, Colombia
The cheapest way to get to Minca from Santa Marta is to go to the Santa Marta Public Market and take a bus. The price is 8,000 COP, and it takes about 45 minutes.
Once you arrive in town, you can take a mototaxi if your accommodation is outside of Minca town. The price of this ride will depend on the distance to your hotel. At the most, the price will be 20.000 COP.
Another option, less economical but more comfortable and faster, is to take a cab from Santa Marta or arrange the transfer with your accommodation. The cab costs around 50.000 COP.
Finally, there is the possibility of taking an organized excursion to Minca from Santa Marta. I recommend these two options:
Things to do in Minca, Santa Marta
Minca (Colombia) is full of wonderful places. You can swim in waterfalls, hike through the jungle and enjoy unforgettable sunrises and sunsets. Here are all the details.
1. Spend at least one night in a hotel lost in the mountains
I am sure that my stay in Minca would not have been as wonderful if I had not stayed at Casas Viejas by Masaya. Spending three nights in at this hotel was the best idea my partner and I could have had, and for this reason, I recommend you do the same. It is a hotel located on the side of a mountain, lost in the jungle, with beautiful views.
The best place in the hotel is its infinity pool, from which you can enjoy the scenery. If the day is clear, you can see the sea. I also want to highlight its small restaurant, where they serve delicious food. I stayed in a private room, but they also have shared rooms. We woke up listening to the birds singing, wonderful!
Another thing I loved about staying here is that the hotel itself organizes trips in the surrounding area. We went hiking to a very cool river. Also, since it wasn’t a touristy place, we were alone. The private rooms in this hotel sell out quickly, so if you are interested, book as soon as possible.
My recommendation is to stay in a hotel lost in the mountains for at least one night, as this is how you can really appreciate the magic of this corner of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
2. Marinka Waterfalls, one of the best places to visit in Minca
Going for a swim at the Marinka Waterfalls is one of the main activities to do in Minca, Colombia. They are located 3.3 kilometres from the town. You can go walking; it takes about 50 minutes, or take a mototaxi. The tour costs 10,000 COP ($2.40 USD). As it is a private place, you have to pay an entrance fee of 5,000 COP ($1.20 USD).
Inside the Marinka Waterfalls, you will find two waterfalls, changing rooms, net hammocks suspended in the air, and a small restaurant where you can eat or drink something. We arrived at the place around 15:30, and there were not many people. We were able to take a refreshing bath in the waterfall.
3. Pozo Azul, ideal to take a walk and bath
El Pozo Azul is one of the main attractions in Minca. Here, you can walk along a trail or swim in the different pools. It is just over an hour’s walk from Minca. If you do not want to make the hike, you can take a motorcycle cab for 10,000 COP. Unlike the Marinka Waterfalls, the entrance is free.
We had the awful luck of visiting Pozo Azul on a Sunday, a day when all the locals escape from towns and cities to go to the beach or other natural areas. When we arrived, it was packed with people. Since it is difficult to enjoy a natural environment surrounded by so many people, we decided to skip this place.
Being a popular place, I recommend you go during the week and as early as possible. This way, you can enjoy bathing in the natural pools surrounded by endless jungle.
4. Oido del Mundo Waterfall, Minca (Colombia)
Unlike the Marinka and Pozo Azul waterfalls, the Oído del Mundo is not as crowded with tourists. This means that you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings in a quieter way. If you visit El Oído del Mundo, you will find a couple of natural pools and small waterfalls. It is only a 20-minute walk from Minca, so you can walk there.
From the main road, it is a 5-minute walk down to the pools. On the way down, you will go parallel to the river. Follow the left side of the river until you reach the pool. The pool is shallow, which makes it ideal for relaxing in the water. There are mosquitoes in Minca, but it was especially in this place that we were riddled with them, so don’t forget to bring bug spray.
5. Visit the peak of Cerro Kennedy
One of the most demanding hikes to do in Minca (Colombia) is the ascent to Cerro Kennedy, located at 3,100 meters above sea level. It is 26 kilometres away from Minca.
We met a French couple who made the whole trip from Minca on foot. They climbed to the top, camped in their own tent, and the next day walked back to Minca. It is one of the ways to get to know this place, although perhaps too demanding for most people, myself included.
There is the option of going by motorcycle, either rented or with a driver. The road is somewhat complicated; therefore, I only recommend driving the motorcycle to the top to those who have previous experience riding on dirt roads. It is also possible to do part of the way by vehicle and part of the way on foot.
Cerro Kennedy from Finca Santa Elena
In our case, we visited Cerro Kennedy on a two-day tour with a local company called Wi Make Tours.
The first day they pick you up in Santa Marta or Minca, you visit a local coffee farm where they give you a coffee tour, and you hike up to Finca Santa Elena (Farm). The climb is 3 km and takes about two hours. It is a bit tiring, but you will get over it as soon as you arrive at the farm thanks to the incredible natural surroundings and the welcome drink and food.
That first afternoon, you can rest and get to know the surroundings of the farm, enjoy the wonderful sunset over the mountains, the Ciénaga Grande, and the Caribbean Sea.
The second day, you wake up around 5:30 am to watch an incredible sunrise, have breakfast, and start the climb to the top of Cerro Kennedy. This climb is done on a different path than the main road. It is 5 km one way and 5 km back. The climb takes about 3 hours, depending on the pace and the breaks you take, and the descent takes about 2 hours.
The truth is that it is well worth it, as the views from the top are breathtaking. On the way back, you can replenish your energy with a delicious meal and enjoy some more time before starting the descent on foot and then the car ride back.
What I liked most about this experience was being able to enjoy such a local, secluded, and magical environment. You will be in a very remote place and still feel at home. The treatment at Finca Santa Elena is very nice, and the location of the farm is incredible. We felt at peace.
6. Los Pinos Viewpoint
If you like walking, you can go on a hike that passes through several places until you reach Los Pinos viewpoint, located 1,500 meters above sea level. From here, you can enjoy 360° views. In the same place, you will find a farm. You can go there for a small fee to see the views on the other side of the mountain. It is located just over 9 km from the town of Minca.
7. Visit a coffee farm
One of the main economic resources in this area of Colombia is the cultivation of coffee. The coffee expansion took place in this territory between 1895 and 1915, a period during which the main coffee farms were established: La Victoria, Cincinnati, Jirocasaca, Minca, Maria Teresa, Onaca, and El Recuerdo.
Finca La Victoria is possibly the most popular farm to visit in Minca since it is the oldest, founded in 1892 by an English couple, and the only one that has a coffee factory. The tour lasts 45 minutes and costs 15,000 COP. If you want to visit a smaller, local farm, I recommend Finca Miramar.
8. Visit a cocoa plantation
Minca (Santa Marta) is also an important cocoa producer. In fact, in the same town, you will find the Museo del Cacao. Don’t expect a conventional museum. It is actually a small store and restaurant with local products and informative areas. The owners will be happy to explain some very interesting facts about cocoa.
Another option is to visit a cocoa farm. You can do this at El Paraíso de Tuki B&B Cafe and Cacao Farm.
9. Motorcycle ride to Escudo La Tagua.
One of the experiences we enjoyed the most during our visit to Minca was renting a motorcycle and touring areas farther away from town on our own.
The truth is that motorcycle rentals are not cheap in Minca. For a full day, be prepared to pay at least 130,000 COP. Still, it is worth it. In town, you will find many places where you can rent them. It is safe to move around this area on your own on a motorcycle.
If, like us, you decide to rent a motorcycle, I recommend you make the trip to El Escudo La Tagua. It is located 22 km from Minca, and the road is well paved. Here you will find a Colombian shield and a couple of local restaurants.
During the trip, you will pass by places with incredible views of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. You must stop at this viewpoint; it’s a must! We also pass by a yellow bridge located over a small river that runs along the road. Here is the exact location.
10. Watch the sunset from Sunsets Viewpoint
The first evening we had the bike, we decided to follow one of the main roads until we found somewhere to watch the sunset. Just after rounding a bend, I saw a sign on the side of the road that said Sunsets Viewpoint. We decided to park the bike and approach the place.
It is a very humble stand built into the side of the mountain with very nice views. There are some benches where you can sit and watch the sunset while drinking tea, coffee, or some soft drinks and snacks. They are sold at the same stall. Check out the exact location of this place.
11. Minca Town, Santa Marta
The town of Minca itself can be another attraction in the area if you like to have more options as far as bars, restaurants, or a walk around a more lively area after spending time in the mountains and waterfalls. I recommend the Waira ice cream parlor and the Santisabella restaurant. You can also visit the Cocoa Museum or the Minca Church.
In Minca, you can also rent a motorcycle or take a motortaxi to any place you want to visit.
12. Spend the afternoon in Sierra Minca
Hostal Sierra Minca, formerly known as Casa Elemento, is one of the most popular hotels in this area of Santa Marta. Even if you don’t stay here, you can pay for a day pass and enjoy the common facilities for a few hours: an outdoor swimming pool, a bar, a restaurant, and numerous nets where you can lie down and relax for a while. The price of the day pass is 15,000 COP.
It is not a must-see place, but if you have been walking for a few hours and you need to rest or have a cool drink, it is not a bad place to do so.
Where to stay in Minca
The hotel you choose to stay in will have a great influence on your overall experience in Minca, Colombia. I’ll say it again, to enjoy this place to the fullest, I think it is essential to choose a hotel that is in a natural environment. That is why I recommend staying at Casas Viejas by Masaya, a place where I stayed for three nights and which fascinated me.
As I mentioned, we stayed in the deluxe double room. It is very spacious, tastefully decorated, and has a balcony with hammocks that connects you directly with nature. One of the details I liked most about the room was that the bathroom had two showers. So you can take a shower with your partner without fighting over the water jet.
The highlight of the hotel is the infinity pool overlooking the mountains. Really, coming back tired from a hike and relaxing in this pool was the best treat of the day. The hotel also has a bar and restaurant, where they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day at a very reasonable price.
A 20-minute walk from the hotel, there is a viewpoint to watch the sunset. These are the views:
We also slept a couple of nights in the town, and the experience was nothing to write home about. Although it can be a good option if your budget is low or if you prefer to have it easier to move around Minca.
More hotel options in Minca, Santa Marta
Here are some other hotels that I saw while planning my trip to Minca and that look great:
- Mundo Nuevo. A group of friends we met stayed here for a couple of days and loved it. We went for a coffee and to enjoy the views and thought it was wonderful.
- Trekker Glamping. Luxury glamping in the middle of the mountain. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, look at the pictures… Amazing!
- Siembra Hotel & Spa. This hotel also looks great.
- Finca San Rafael. You will stay in a traditional cocoa farm.
Map of things to do in Minca
In the following map, I have indicated all the places I recommend visiting in this corner of Santa Marta and the accommodations I recommend, with their respective links to Booking. This will make it easier for you to organize your visit to this Colombian destination.
If you are passing through Santa Marta, be sure to read my blog posts about the best things to do in Santa Marta and where to stay in Santa Marta. Also, visit my article on what to see in Cartagena de Indias if you are visiting this beautiful city.
Don’t miss my Colombia travel guide for all the information about the country.
I hope this post about the best things to do in Minca (Colombia) has been very useful when organizing your trip to this small paradise in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. If you want to tell me about your experience at this destination or have any questions, I encourage you to leave a comment. See you next time!