I was killing time in Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast of Colombia waiting for my flight back to Bogota. A guy working at my hostel suggested I go to Minca for a few days. I had never heard of it, but it turned out to be one of the best places on my entire 3 1/2 month trip in South America. I left there on an incredible buzz and it was the perfect icing on the cake of an amazing trip.
Minca is a small village in a valley in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada in the north of Colombia. It is a 45 minute taxi ride from Santa Marta. These regions were once host to the native Tairona people. I heard that in recent years, the area was also FARC territory and hence has only opened up to tourism relatively recently. Hence, there are only a hand-full of hostels and restaurants, servicing a mostly backpacker clientele.
From Minca, you can hike leisurely up the valley and swim in various waterfalls. It is also a bird-watcher’s paradise with some of the highest concentrations of species in South America. I stayed at a really cool hostel on the side of the mountain, Casa Loma. I splashed out on the best room, El Mirador, with private balcony. From there, you have spectacular views of the sunset. You can see all the way to the coast and Santa Marta lit up at night.
So, if you are in the region and have some time to spare after visiting the main tourist hotspots, definitely check out Minca.
Unfortunately, I lost my camera on the trip back to Santa Marta and lost all my photos. Thanks to the following for allowing me to use theirs: Featured Image courtesy of Louis Vest. Countryside courtesy of Mark Rowland. River courtesy of Haceme un 14.