A comprehensive and current travel guide for Minca Colombia. Arrange your vacation and learn about the top activities, must-see sights, and highlights in this stunning mountain town in Santa Marta’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.

For a long time, Minca was the tranquil backpacker town of Colombia, well-known throughout the world for its amazing hikes, gorgeous fincas and coffee plantations, breathtaking waterfalls in the jungle, and generally tranquil atmosphere.

It really is among the greatest destinations in Colombia, particularly for those who enjoy the outdoors and the natural world!

I’ve created this in-depth travel guide with 21 incredible things to do in Minca, Colombia, after spending two weeks exploring this incredible area!

You’ll also find a section at the bottom of this post with answers to all your travel-related queries, including advice on where to stay, what to pack, how to get around, and more!

 Where Is Minca?

Minca is a small mountain town in the Magdalena region of northern Colombia, at the base of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This region of stunning mountains is actually the world’s highest coastal range!

Having said that, popular northern cities and tourist destinations like Cartagena, Santa Marta, Palomino, and Tayrona National Park have easy access to Minca.

“Santa Marta a Minca” or Via a Minca is the name of the one and only road that leads to Minca. This is sealed and climbs gently to about 600 meters (1970 feet) above sea level, winding up the heavily forested mountain slopes.

How To Get To Minca Colombia

The only route to Minca is via Santa Marta, which is located in northern Colombia. This charming and historic seaside city has recently lost its allure owing to a deteriorating reputation. It was once a popular tourist destination. Even though a lot of people still appear to enjoy spending time at the beach here, I would advise going directly to Minca. There are two main ways to get here.

Colectivo Or “Shared Bus” From Santa Marta Square To Minca

This is the least expensive route to Minca and is well-liked by low-cost and backpacking tourists.

Go to Santa Marta’s main square, the Mercado Publico in Centro, to pursue this option. There’s a small white public bus with the name “Minca” usually written on the windshield on the corner of Carrera 9 and Calle 11.

It takes about 45 minutes and costs 9,000 Colombian pesos per person to use this shuttle service. But since it’s shared transportation, you’ll have to wait until it’s full before leaving.

Remember that the van drops you off close to the town center, and the last shuttle bus departs at 5:00 PM. You’ll need to take a moto-taxi if you’re staying on the mountainside (available near the colectivo stop).

Taxi From Santa Marta To Minca

If you prefer private transportation, you can get to Minca from any taxi driver in Santa Marta or Rodadero. For the trip, the “official” going rate is 60,000 pesos. Having said that, depending on the day, you can frequently bargain down to $40,000.

If you are traveling in a big group, taking a taxi is a great way to get to this peaceful mountain town and is also one of the easiest and most convenient options.

Again, the taxi will only take you to the heart of Minca; the roads that lead to the numerous stunning fincas and mountain hotels are steep and unsealed. You can either walk or take a motorbike-taxi to your lodging from here.

What About From Cartagena To Minca?

Are you in Cartagena and would you like to go to Minca? Taking the cozy coach bus to the Santa Marta bus station (Terminal de Transportes de Santa Marta) is the most practical way to get here.

It’s best to just take a taxi to Minca from here, as you’ll still need to pay about $15,000 to get to Market Square (where the shuttle is located).

I suggest using the most practical website, BusBud, to make bus reservations in Colombia.

What To Do In Minca, Colombia- Fun Things Not To Miss

Now that we have covered the essential travel arrangements, let’s delve into this in-depth Minca travel guide, beginning with the top attractions.

Stay At A Coffee & Cacao Plantation

Cacao and coffee grow well in the lower Sierra Nevada’s mountainous terrain. Consequently, there are a lot of rustic “fincas” (country estates or ranches) that produce internationally recognized vegetables.

Staying at one of these plantations is one of the coolest things to do in Minca if you’re looking for a distinctive lodging experience. I highly recommend Finca San Rafael, where we stayed. Throughout all of Colombia, this was one of my favorite accommodations! Situated slightly above the town, the property boasts verdant gardens and a swimming pool.

The majority of farms and plantations, regardless of where you stay, provide coffee tours to guests.

Pozo Azul

Among Minca’s most visited natural landmarks is Pozo Azul. This group of beautiful waterfalls in the jungle is one of the greatest spots to swim and cool off close to Minca town.

Here are a small cliff jump and two sizable natural swimming pools! It’s located on the protracted, winding mountain road that ascends to the town. Simply hike from Minca’s center to get here, or hire a moto-taxi driver to drive you there.

Remember that this is a very popular location, particularly for day trips from Santa Marta by Colombians. I would suggest going early in the day, or during lunch, and if at all possible, avoiding weekends and public holidays.

Bird Watching

Did you know that Minca boasts an incredible biodiversity and birdlife? A number of books have been written about it. This small village is one of the best places in the world to go bird watching because of the cooler climate and the dense jungle of the Sierra Nevada!

I heartily recommend taking the well-known bird-watching tour if you’re a nature lover, photographer, birder, or just a fan of wildlife and environmentally conscious travel.

For good reason, most travel guides to Minca suggest doing this. The guide is an expert who has spent the majority of his life looking for birds. This tour will take you to the El Dorado Reserve, one of the best spots in town for birdwatching.

Hike To Ciudad Perdida (Lost City Trek)

Alright, so let’s talk about what is perhaps the most distinctive and culturally noteworthy attraction in Minca: the Lost City Trek, or Ciudad Perdida (also known as Teyuna and Buritaca 200).

Hikers can trek for four or five days through the heart of the Sierra Nevada mountains to reach the Lost City, an ancient archeological site thought to have been established in 800 CE, many years before Machu Picchu.

You’ll pass picturesque valleys and Wiwa indigenous communities along the route. This is a well-known tourist trip, and the guides are all highly qualified.

This hike requires a guide, and there are very few tour companies that offer hiking trips. I’ve included a link to one of the greatest trips below; you can book it directly with GetYourGuide and receive a free cancellation, which isn’t always possible when booking through some of the other operators.

Marinka Waterfalls

Everyone goes to Pozo Azul, but the Marinka Waterfalls, or Las Cascadas de Marinka in Spanish, are my personal favorite collection of freshwater waterfalls in Minca.

This magnificent two-tiered waterfall is easily accessible from Minca village and is a great place to swim and unwind. Even though it’s usually cooler in Minca than it is along the coast, the water is still wonderfully refreshing—especially after hiking for an hour from this tiny town.

Stay At Sierra Minca Hostel

Alright, I’ll just state the obvious. Some of the world’s best hostels can be found in Minca. No, that isn’t overstated.

Many stunning hostels in this area have won awards for accommodations from South America and around the world.

And Sierra Minca is one of the best of the best. The truth is that practically all travel guides to Minca recommend this one! Situated on the jungle ridges just above the town, this amazing mountain hostel is well-known for its enormous giant hammock and zip-line.

Sadly, it was booked up for weeks, so I was unable to book a stay! Therefore, if you still have time, I strongly advise making an online reservation in advance.

Hike To Cerro Kennedy

Are you hoping to catch a glimpse of the highest mountains in Colombia? The mountains of Sierra Nevada are enormous. Indeed, this is the world’s tallest range of coastal mountains!

Cerro Kennedy is a great place to go if you want the best view of these stunning mountains covered in snow. Usually done over the course of an overnight trip, this is one of my favorite memories of my time spent in Minca.

Approximately 3100 meters above sea level, this viewpoint offers views of the renowned cloud forest, the sea of clouds, and the two tallest mountains in Colombia, Pico Cristàbal Colàn and Pico Simàn Boliva.

Hiking to a small hostel called “Moncho’s” after taking a motorbike taxi halfway up the mountain is the most recommended route to get here. See my guide (above link) for a detailed schedule.

Las Piedras

Are you game for another amazing natural swimming location close to Minca? Proceed to Las Piedras, also known as the stones. Actually, this is just a pleasant location beside the Costeño River, which is one of the small mountain streams that flows through Minca. Large stones and a deep section that’s ideal for swimming are what make it famous.

This is another place where you’re likely to find few other visitors, which is ideal if all you’re looking to do is unwind and have the place to yourself.

Simply navigate to “Carrera 1a” on Google Maps to reach Las Piedras in Minca, where you can access the river.

Los Pinos Viewpoint Hike

Ask around town, and the Los Pinos peak viewpoint hike is the most well-liked one in Minca. Hikers can enjoy amazing views over Minca and all the way down to Santa Marta on the coast from this high section, which is close to the well-known Sierra Minca hostel.

Usually included in a lengthy hiking day trip from town, Los Pinos can also be part of a longer loop that passes by Pozo Azul and the Marinka Waterfalls in one day.

where to stay in minca colombia

You’ll find that some of the best places to stay are on the foothills of the surrounding mountains, in the jungle, and that Minca’s main town is rather small. I’ve listed the top-rated options for different budgets below. But for more options and a detailed overview of each neighborhood, don’t miss this guide on where to stay in Minca.

Although the well-known Sierra Minca is well-known, there are a number of other excellent locations to take into account. It’s best to book ahead of time because Minca has some of the best hostels in South America, and the must-see hostels tend to sell out quickly!

  • Stay at an Organic Cacao & Coffee Farm: I stayed at Finca San Rafael, which was one of my favorite lodges in Colombia overall. Located in the jungle near the edge of town, this lovely retreat features shared or private accommodations, a pool overlooking the mountains, and plantation tours that teach visitors about the methods used to grow coffee and cacao.
  • Finca Carpe Diem Ecolodge: With more than 800 reviews, Finca Carpe Diem Ecolodge has a 9.6/10 rating on HostelWorld! With three swimming pools, breathtaking views of the jungle, and a prime location near some of the best hikes around, this place is a backpacker’s paradise.
  • Casas ViejasRecipient of South America’s best hostel award! Sadly, when we went, it was sold out, but many people say this is one of the greatest hostels ever!

Minca Colombia Travel Guide

I hope that this helpful list of things to do in Minca has encouraged you to go on adventures that go beyond a few restful days.

Continue reading for a comprehensive travel guide to Minca while you’re here. I’ll address all of your travel-related inquiries and offer advice to help you get the most out of your trip here.

Best Bookable Tours & Experiences In Minca

Are you trying to find a fast way to reserve all of the greatest adventures and activities in Minca? The three I think are the easiest to reserve online in advance are listed below.

  • Ciudad Perdida Trek –  Possibly the most rewarding trekking adventure in Colombia. Take a trip to “The Lost City” in the Sierra Nevada, an ancient location constructed approximately 650 years prior to Machu Picchu!
  • Birdwatching Tour –  Minca’s fauna, particularly its avian species, is well-known worldwide. Allow a local to guide you to the best locations for taking pictures and observing stunning tropical birds, such as hummingbirds and toucans.
  • Minca Full Day Tour –  The best-rated tour in town, covering all the major attractions in a single day. features tours of cacao plantations and waterfalls.

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