Minca is a small village in the north of Colombia. It is located in the Sierra Nevada mountains and surrounded by tropical rainforest. Even though it is a small village, you can do many fun things because of its location. For example, you can hike through the jungle, visit a coffee plantation or swim at various waterfalls. Minca is higher located compared to the other destinations in the north, making temperatures more pleasant because it is not that hot here.
In this article, you can read about the best things to do in Minca, where to stay, nice places to eat & drink and our tips. Discover here: what to do in Minca, Colombia.
Things to do in Minca, Colombia?
Minca is a small village where you can do some fun activities. In addition to these activities, Minca is popular among travelers to stay at one of the accommodations that are located in the mountains in the middle of the jungle. Minca is the perfect destination to reset and take your time to relax. The surrounding area is beautiful because of all the mountains and panoramic views.
Tip: use the map below to see where the best things in Minca are located. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map. If you click on the star symbol next to the title, you can save this map to your Google Maps account. You can show or hide different categories on the map. You can use this map to navigate when you are in Minca.
#1 Hike in Minca
The trail in the north of Minca is wonderful to walk, which makes it the best activity to do. During this hike, you will visit almost all the important sights of Minca.
The hike of 19 km takes about 8 hours and you can it independently. During the hike, you visit different waterfalls, follow a tour at a coffee plantation, enjoy panoramic views, see how impressive a jungle can be, and pass unique accommodations located in the mountains.
At the beginning of this article, you can see the walking route with all the sights on the map.
From the center of Minca, you can start the route in two directions. We recommend walking the route in a clockwise direction. So you start walking towards Pozo Azul.
Start the walk around 08:00 am, giving you plenty of time to stop at the various sights. It is also important that you are back in Minca before dark. If you start the walk too late, you run the risk of walking through the jungle in the mountains in the dark, you don’t want this! If you leave on time, it will be all right.
Stop 1 cascada Pozo Azul: from the center of Minca you can walk to cascada Pozo Azul. Pozo Azul is a waterfall that consists of several floors where you can swim. It is surrounded by the jungle which is beautiful to see. In addition, since you are early at the place you can enjoy the surrounding without sharing it with a lot of others making it a great place. Take your time to relax.
Stop 2 Finca Victoria: from Cascada Pozo Azul you continue your journey to Finca Victoria, this is a coffee plantation. It is recommended to use a motorcycle taxi from Cascada Pozo Azul that will take you to Finca Victoria. The hike is long and only uphill, so it can be difficult. There are plenty of motorcycle taxis driving around where you can ask for a few dollars to have yourself dropped off.
Once you arrive at Finca Victoria you can follow a guided tour. These tours are in English or Spanish. During the tour, they show the entire process of making the coffee. If you have never followed a coffee tour before this is a great opportunity to do so. At the end of the tour, you can taste the local coffee that is made at Finca Victoria.
If you have followed coffee tours before, it is not necessary to follow a tour but to walk around the area.
Stop 3 Los Pinos: After Finca Victoria, you can continue the journey to Los Pinos. Ask the person who dropped you off at Finca Victoria to wait for you and bring you to Los Pinos.
You can walk this part, but this part is also heavy because of the altitude. From Los Pinos, you only have to walk down so you no longer need a motorcycle taxi.
Arriving at Los Pinos which are two pines you can sit on the bench and enjoy a fantastic panoramic view. In clear weather, you can see the entire mountain range and the sea.
At Los Pinos, there is a house where you can enter for a small fee to overlook the other side of the valley. They offer a homemade drink, kindly refuse to drink it. When we drank it, we were both on the road 15 minutes later, throwing up. After vomiting we felt completely fine again, that was very strange.
Stop 4 Casa Elemento: [this place is now closed. For now you can skip this place, you can still eat at the building in front of Casa Elemento. We will inform you when it is open again].
from Los Pinos, you no longer need a motorcycle taxi. The entire walk is now only downhill. If you follow the road you will see a sign that indicates Casa Elemento, you have to follow it.
Casa Elemento is one of the most popular accommodations in Minca to stay in due to its unique location. They have the largest hammock in South America where you can relax and enjoy the view.
Before you walk to Casa Elemento, you can order some food at the local restaurant in front of the complex. This is a lot cheaper than at Casa Elemento and also a lot tastier. We recommend the soup with fish with fried potatoes.
Stop 5 cascades de Marinka: after Casa Elemento, you walk further down towards Minca and you can have the last stop at cascades de Marinka. This is the highest waterfall near Minca. In our opinion is this waterfall the most beautiful one in the region.
Next to the waterfall is a restaurant located where you can order some drinks, a great place to sit because it is not touristy.
What to bring with you for the hike: it is important that you bring enough water. In addition, bring some cash for motorcycle taxis and food and drinks along the way. Also, wear walking shoes.
#2 Mirador San Lorenzo
Another activity that is cool to do is visiting mirador San Lorenzo. The mountains near San Lorenzo are the highest sea-facing mountains in the world. This mirador is located at an altitude of 2630 meters, from here you can see the snow-capped peaks of Sierra Nevada.
You can visit mirador San Lorenzo all day long, only the best moment is to be there is during sunrise. It is magical to see the sunrise at this altitude. Also, the advantage is that you are probably there alone. From Minca it is a 90-minute drive with a motorcycle taxi. Because of this, when the sun rises at 06:00 are you have to leave Minca at 04:00 am.
The journey on the motorcycle taxi is not comfortable, it is cold and you have to sit in a cramped position for 90 minutes. Also, the road itself is not paved, so you often bounce up and down. You drive in the dark through the jungle, you hear the most fascinating sounds. Despite all these things, it is still worthwhile to visit the mirador San Lorenzo.
Visiting San Lorenzo costs about 60,000-70,000 Colombian pesos ($15-$18). You can ask the accommodation where you stay to reserve two motorcycle taxis. It is recommended to pay afterward.
Where to stay in Minca, Colombia
Option 1 in the mountains: location and stunning views
Loma Nevada Minca Hotel is perfect for relaxing. From this place, you may have the best view over Minca. The rooms are new and clean. The rooms have a hammock from which you have a fantastic view. If you want to enjoy the silence and a stunning view, then this is the place for you. Check prices and availability for Loma Nevada Minca Hotel here.
Casas Viejas by Masaya is a place with a good mix between luxury, comfort, and price. The pool is located on the edge of the mountain from which you look over the valley. the rooms are nicely located with their own space. In addition, the restaurant is also very good. Check prices and availability for Casas Viejas by Masaya here.
Option 2 in the village: cozy and cheaper
Minca Ecohabs is a great place to stay. You will stay in a treehouse that has a large balcony where you can relax with the view at your side. The advantage of this accommodation is that you are located in nature but still have the option to walk to the village of Minca to eat at the restaurants. Check prices and availability for Minca Ecohabs here.
If you prefer to stay in a hostel, Hostal Casa Loma Minca is the best option. At this hostel. you can watch the sun go down right in front of you from the roof terrace. Here you can book private rooms or a bed in a dormitory. If you are on a tight budget this is the best place for you to stay. Check prices and availability for Hostal Casa Loma Minca here.
#3 Birdwatching in Minca
If you love to see exotic birds in the wild then bird watching is something for you to do. From Minca you can book a tour where you will search in the jungle with a guide to these magnificent animals.
You can book different tours from Minca, but the question is whether you will get an expert as a guide. We recommend this tour because the guide is Antonio Martin, he is an ornithologist and biologist and has an incredible knowledge of the birds in the area. Check the prices and availability for the tour here.
#4 Visit the different waterfalls at Minca
Because Minca is situated higher and is surrounded by mountains where the snow melts and rains regularly in the jungle, a lot of water is created here that flows towards the sea. As a result, there are a couple of waterfalls relatively close to each other that are worth visiting.
If you walk the round in the north (read activity 1), you will visit the waterfalls Pozo Azul and Marinka. If you do not walk this round, it is still worth visiting these two waterfalls. In addition to Pozo Azul and Marinka, Cascada perdida (Valhalla) is also recommended to visit. All waterfalls can be visited for free.
Cascada Pozo Azul: This is the most popular waterfall in the Minca area. Therefore be at the waterfall as early as possible to avoid large crowds of people. From the village, it is a 30-minute walk to Pozo Azul. When you arrive here, you immediately notice that the waterfall consists of three levels, all of which you can admire up close. When walking up, be careful not to fall, the stones can be slippery. In addition, the water is unbelievably cold. The best thing about the waterfall is that the sun shines through the groove in the rocks, making the lighting with the jungle around you beautiful.
Cascades de Marinka: from the center, you can reach the waterfalls of Marinka in about 90 minutes walking. Here you can see two large waterfalls. Near these waterfalls is a restaurant where you can relax in a hammock while enjoying a drink.
Cascada Perdida (Valhalla): Just outside Minca you find the Perdida waterfall, although it is close to the center many travelers go to Pozo Azul and Cascades de Marinka and skip Perdida. This is a shame because you are within 15 minutes walk from the center you are there. This waterfall consists of many small waterfalls because there are many rocks and stones. It is a nice place to swim during hot days. To relax, it is better to go to the other two waterfalls.
#5 Enjoy the sunsets at Minca
Minca was the best place for us to see sunsets during our trip through Colombia. Because you are located higher and clouds are lower, you have a breathtaking sunset every day.
There are several locations where you can see beautiful sunsets in Minca, our favorite place to see it is at Hostal Casa Loma Minca. This hostel is located 5 minutes from the center and has a roof terrace where you can overlook the entire valley. Sit down at a table and order a beer. You can also walk west from the center and find a place to sit at the edge of the village. The advantage of this is that you are completely alone.
#6 Coffee tour at Finca Victoria
If you want to take a coffee tour and you are not going to make the round in the north (see activity 1), a visit to Finca Victoria is recommended. You can take a tour here where they explain the entire process in English or Spanish. The best thing about this coffee plantation is that they still use hundred-year-old machines.
What many people don’t know is that the good coffee goes overseas and the bad coffee stays in Colombia. This makes it difficult to drink good coffee in Colombia. You can do this in places like Finca Victoria because it comes directly from the producer.
You can buy a kilo of coffee here for 3000 Colombian pesos, this is about $0.75 which is incredibly cheap. So if you love coffee, this is your chance to load your entire bag with coffee!
Finca Victoria is best reached by motorbike taxi. Ask the person on the motorcycle taxi if they can wait for you to bring you back.
How many days should I stay in Minca?
Minca is a small village, despite this you can do some fun things here. Minca is nice to stay in because of the pleasant temperature and the untouched nature around you. In addition, if you choose the accommodation that is outside the village, you can completely switch off, you will stay in the middle of nature. We recommend staying 2 full days (3 nights) in Minca.
With 2 full days, you have more than enough time to do all the activities. If you want more relaxation during your trip, it is better to book 4 nights. This only depends on your wishes and possibilities.
Where is the best place to stay in Minca?
Minca is the place where you can stay at unique accommodations. First of all, you have to decide what your personal best area in Minca to stay would be. Do you want to stay in the village or in the mountains. The advantage of the village is that all restaurants and other facilities are close by. The advantage of staying in the mountains is that you stay remote from civilization.
We recommend two accommodations for the village and in the mountains. Please note that staying in the village is cheaper than in the mountains. In addition, accommodations in the mountains are often fully booked faster due to their popularity. If you stay in the mountains, you can get to the accommodation from Minca by motorcycle taxi.
Recommendations for in the mountains
Loma Nevada Minca Hotel is perfect for relaxing. From this place, you may have the best view over Minca. The rooms are new and clean. The rooms have a hammock from which you have a fantastic view. If you want to enjoy the silence and a stunning view, then this is the place for you.
Casas Viejas by Masaya is a place with a good mix between luxury, comfort, and price. The pool is located on the edge of the mountain from which you look over the valley. the rooms are nicely located with their own space. In addition, the restaurant is also very good.
Recommendations for the village
Minca Ecohabs is a great place to stay. You will stay in a treehouse that has a large balcony where you can relax with the view at your side. The advantage of this accommodation is that you are located in nature but still have the option to walk to the village of Minca to eat at the restaurants.
If you prefer to stay in a hostel, Hostal Casa Loma Minca is the best option. At this hostel, you can watch the sun go down right in front of you from the roof terrace. Here you can book private rooms or a bed in a dormitory. If you are on a tight budget this is the best place for you to stay.
Where to eat in Minca?
In the center of Minca, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. We have eaten at several places and our four favorite places are Duni de la Sierra, Restaurante Santisabella, Smoothies Restaurante – Bar, and Lazy cat.
Duni de la Sierra is a nice place to have lunch. They have delicious sandwiches with fresh smoothies. This place serves vegetarian and vegans dishes. The menu is extensive, we recommend the vegan sandwich, this is a sandwich with tofu, avocado, and various vegetables. This cost 25,000 pesos ($6.30) per person.
Restaurante Santisabella is nice to have something to eat in the evening. You can order western and Colombian dishes here. We liked the pizzas. A large pizza costs 50,000 pesos ($12.60). We recommend the pizza with pesto, the mozzarella and tomatoes are delicious!
Smoothies Restaurante – Bar is nice to visit in the morning and afternoon. For breakfast, you can order yogurt with various fresh fruits. Of course, you can order this in the afternoon. Also, the waffle or salad is recommended to try. Food costs between 25,000 pesos ($6.30) and 60,000 pesos ($15.22).
In our opinion, the best place to eat in the evening is Lazy cat. Here you can sit on a terrace and have a very extensive menu. We liked the veggie burger made of falafel, tzatziki, tomatoes, and peppers. Together with a smoothie, it cost 23,000 pesos ($5.80).
How do you get to Minca?
Minca is easily accessible from Santa Marta, Taganga, Palomino, Cartagena, and the rest of Colombia. You have to take a bus or taxi from Santa Marta to Minca. There are no other options to get to Minca.
From Santa Marta to Minca: you have to take the bus between Calle 11 and Calle 12 in Santa Marta. These buses run all day and depart every 30 minutes. The bus takes +/- 45 minutes and costs 8,000 COP ($2 per person). It is also possible to take a taxi, this costs 80,000 pesos ($20 per person) and takes +/- 20 minutes.
From Palomino to Minca: Palomino does not have a bus station, but you can stand opposite the gas station and hold out your hand when a bus comes to Santa Marta. Get off at Santa Marta and take the bus between Calle 11 and Calle 12 towards Minca. Total travel time is approximately 3 hours and costs 18,000 pesos ($4,50) per person.
Minca is not directly accessible by plane. If you want this, you must first fly to Santa Marta and then travel to Minca as mentioned above.
If you travel by car in Colombia, Minca is easy to reach. The road from Santa Marta to Minca is fine and safe to drive. If you come from Santa Marta (20 km), Tayrona (35 km), and Palomino (88 km) you are within an hour’s drive in Minca.
If you travel to Colombia by plane and you are looking for a car to rent, you can rent it through Rentalcars. We use Rentalcars when we want to travel by car to discover new destinations. They’re easy to use and book with.
Best time to visit Minca?
Normally it is very hot in the north of Colombia, Minca is higher located in the mountains, so temperatures are slightly lower, making it pleasant.
Minca can be visited all year round because temperatures are constant throughout the year. This is due to the mountains. The average temperature for Minca is 22°C.
The months of December to March have the least rainfall and the months of May to October have the highest humidity. During this period the most rain falls in Minca.
Tip: Keep in mind that during the US and Europe school holidays in July and August, it will be busier than usual, causing prices to rise.
Minca things to do FAQ
1. Is Minca safe?
Yes, Minca is a safe place to visit. Because it is small, everyone in the village knows each other and it is very friendly. The only thing you have to pay attention to is that you do not go hiking in the mountains in the dark. Other than this you don’t have to worry at all when you are in Minca.
2. Santa Marta vs Minca, which one is better?
In our opinion it is Minca. This is not to say that you should skip Santa Marta, as it is a nice place to visit a Colombian city that is especially popular among the locals. If you want to get to know the Colombian culture better, Santa Marta is also worth a visit.
As you have read in this article, you can do fun activities such as a day hike through the mountains where you get the chance to see waterfalls, a coffee plantation, and enjoy different viewpoints. In addition, it is good to know that Santa Marta is the perfect place to start the lost city trek.
Do you want to see more of Colombia
With this article, we hope to have helped you to be fully prepared and to get the most out of your visit to Minca.
Besides Santa Marta, you can also travel from Minca to Palomino and Tayrona National Park. Palomino is a beach town in the north and Tayrona National Park is the most beautiful national park in Colombia where you can do some beautiful walks.
It is also possible, only this is a little further, to travel to San Gil or Cartagena. San Gil is the destination where you can do many adventure activities. Cartagena is the city in the north of Colombia where you can see most of the colonial influences.
What do you think of Minca? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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