I can’t believe we ever considered skipping Minca on our itinerary.. It ended up being one of our favourite places so far! Just 45 minutes from the city of Santa Marta is the little town of Minca, Magdalena which is situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.
We spent 2 nights in Minca, and we splurged on a boutique hostel – the Finca Hostal. The Finca (which means plantation) was alongside the Rio Minca in a very jungle type setting, which was amazing.
The owner Simon, gave us a great little map with an overview of how to see most of the Minca attractions in a day, so we decided to take the rest of the afternoon to relax and enjoy a Chiquita Brava at Santisabella and sample the local brews from the Sierra Nevada Brewery.
Up early the next day to tackle everything on our tiny map. We started the walk up to Pozo Azul (one of the local waterfalls). This was a 90 minute walk and despite leaving early, it was still incredibly warm. We reached the Pozo Azul with nobody else in sight, it was very pretty. We decided not to stay too long since we had a big day ahead and lucky we decided to leave when we did, as on the walk back we literally saw hundreds of people walking down towards Pozo Azul. Once we reached the top, we found about 15 tour buses that had obviously pulled up for the day.
Next stop was supposed to be the La Victoria Finca.. however we missed the turn off, and before we realised we had already gone too far to turn back so we decided to continue on to Mirador/Los Pinos which is the lookout at the top of the mountain. It was a gruelling walk up to the lookout, steep, far away and rainy. Due to the rain, the lookout probably wasn’t at its best, but it was still an incredible view of Santa Marta and Minca from the top.
We decided to head back the way we came so that we could still go to La Victoria coffee plantation which was of more interest to us than the 2nd waterfall. Luckily, it was mostly downhill back down to La Victoria. We are so glad we decided to come to La Victoria, it was definitely a highlight of Minca. We learned from our very knowledgeable tour guide that the machinery is all original from 120 years ago and all uses water pressure to move the beans through the machinery and to also power the machinery. The water also powers all of the houses in the La Victoria village as well.
Sadly, for the Colombians, almost all of the best grade coffee is sent overseas and they are left with only the grade 2 and 3 beans, but we were still able to sample coffee from the grade 1 beans whilst at La Victoria.
After a second cup of coffee, we were ready to call it a day and continue the walk back down to our hostel.. after only about 10 minutes walking, a car of people we met on the tour pulls over and asks if we wanted a lift back to Minca – we gratefully got in the car and enjoyed the ride back down. It wasn’t until we reached the hostel, that we realised we still had at least another 5 kilometres left to walk, so we were especially grateful to the kind people for the lift.
That night, we rewarded ourselves with dinner at the Lazy Cat – a staple of Minca (and for good reason). After walking 28 kilometres we slept incredibly well, and just like that, it was time for us to leave Minca!
Next up, we journey down to San Gil. Updates to come soon!