Home Caribbean coast Minca | What to do? Where to stay? And how to get there?
To visit or not to visit Minca Colombia

Minca | What to do? Where to stay? And how to get there?

by Sabine
Published Last updated on
Languages / Talen

Minca is a tiny mountain village at the foot of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The high mountain range on Colombia’s northern coast. In fact, the highest coastal mountain range in the world. From Santa Marta, right on the sea, you’ll get to 600 meters in Minca in just 15 kilometers and about 40 minutes. An immensely popular village among foreign tourism. So I decided that after all these years it was time to visit this area as well. In this article you will read about Minca: what to do, where to stay and how to get there. Also: for which travelers is Minca fun to visit, and when is it better to skip this place?

Minca | Where Colombia’s first coffee plantation was founded

Originally, Minca is a real coffee village. In the nineteenth century the Oligós Díaz Granados family started Colombia’s first coffee plantation right here. And still coffee is an important product in the mountains of Minca. You can also visit coffee plantations there, and the coffee here is delicious.

Furthermore, Minca is primarily a village for tourism. Only 800 people live there, and the village consists of a few streets.

In recent years, hotels and hostels in Minca have sprung up like mushrooms. Not in those few streets of Minca itself, but in the surrounding mountains. Therefore, before you book your hotel, check carefully where your hotel is located. In fact, the route to get there can be quite challenging. But more on that later in this article.


What to do in Minca?

Since Minca is only a very small village, and all the nice hostels and hotels are located deep in the mountains, it is most naturally to stay in your hotel during your stay and do activities from there. From any hotel or hostel you can do activities. There is no need to go back to the center of Minca. We stayed at the beautiful hostel Masaya Casas Viejas, from where you can do activities every day. Some with a guide, some alone.

From the hostel Masaya Casas Viejas you can do these activities:

  • Group hikes to waterfalls
  • Visit the coffee plantation Finca Victoria, directly below the hostel. Even if you are not staying here you can of course go there, this can be done without a guide, but you can also book a coffee tour
  • Walk to a viewpoint in the morning or evening for a beautiful sunset or sunrise. I did this every day on my own, a lovely walk uphill with beautiful views over the mountains and ocean
  • Yoga
  • Meditation walk

Here you will find more information about what you can do from this hostel.


And there is more to discover:

Hiking and bird watching

Minca is perfect for if you like hiking, bird watching and nature. The climate is great for hiking, and the area is known for its many exotic birds. There are many hiking trails and beautiful places to visit.

You will be able to book birding tours from many hotels, but be sure to also check out the tours of Jungle Joe.

Pozo Azul

A well-known creek in Minca that you can walk to. I did not do so by the way. If you do want this: here you can find Pozo Azul, and here starts the walk to it.

Discovering waterfalls

There are many waterfalls in the mountains near Minca. From the hotel there is a hike to several waterfalls, where no one else was. You can also go out on your own. The Waterfalls of Marinka (Cascadas de Marinka) for example, is a well-known (and more touristy) place to visit.

Finca La Candelaria: visit a cocoa plantation

Here you will learn all about cocoa, from the cocoa bean to chocolate milk. You can find the cacao plantation here.


Minca: practical information

How to get to Minca?

To Minca from Santa Marta

Transportation in this region of Colombia is very well organized; to Minca no exception. In Santa Marta, go to the small bus station Cootransminca. There you pay 12,000 pesos per person and wait for the bus. The ride takes about 45 minutes.

You can also arrange private transportation. It is best to ask for information about this at the hotel where you are staying. Are you staying like us in Masaya Casas Viejas, then you can arrange private transportation with them. From Santa Marta to Minca this costs 150,000 pesos, plus 100,000 pesos to the hotel. You can also be picked up at the airport. After booking, contact the hotel and ask for drivers to take you. They give you all the contact information and prices.

To Minca from Palomino

Coming from Palomino by bus? Then ask the driver to drop you off at the bus station for Minca. There you buy a ticket and wait for the bus. This is the same bus that leaves Santa Marta, so you can also return to the Cootransminca bus station if you want.

You can also take private transport to Minca. Ask at your hotel or hostel for information on this; they can arrange private transportation for you. This will cost around 250,000 pesos.

How do you continue your journey from Minca?

From Minca, most travelers travel to Santa Marta, Tayrona or Palomino. This is incredibly easy and can be done in 2 ways.

By bus

Are you going to Santa Marta? Then take the bus from Minca back to Santa Marta. This costs 12,000 pesos per person. The bus station in Minca can be found here.

Are you going to Tayrona, Palomino or some other place on that route? Then take the same bus to Santa Marta, but ask the driver to drop you off at the bus station from where the bus goes toward Palomino. This bus stops anywhere along the route you want. So there is no separate bus to Tayrona, for example.

Going to another destination in Colombia?

Like Cartagena, Medellín or Bogotá? Book your bus ticket online here.

With private transportation

Private transportation from Minca can easily be arranged in Minca itself. At your hotel or at the bus station of Minca. There you’ll find a price list for all routes, such as Minca – Tayrona, Minca – Santa Marta and Minca – Palomino. Prices range from 150,000 to 400,000 pesos, depending on where you go to.


Where to stay in Minca?

In the mountains of Minca you will find many wonderful hotels and hostels in the most extraordinary places. We stayed at Masaya Casas Viejas.

Masaya Casas Viejas

Masaya Casas Viejas is a beautifully located hostel in the mountains of Minca. A popular spot for foreign travelers, the place is very cozy. If you are traveling alone you will easily make contact here and you can do many fun activities.

From the hostel you have a beautiful view as far as Santa Marta and the ocean, very special.

The hostel has nice and spacious private rooms, with balcony and hot shower. There are also dorms, in case all you need is a bed.

The food at the hostel is really a treat. From breakfast to dinner, they make it something very special. Not only incredibly delicious, but also nice to see.

From the hostel you can do all kinds of things. Alone or with a group. Like hiking, yoga, meditation, watching the sunset, swimming, going to a coffee plantation, playing games, lying in one of the hammocks, bird watching, barbecuing and having drinks in the evening.

So you won’t be bored here. We stayed 4 days and that was more than enough, but I can also imagine enjoying Minca and the backpacker vibe for a week or more. By the way, there is very good Internet, so as a digital nomad you can also work here for a while.

Book your stay at Masaya Casas Viejas here on Hostelworld or on Booking.com.


Important to know when staying at Masaya Casas Viejas

There are a few things you need to know.

  1. As in many places in Minca, this hostel is far away from civilization. Once in the hostel, you don’t go to a supermarket or to a restaurant outside the hostel. This applies to almost all hotels and hostels in Minca.
  2. In the hostel there is a tap with drinking water, with which you can fill your water bottle.
  3. The drive to the hostel is not a very comfortable one, but this is also true of many other hostels and hotels in Minca. You can choose between a motorcycle cab or a 4×4 car. The first costs 25,000 pesos per person (from the center of Minca), the second costs 100,000 pesos per car. Going up by motorcycle cab is pretty exciting I can tell you…. If you know in advance that a drive up through mud and hairpin turns is not for you, arrange for a 4×4 in Minca.
  4. Be at the hotel no later than 5PM!


Do you need to book your hotel or hostel in advance?

Yes, I would definitely recommend that. In high season definitely book in advance, in low season you are more likely to find a bed still available. However, Minca is a very popular destination and fills up even in low-season. We traveled in low-season (November) and our hostel was completely booked.

In addition, it is not so easy to walk from hostel to hostel in Minca, as you can in other places. Hostels and hotels in Minca are located in places that are often difficult to reach. And then you don’t want to end up in front of a fully booked hotel.

Therefore, it is best to book your hotel or hostel in Minca in advance. Check out hotels and hostels in Minca on Booking. Or here at Hostelworld.

Weather in Minca

Because Minca is located a bit higher than Santa Marta, it has a very pleasant climate. Warm but not hot during the day, cool in the morning and evening.

Because Minca is in the mountains, you can expect more rain here. But even in the rainy season, it is fine. Often heavy rains for an hour in the afternoon. Which, by the way, also produces beautiful rainbows.


The best travel time

Like the rest of Colombia, Minca is perfect to visit year-round. In the rainy season, such as October, November, April and May, you can expect more rain. But this is mainly heavy rains in the late afternoon. Be aware that the mountains are a lot muddier in the rainy season.

More important regarding the best time to travel are the vacation periods. Here you will find all vacation periods in Colombia, high season and low season.

In the high season, everything is more expensive and you can expect even more tourists than in the low-season, when this region of Colombia is already crowded with tourists.

Therefore, I would always advise you to travel in the low-season. Then everything is cheaper (not only hotels and hostels, but also flight tickets) and it’s just a little nicer in terms of tourism.

What do you bring?

In any case, take this with you to Minca:

  • Good walking shoes that can get dirty (especially in the rainy season)
  • Mosquito repellent, such as Nopikex, you can buy this in larger drugstores in Colombia
  • Sunglasses and cap against the sun
  • A sweater for the evening
  • A water bottle, at least in Masaya Casas Viejas you can fill it for free with drinking water
  • Although you can pay with your card in many hostels and hotels, you will need cash for the bus, motorcycle cab, private transport and shopping in small stores. Therefore, take enough (but not too much) cash with you. Also, check carefully in advance how you can pay for your hotel so that you can bring more cash with you if necessary.

Do you love birds? Then don’t forget your binoculars.


Minca: a must-see in Colombia or not?

Although Minca is beautiful, and we had 4 wonderful days, in my opinion it is definitely not the most special place in Colombia. Besides being very touristy, even in the low-season, it is also simply less interesting than other destinations. More set up for tourism.

I always try to find unique places, more off the beaten path. And Minca is not one of those places. Minca is a true backpacker’s paradise. With a great backpacker vibe and many hostels. In the 9 years I have lived and traveled in Colombia, I have never seen so many backpackers as I did here. If you love connecting with other backpackers during traveling, Minca is your dream destination! And do you travel mostly on Colombia’s north coast? Then the mountains of Minca are a pleasant change from the beach.

However, would you like to learn more about Colombia’s culture, discover beautiful villages, travel more off the beaten path, practice your Spanish, hike in even more beautiful mountain areas and enjoy less mass tourism? Then, as far as I am concerned, there are more beautiful and interesting destinations than Minca. Consider Barichara and surroundings, the coffee area, the mountains around Medellín, Boyacá or hiking in páramo. Or visit Mompox, also on the north coast.

Have you been to Minca yet? What was your impression?


Is Minca on your Colombia travel itinerary?

This article contains affiliate links. Click here for more information.

More to read!

Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected!