Minca is a jungle paradise set within the mystical mountain range of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
It’s often a favourite amongst travellers due to its laid back vibe, tranquillity and nature-centric values. Minca is a place where people and nature have learnt to live interdependently.
And with only 800 residents, you’re likely to see more birds than people — Minca has an impressive 345 species of birds.
Get your bucket list ready. In this guide, we’ll show you the best things to do in Minca and how to experience them.
Need help planning your trip? Check out our tips for visiting Minca — you’ll find the best restaurants, where to stay, how to get around and more!
#1 Hike to Los Pinos for incredible views of Minca
Minca sits in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, making it an ideal place to go hiking. Couple that with the insanely beautiful nature, and you’ll never want to leave!
One of the most popular hikes in Minca is to Los Pinos.
Los Pinos is the peak of a small mountain that offers panoramic views of Minca, the surrounding jungle, all the way to Santa Marta and the Caribbean sea. Jungle, city and sea — the view has everything!
The best things in life require a bit more effort. The hike to Los Pinos is the same. It just means that you’ll appreciate the peak and view even more!
Don’t worry, it’s only a moderate hike.
How to hike Los Pinos
The hike to the top of Los Pinos is an all-day adventure. The return route to Minca is around 22km, and takes between 5-8 hours depending on your pace.
It’s a pretty steep hike at some points. You gain around 900 metres in elevation.
There are a number of trails to get to the top of Los Pinos. The two main ones are cutting through Marinka Waterfalls or following the road up. The route through the waterfall is steeper.
We recommend using Maps.me for the route to Los Pinos.
You can also get a moto taxi to Marinka Waterfalls for around 10,000 COP ($2.10) if you don’t want to do the whole hike. There’s also the possibility of taking a moto taxi all the way to the top!
#2 Explore the waterfalls at Pozo Azul
If you’re looking for a way to escape the jungle heat, head to Pozo Azul.
Pozo Azul are two waterfalls in the middle of the green jungle, perfect for a refreshing dip and testing your head for heights.
One of the waterfalls is about 3-4 metres high with a deep pool beneath it. You can take the plunge yourself, or watch the locals backflipping and cannonballing into the water.
Top Tip: If you continue walking after the second waterfall, there is a third small pool that not many other people visit. It can be your private pool in the middle of the jungle!
How to get to Pozo Azul
Pozo Azul isn’t far from the centre of Minca. You have two options to get there: walk or moto taxi.
Walking takes around 45 minutes and is a great way to work up a sweat before submerging yourself in the water. It’s also not a very hard walk.
A moto taxi takes around 10 minutes and will cost you around 10,000 COP ($2.10).
If you want to experience Pozo Azul’s full peace and serenity, we recommend visiting on a weekday, early in the morning.
#3 Swim at Marinka Waterfalls
Marinka Waterfalls are an equally impressive alternative to Pozo Azul. It’s a lovely place to spend the afternoon simply relaxing and going for a swim.
A unique aspect of these waterfalls is that the onsite restaurant also has huge hammocks that overlook the jungle and the lower falls. You could easily spend your whole day in one of these!
Despite having more infrastructure, Marinka Waterfalls are often less busy than Pozo Azul. So if you’re looking to avoid people, this one’s your spot!
How to get to Marinka Waterfalls
Similar to Pozo Azul, you have two options to get to Marinka waterfalls from Minca: by foot or by moto taxi.
Walking takes about an hour. You simply follow the road from the centre of Minca to the waterfalls, before walking another 10 minutes along a trail.
A moto taxi is the faster option and is definitely an adventure in itself. We recommend taking at least one moto taxi during your time in Minca. The moto taxi costs 10,000 COP ($2.10) each way.
Entrance to the waterfalls costs 10,000 COP ($2.10).
#4 Challenge yourself and hike Cerro Kennedy
This two-day hike to Cerro Kennedy is a favourite amongst hikers. Whilst offering a good challenge, it boasts some spectacular views and landscapes.
The summit of Cerro Kennedy sits at an impressive 3,100 metres and offers incredible views of snow-covered Pico Colon and Pico Bolivar, two of Colombia’s highest peaks.
Over the course of the hike, you’ll traverse coffee plantations, rainforests, cloud forests and moors. There’s constantly something new to admire and appreciate.
Diverse landscapes also mean diverse wildlife, so keep your eye out for these.
Things to know about hiking Cerro Kennedy
The hike up takes around 8 hours, gaining around 2,100m in elevation, whilst the hike down takes almost as long — 7 hours.
It is possible to do the hike in one day, but you’d have to be pretty fast. Plus, the sunrise from the top is incredible! With 360 views of the mountain and Caribbean coast lit by the rising sun, life can’t get much better.
If you’re doing the two-day hike, you can either camp or stay at Moncho’s place. From here, it’s a 40-minute hike to the summit. Make sure to bring warm clothes as it gets pretty cold up there.
Top Tip: A few people have gotten sick from the water at Moncho’s place, so bring enough water with you for the entire hike or invest in a water bottle with a filter.
#5 Learn about Colombia’s famous coffee
In case you hadn’t heard, Colombia is pretty famous for its coffee.
Minca might not sit in Colombia’s famous coffee triangle, alongside the likes of Salento, but it still produces some of the best coffee in the country.
Minca’s slight elevation and climate make it a great place to grow coffee. As a result, you can find a number of coffee farms dotted around.
Visit La Victoria Coffee Farm
Most coffee farms in Minca are going to offer an amazing experience and tour, but we recommend Finca La Victoria. It’s one of the biggest and oldest coffee farms in Colombia.
The Victoria Coffee Company was born in 1892 and now grows arabica coffee over 217 hectares of land. They even use some of the equipment from when the coffee company first began!
You can’t get much more authentic and traditional than that. Plus, the family really knows how to make great coffee.
The tour lasts for about an hour, taking you through the entire coffee process. The best part, you get to try their coffee at the end from their microbrewery.
Their beers were selected as ‘one of the 10 best craft beers in the world’ by Men’s Journal in 2019.
We guess you’ll have to go yourself and decide whether you agree!
What makes their beers special?
The beers made at Nevada Cerveceria are the only local beers made in the whole region. What makes them even more unique is that they use mineral water from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
The brewery has four delicious beers for you to try: Happy Tucan (Irish Red Ale), Happy Nebbi (golden Pils), Happy Hummingbird (Coffee Stout) and Happy Help (Pale Ale).
Try them all and see which one is your favourite!
#7 Take part in birdwatching
Minca is one of the best spots in Colombia for bird watching. Its untouched and thriving jungle is home to over 345 species of bird!
We wouldn’t mind making Minca our home either!
If your accommodation in Minca is situated a bit further out of town, you won’t struggle to spot birds. Simply sit on your balcony, or in the hotel’s gardens, and watch the trees and sky come to life with activity.
Keep your eye out for toucans, woodpeckers, hummingbirds and lots more! Consider bringing your own binoculars along and downloading the Merlin Bird app. The app can identify the birds you’re hearing or seeing, it’s pretty cool!
Join a birdwatching tour
If you’re curious to find out more about the birds in Minca, you can also join a birdwatching tour.
A large proportion of the world is obsessed with chocolate. It’s our guilty pleasure. Most of us get caught up in that delicious taste while we don’t even know how it’s made.
Take a cacao tour
Taking a cacao tour in Minca really opens your eyes to the amount of time and effort that goes into making chocolate, especially when it’s done by hand.
You’ll be taken on a journey from harvesting the cacao fruit, drying and grinding, all the way to making a bar of chocolate. And we’re talking real chocolate.
Most of the chocolate made by Nestle and Cadbury uses around 25% cacao, whilst the chocolate that you’ll get to taste will be purer, at around 70-80%.
It tastes different to what most people are used to, so let’s see if you like it! One thing is for sure, it would be hard to find fresher chocolate.
We recommend taking a tour at La Candelaria Finca, but you can also ask your accommodation for recommendations.
#9 Relax the mind and body in a yoga class
Whether you’re an avid yogi or can’t even touch your toes, Minca is the place to do yoga.
The whole place literally breathes relaxation and tranquillity. There’s no better place to try and quiet your mind.
As yoga closely relates to Minca’s ambience, a lot of accommodations actually offer it for free. Sol de Minca Eco Lodge, for example.
You can also join Casa Yoga Minca for a class or even a five-day retreat. Classes cost 50,000 COP ($10.50).
#10 Rent a motorbike or moped for the day
Moto taxis are such a popular mode of transportation in Minca, why not skip the middleman and rent your own moped or motorbike?
The roads around Minca are ideal for riding a moped, offering amazing scenery as you go! You can use your motorbike to cover some of the activities mentioned on this list.
Renting a moped for the day costs around 160,000 COP ($34). There are rental agencies within Minca where you’ll be able to rent a bike.
Rounding it up
Now you’ve picked the best things to do in Minca, it’s time to start ticking off that bucket list. Not sure how to plan your trip? Our guide is here to help! You’ll find out how long to stay in Minca, where to eat, how to get around and more. Happy planning!
Our favourite places to stay in Minca
Staying in Minca is more than just choosing a place to stay. This is going to be an experience that you’re never going to forget. The majority of accommodations are farms or eco lodges.
You’ll be surrounded by nothing but jungle, eating some of the freshest produce and simply relaxing.
With so many great places to stay, here are our favourites in Minca:
Sierra Alta Finca — Treating Yourself
How many times in your life do you get to stay in the middle of the jungle? If the answer is ‘not many’, then why not treat yourself? Sierra Alta is a magical blend of indoors and outdoors. Outdoor bathrooms where you can shower under the stars and cosy rooms that guarantee a good sleep.
The hot tub overlooking nothing but the jungle has to be one of the best things about this place. The hosts, Julio and Pilar, come in a close second. They help to make your stay as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. This place is incredible.
This is the kind of place most of us dream of. A jungle oasis, nestled between the mountains, with nothing but nature. You can even hear a waterfall as you lay in your huge and comfortable bed.
Every room has its own balcony where you can simply admire the view from your hammock or lounge chairs. You’ll quickly feel at home here because the staff are on another level! Always willing to help with anything.
Mundo Nuevo has an incredible story that you’ll want to be a part of. Everything they do has sustainability and the planet in mind. Due to this, you’ll get to enjoy some of the freshest produce that’s grown on their own farm.
There are plenty of activities here: you can visit an indigenous village, join a bread workshop, learn about beekeeping or simply have a massage. Their comfortable and clean rooms are the cherry on top!
This place is more than just somewhere to stay, it’s an experience. It’s a place where you will leave feeling inspired and rejuvenated. Through their yoga and meditation, family-feel atmosphere and eco-tourism, your eyes will be opened to many new things.
All of this, whilst being surrounded by lush jungle and views of the sea. The cabins are all made with natural building materials and boast unique designs. This is somewhere that you’ll never forget and potentially not want to leave!
Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.
Aleksandra is a writer and editor who recently moved from Hong Kong to London. She’s worked and studied in four countries (and counting) and picked up a new hobby in each of them. She’s a big fan of long train journeys so you can count on her to take the scenic route, finding a few hidden gems along the way.