Minca – oasis of peace in the mountains


After visiting the stressful cities of Cartagena and Santa Marta, Minca came in handy as an oasis of calm. The small village has just under 800 inhabitants. Minca is located 650 m above sea level in the Sierra Nevada and surprises with a very mild climate, especially when you consider that the town is just 20 km away from the very hot Santa Marta. Minca is a great place to relax, hike, sip coffee and bird watch. We spent a total of 2 days in Minca.Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Sights in Minca

Since neither of us are really coffee sommeliers, let alone aficionados, we decided to do the hike to “los Pinos” and participate in a birdwatching tour. Therefore we report about these two activities, but we are also sure that there are more great things to experience in Minca.

Hiking in Minca

In Minca there are a few possibilities to hike. We wanted to do the big round to the “Los Pinos” viewpoint. This leads past various waterfalls via the “Los Pinos” viewpoint. The hike takes 6-8 hours and we would rate it as moderately difficult. Unfortunately, we had the problem that Naomi’s broken foot started to hurt again after a while, which is why we “only” walked to the viewpoint and had to take a cab back. Also we have to say that the weather was so cloudy that we couldn’t see much from the viewpoint. On a clear day you have a great view of Santa Marta and the sea. The hiking trail leads past the Oído del Mundo (Ear of the world), Marinka waterfall, Los pinos viewpoint, the Casa Elemento viewpoint and who builds a small detour comes to Pozo Azul (small waterfall with swimming pools) past. All in all, we enjoyed the hike, but we have to say that it will certainly not be one of our highlights from Colombia. A refreshing bath in the waterfalls is always welcome and the falls themselves are also quite pretty.

Flower of ginger plant

Bird watching

Minca is one of the most popular destinations among ornithologists, as there are over 365 different species to be discovered here. In fact, in the entire Sierra Nevada there are over 640 species to marvel at. The “star of the show” in Minca is of course the toucan. But you will also encounter various species of hummingbirds, cuckoos and other colorful tropical birds. Here we have a clear recommendation – the tour of Jungle Joe. The good man simply lives for his birds and offers these tours for several decades. You can contact him directly via Whatsapp (+57 317 3085270). He usually answers shortly. The three-hour tour starts every morning at 9:00 am and costs 50,000 COP (just under 12 €). Binoculars are included. If you contact him, he will probably first offer a round trip tour from Santa Marta for 120,000 COP. I would refuse that, because you can get to Minca much cheaper, I will tell you more about that below. You can also just show up at Jungle Joe at 9:00 in the morning, where the crowd gathers (opposite the church, see map). If you want to take really good pictures, you need a lens with at least 400 mm focal length. My 300 mm lens was already pretty close to its limits.

Fischertukan in Minca
Toucan in Minca
Rotschwanz Glanzvogel
Red-tailed Jacamar
Banded Antshrike

Accommodation in Minca

In Minca there are numerous accommodations of various price categories. We stayed at Casa Blanca for just under 68,000 COP (~ 13 €) and were very satisfied. However, as mentioned, there are various hostels and also more expensive accommodations. For us, it should simply serve as a place to stay.


The journey to Minca is usually from Santa Marta and is very simple. As soon as you arrive at the Mercado Publico you will be asked by people where you want to go. The most popular destinations are Tayrona National Park and Minca. Microbuses run non-stop and cost about 9,000 COP (~ €2) each way. For clarification, I have marked it again on the map below.

From Minca to Tayrona or Palomino:
If you want to go directly from Minca to Tayrona, first take the bus back to Santa Marta as described above. In the same street a little further up, the buses depart in the direction of Palomino. These also leave in high frequency and cost about the same as the bus from Santa Marta to Minca.

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We are Julian & Naomi and we love to travel the world and immerse ourselves in other cultures. We have an adventurous, spartan, sustainable and reflective travel style. In our opinion, the greatest adventures are experienced when you do things on your own and try to live like a local. The taste of a country is best captured on the road
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