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What to do in and around Santa Marta part 1 - Minca

Have you ever been to a music festival and even days after you came back home you were still tuned in that good energy, listening to your favorite songs, and found it hard to return to your daily responsibilities? That’s Minca. The only difference, and a very big plus, is that you can always come back to Minca.

Santa Marta (right) and Rodadero (left)

Minca is a little escape from the Caribbean coast heat just half an hour drive up the mountain from Santa Marta and a little escape from reality. As soon as you depart from Santa Marta and start accessing through the serpentines you notice the change in the climate and vegetation. The drive itself is already an experience, as you are spotting Santa Marta in the distance in between the majestic trees along the road.

A spectacular morning view of Santa Marta and Rodadero from SerTierra

One of the magical spots in Minca is the most beautiful finca, a 30-minute walk up from the town of Minca, called SerTierra. The land is a true treasure, hiding indigenous trails, cacao forest, waterfalls, and the most spectacular views. In the Tour of Belen, over a cup of hot chocolate or sucking on the sweet juicy cocoa fruit covering the cocoa bean, you can learn about the history of their farm, a formerly abandoned cacao cultivation, and the cultivation/harvesting techniques of cacao. You’ll get an opportunity to view artifacts proving the existence of an ancient village and take a swim in the waterfalls. You’ll spend a day in harmonious existence with nature, hiking through the jungle.

Ancient path and cocoa beans

Back in the town apart from nature Minca can provide a great culinary experience. Starting a day with breakfast, you’ll spot little stands on the street with a typical Colombian snack, arepa con huevo (with an egg), best with freshly squeezed orange juice and you’re good to go. Staying with local flavors, if you are craving a typical Colombian lunch, I highly recommend Restaurante Donde Orfi. There is nothing more special than finding homey food, where you get generations of women cooking in large pots at the back of the house. The next stop would be Duni Cafe, for something lighter, healthier, or just more colorful. Apart from their amazing soups, sandwiches, and many more, you cannot visit Minca without having Duni's famous chocolate bread. Speaking of bread, another must-visit bakery is a little French bakery called La Miga Panaderia, where among many delicious things you can find the most delicious, not so usual for Colombia, masa madre or sourdough bread. Even though Minca has a more fresh climate, it can also get too hot on a sunny afternoon. That’s when Nevao Gelato comes in handy to cool yourself with real homemade ice cream.

View from Casa Loma

If you’re planning on staying overnight in a more hostel vibe closer to town, Casa Loma is a place to be, a little hike up the stairs but totally worth it.

One thing that you will surely notice when coming to Minca (apart from the bug bites, bring a repellent!) is the kindness of the people. In every store, restaurant, or corner you’ll feel the most welcome by the locals and foreign entrepreneurs.

Unfortunately, Minca has lately been exploited by tourism and what used to be a relaxing city getaway is now an overcrowded tourist spot. This applies for example to the waterfalls of Marinka and Pozo Azul, where one needs to arrive early in the morning to truly enjoy what the place has to offer. One of the tourist places that are worth the visit is the coffee tour in the Hacienda la Victoria, where you can track the life of a coffee bean from the tree on the steep hill until the warm cup of a freshly roasted coffee.

Fortunately, Minca has still many undiscovered corners full of untouched nature and if we keep mindful together we keep it that way.

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