The mountain town with overwhelming charm that hides a secret

Minca is a small mountain village at an altitude of 600 meters located at the edge of the Serra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains and is an ideal stop escaping the heat and the touristic crowd from the Colombian Caribbean coast.  However, be prepared to find yourself in the midst of mosquitoes.

Still, sunburned, and all too relaxed from the Palomino river tubing adventure, we headed to Minca. About arriving in Santa Marta, the bus driver invited us to get off because the buses to Minca were no longer in service. He dropped us off at a cab station and from there we looked for a ride to reach our final destination. The whole thing already sounded strange to me and my gut was telling me that someone was going to try to rip us off again… thanks sixth sense, you were right! In fact, the driver wanted 40,000 COP instead of the original 30,000 COP price to get to Minca. How do I know how much the itinerary cost? Well just ask the receptionist at the hostel before leaving for any destinations, they know any shuttle’s prices and so you have an idea of the cost of the journey. Keep this in mind, locals can let you save a lot of money and patience!!

After a more or less understandable argument in arrogant Spanish, I won: the cab driver gave us the correct price and despite the difficulties, we reached Minca. At some point along the way, more or less halfway, all that came out of from the motor of our car was an intense black smoke, not very promising. At the end of the road, we were dropped off by the cab and from there we had another 10 minutes to walk.  The fun part was yet to come: you imagine a quiet walk in the jungle but instead we were expected to climb. We were already coming from an intense day, that climb in front of us seemed like the last effort of the day before collapsing in bed.

After this little steep hike which was feeling endlessly, we reached the top and found the eyes of the other hostel guests all over us, enjoying the miserable spectacle. We were in a pitiful state and I think that anyone who had experienced the climb would have been amused by the scene of new poor victims of this unexpected climb. In fact, the next day it was our turn to amusedly observe the new guests reach the summit exhausted.

The staff immediately came to greet us with a nice glass of fresh water and escorted us to our dorm made of hammocks again, of course. After the magnificent experience in Tayrona, we wanted just hang beds!

Casa Loma Minca is a very cute and cozy hostel in the village where, after a refreshing shower, you get a 3-course meal (you have to make a reservation otherwise no eating). After dinner, with our fullfield bellies, we played UNO with a group of people we had just met.

Because Minca is located in a beautiful mountain scenary surrounded by waterfalls, creeks and quiet natural pools. Breathtaking scenery hard to ignore if you’re in these parts, so much so that the next day we decided to set out on a 20km hike to Mirador a Los Pinos from where you can then usually enjoy spectacular mountain views. The weather that day was not on our side, rain and low clouds didn’t help… Nice right?

Beautiful.. right?

But nothing could have stopped us and not intimidated by the bad weather we enjoyed every moment together.

Before starting the hike we stopped at a delicious artisan bakery, Panederia La Miga Artisan Bakery, where we bought our lunch, which became the highlight of our trek. Sometimes it takes very little to brighten up a dreary day!

Even thought this was quite a long tough trek, the nature that surrounded us paid all off: passing by coffee plantations, plantations of which I had never seen the existence before, across streams, through jungle with all its animals and so on.

On the way back we stopped in downtown Minca and for some strange and fantastic idea we decided to get ourselves a dessert for dinner: a special brownie…. (who knows why? Do not forget: G = genius…). By chance, we ended up in an organic cocoa store right in Minca where the owner of the store told us all about the history and importance of chocolate in these areas. Right there, in that store, I realized that we were in the real Colombian drug capital. If you think about it, it’s strange: chocolate itself is considered a drug, sweet, intoxicating, and enveloping it is addictive after just a few “bites”.

Back at the hostel and after a refreshing shower, we got to know new people. The beauty of not having Wi-Fi.. oh yeah: it allows you to connect with nature and the people around you.

Without even noticing, it was evening and it was finally time for that fantastic 3-course menu we had booked the day before. As delicious it was, I wanted to have an encore… three of everything. Speaking of dessert it was time for our magical brownies. In no time at all I felt transported into a happy world, Andrea looked as if she were on another planet while Francise fell into a gloomy and disturbing mood. People who played cards with us were particularly amused by our state and I will tell you that I was too: it was like feeling happy but happier than happy, as in happy happy, you understand? Amazing.

The magic in my happy world was unfortunately shattered once bedtime arrived. I remember little or nothing, what I do remember is that Andrea and I were trying to convince Francise to go to bed. Not an easy task, especially since my brain convinced me that Francise was trying to kill me with a bottle of water she was holding… LOL. Picked myself up off the ground after a long battle against that the water bottle and overcoming my fears of facing a threatening Francise armed with sparkling water, we finally convinced her to go to bed (no, no questions.. I’ve no clue of what the hell was going on either). Anyway, now it was my turn to get into the hammock: I felt like a black vortex was sucking me in and I would never get out of… Terrifying.

Swinging next to me was Francise, who couldn’t stop talking crap and woke up all the others who, like us, had decided to book a hammock (ups…). At some point the only way of calming her down was selling M&M’s as a way of magic potion to make fall asleep peacefully. Thank goodness or they would have thrown us out I think… “Shut up! There are people trying to sleep in here!” a girl from across the room yelled at us at one point while we couldn’t stop behaving like a pack of laughing hyenas. We never opened our mouths again until the next morning.

The following day was definitely fun: having breakfast altogether with the same dinner company and laughing about what happened last night. A slightly reckless adventure that I will always carry in my heart.

BTW thanks Frencise for not killing myself with a water bottle!