Minca – a tiny town perched in the highest coastal range in the world, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – is one of my favorite places to visit on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast. Minca has an artsy, communal spirit and a culture grounded strongly in the area’s indigenous roots. Minca is also a bird watchers’ paradise. True birders (think The Big Year) can take multi-day tours to scout out rare varieties; the rest of us can see some fairly spectacular feathered friends while enjoying lunch at Hotel Minca.
Coffee lovers, too, will find their home here. La Victoria – an organic coffee plantation dating back to the mid-1800’s – will show you how they grow, harvest, and process coffee through environmentally friendly, organic, and sustainable methods that use much of the original equipment. After you get your caffeine fill, you can take a hike or four-wheel-drive ride to a nearby waterfall for a swim. Finish it off with a frozen limonada or some Spanish tapas at a restaurant overlooking the lights of Santa Marta far below. If you’d like to make a night of it, rent a mountain cabin, or even just a hammock. You’ll have memories that will stick with you for years to come.
Logistics: Minca is about 30 minutes by taxi or 1 hour by bus from Santa Marta’s city center. Fidel Travels helped arrange our visit and got us to places that most 2 year-olds have never been. I highly recommend them! The folks at the Casa Loma Hostal were also incredibly helpful.