When considering a list of things to do in Santa Marta, invariably at the top of the list come the many pristine beaches in and around the National Park of Tayrona, between 30 and 60 minutes from Hotel Boutique Casa Carolina. But don’t let that be your only experience, there are many other things to do and see in and around Santa Marta. A fun day out with beautiful vistas and quite different “feel” can be had visiting the little village of Minca.
Minca, a small village in the Sierra Nevada
Minca is the perfect place for relaxation. It’s a small town in the Sierra Nevada, about 630 metres above sea level, in a coffee producing region. For visitors, there are plenty of simple pleasures, from observing the abundant, tropical vegetation to bird watching or swimming in one of the crystalline river creeks or waterfall plunge pools. Minca is a great choice to escape the sweltering heat of the coast; thanks to its altitude and proximity to higher peaks and fresh breezes. In the evening it can even feel slightly chilly!
The village is very pretty – a must if you are in the area. Many consider it a colony of alternative thinkers, and artists, and refugees from chaotic city life. It is the perfect place to find peace and tranquility, and a respite from the tropical coastal heat of Santa Marta.
Although Minca is close to the Caribbean coastline, due to its lush mountain location, the vegetation is completely different. There is an abundance of vibrant and dense green plant life. The area’s fertility made it one of Colombia’s first regions to exploit coffee cultivation and the tropical flowers, for sale all along the roadside, punctuate the deep greens with splashes of red, orange, yellow and purple.
Historically the mountains around Minca have been the battleground for some of the most violent aspects of Colombia’s civil war and more recently with the demobilisation of paramilitary groups has the region become viable for tourism. Despite this region’s proximity to popular tourism destinations such as Santa Marta and Tayrona, it really is at the cutting edge of modern Colombian eco-tourism. It is an area you genuinely should not have considered visiting just 10 years ago.
Now however, the village has become a melting pot of exiles from all over the world, setting up small restaurants, hostels, coffee shops and handicraft stores. The ambiance is one of independence, creativity and friendliness, with a very strong eco-slant.
Minca is 14 km southwest of Santa Marta, an hour’s drive from Hotel Boutique Casa Carolina.
There are day trips with tours to organic coffee farms, bird watching, yoga, paddling, mountain biking, hiking. Contact our staff for more information about Minca day trips.