A hidden gem in Colombia you can't miss

In the middle of the rainforest of the lower part of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in Colombia, in a place with hiking trails, coffee and cocoa plantations, rivers and waterfalls, there is a town called Minca. Its location and natural landscapes make it a perfect tourist site for outdoor activities . Let us show you why you should visit Minca, Colombia..

Whether Minca is one of the destinations you want to visit, or just a passing place to get to another part of the Sierra Nevada, you will most likely see the name of this town, Minca, in your travel itinerary to Santa Marta.

General information

Where is Minca, Colombia

Minca is located about 15 km (9.3 miles) southeast of the city of Santa Marta, in the department of Magdalena, Colombia. It is on the outskirts of the Sierra Nevada. It is a small town of about 600 inhabitants, but with a tourist offer that meets the needs of all types of travelers.

Minca altitude and weather

The altitude in Minca is about 580 meters (1,903 feet) on average, however, most of the surrounding tourist attractions are at higher altitude, places such as la Tagua, Cerro Kennedy, San Lorenzo, are good examples of it. The highest are around 3,000 meters (9,840 feet).

Due to the altitude and location , Minca has a warm but cooler climate than the city, and as expected, places that are at a higher altitude tend to have a more temperate climate This, in fact is something that may catch your attention, you will be impressed by how the temperature varies, from the warmth of the city to a temperate and cool climate, plus you will feel how the fresh air fills your lungs

Is Minca worth it? For whom is this destination ideal?

From the extreme and adventurous, to the simplicity of a cup of coffee with rich French-style chocolate bread, Minca is a wonderful, endearing destination to experience various eco-tourism activities. So, if you are looking for a natural destination that provides you relaxation, quietness or adventure in Colombia, Minca is worth visiting, no doubt.

With an alluring landscape of rivers, waterfalls and lagoons, Minca has countless outdoor activities including trekking, hiking, torrentism and cycling to name a few. Minca has plenty to offer for those seeking adventure.

For the ultimate outdoor experience, camp and enjoy a sunset from the top of Los Pinos, along with spectacular views of Santa Marta and the Ciénaga, or spend the night in Cerro Kennedy, with beautiful views of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains. 

Accommodation in Minca

Minca has a complete offer of accommodation: Hotels, hostels, ecohabs and glamping. So, no matter your budget or preferences, you will find a place where you will feel at ease.

Some of the charming hostels, you can stay at, include Casas Viejas Minca, Mundo Nuevo; Casa Elemento or Sierra Minca Hostel, both with their singular big hammocks with a view of the mountains.

How to get to Minca

Is it possible to get there by public transportation?

Yes, it is. Public transportation to Minca is done in vehicles such as minivans or jeeps, as buses are not allowed in Minca. If you are looking for a not shared transportation, you can also arrive by cab or by hiring a private service with a travel agency or with your hotel.

The schedule of the public transportation Santa Marta - Minca starts at 8:00 am and ends at 5:00 pm.

How to get to Minca from Santa Marta

To get to Minca you can take a minivan or jeep. They depart from the Public Market of Santa Marta, at the Cootrasminca office. The transportation fare is about $8,000 COP per person. From Santa Marta to Minca is a 50-minute drive. Nonetheless, this is not the only option, you can also take a taxi, the cost is about $60,000, or hire a tour to Minca with any of the certified tour operators of the city.

How to get by car (by your own)

You must know that to get to Minca from Santa Marta there is only one way to do it. That is the “Vía a Minca” (yes, the road has its name). It is a paved road you can access by three of the main roads of Santa Marta: Avenida del Libertador, Troncal del Caribe or Ruta del Sol.

If you want to use Google maps to find the best route, click here..

How to get from Taganga to Minca

If you are traveling on a budget, the cheapest way to get to Minca from Taganga is by taking a public bus in Taganga that takes you to the Public Market of Santa Marta. From the point where the bus drops you off, , you will have to walk up to the Cootrasminca office (the departure point to Minca).The bus fare is $2,000 COP (Taganga - Public market) and the transportation from there to Minca is $8,000 COP, totaling about $10,000 per person.

On the other hand , if you prefer a more simple and fast option, you can take a taxi to MincaFor sure, the staff of the hotel you are staying at can help you get the taxi. Furthermore, if you are traveling with more people (maximum 4 people per taxi) you can split the value of the taxi fare.


We know that more than having a clear travel itinerary, it is necessary to have an idea on how much money you could need for it. Here, we give you some prices and fares, for you to make a quick estimation.

Transportation, accommodation and activities costs

  • Santa Marta - Minca transportation by jeep or minivan: $8.000 COP
  • Santa Marta to Minca taxi cost: About $60.000 COP
  • Motorcycle transportation within Minca and surroundings: Variable fares, $15.000 COP average
  • Prices of most hotels and hostels in Minca: From $100.000 to $200.000 COP per night
  • Some glampings and boutique hotels: $500.000 to $800.000 COP per night
  • Entry fee to Cascadas de Marinka (Marinka waterfalls): $5.000 COP per person
  • Entry fee to Pozo Azul: $3.000 COP per person

Tourist attractions

Pozo Azul, Minca

Pozo Azul, the most popular waterfall in Minca

Pozo Azul is one of the busiest tourist attractions in Minca, it is a set of natural pools and waterfalls. It is a 40-minute walk from the town and the entry fee is about 3,000 COP per person.

As Pozo Azul has become so famous, it is crowded during the high season and the holiday weekends. So, keep in mind to come during the low season or during the hours of the day when there are not so many people, usually tourists arrive in the morning and leave before noon.

Marinka Waterfalls

Another must-visit place in Minca are the Marinka waterfalls. It is an approximate 1-hour hike from the town and the entry fee is about $5,000 COP per person.

Less known rivers and waterfalls you can include in your itinerary

  • “Las Piedras”, a place located at the entrance to the town, there is a creek that comes from a waterfall that meets the Minca river.
  • Arimaca, one of the rivers that flows down from the Sierra Nevada. Smaller than Pozo Azul but with some refreshing waterfalls too.

Going up in the mountains, we find other attractions such as:

El Dorado Nature Reserve (Proaves)

This natural reserve is well known as a birdwatching hotspot. It is one of the birding areas in Colombia where all the surroundings are conceived as a reserve focused on bird preservation. On eBird they have registered more than 340 species of birds.

In addition El Dorado reserve, has also accommodations services. El Dorado lodge has comfortable rooms and cottages, so nature lovers can stay there while spending many days watching birds and connecting with mother earth.

Activities you can do in Minca

1. Bird watching

2. Ecotourism and extreme sports / adventure

3. Walks

4. Motorcycle and bicycle rides

5. Coffee tour and beekeeping tour

It may interest you: 5 things to do in Minca Santa Marta

Additional Recommendations

Do not forget that the water that comes down from the mountains is from the Sierra and therefore is very cold. Bring mosquito repellent; clothes that keep you warm at night because it can be very cold and enough cash, since there is no ATM service and there are few places that accept payments with cards.

Minca is a unique destination where you can experience the Colombian Caribbean in a different way, reconnect with nature and enjoy the tapestry of colors hidden within the implacable density of the forest.

Do you want to live and adventure in Minca? contact us via WhatsApp or email us to [email protected]

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