It was Saturday morning and Dani and I were off again. We decided to do a day trip to Minca as we both already had accommodation for the weekend. We met at the colectivo station in Santa Marta at 7:45am. The company that drives you there is called Cootraminca and it is located at Calle 12 and Carrera 9. It cost 8.000 COP per person. We left once I arrived as the van was full.
It takes about 45 minutes to get to Minca. Once out of the van, there are moto taxi’s available to take you to any destination or simply to answer any questions. Many people utilize the moto taxis when they have their large packs with them and they are not staying in the center of Minca. Dani and I both enjoy hiking which was the main draw for us to go to Minca. So we set off (after attempting to find a map, but the cafe was closed) in the direction we were pointed.
On our maps.me app we could see a cascada (waterfall) labeled on the map (if you do not use this offline map, I highly recommend it). As we walked up, we ran into two guys that had met at the start of the trail. They were also searching for the waterfall and had spoken to a man that said it was about ten minutes up. That was more than 20 minutes ago. We finally concluded that we had missed the waterfall. We continued up, stopping to enjoy all the beautiful nature all around.
Of course all of the moto taxis advised us it would take 3-4 hours to hike to Casa Elemento, but we arrived after about 2 hours. We stopped several times along the way to take photos and admire our surroundings in the Sierra Nevada. Casa Elemento books up way in advance, but you can still go and enjoy the massive hammock. There is an entry fee of 10.000 COP if you are not sleeping there, but this includes a beverage. Even though the clouds rolled in as we hopped in the hammock, it was definitely still worth it. When else can you swing in a massive hammock in the Sierra Nevada?
After relaxing in the hammock and chatting with people staying at Casa Elemento, we ate lunch (15.000 COP for a huge portion-share if you are with a friend as it is A LOT of food) and were on our way to los pinos. This is another viewpoint. We were told it can be a great spot to watch the sunset but there were a lot of clouds on this day. From here you can continue down the loop to pozo azul and then back to the town of Minca. We were told this loop can take 2.5 hours and we were running out of time as the last colectivo goes back to Santa Marta around 6pm and we wanted to find that waterfall.
We asked a few people and went back the way we came. Past the school (with the red pay phone in front) there is a smaller path. This leads to a trail that eventually takes you past La Semilla hostel and Marinka waterfall! We paid the 4.000 COP entry fee, bought a juice and then went for a swim. The restaurant also has food, beer, a toilets. The water was refreshing but we did not stay long. We had asked the owner to call us moto taxis to take us back down to Minca as we did not have enough time to walk back and catch the last colectivo. Two moto taxis arrived for us (we paid 8.000 COP each) and as soon as we reached the town, we were ushered to the colectivo (8.000 COP). We missed it on the way up as we continued on the road. But just past La Fuente there is a tienda with a gate. Turn left here at the tienda and you will come to the waterfall.
It was a great day trip with a lot of hiking and beautiful nature. Because I am staying in Santa Marta and can go back and see other areas that I missed, I think it was worth it. But if I were on limited time I would definitely suggest at least one night spent in Minca. You can stay in the town and drop your bags and start the hike, or stay uphill and moto taxi it there. Last piece of advice is to take coconut or baby oil as there are a lot of sand flies. Lather up with the oil and then spray repellent. We only had repellent and were eaten alive by the sand flies and I am still itching a week later.