A day’s rest in Santa Marta (thank you Santa Marta) and we were off to the neighbouring town of Minca. A slightly less trodden path, no doubt about to be overwhelmed by the increasing tourist flow, Minca retains the authenticity, charm and familiarity that for me, Cartagena lacked.
It was an easy three nights spent here, swimming in waterfalls, hiking up mountains and becoming friends with the locals. After a badly-timed walk, we soon discovered La Miga to be somewhat of a sanctuary as the closest thunderstorm shelter to the mountains. The only authentic coffee shop in town, run by a Venezuelan barista and French patissiere! Friday night arrived, further cementing our Minca initiation as we had the chance to sample a real flavour of raw Caribbean music from an 8-piece band. Crammed into what can be described as the only club in town, we were entertained by some amazingly passionate, guttural, female voices, polyrhythmic drumming and a man playing a traditional bamboo flute.
Our days were filled exploring the town and surrounding area on foot. The most physically demanding and rewarding day was by far the 25km round trip to Aloha hostel. During wet season, I cannot overemphasise enough the value in waking up early and starting your day promptly to miss the afternoon downpour. Even three days in, we were yet to respect this piece of advice.
Slightly behind schedule we nevertheless ploughed on into the mountains, ignoring the looming, black clouds. The walk out of Minca town is beautiful, overflowing with vegetation, colourful flowers, waterfalls and muddy, mountainous paths. As the conversation dwindled with every drop of rain that fell, it was still easy to get lost in the magic of the town, especially as lightening electrified the skies around us.
As the rain unforgivingly poured down and locals stared on aghast, Reid and I squelched the last 30 minutes up the mountain towards refuge and towards Aloha. Drying off in towels, warmed in blankets and sipping home-made organic ginger beer, we nursed the sensation back into our soggy limbs, marvelling at the view and gratefully thanking our hosts. Speaking to the hostel workers, we learned that this hostel is self-sufficient, complete with farm, solar panels and scenic compost toilets – amazing! We couldn’t hang around too long sadly as the night was closing in and we had at least a 2.5 hour walk ahead of us. Testament to Minca and its locals that there was nothing to fear as the last hour was spent guided by mobile torchlight, dodging puddle swamps and politely declining motorcyclists offers of a lift down to civilisation.
We marked our last evening with happy hour mojito frappes from Lazy Cat (a new favourite) and attempting to capture epic lightening shots from the hostel balcony. As with the rest of Minca, our host was amazing, we felt like family and even had a hangover breakfast cooked for us as a parting gift the next day. This was my last stop in North Colombia for now and I was already mentally preparing myself for the climate and culture change awaiting me… 18 hours bus-ride away in Bogotá.
Seconds to make count
Happy Hour at Lazy Cat – get the mojito frappe and get it before 7pm!
Pay attention to the weather patterns then respect them or bring appropriate clothing
Waterproof playing cards are invaluable
Have a small dry bag in your rucksack for your valuables or even better, have a waterproof cover for your backpack
Location: Minca, Colombia
Hostel: Casa Relax, Duration: 2 nights
Hostel: Cocobomgo, Duration: 2 nights