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Minca, Colombia: A South American Hidden Gem

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Minca is a true hidden gem of Colombia! Originally just a backpacker destination, This tiny village is just starting to become more popular, due to its lush greenery, cascading falls, and rolling hills. Here is everything you need to know about visiting Minca, Colombia.

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Where is Minca, Colombia?

Minca, Colombia is located just 13 miles east of Santa Marta, and takes just 45 minutes to get to from the city center. Santa Marta is located in the North of Colombia, just two hours from the city of Barranquilla, and 4 hours from Cartagena.

where is minca, Colombia

Minca, Colombia is located two hours up the coast from Barranquilla.

How to Get to Minca, Colombia

If you'd like to visit Minca, Colombia, the first step it to make your way to Santa Marta, Santa Marta has a small airport that has flights from Bogota, Buacaramanga, Cali, Medellin, and Pereira. The closest large airport is Barranquilla, which has direct International flights from Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Panama City.

There are also more frequent flights from other Colombian cities such as BogotaMedellin, Cali, and a few others.

Cartagena serves more cities, but we did find that Barranquilla is sometimes cheaper to fly into.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put from "your city" to "Colombia". This way you can see which is the cheapest airport in the area to fly. Also, you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for your destination!

Search for a flight to Barranquilla, Cartagena, or Santa Marta:

Chances are the cheapest flights you'll find will either be to Cartagena or Barranquilla. Once you arrive to either on of these cities, you can then decide how you'd like to make your way to Santa Marta. From either one you can easily make your way via bus or rental car. 

Need your bus to Santa Marta? Here are a few options:

Once you're in Santa Marta, you are just a short 45 minute bus ride away! the buses go from the market area of the city, and are small shared vans. The price for the bus is just 16,000 pesos each way (a little over $4 USD).

Want to book your bus to Minca from Santa Marta? We've found one for you:

If you'd like to skip doing buses, a much more convenient option is to rent a car. Unfortunately we did not have this option as all of the cars were already taken when we were in Cartagena. However, we definitely would have preferred renting a car for the convenience, and to be able to stop at some places along the way.

Rent a car from Cartagena or Barranquilla:

Entry Requirements for Colombia

The next step for getting to Colombia is making sure you have the right documentation to enter. Here is everything you need to know for entering Colombia in regards to Covid requirements, as well as visa requirements.

Visa Requirements for Colombia

There are many countries that can enter Colombia visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. You can click here to see if you need a visa or not. If you do want to stay more than 90 days, you can apply to stay an additional 90 at the ministry of foreign affairs in Colombia.

Covid Entry Requirements for Colombia

Covid requirements have been constantly changing, especially since the last time that we visited Colombia.

Currently the majority of requirements have been lifted. Masks are no longer mandatory, and you don't need a negative Covid test to enter the country. The only requirement is that you must fill out the health questionnaire.

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Local Adjustments for Colombia

Whenever traveling somewhere new, there are things that you may forget about. Certain things may be different than where you are coming from. Here are a few of the local adjustments to have in mind while traveling to Minca, Colombia.

Language in Minca

The official language in Colombia is Spanish. Colombians are a bit easier to understand than the surrounding countries, but at times they can speak a bit fast. There are plenty of people who do speak some English, but it is definitely better to try to speak a bit of Spanish to get by.

Currency in Minca

The currency used in Colombia is the Colombia peso. Currently (March 2023) the exchange rate 4,529.34 pesos for every $1 USD. Many shops, restaurants, and hotels accept credit card. However, if you'd like to purchase street food or small souvenirs, it's always good to carry some cash on you.

Outlets Used in Minca

Colombia use the same plug types as the United States, which are types A & B. The standard voltage in Colombia is 110 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.

Can You Drink the Water in Minca, Colombia?

The tap water in Minca is perfectly safe to drink from the tap, so there is no need to buy bottled water. We suggest bringing a reusable water bottle to refill whenever you can.

Tipping Culture in Colombia

The tipping culture in Colombia is a standard 10%. Sometimes people tip more if the service is great, even up to 20%. However, this is only if you feel the server has truly gone above and beyond.

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Things to Do in Minca, Colombia

The area of Minca, Colombia is best known for the beauty of its nature. Here are a couple of things to check out when you are in the area.

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Mince Colombia Pin
Mince Colombia Pin

Marinka Waterfall

The main attraction of Minca, Colombia is the beautiful waterfalls here. Located just 2 miles from the center, Marinka Falls are just a little over 10 minutes in car away. The walk is just an 8 minute walk to the top of the hill, and the entrance fee is 5,000 pesos (just $1.50 USD).

Marinka Falls Minca Colombia

There are two main falls, and there are just a short set of stairs apart from one another. In the middle of the falls there is also a restaurant that features a large netted area for people to hang out and overlook the beautiful lower falls. We suggest spending 2 hours here to fully enjoy the falls and to grab a cup of local coffee.

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Sierra Minca

This is a true hidden gem, and an Instagrammer's dream! This is actually a hostel set on the top of a hill. We definitely would suggest spending a night here. However, if you are short on time (like we were), they offer a day pass to enjoy all of the amenties and the relaxing atmosphere, which costs 15,000 pesos ($4.50 USD).

Sierra Minca, santa marta, Colombia
Sierra Minca Colombi
Sierra Minca, Santa Marta, Colombia

Sierra Minca is a great place to relax for the day.

Sierra Minca has incredible views of the surrounding mountains, and is the perfect place to get away from it all. The hostel has a restaurant, heated pool, pool table, and a number of fun spots like giant hammocks, swings, and even two hands jutting out over the greenery.

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Coffee & Chocolate Tours

Coffee is without a doubt a must while in Minca Colombia, and what better way to try local coffee than by doing a tour! Head to the "El Paraiso de Tuki B&B Cafe & Cacao farm to dive right into the best things that Colombia have to offer-coffee and chocolate!

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Want to set yourself up for a tour in advance? Here are a few different options to choose from:

Getting Around Minca, Colombia

Once you have made it to Minca there isn't really any public transportation to take you around to the different areas. Because of this you will either have to have your own car, or rely on private transportation.

Taxis in Minca

Ubers are unavailable in this area, so taxis are a great way to get around. However, we were unable to easily find them. If you'd like a taxi we suggest calling for one and having them use their meter. This is the the legal way of doing it, but also the cheapest!

Want to make sure you don't get ripped off in the process of getting a taxi in Colombia? Make sure to give a read to the article below!


This is an option that we have very mixed feelings about. They are definitely the most convenient, and are a fun way to get around. However, they tried taking advantage of us, and also did not follow through when we made arrangement with them.

There is just one company that we are aware of, and they are right where the bus stop is. It is important to agree on a price beforehand, and make sure that they stick to your schedule if you are right on time.

Renting a Car in Minca

Rental cars aren't available in Minca, Colombia. However, there are plenty of rental companies at the airport in Santa Marta. We definitely suggest having a car, as it will give you the most flexibility for moving around. If you do get a car, make sure that it is a 4x4, as the roads gets very steep and is full of holes.

Where to Stay in Minca

Minca is a small area, but doesn't have a big town to explore. We suggest staying at one of the amazing spots out in nature to soak up the beauty of Minca.

We personally suggest Sierra Minca, as it is spacious, beautiful, and full of amenities and activities.

Want to look for a different experience? We've provided you a map of accommodation options to choose from while in Minca.

Is Minca Safe?

Minca is overall a pretty safe place. However, Colombia and South America in general can have their fair share of bad experiences when it comes to safety. Be extra careful with y0ur belongings, and make sure to keep an eye on your things at all times.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting Minca, Colombia

Now that you know the basics for visiting Minca, here are a few other things to keep in mind for your trip.

Weather in Minca

The weather in Minca is hot year-round. The driest months are in the winter, from November to April, and the rainiest/most humid months are in the summer (July & August).

The Best Time to Visit Minca

The best time to visit Minca in our opinion is in the winter, when temperatures are much more pleasant. You'll experience sunny, hot days , but not be super overwhelmed. We visited in January, and found It to be just perfect.

What Should I Pack For Minca, Colombia?

Minca is full of adventure! Here are a few things we suggest bringing:

  • Sunscreen 
  • Bug Spray
  • Reusable Water Bottle (we use this water bottle from Cafago because it holds the temperature)
  • Flip Flops (we personally always get Havaiana flip flops, as they are comfy and long lasting)
  • Sneakers (for the hikes)
  • Bathing Suit
  • Light, Casual Clothing
  • Zippered Bag or Backpack (to secure your belongings) - check out these backpacks for travelers!
  • Power Bank (we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)
  • Drone (We use the Mavic Mini Pro 3 because it's super light and doesn't sacrifice quality)
  • Action Camera (we use the Insta 360 X3 because it's small & waterproof)
  • Travel Adapter (we use Insignia travel adapters as they are affordable and reliable)
  • Travel toiletries (our favorites are from Sheer Alternatives because they're all natural and 100ml)

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Minca, Colombia is a destination that anyone visiting the north of the country should add to their bucket list! Spend a night to get away and relax, or take a day trip from the small beach city of Santa Marta.

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