My favourite experience on the coast of Colombia due to the slightly cooler temperatures, lush greenery and the hummingbirds that freely flitted amongst the flowers around my hamock. Everything came together at the wonderful hostel La Fuente, where food was beyond heavenly, and all the travellers were like-minded.
We took a bus from El Rodadero to Santa Marta, surprised to discover that everyone on the bus wanted to help answer our question about where to alight for the connection to Minca! There was much discussion about where the best stop was, and eventually we got off based on a majority vote, meeting more helpful locals along the way who pointed us in the correct direction. The locally used 4 wheel drive to Minca cost 8000 pesos, leaving when it was full. After a 40 minutes windy drive, we arrived at the Minca town centre bride, where an abundance of motorcycle taxis waited, with prices all listed above in black and white.
I figured that since the town was relatively sparse anyway, it would be more fun to live slightly up the mountain in this hostel run by an experienced survival tour guide. So we hopped on a taxi each and went up a very uneven dirt road, which the motorbike taxi driver easy manoeuvred through.
We chose one of the tents amongst the bushes of birds-of-paradise flowers. According to the travellers who rented rooms, they preferred the outdoor bathroom to their en suite. The compost toilet was surprisingly clean, and the shower next to a rock formation that was a good place for clothes. The bar-tenders were a fun bunch, and the Scandinavian chef whipped up excellent meals in-between beers and cigarettes. The hostel had a raw and natural feel to it, and interaction with other guests was maximum over beers and meals.There was such camaraderie that all 8 of us guests decided to hike up to the top (Los Pinos) at 3 am the next day in the hope of watching the toucans while the sun rose.
Try not to let the very friendly dogs follow you up if bird watching is your plan, because they make such a racket that we did not spot a single toucan, although I did see a hummingbird at the top. We stopped by Casa Elemento (the hostel with a giant hammock near the top of the mountain) on the way back down, and all 8 of us were glad we did not stay in that dirty, overcrowded mess of random beds and hammocks.
After breakfast and a shower back at La Fuente, I curled up in a hammock to the occasional buzz of a hummingbird flitting amongst the flowers around me.
The afternoon was another spur of the moment collaboration with another couple, involving visiting the La Victoria coffee plantation and Pozo Azul on the western side of Minca. We had agreed on a price with the motorbike taxis for the ride to both places with waiting included, and then back to La Fuente. The most exciting moment was when the motorbikes sped down the hills of La Victoria, leaving even the licensed motorbikers gripping our seats.
The coffee plantation tour was very informative, telling us how first and second grade coffee beans were separated, and how no electricity is necessary to power the plant. A 500mg bag of ground first grade coffee is priced very cheaply, so take a few bags home keeping in mind that Starbucks imports the second grade coffee from them.
Pozo Azul was much more picturesque than Marinski waterfalls (a shallow trickle) if you had to pick, and the swim was very refreshing.
As luck would have it, just before my motorbike taxi picked us up on the last day we spotted a Toucan outside La Fuente, and we headed for Santa Marta with very fond memories of Minca.