Minca is a small village in the Sierra Nevada region of Colombia, only fourteen kilometers along some windy dirt tracks from Santa Marta. In spite of this close proximity to a major tourist destination, the village has avoided being firmly placed on the tourist radar, and manages to maintain its authenticity and a sleepy mountain town. The surrounding nature is astonishing, with trees rolling over the mountains and an abundance of hiking options, including a forty-minute walk through the forest to the popular Marinca Waterfall, where you can go for a swim to cool off from the intense humidity. Along the many routes you will see rivers in the cloud forest with old wooden bridges and the opportunity to spot some of the more than two hundred and fifty species of birds that live in this area.
Historically, the main export of the town has been coffee, and most Minca hostels offer tours of nearby fincas (the most popular being La Victoria), where you can learn how Colombia's biggest export is produced with the option of buying some directly from source. You will learn how locals have harnessed the power of the river to produce the coffee since the mid-nineteenth century. For the more adventurous, it is possible to go tubing, canyoning, or mountain biking.
In spite of its relative isolation, the town is well served by an adequate number of good Minca hostels that offer decent-quality lodgings with incredible views of the surrounding valley. From here, you can kick back with a beer at the end of a long day's hiking and watch one of the most spectacular sunsets on the whole continent.
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