Minca, Colombia is located in the mountains above Santa Marta. It’s another tiny town that has incredible scenery and lots of hostels, fincas (coffee farms), and motorcycle taxis. (Before I continue, I’d like to apologize to my Dad for what he’s about to read and will most certainly not enjoy.) To get to Minca you take a colectivo from Santa Marta which is a small van that charges per seat and leaves for Minca once it’s full. The hostel we chose was about a 40 minute walk from the town up a dirt road where cars can’t drive. Transportation options in Minca are on foot or on motorcycle. I love walking everywhere, but in the endless heat and with our heavy backpacks, it would have been dreadful. So although I wasn’t in love with the idea, I took a deep breath, asked the driver to go slow, and jumped on the back of his bike while he cradled my backpack in front of him and I held on as tight as possible. After about 45 seconds I was loving it, and very thankful for the service. This is Colombia.
For the next 3 days the only people at our hostel were the 7 of us and the family that lives and works on the coffee farm up the hill from their guest house. They left us alone for the most part except to cook us delicious meals. We spent the majority of our first day hanging by the pool, drinking Argentinian mate, and exploring the coffee fields around us.
Juan (I suppose he was the owner) gave us some lessons on the process of making cacao beans into chocolate and let us taste cacao from the plant. It’s hard to explain, but basically the bean is surrounded by a bittersweet white gooey substance that you can suck on. It was actually quite nice. I wish I could remember all the details about the drying process and whatever comes after that to make the cacao into chocolate but unfortunately I have a really bad memory for these types of details (and he was speaking rapid-fire Spanish which didn’t help). Juan also explained the process used to harvest coffee beans, and luckily there was plenty of their coffee to be enjoyed during our time there. If you ever go to Minca, stay at La Finca de San Rafael!!
The next day we hiked to el Pozo Azul which was a really nice waterfall (where we randomly ran into Sandro and his family from Taganga) and later we had lunch at a little roadside asador. Noteworthy here was the bizarre old man who owned the place. He was so excited to have us there; he shook all our hands con mucho gusto and when he got to me he shook my hand and very quickly kissed me on the lips! That was definitely an unexpected greeting. After we ate he asked if we would like dessert and held out his hand which had a huge handful of marijuana in it. We politely declined and left giggling about how crazy this guy was. The food was great though!
We also visited La Finca de Victoria, a huge family owned coffee farm. The owner’s wife Claudia gave us a tour and told us a lot more information that I wish I could have retained about how the coffee is harvested, dried, roasted, etc. She was excellent and her coffee was even better.
After dinner both nights we drank lots of mediocre Colombian beer, listened to music, played cards, and laughed a lot. As I’ve done many times in the past with some French students I’ve taught, I tried my best to learn some French but my goodness that language is impossible to pronounce! It was a really hygge experience all around.
Minca confirmed something for me that I’ve debated back and forth about for a long time and that is that I love mountains ever so slightly more than I love the ocean (although the ocean reminds me of home and that gives me a different sense of peace). I could stare at mountains for hours wondering what kind of animals are hanging around and just admiring their beauty. We had a great view of the sunset and an even better view of the stars later.