When you plan your trip to Colombia, Santa Marta isn’t always on top of your list, and it is a mistake. Beaches, mountains, history, and hiking challenges, all in the same area. You have to see it to believe it!

The city is most famous for the Sierra Nevada and the Lost City trek. Have you heard about it? Turns out that when you visit Santa Marta, you’ll be walking among streets and beaches full of indigenous history. That area is known for being the home of the Taironas, an ethnic group that dominated when the Spaniards arrived, and were soon after killed.

The communities now present (Wiwas, Kogi, Arhuacos and Kankuamo) in Santa Marta still go by the rituals that the Taironas used to perform. In many touristic places you can find the ancient architecture that is protected by the indigenous.

On the other hand, if you don’t feel so passionate about history, or want a mix with adventure and scenic landscapes, we have the perfect recommendations for you.

We know that Tayrona Park is a destination you can’t miss, but if your vacations happen to be on the same dates of a colombian holiday, you won’t be able to enjoy the park as much as possible. Luckily for you, Santa Marta has plenty of spots to relax, or hike deep in the mountains, away from the city.

Minca

Santa Marta has more to offer than just beaches, and Minca is the perfect representation of that.

9 miles away from the center of Santa Marta, Minca is one of the best spots to enjoy fascinating landscapes. Plus, this area became touristy not so long ago, so you’ll be able to find new hostels everyday, and more activities to enjoy among the green forests.

As part of the contrasts that you can find in Santa Marta, Minca has cooler weather and is surrounded by the best mountains, which can make arriving at your hostel a whole adventure.

So, what to do?

Minca is slowly becoming a paradise for birding activities. Whether you’re an experienced birder, or just interested in bird watching, you’ll be in one of the most diverse spots of the country! You can find activities that will start before sunrise or during the day.

Even if you’re not so passionate about bird watching, it’s inevitable to find amazing flora and fauna in Minca. Everywhere you look, you’ll find diversity and a peaceful environment: green mountains with hidden paths far from noisy cities and crowded spaces.

Something else you can truly enjoy is Hiking since you can find paths for every level of experience. Also, it is common that you find waterfalls, lakes, or even rappel activity along the way, so be prepared for everything that could happen.

Why do you find these hidden lakes and waterfalls?

Given that the mountains surrounding Minca are connected with the Sierra Nevada, the water that descends through the rocks creates lakes and pools in different areas. So, you can swim in one place, then walk for 20 minutes and rappel. How great is that?

Marinka Waterfalls

Now that you know about these places, there’s one you can’t miss, not only because it’s famous in the area, but because of its beauty: the Marinka waterfalls.

To reach the waterfalls you can walk or take a shared local car, it’ll take about 30 minutes, depending on where your hostel is located. We recommend the hike to enjoy the green scenery as you walk, plus you can freshen up in the clean water when you reach the waterfall. If you chose a car or moto taxi, the road may not be the best, but the reward when you reach the waterfalls makes you forget about everything.

The waterfalls are private and they have an entrance fee, but in exchange, you’ll find some hammocks, a restaurant and tables. So, be sure to wake up early to reach the Marinka waterfalls and spend a good day relaxing next to the cool breeze of the water.

Other activities

After enjoying a couple of days deep in nature you may wonder what else you can do, and the answer relates to one of the most famous products of the country. Here’s a hint: smells heavenly and gives you energy every morning.

That’s right, coffee! Recently Santa Marta has become an area of interest for coffee farmers and brands. Thanks to the amazing fertile land of the mountains, the coffee production has been rapidly gaining fame.

So, to fully enjoy everything that Santa Marta has to offer, you can visit a coffee farm and learn about the production process, from seed to sip. Dive deep into the coffee farming culture and discover why a cup of joe from Santa Marta is so tasty.

Depending on the time of the year you may be lucky enough to see the red cherries brightening the coffee plants. Additionally, spot the differences between good quality coffee and bad quality coffee, you may find a few surprises along the way.

To sum up, Minca is the perfect spot for relaxing while surrounded by nature, but is also a perfect area to challenge your body and your senses. Try something different and breathe the cleanest air possible. Besides, you’ll be able to take the best pictures that only Santa Marta can offer.