Sierra Nevada


Perched in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, 40 minutes drive to the west at an altitude of 600 metres, the jungle town of Minca is a world away from the hot shores of Santa Marta. A mystical land the native Indians call the heart of the world, filled with hidden waterfalls, fresh mountain-water rivers, giant-bamboo shaded jungle walks, a million different species of birds (and other strange and wonderful animals and flora), plus a plethora of great things to do.

A working coffee farm, bed & breakfast and chocolate & coffee tour all rolled into one El Paraiso de Tuki (known locally as La Candelaria) have been welcoming guests for the past 3 years, but the family that owns and runs the small coffee farm have been living in Minca for 3 generations, and are the most welcoming hosts you could wish for (as is reflected in their excellent ratings on air bnb and booking.com).

Spend your days relaxing on the veranda watching the clouds roll in through the valley as Tuki (the pet toucan) nibbles at your feet. Or take a tour with Eugenio and discover everything about coffee from seed to cup before relaxing with a cleansing chocolate face pack. Eugenio and Ana always have many great stories to tell about the area and the history of Colombia, they will help show you the local area and recommend many excellent jungle walks and activities to do. If your looking for complete peace and tranquility then this is the place for you.

Best Bits:

  • Stay in a beautiful 100 year old working, organic coffee farm
  • Daily Coffee and Cacao Tours (also open to day visitors)
  • Breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada
  • Cleansing chocolate face packs
  • Meet Tuki the pet Toucan!
  • Stay with the friendliest family in Minca
  • The best hot chocolate in Colombia! (Perfect for those rainy days).
  • Cosy & Private Rooms (They only rent 3 rooms, so you will feel like you have the place all to yourself)
  • Great bird watching opportunities
  • Close to Mundo Muevo and their Awindua village (20 minutes walk from La Candelaria, ask Anna and Eugenio to show you the way).

Getting There:

  • Walk (45 minutes) – Follow the map from Cafe Minca, past the police station up towards Mundo Nuevo until you see the sign for La Candelaria leading off the main path to the right, then continue up through the coffee fields until you reach the white house, with the red roof and yellow poles.
  • Take a mototaxi to the entrance of the coffee fields and follow the directions above
  • To get in touch visit: elparaisodetukibnb.com or call: +57 321 588 7985

Top Tip: Ask Ana and Eugenio to tell you about their family’s history whilst you enjoy a cool beer or a fresh hot chocolate.

Sitting in giant hammocks overlooking the jungle canopy with a spectacular view all the way to Santa Marta, Casa Elemento was was one of the first hostels I visited when arriving in Santa Marta. “You’ve gotta go to the place with the world’s largest hammock!” Marco, a friend had told me. Now 3 years and a bit later the home of the giant hammocks is one of the most famous hostels in Colombia, if not the world, and deservedly so.

Centered in the heart of La Finca Victoria, a 125 year old coffee plantation Casa Viejas (Old House) is ironically the new kid on the block in terms of hostels in Minca. Less than a year old the young french owners have transformed the old house into a new and modern, high-end hostel (without the prices to match).

Tayrona National Park

One the most unspoiled natural parks in Colombia, Tayrona National Park lies an hours drive to the north east of Santa Marta and unfolds it’s treasures like a natural Vivaldi symphony. Dense lush jungle and palm tree lagoons lead to beach after beach of golden sands, nestled among rocky alcoves, overlooking transparent turquoise waters. Backed by the cheeky chorus of Capuchin monkeys. Another way to describe it might just be paradise.

Discover la Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City of Colombia and meet Wiwa and Kougi indigenous tribes people on a 4-5 day jungle trek of a lifetime.

It’s always hard to write about something that so many before you have written about. Especially when trying to do a synopsis. What story can you tell about Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City of Colombia that hasn’t already been told? But then that’s the great thing about the Lost City trek, you write your own story.

Unlike the clinical Machu Pichu, which over indulgent capitalism has now destroyed. Turning one the most important archeological locations in the world into an over-priced fairground attraction, where you are herded through turnstiles by the thousands daily. Ciudad Perdida still stands exactly as it did when it was built around 800 CE, (roughly 650 years earlier than Machu Pichu). There’s no cute Agatha Christie train ride to the bottom of the mountain, or Aguas Calientes at the end of your 45 minute walk. It’s a 4-5 day round trek in and out of proper, real, commando-style jungle. Following the path of the indigenous Wiwa and Kogi people, decendants of the Tairona, who have lived here since the 1st century CE.