Adventures in Minca
We made our way to Minca for the most part for it’s mountains, but also to escape the humidity of Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
It’s seriously oppressive and after around a week, we were ready to take a breather.
As with many of the places we stay on our journey, we only had a couple of days in Minca and we simply aim to see and accomplish as much as we possibly can.
Minca is famed for it’s mountain range, hiking and waterfall swimming so after asking around town we soon found out that San Lorenzo, high up Colombia’s Sierra Nevada, was probably the best thing to do in the area.
We also found out that it was around a 7-8 hour hike up to the peak and another 6 to get back down.
None of the group (we were still traveling with our American friends Krista and Alan), appreciated the thought of such a serious climb.
But as we usually do, we figured a way around it.
The town of Minca is serviced by guys on motorbikes who congregate on the main corner and offer their services to take you to waterfalls, hostels or wherever you need to go.
On recommendation, we negotiated with a driver to round up a few of his mates who would be prepared to pick us up at 5:30am for a 2 hour summit.
(The earlier we got there, the more chance we had of seeing the wildlife who are generally early risers).
So early the next morning, in the dark, we heard the rumble of motorbike engines coming up the hill towards our hostel.
We all climbed aboard our selected drivers and set off on the (tarmac) road.
Tarmac road soon became a combination of mud, rock and soil.
Whatever it was, it wasn’t tarmac.
On a completely uphill journey. Needless to say each of us had our struggles.
The drivers’ collective confidence waned as the start of the rainy season made the route a little trickier than normal.
We all clung on to the backs of our bikes as the sun came up and we could actually start to see ahead of us.
Me and my driver, comfortably (and happily) at the rear of the group, soon came past Krista’s bike who’d come into a spot of bother riding up a small ramp.
No sooner had we let them go ahead than we ran into the same trouble.
Each time we took a moment, corrected the bike and continued upward.
By the time we reached the top, each of us were pretty worn out from the journey, yet the adrenaline was still running.
You could also tell that the drivers were pretty happy to make it to the summit.
Maybe not such a straightforward task after all.
We took a minute to catch our breath then started to make our way back down, this time on foot.
With 6 hours ahead of us, we took time to take in our surroundings.
The high forest soon turned into upper jungle and we spotted all manner of local wildlife from squirrels to toucans and listening to howler monkeys.
It was a great hike downhill and all was going well until we were hit by a classic tropical downpour.
With nowhere to take shelter we continued, accepting our fate that we were going to be soaked.
And we got soaked.
Absolutely nothing was spared the rain except for the waterproof backpack that I was instantly thankful of.
We made it back to the hostel completely drenched but happy with our day’s work. If you can call it work.
We’ve found that we’ve had some of our best experiences in the little mountain towns that Colombia has tucked away.
We instantly warmed to Minca, much like Salento. With plenty of hiking, waterfalls and great food, you can’t ask for much more from a two day break in the countryside.