Monthly Archives: April 2013

Channel-billed Toucan

Top Tourist Attractions In Minca

The top tourist attractions in Minca are very few. There are only three of them, to be exact, since it is a rather small village. Minca is located in Santa Marta, a port and major tourist destination in the Department of Magdalena, Colombia. It overlooks the city from a height of 650 meters. It can be reached via a colectivo but not before taking a 45-minute ride from Estacion de Minca across a bumpy dirt road. While it has relatively little to offer, Minca is a magical place that will dazzle you with its panoramic views of the sea and Santa Marta. The journey up the peaceful town may be tiring but it guarantees a rewarding experience for those who decide to venture it.

Channel-billed Toucan

Channel-billed Toucan

1. Casa Loma Hostal

Accommodations for both luxury and budget travelers are available at Casa Loma Hostal. It is further up from Minca, perching on a steep hill. It provides even better views than the village itself due to its location. Travelers can choose from hamocks, the dormitory, and private rooms for their stay. Prices range from 12,000 to 80,000 each night. You can also set camp around the Tayrona ceremonial stone circle which is even higher up than the hostal. While it generally has a backpacker atmosphere, Casa Loma Hostel serves amazing food and chilled beers while playing good music in the background.

2. Luz’s Restaurant

The restaurant is run by a friendly Colombian couple. Since locals often frequent it, it is considered part of the top tourist attractions in Minca. The restaurant has no sign but it is the orange-painted building right across Iglesia. It has a menu plastered on the wall, something that you can’t miss. For just 11,000 pesos you can eat a hearty meal consisting of beef, chicken, or pork paired with fries and a delicious salad covered with jugo. This is a great price for Colombian standards.

3. Oscar’s Place

The ecological farm is the last among the top tourist attractions in Minca, Santa Marta. Like the Casa Loma Hostel, it is perched on a ridge with breathtaking vistas. Amenities include a pool along the ridge and open-air sleeping quarters that are nonetheless luxurious. These accommodations are surrounded by fruit trees and flowers. Apart from these open-air rooms, there are also hammocks, dorm rooms, and private rooms available for guests. The lack of publicity means that Oscar’s Place is unknown to most tourists. There aren’t even signs available that lead to it.


Cabo de la Vela

Top Tourist Attractions In Cabo de la Vela

If you don’t mind not having the luxury of sleeping in an air-conditioned room, and waking up to a continental breakfast buffet in a 5-star hotel, then check out the top tourist attractions in Cabo de la Vela.  This paradise off the beaten path for most travelers in Colombia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.  Despite being off the tourism radar due to its inaccessibility (almost), those who have endured the literally pain-in-the-butt bus rides and the absence of 5 star accommodations only have praises for this tourist destination.

Cabo de la Vela

Cabo de la Vela

Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Cabo de la Vela:

El Pilon de Acuzar

Upon reaching Cabo de la Vela, one can simply marvel and take a dip in the beaches of Cabo de la Vela itself and relax by the hammocks after a day of swimming and maybe, kite surfing.  Or, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can walk along and explore the coastline of Cabo de la Vela for more hidden beaches and tide pools.

One of the most popular “hidden beaches” and top tourist attractions in Cabo de la Vela is the El Pizon de Acuzar.  Be prepared to marvel at an out-of-this-world landscape, where the desert meets the sea.  The golden sands and the rock formations are a perfect place for swimming and trekking.

According to local legends, El Pilon de Acuzar is where the souls of the dead go.  But the place is a slice of heaven, even for the living.  And if you explore a little further, you can find other treasures such as the Ojo de Agua, a natural saltwater pool.

Cerro Kamachi

This pyramid-like hill near El Pizon de Acuzar is sacred to the Wayuu people.  Atop the hill, a small, stone shrine to the Virgin Mary was built and adorned with Wayuu wristbands.

Climbing to the top of Cerro Kamachi gives you a panoramic view of the Caribbean coastline of Colombia as well as Colombia’s first wind farm in Medellin.

Laguna de Utta

Between El Pizon de Acuzar and the main village of Cabo de la Vela is the Laguna de Utta, a secluded lagoon.  This lagoon is home to some of the local waterfowls such as flamingos, herons and sandpipers.  Depending on the time of the year, Laguna de Utta is a great place to go bird watching.


Los Cerros de Mavecure (or Mavicure), located 50 km south of Inirida.

Top Reasons To Visit Inírida

A side trip to Inirida may not be part of your Colombia getaway plans, but these top reasons to visit Inirida may make you reconsider your itinerary.

Reason # 1:  Witnessing the beauty of Mother Nature.  One of the top reasons to visit Inirida is catching a glimpse of Mother Nature at her finest.  From marvelous rock formations to clean, coffee-colored waters, which provide a unique swimming experience, Inirida can give you more than just a breath of fresh air.

Los Cerros de Mavecure (or Mavicure), located 50 km south of Inirida.

Los Cerros de Mavecure (or Mavicure), located 50 km south of Inirida.

Also known as the “Crying Rock”, The Mavecure Hill is one of the remnants of the oldest mountains in Latin America.  This giant rock formation provides an excellent backdrop to the lush greenery of along the Inirida river.  Climbing the Mavecure hill will give you a magnificent eagle’s eye view of the surrounding rivers and jungles.  But it’s best to visit during the summer season between December and March to be able to catch a glimpse of the white sand beaches by the rivers (and maybe take a dip in the cool, clear waters as well).

In addition to the famous Mavecure Hill, Inidira is also home to some of the most unique watering holes.  In the middle of some of the forests in and near Inidira are little rivers called Canos.  These rivers have brown of “coffee colored” waters, a refreshing break from the ho-hum white sand beaches found all over the world.

If peace and quiet is your thing, you can also visit some of the lagoons found in Inidira.  One of the famous lagoons in town is the Laguna de Bruha or the Witches’ lagoon.  The symphony of water, nature and birds makes it a perfect place to meditate and ponder upon the numerous gifts of Mother Nature.

Reason # 2: The Inidira flower.  Another of the top reasons to visit Inirida is that it is home to the Inirida flower, one of the most beautiful flowers in the world.  This flower is a burst of pink and white, much like the fireworks we see during the fourth of July, and it changes color, too!  This hardy plan can survive with minimal irrigation throughout the year.

Reason # 3: Watch the river dolphins.  Inirida river is also home to the Amazon river dolphins.  Fondly called Toninas by the locals, these river dolphins look like something straight out of the Pokemon cartoons with their pink and grey hues.  But be warned, taking decent pictures of these cute pink dolphins may be harder than you think.  One has to be ready with a camera at all times.