Sunsets, Waterfalls and “Boring Birds”

Those Puppy Dog Eyes @ Minca

The Hench Red Squirrel @ Minca

After a short collectivo from Santa Marta we found ourselves in the small pueblo of Minca. A tiny little town in the mountains of Colombia, we were pretty smitten on arrival. It was very beautiful and the promises of amazing bird watching. That was of course until the signs to our hostel led us to 300+ steep stairs up one of those mountains, carrying all of our packs. A hard and hot 30 minutes later, exhausted we arrived at Casa Loma. Luckily the climb was worth every second. The views over the mountains were breathtaking. It was quite the little trap. We hadn’t anticipated the stairs or the fact there was no WiFi (we actually needed WiFi to plan the next few days of our travels but hey ho, we have a Colombian sim with data), all food could be made for you, there was a bar with some good cocktail deals, a sunset terrace which was just stunning and some incredible unique rooms. There really was no need to go anywhere, especially with the thought of facing those stairs.

The Very Hairy Caterpillar @ Casa Loma, Minca

The Very Hairy Caterpillar’s Very Hairy Mate @ Casa Loma, Minca

Our little round hut had a thatched roof and consisted of just a double bed, but it was so sweet. There were some other more expensive (and sold out) huts that were fully thatched with only three walls, a curtain at the front that opened up to a beautiful view and terrace with a table and chairs or hammocks. They would have been so amazing if they hadn’t have been sold out! The showers were outdoors but freezing and some of the guests played flutes and guitars but despite this, it was the most beautiful and interesting hostel we had stayed in so far.

We had dinner at the hostel that night (to avoid the stairs and the food was supposed to be nice, all vegan mind…). We sat down at a table next to another couple. We had some cocktails and were just taking in the nice new place when I saw the girl in the couple come back to the table with a deck of monopoly deal cards in her hand. I started prodding Jess immediately and then as if by fate, the guy just lent back in his chair and asked us if we wanted to join them on their table for dinner. I was a bit embarrassed as I thought he had seen me going mental over the sight of Monops but he actually hadn’t and just invited us to join! Josh and his fiancé, Philippa were from the UK and we immediately bonded over the nerdiness of monopoly deal and spent the night eating, drinking and dealing away.

Puppies @ Minca

“Boring Little Bird” @ Minca

The Sleepy Pig @ Minca

The next morning we braved the stairs and headed out to a local place to watch the football with Paul and Anita, and also ran into Josh and Philippa. The game was intense, but with another win, we went for a hike to the local waterfalls. An easy hour hike up a couple of dirt roads, we landed in a natural swimming pool surrounded by locals with cool boxes, children and families all enjoying the warm weather. We continued past the first busy pool and climbed up the bank and up stream past a few small waterfalls and soon found a natural pool all to ourselves. A quick and very cold dip later, we climbed back down to the sun and families for a swim. Everyone here seemed to be local, picnics were in full swing and crazy people were jumping from the top of the waterfalls. The jungle surrounded us, and of course brought with it biting insects, that combined with the cold water, we headed back into town.

Boring Humming Bird @ Minca

Beetle @ Minca

As we reached the outskirts of town, of course we run straight into Jess, Catherine, Phil and Nick (all San Blas crew) who had just arrived in Minca and were looking for accomodation. We went and had a drink with everyone before heading back up the mountain of stairs for sunset on the sunset terrace with cocktails! That night, along with our San Blas crew, Philippa and Josh and a couple of new comers, we had a couple drinks on the sunset terrace and watched a beautiful sunsets across the mountains. We were joined by a lovely America girl who had recently opened a small history museum in the small town of Minca, which she had called home for the past couple years. She was really interested in the history and culture of the people, but unfortunately hadn’t had much traction with visitors. That night we decided the stairs weren’t worth staying in for soup, so we all headed out to the local for more drinks and some pretty great hamburgers.

Eyes On The Prize @ Minca

The next morning we woke early and headed down for a bird watching tour with Jungle Joe. Unfortunately for Jess, the couple of hours that followed consisted of this old eccentric chasing a single toucan around town and once he gave up, taking us down a dirt track pointing out the 20 different species of again unfortunately for Jess, little birds. Jess tends to lose interest in bird watching if the birds are smaller than pigeons. Luckily there were lots of nice puppies along the way! It was a very cheap bird tour and there were just way too many people.

We headed back into Santa Marta after what Jess calls “the world’s most boring bird tour” to jump on a nightbus through to Medellin. Our first big city! Dropped a couple of Dramamine, layered up in preparation for the Arctic night bus conditions and we were off! Mince you have been beautiful, I would have really liked to stay longer as I have read about this amazing bird lodge just outside of town…

One Of Jess’ Many Bird Watching Friends @ Minca

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