Minca – Santa Marta (2020): Buses, tips, and private tours

Minca – Santa Marta (2020): Buses, tips, and private tours

After several days doing nothing on the beach, I’m sure that you will love to spend some time up in the mountains. Let’s find out how can you organize the trip Minca – Santa Marta.

Santa Marta to Minca: What you must know

Where is Minca: Minca is on the Eastern Caribbean Coast, next to Santa Marta and Paso del Mango.

Why visit Minca: Add Minca to your Colombia itinerary if you want to enjoy some hiking between 2 beach towns.

How to get to Minca: Taxi from Santa Marta (35 min) or a bus at Calle 11 con Carrera 9′ in Santa Marta (45 min). Look for the sign Cootrasminca.

Where to stay in Minca: Beautiful hostels and ecolodges are scattered all around Minca. You will need a moto-taxi or a jeep to get there.

Best tour to visit Minca if you’re running after time: I recommend this one.

Best of Minca’s tips: There is no ATM and avoid going on the weekend and on a public holiday.

Discover our guide on Minca to access, in a few clicks, all the practical information to visit the Sierra Nevada.

Read our Minca Travel guide

Table of contents: Santa Marta to Minca

  1. How to get from Santa Marta to Minca
  2. How to get from Minca to Santa Marta
  3. Tours to Minca from Santa Marta
  4. Things to do in Santa Marta
  5. How to create a kick-ass itinerary?
  6. Lay back while we do the hard job

Minca – Santa Marta: What are your options?

Most of the nice accommodations are outside Minca. You will have to take a moto-taxi from Minca to get there – or walk. In both cases, it will be easier if you travel light.

Otherwise, you can deal with your ecolodge to be picked up at the airport or the bus terminal with a private jeep.

#1 Leaving from Santa Marta to Minca

Geographically speaking, Minca is situated in the mountains above Santa Marta. By the way, the combos sunset + green forest + the Caribbean Sea +  little buildings are just astonishing.

It’s a little town so don’t expect an airport or helicopter aircraft. The only way is to take the road, Jack.

Read our Santa Marta travel guide

During the day: From the main bus station in Santa Marta

You’re arriving in Santa Marta, and you think that you have to sleep there. WRONG! First, Santa Marta sucks. I’m sorry to say that, but it’s true. You can’t swim, there are many petty thieves at night, and there is not much to do.

However, the buses from the main station are not doing the trip Minca – Santa Marta.

You have to:

  • Take a taxi and get to Calle 12 / Calle 11 con Carrera 9 – It should cost around 5-6000 COP. Look for the sign Cootrasminca.
  • Then there are shared jeep leaving once they are full. The last vehicles go around 6-7 pm. It costs 8 000 COP and last 45 min

If you arrive late in Santa Marta

If you arrive in Santa Marta after 7 pm, you can find a moto-taxi at the main bus station. They will drive you to Minca for 15 – 20 000 COP with all your stuff | 30 min.

We did it once, without any problems. They gave us a helmet and drove slowly. I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have a backpack.

In Santa Marta, you can also find a taxi. It should be around 40 000 – 50 000 COP.

If you want a pleasant Santa Marta – Minca trip

As mentioned earlier, you can take a taxi from Santa Marta. There are tons of them in the city. It costs around 50 000 COP and takes 35 min.

Upscale accommodations offer a private shuttle service. They can pick you up in Santa Marta. It costs usually around 150 000 COP.

Minca Santa Marta Map
Santa Marta

Premium travel service: Lay back while we do the hard job

#2 Leaving from Minca to Santa Marta

You have to walk back at Minca’s entrance, just before the bridge. There is a little office where you can buy your jeep ticket. They leave when the jeep is full, but you shouldn’t wait too much – Maybe 30 min.

If your next destination is Tayrona or Palomino, you can ask the driver to stop you at La Bomba – It’s a gas station where buses are stopping by.

Price and cost: 8 000 COP / 45 Min

Minca Santa Marta Map

Why traveling to Minca from Santa Marta

To be fair, Minca is not a lovely colonial town. And I wouldn’t recommend you to get there if you’re in a rush. But if you’re looking for some days to rest, Minca will be a perfect option.

There are great hostels all around – I fall in love with Casa Loma – and you will quickly feel at home. Birds wake you up every morning. Then you can savor a strong coffee with delicious scrambled eggs mixed with small onions and tomatoes. And In front of you, there is a spectacular view of the valley and the outskirts of Santa Marta.

Meal Casa Loma hostel MInca
Breakfast in Casa Loma

Once your belly filled, you go downtown to check if the bakery is open and buy a french bread for lunch <3. After that, you’re ready to start thinking about the schedule for the day – Waterfalls, birdwatching, an organic coffee farm, hikes.

Things to do in Minca

Travelers fall in love with Minca because they’re happy to take a day off from the beach, or because they stay in a stunning hotel surrounded by nature.

#1 Activity with a departure from Santa Marta

Avoid going to Minca on the weekend. There are tons of tourists.

Explore Minca in 1 day: If you’re in a hurry and want to get a please glimpse of Minca (waterfalls, cacao tour and coffee tour), then I recommend this tour.

Visit the famous La Victoria Coffee farm: La Victoria produces coffee since 1892. They use a bunch of old English engineering and gravity to semi-automize the process. These guys pick you up from the airport!

Explore Minca on an E-bike! : Let the electric bike do the hard job and enjoy a stunning tour to waterfalls and coffee farms. You still need to be in good shape. You will love this tour.

#2 Activities once you’re in Minca

Depending on where you are, you will be far from some of Minca’s highlights. If it’s the case, just take a moto-taxi.

  • Swim in cold rivers: The most famous waterfalls are Marinka, Pozo Azul, and Oido del Mundo. These guys offer a cool rappelling experience.
  • Visit a coffee farm: La Victoria is an old coffee farm that produces coffee since 1892. They offer tours for 3-4 $, but you need to get there on your own.
  • Visit the Minca Museum: Learn about the Sierra Nevada’s bloody past. More information here.
  • Plan a hike around Minca: Hike to Los Pinos, Paso del Mango, or plan a 2-day trek to Cerro Kennedy. It can be done without a local guide.
  • Become a cacao expert: Head to la Candelaria. It’s a bed and breakfast too!
  • We wrote a practical Minca travel guide with tons of information.
  • Find out how to visit Paso Del Mango

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Where to travel after Minca

Where to stay? What to do? How to get there? Find easily the answers HERE

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A lush Valley and signs above Minca and Santa Marta

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Santa MARTA Minca
I fell in love with Colombia 5 years ago. Through this website, we help every month thousands of travelers to plan their trip to this beautiful country. Use our Premium service on the site www.Colombia-insider.com if you want us to take care of everything for the organization of your trip to Colombia.


  1. Craig says:

    Can’t swim in Santa Marta? Santa Marta? You’re a fuckin idiot Tom! There are plentiful of decent to very nice beaches around Santa Marta and yeah you can swim at each one. And Santa Marta is a nice town to visit or live in, it is pretty quiet but it also has a nightlife around the plaza. Obviously you just got off the bus and right onto a moto taxi to Minca. Colombia is my 26th country. I know what I’m talking about.

  2. Ben says:

    Hahaha. If you like swimming in a murky mix of saltwater, plastic, diesel, and sewage, then look no further than Santa Farta! Great view of a dirty port while you relax amongst the garbage in the sand, while a barrage of vendors harass you, trying to peddle their bullshit, plastic bags flying in your face! Ohh… you want to watch the sunset?? Hahaha. Then Santa Farta is not for you, take your business elsewhere! Dude I’ve been to like 37,642 countries, I’m the omniscient, the omnipotent.. the omnipresent.

    Thanks for the info Tom!

  3. Christian says:

    Just sitting in Santa Marta, slightly high and sipping on a cold beer.

    I have to agree with Tom. Tayrona is breath taking, Minca really nice but Santa Marta really just a Homebase with some life.

    The only Idiot in this threat is You Craig.


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