• Day113

    Week 16: Minca Weekend Trip

    June 26, 2017 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    In between my 2 weeks volunteering at Hanna/Octavio's place, we had the weekend off, so me, Tomas and Paul (friends from France) made the most of it...

    Early Saturday Morning the 3 of us jumped in the back of Octavio's 4x4 and crossed the river (by driving through it) to the main road. Octavio headed the opposite way for supplies, while we hitched a ride in the back of a large empty lorry. We had to sit deep inside so police wouldn't see, but the lorry was empty so we had a good view out of the back. After about an hour, we arrived at a random truck-stop outside of Santa Marta, and had to hitchike again (this time in a car), to get into the city. There we bought supplies and took a shared van to Minca. The journey to Minca was an hour of awesome traversing road getting higher and higher into the mountains, until we came to the town. We wanted to visit a popular place higher up in the mountains so had to hike uphill for 2 hours, but the weather was perfect and the views were amazing.

    We arrived at the place in the afternoon; 'Mundo Nuevo', a nature hostel and sustainability project high on a mountainside overlooking Santa Marta and the Carribean Sea. This place had it all; Dorms or Hammocks for sleeping, Unbeatable views, large gardens, freshly cooked food, pool table, beer, and enough tourists to feel like I was in Europe (The last part I didn't like so much, but it was the weekend...). However, with only 1 night here we wanted to explore the area, so we dropped our bags in empty hammocks and went straight out on a 4-hour-round hike to the famous 'pozo de azul' waterfall in glorious sunshine, through mountain-jungle with views the whole way. We stopped at a Coffee and Cacao farm ('La Candelaria') on route to chat with the owners, see a bit of the farm, and of course drink fresh coffee.

    We arrived at the waterfall at the perfect time; the sun was getting low, but it beamed through the jungle canopy illuminating the place with colour. Most of the visitors had left, and the large natural pool was crystal clear and invititing. We bathed in the (refreshingly) cold water, and the sounds of the powerful cascades and singing birds dominating the jungle. What a place. I also saw Martin, a Danish friend who I met in Rodadero a month ago. It was complete luck and a suprise to see eachother in such a remote place, but it turns out the same would happen tomorrow and I would end up staying with him for the night.

    Anyway, we (me, Tomas and Paul) left the waterfall and didn't arrive back at the hostel until dark. The walk back with sunset views over the distant city was incredible, but the transition of day to night was fast, and we were exhausted on return. We had just enough energy to join the Saturday night party for a few hours, but it was a long day; 6 hours hiking + 4 beers + 1 hammock = a good night sleep!

    On Sunday morning, we hiked up to an incredible viewpoint with 2 french girls from the hostel (so I was now with 4 French travellers). We missed the sunrise by a long way, but the plentiful views, fauna, butterflies and birds make early mornings here very peaceful, and we took it all in from the top of our hill, bathing in the rising sun over the mountains, as large clouds rolled into the valley from below. I knew then that I would come back to Minca one day on my own to discover more about this incredible area.

    We had incredible luck with the weather 8n Minca so far, but that changed when in the space of an hour, a dreamy morning turned into a tropical thunderstorm. We arrived back at the hostel just before the torrential downpour, and had to wait for a couple of hours for it to pass. We had to get back to our workaway (a very long journey away), so we left the hostel in the afternoon and made the long hike down to Minca, stopping at a few farms and places on the way. It was now 5pm and starting to get darker, we were close to minca, but still hours from our workaway. I was debating on staying the night in the town, but Tomas and Paul were determined to make it back. Then, right near the bottom of the path, guess who flies past on the back of a moto-taxi... Martin! We shouted something quickly like 'meet at the bridge', so we did. Because it was late, the problem now was a lack of (public) transport out of Minca. The only way seemed to be on the back of a motorbike and it was about to rain. Anyway, this is what Paul and Tomas did, while me and Martin got lucky in finding a cheap shared taxi, and ended up going to a building site (a hostel in progress) in the city where he was volunteering! I may have arrived at the wrong workaway, but I was dry and relaxed, and had the perfect barbecue and beers with Martin and other random people. A perfect end to a great trip...

    *Morning Alarm*. Monday morning, 6am. A volunteering day, and i was 2 hours away. After a long bus and an uphill hike, I still arrived before 8am, just in time for breakfast and another week of jungle volunteer life...
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