Sun 9th Feb
Nice relaxing morning in the hostel over breakfast and sorting photos and blog.
Headed into town at 9:30 to the Gold Museum. Quite interesting, some amazing gold pieces, but quite small.
Headed back to trusted favourite Ikaro cafe for lunch and by chance met up with our Polish friends from the trek as well ! Clearly the place to hang out.
Back to hostel to get few bits done, and back into town at 7 for drinks and dinner with our friends again, and 3rd time at Ikaro !!
Mon 10th Feb
Got a transfer shuttle from our hostel to Minca at 9:30am. Checked into our amazing "boutique" hotel Sweet Harmony with a beautiful double bed with mosquito net, balcony with views over the jungle, and breakfast table with a hummingbird feeder right next to it. Even a river flowing below, and 2 jacuzzis ! Backpacking indeed !
Walked the 1hr up a dusty dirty busy road to Pozo Azul waterfalls, and it was heaving with tonnes of day trippers. Stayed 1.5hrs, not that impressed, and walked back down again - didn't even bother with a swim ! Back at the hotel we sat on our balcony with Club Colombia beers and tried to spot birds, what a perfect place. Great dinner at Lazy Cat of burger and stiryfry !
Tues 11th Feb
Sat by the hummingbird feeder at breakfast and watched the stunning birds zoom in and out feeding the whole time.
Headed off at 8:30 up to Marinka Waterfall along a nice gentle jungle track. Arrived at 10am and virtually had the place to ourselves and was way better than Pozo Azul - 2 much bigger waterfalls, and one with a beautiful big pool to swim in. I had a lovely refreshing dip, but Brandon didn't want to wash off his bug spray so stayed out ! Both our legs have been bitten alive here already, much more so than the jungle of the Lost City, so trying to be very careful. Great facilities - 4 large net hammocks to chill out/sunbath, picnic benches, and even toilets with open views of the waterfalls !
Carried on for another 2 hours up a tiny single track jungle path (following the route on maps.me otherwise would have totally got lost) and finally arrived at Sierra Minca hostel very hot, sweaty and knackered !
Incredible place, 3 huge net hammocks, 3 swinging beds, infinity pool, bar, and awesome view all the way back down to Minca and even Santa Marta and the coast.
Chilled out there with food and beers, Brandon had a nap in the swinging bed, cooled off in the pool, before starting the 2.5hr trek back home.
Despite being long, hot, steep tracks, the jungle was amazing, and spotted lots of birds, hummingbirds, tucans, monkeys etc. Incredible day.
Wed 12th Feb
Got up at 6 to sit on the balcony bird spotting until breakfast at 7, and spotted more hummingbirds and 2 tucans.
4 hummingbirds fighting over the feeder this morning, just constant back and forth and was amazing to watch.
Headed off at 8:30 for another 1hr15 steep uphill hot walk to La Candelaria - a coffee and cacao farm. Had a tour, tried some hot choc, enjoyed the amazing views back down to Santa Marta, and got our faces painted with the chocolate - meant to be a good face mask !
Back down the steep dusty jungle path into town, going slow, enjoying the views, jungles and bird spotting - watched a cool woodpecker for a while. Back in town had the most incredible banana, choc, oatmeal icecream smoothie as a reward/lunch.
Relaxing afternoon in the hotel, beer on our balcony, and happy hour drinks and dinner back at Lazy Cat in the evening.
Thurs 13th Feb
Up at 5am to walk to our bird watching tour with Jungle Joe at 6am. Bit disappointed the group was 16 people - much larger than we expected, and not overly conducive to quiet bird spotting ! Walked back up the dusty, dirty, busy road to the turn off to Pozo Azul, spotting quite a few smaller birds, a few brief spottings of tucans, and one blue macaw. 15min coffee stop at 8am, then basically just walked back to town. We were hoping for a little more, and should have just gone through our hotel for a bit more money for a private tour as actual bird watchers in our hotel did and they were really impressed. Oh well, we've still seen a lot in our time in Minca.
Back to hotel at 9:15 for late breakfast, packed and checked out at 12.
Another amazing smoothie for lunch in town, then caught a collectivo back to Santa Marta. Walked 30mins in the hot sun with all our bags back to the hostel, checked in and ran for the pool to cool off ! Chilled in the hostel, then headed out for dinner for our final night.