We shared a cab with Camellia from the highway outside Santa Marta up into the hills. Within moments the coast, heat and humidity from the morning was being left behind, as lush green slopes wrapped themselves around our little yellow taxi. Casa Loma was to be our new home, a beautiful collection of palm roofed huts and treehouse like structures perched up a steep windy hillside. After our sweaty hike out of Tayrona National Park in the morning and then a final slog up the steep path from Minca village in the afternoon, the rustic luke-cold shower with an uninterrupted view over ridges and valleys was amazing!
Above the main reception / common area is a leafy terrace which faces west over an undulating set of hazy ridges. There is a small bar on the terrace and round half five most of the guest, a friendly beagle, a dozy cat and two chickens, gather to watch sunset. It was a pretty good one, as was our accompanying maracujar (pomegranate) gin and tonics.
Later on we all ate together round a big table on the terrace below. Dinner was a stuffed pepper filled with all kinds of good stuff and a small cake for dessert that tasted to healthy to be a treat. (We hadn't realised this was a vegetarian hostel).
Next morning we awoke pretty early in our little treehouse as the forest came alive with the dawn chorus. Birds, crickets, cockerels, howler monkeys and a howling dog all were determined to ruin any potential lye in. After a quick breakfast in the village we made for Polo Azul, a refreshing collection of pools and waterfalls hidden down a valley, one hours walk out of town. It was a hot walk mainly up hill causing the odd grumble, however after jumping off the top of the waterfall on arrival everything was great again. We relaxed in the cool waters for a couple of hours and got chatting to a couple from the hostel we were sitting next to at dinner.
Asadero Camarita is the result of local legend Camarita's passion for a traditional Colombian BBQ. He's a proud smiley man in a large cowboy hat constantly clutching a set of BBQ tongs like a magic wand. His pork ribs and homemade chorizo are well known in the area. As we were passing by round lunchtime on our way back into town it would have been rude not to drop in. Plus we needed to make up for our lack of meat the night before. Rather than ordering anything in particular we just let old Camarita put a big platter together for us which we washed down with a beer. The pork was so juicy and tender and the chorizo definitely gave any of the Choripans (Traditional Argentinian chorizo sandwich) we ate in Argentina a run for their money.
An iced coffee back in town helped us escape from our meat sweats and wake us up a bit. Suitably less sweaty and slightly more awake, we caught a taxi back to the coast and hopped on a bus west to Cartagena Colombia's walled gem of a city.
Minca was a lovely tranquil place that we could have spent a lot longer exploring. It was a bit if a shame we could only spare a night there as there were some great characters in the town and many more miles of waterfalls, farms and mountains to get lost in, something we are pretty good at.