Calle 11 and Carerra 12 is the meeting place in Santa Marta for the collectivo to Minca, which is a rather old jeep with extra bench seats in the way back. Before we could take our seats we had to wait for them to load a ton of produce on the roof, including a big plastic bag of carne (Beef)..nope not refrigerated just stting up in the sun...makes the vegetarian thing look like a good idea. Finally I got a seat in the way back with 3 other adults and our backpacks. Poor Coleen was sqaushed in the back seat with 3 other people! Thank God it is only a 40 minute ride and all for $2.50 each.
Thankfully my seat mates were an interesting bunch because I was squashed in so tight I couldn't move an inch. I chatted all the way there wit a young couple from Bogota and an older Irish backpacker. The young lady teaches script writing and film history at university and writes for a tv show, her husband is a computer programmer. It was great fun to visit with native Colombians.
We arrived in Minca around 10 a.m. , strapped on our new backpacks, bought a few snacks and started the steep hike up to the Casa Loma. Admittedly I was huffing and puffing my way up and saw stars a few times but we made it.
We checked in, chilled for a few minutes and then much to Coleen's dismay I decided we should do the one hour trek to Pozo Azul, one of the local waterfalls. It was a dusty, hot, up hill walk, and I was getting used to the new pack..still learning how to adjust it. We stopped at a roadside place with an amazing view and had delicious fresh strawberry juice for $1 each. I had never even heard of strawberry juice, but can report itnis very refreshing!
A rickety, high foot bridge led to the waterfall area and which was filled with people. We learned that just about anything goes for swimwear, underpants and bra, or for gentlemen just underpants which Coleen did not appreciate. The water was icy cold and we soaked our weary feet and enjoyed people watching, but decided that perhaps our undergarmets were too fancy for a swim.
It was a much quicker walk back to Minca as it was mostly downhill. We stopped for lunch at the Lazy Cat and chose a table on the balcony overlooking the babbling river. Not a great lunch, but at $5 for the 2 the price was right and we had plenty to eat.
Finally we trudged up the hill to Casa Loma again and found our tree house room ready. It's a but rustic with a shared bath, but the view is amazing and we have our own little balcony with a hammock and rocking chair. It's $24 a night for the treehouse room, but could slept in a covered hammock for $10. Guess who voted for the tree house and won...Coleen..
Dinner is at eight and the chef is busy making a veggie lasagne..til then we are relaxing in our little mountain paradise.