The mountain town of Minca burst onto the Colombia travel scene a few years ago and has been a traveler’s favourite since.
Staying in Minca is all about being in nature, with hostels competing to offer the best sunset jungle views or nicest spots by the river.
More than perhaps anywhere else in Colombia, exactly where you decide to stay in Minca will have a huge impact on your experience. Having stayed in Minca for probably a lot longer than most, let me guide you here to some of the best options.
Minca town itself has a selection of nice restaurants, cafes, and bakeries, but it’s probably not where you’ll want to stay. Not because it’s awful or anything; it’s actually a fairly quiet backpacker town that’s quite enjoyable. It’s just that staying at least a bit outside of the town is so much better.
I strongly recommend staying either on the fringes of town or somewhere more remote, as this is where you find the best hostels in Minca.
Best hostels around Minca town
Even though it’s quite small, Minca town is still a good hub to be somewhat near to. It’s easy to grab a taxi, moto-taxi, or rental near the bridge at the center of town. Still, being a bit more on the edges of Minca will ensure you get the full nature experience as well.
Casa Loma Minca
This hostel is where I stayed for most of my time in Minca. It’s amazing!
But first, some bad news: it’s on a hill. You’re gonna have to haul your luggage up maybe 50 meters (160 feet) worth of steep stairs. But trust me, it’s worth it.
Quick question: does this seem like an acceptable view?
If your answer is yes, then you should seriously stay at Casa Loma Minca.
It’s like being up in a crow’s nest above the trees. Honestly just being there feels amazing. It has three lounge areas with viewing decks, one with WiFi and the other two without, helping to create a social vibe.
It is admittedly a bit of a pain to have to walk up and down the hill every time. Casa Loma’s business model probably relies on this a bit, because their restaurant — with very yummy food — often just makes you too lazy to go into town to eat. But it doesn’t matter, as the hilltop location is just out of this world.
Private jungle huts, as well as several dorms, are offered. Keep in mind you’re in the jungle a bit, though all beds come equipped with mosquito nets. The sounds of crickets at night are wonderful to fall asleep to.
Costeno River Minca
On the southern edge of town, this hostel also boasts some completely unspoiled views of the jungle. You don’t need to watch the canopy for very long to already spot all kinds of colorful birds and other creatures.
Still, the hostel is no more than a 10-minute walk from the town center, making it easy to reach any of the cafes and restaurants.
The viewing decks aren’t quite as high up as in Casa Loma, but Costeno River Minca has another big plus, which is the swimming pool. All the different areas are also equipped with nets that are basically large hammocks which will give you full forest immersion.
Costeno River Minca has many private rooms with their own balconies, as well as one dorm room ideal for solo travellers. Note that this is one of the highest-rated hostels in Colombia and therefore it’s often fully booked out!
When I first tried to stay at Costeno River Minca, it was completely occupied for the next two weeks. Make your reservation early for a chance to stay in this epic spot.
Rio Elemento Ecolodge
This is my third-best suggestion if you want to stay a little bit on the edge of Minca town. It’s located by the river about 5 minutes north of the taxi stop, which is far enough not to hear the noise from the town, but still pretty close to many shops and restaurants.
I should mention that a few years ago a different hostel called Casa Elemento existed in a remote spot in the forest. If you’re reading older blog posts about Minca, you will often see this one mentioned. This location closed however and the current Rio Elemento Ecolodge took its name. Don’t get confused as they’re two different hostels!
Rio Elemento doesn’t have an expansive view like the aforementioned hostels but it does have the biggest swimming pool in Minca, which is even adorned by a giant tree trunk from which you can jump in.
It also has a lively bar and restaurant, a gym, yoga area, and a private little trail to the river where you can also take a dip and where there are several rope swings.
It offers a range of private rooms (more or less hotel-style), jungle cabins, tents, and four dorm rooms. Family rooms are available as well. If you’re looking for a larger and somewhat more premium hostel that has every facility and service, then Rio Elemento is a great choice.
Best hostels outside Minca
For more of an ecotourism experience in nature, choose a hostel outside of town. All along the main Santa Marta to Minca road there are hostels, eco-lodges and guesthouses. You won’t have as many restaurants or cafes nearby, but the advantage is being somewhere much more secluded.
Here are some top picks in (somewhat) more remote locations:
Finca Carpe Diem Ecolodge
Finca Carpe Diem is easily one of the best hostels I’ve stayed in Colombia. It’s located in Paso del Mango, a valley located far north of Minca, and a bit of a ‘secret’ alternative.
Paso del Mango is not necessarily better than Minca, just a different option if you’re seeking more solitude in nature. There isn’t a town nearby, but the hostel has a great restaurant and bar on-site.
The best thing about Finca Carpe Diem is that you are truly in the jungle. Hikes start basically right outside your door. A private trail even leads to a special viewing point. A coffee and a cacao farm are just a short walk away and can be visited anytime.
The facilities are top-notch. There are also not one but three pools and one of the most amazing viewing decks you could wish for. (Can you tell I really loved this place?)
The ecolodge is separated into a ground level area with the restaurant and private huts, and a hilltop level with the dorms and viewing deck. Varied and high-quality food is served so you don’t have to worry about getting hungry.
This hostel is a bit of a location-based concept, so you’ll probably end up getting all your food and activity bookings through the hostel.
Getting there involves taking a taxi to Bonda, then switching to a moto-taxi along dirt roads to the finca. You’ll ride on the back with your luggage in front with the driver. Don’t worry, this ride is a lot of fun!
Mundo Nuevo Eco Lodge
This sustainability-focused farm hostel is approximately a 20 minutes drive north of Minca.
It’s an excellent choice for wildlife-watching; I went on a morning birdwatching walk in the area directly around Mundo Nuevo Eco Lodge and spotted a mind-blowing range of feathered creatures.
The hostel has its own vegetable gardens with many hammocks, a pool, and a terraced field from where you can watch the valley. The on-site restaurant (using organic produce from the garden) ensures you don’t necessarily have to go into town to eat.
Mundo Nuevo Eco Lodge is the best choice if you’re looking for truly an “eco” place. Dorms as well as double/triple/quadruple rooms are available.
Jungle Joe Ecolodge
This ecolodge is located about 1km west of Minca, close to the river, beautiful waterfalls and natural pools.
It’s a sustainability-oriented accommodation using solar energy, proper waste management, and so on, offering a low-impact accommodation inside the forest.
The Jungle Joe lodge offers great sunset views of Santa Marta and the surrounding hills in the evening. A very good breakfast is also included in the price. The owner is highly knowledgable of the area and happy to share many tips for the best places to go.
The “Joe” is actually an established presence in Minca, also having a shop inside town from where you can book trips or rent a moped/motorbike.
Jungle Joe also has what many consider the best bird-watching trips in Minca, led by a man who’s been an ecologist for 48 years but who will point out birds with the same enthusiasm as though it’s his first time spotting them.
There are various types of rooms available at Jungle Joe Ecolodge but no dorms.
Book Jungle Joe Lodge at: Hostelworld
Best hostels in Minca town
Minca is specialized in remote nature stays, but if you do want to stay inside the town, you definitely can. During the day it’ll be a bit noisy with motorbike and car traffic, but at night it’s peaceful.
What I like about Guacamaya is that it’s a family-owned hostel that feels more like a guesthouse. If you enjoy hostels with a homely feel, with shared kitchen facilities, and a true “traveller vibe”, then this should be your pick.
What’s unique about this hostel is that it’s smaller, having only one dorm room. This gives it a more personal atmosphere. It’s cheaper than most hostels but it should be said it’s also more basic in terms of facilities. I only spent one night here when I made a last-minute decision to lengthen my stay in Minca, but for a longer stay you may wish to consider some of the more ‘destination hostels’ mentioned before.
Besides cheap dorms, Hostal Guacamaya also has a camping area where you can set up a tent for a small fee.
Book Hostal Guacamaya at: Hostelworld
Map view for more Minca hostels
I’ve shared recommendations here based on where I’ve stayed or visited. But there are at least over 100 hostels and eco-lodges spread around over the Minca area, so you may find a special place just for you.
Use the map below to find the best hostel and hotel deals in Minca:
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