When the view is you


  • Santa Marta – Minca
  • Casa Elemento hostel
  • Minca – Santa Marta

We’d planned yet another overnight stay away from Santa Marta up on the coffee hills of Minca. After just a short 30 minute collective with our new favourite boys, Mike and Simon, we pulled up in Minca town met by a cascade of mototaxis on offer. Our first priority however, was purchasing some pungeant bug spray and cintronella since we’d been informed that the mosquitoes and sand flies were a real issue up at Casa Elemento.

Casa Elemento is known because it’s home to the world’s largest hammock, overlooking the hills towards Santa Marta and then the city and coastline itself. There’s two ways up there from Minca town: 1) trek for 3 hours uphill or, 2) grab a mototaxi. We had all the good intentions of hiking up but the weather wasn’t looking to stay in our favour and instead we opted for four mototaxis to take the four of us up.

Certainly this was a hairy ride as there were some parts of the track that was only really suited to a 4×4 vehicle. We later learnt that a few guests arriving once the rain had started actually fell off their mototaxis in these areas. Still, the 30 minutes uphill on the back of a bike was fun and a beautiful way to experience the landscape. And we couldn’t have timed it better with the weather as the rain began the minute we hopped off our bikes!

Annoyingly the cloud completely engulfed the valley meaning we could see absolute jack sh*t from the hammock itself. We opted initially for a coffee to wait for the rain to pass and took to playing several hands of cards whilst we waited. About an hour later we realised the rain wasn’t going anywhere and made the most of the best hammock views and binocular props! See below for what happened during a very entertaining hour:

Whilst playing around on this and another smaller hammock, we met a few highly entertaining individuals. First was an extremely vain Israeli who insisted on endless GoPro pictures and videos taken by us. Simon was hilarious in humouring this and insisting on a producer role in the credits. The second was another Israeli, dressed in short shorts, Jesus sandals and a tiger hat, who forced his company upon us during cards and stubbornly changing our game and rules whilst doing so! Once they both left we did have a good old laugh about the odd characters we’d encountered that day.

Since the weather was continuing in a terrible way, we ended up playing seven hours of cards that day! I somehow managed to actually get worse as the day went on, but there you go. Fortunately the hostel had an incredible roast chicken dinner on offer which we all leapt at, joining forces with a few new aquatintes over food – Emily and Connor from the UK and Michelle from America.

After dinner, with the rain finally easing up, the hostel lit a bonfire for us to all chill around and enjoy the evening. We bumped in to a mother and her 10-year old son there who were on an eight month trip in the search for a new base. We had a fascinating conversation with her about all sorts of aspects of life until Lucy and I finally decided the tough physical exercision from cards that day had thoroughly knackered us! Our room was a short walk up the hill to another part of the finca, more remote with a slightly different perspective of the view (when actually clear).

The next morning was a sunny one, the clouds remaining high and the view presenting itself in all its glory for us to see!

We head down to the main house for breakfast, making plans for the day with the boys and Emily and Connor to trek to a nearby waterfall. Before leaving Casa Elemento we made the most of now having the real backdrop to the hammocks:

At 10am, off the six of us set uphill towards the waterfall. It was a steep incline, humid and quickly apparent that grey a terrible colour choice to trek in! After half an hour uphill it was another hour back down and we had a few falls and hairy moments along that stretch of the path. However once we arrived at the waterfall, practically looking like we’d already been in for a dip, the hike was totally worth it.

We all jumped in to the refreshing water, belting myseterious girl and getting in some GoPro footage. It did get a little cold and coffee was calling my name so we relocated on mass up to the wooden balcony for a tinto overlooking the falls. Once refuelled and had a good morning laugh, it was time to part ways with Connor and Emily who had to walk back to Casa Elemento for their bags. The four of us continued down the valley for another hour back to Minca town and in search for a collectivo back to the city. 

It wasn’t long before we pulled up back at Dreamer’s with the four of us ordering lunch to end our 24 hours of inseparability. The boys then head off to Palomino for the night and Luce and I had a bus to Medellin. It wasn’t so sad however because they’d also booked the same hostel as us in Medellin for a day later and so we’d only part ways for two days.

So, 192 days in to ‘life from a bag’ and I’ve realised a few important things: 1) grey is a terrible colour to wear for hiking, 2) double panorama shots are great fun and, 3) I’m not so good at card games! Still, Minca was fun and Casa Elemento was a beautiful chill out spot.

Gabby x


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