Perched 600m high up in the Sierra Nevada above Santa Marta, Minca is a small mountain village famous for its organic coffee, incredibly varied birdlife and – perhaps more importantly – much cooler temperatures than on the scorching coast below. The town, which until a few years ago could only be reached via a dirt road, is delightful, surrounded by thick cloud forest and soaring mountain peaks. Despite being recognized by Unesco as a biosphere reserve since 1980, it's only in the last few years that Minca has grown as a traveler destination, with a slew of new hostels and hotels.
It's now well and truly on the map, however, and specializes in ultra-remote traveler retreats scattered amid the surrounding steep mountainsides. A great base for mountain biking, bird-watching and hiking, Minca also offers delightfully warm locals who seem genuinely happy to see visitors.