Hola! I am back from my travels, happy but exhausted. I'm taking some time to post everything, as I warned you. Also, since I'm leaving Cartagena in only a week, I surprisingly have other priorities than writing my blog... However, the sun is shining and I'm writing this post by the swimming pool so things could be worse. I'm keeping a 15 min writing, 15 min swimming/tanning rhythm, we'll see how it goes. I'm doing my best and instead of writing long stories will let you enjoy a great collection of pictures from all over the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. Now let's start with Minca, one of my absolute favourite places in Colombia, and well in the world.
I started my Caribbean Coast travels in the great company of two Finnish guys, H and V. H is the one I randomly met in Miami in January and then in Sao Paulo in April, where he was doing a Uni exchange. V is his friend from Helsinki who did his Uni exchange in Santiago de Chile and then both guys went traveling together for a month. And so they ended up in my beautiful town of Cartagena. Especially H, who is a Miami-lover, instantly became a fan of Cartagena, no wonder why.
We spent some time here in Cartagena walking around, and met up with my other friends to cheer for the Colombian football team (but we lost and in the end placed 3rd in Copa America, now just rooting for France in the Euro cup!).
Then we took a bus up north and traveled via Santa Marta to Minca, a small village in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Activities to do in Minca include walking around in the forest, swimming in natural pools and waterfalls, bird watching, and mountain biking. However, what was the one thing I wanted to do in Minca, and what I totally recommend, is to climb (or take a moto-taxi) up the hill to a hostel called Casa Elemento and spend a night or two there. Their speciality is the "world's biggest hammock" from where you can admire the spectacular views over the mountains. It was breathtaking, a place where really your mind a body relax and you get the feeling of being very very far from everything.
More than that, Casa Elemento is a wonderful place in every way. It is a very cozy hostel with extremely friendly personnel. Somehow it felt like being at a summer cottage with a bunch of friends, not like being in a hostel. We even had dinner in the garden all together in the evening. Besides, it was midsummer, which is a big thing in Finland. So I couldn't have been happier spending time with the Finnish boys at a place that - except for the views, the weather and the fact that the sun set at 7 - could have been a summer cottage in Finland.
A piece of advice from me: To make the most of your stay at Casa Elemento, wake up a 5am when everyone else is still sleeping, take a book with you, and lie down in the hammock. You'll see an exceptionally beautiful sunrise somewhere far over the mountains, and you'll feel like you are the only person in the world.
If you need some peace and calm, and a chill evening with friends and new acquaintances, and if trying out the world's biggest hammock is on your bucket list, Casa Elemento is the place to be. Next time I come to Colombia, I'll be back.
Casa Elemento bookings:
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0057 311 655 9207.
Rates per night: Hammock 25 000 COP/8€, Dorm bed 40 000 COP/12.5€, Private cabaña for two 150 000 COP/47€.
Casa Elemento organises all kinds of activities and adventurous trips around Minca and the region - just ask the hostel staff and they will tell you more.
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I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!