Where We Work
Minca is a small coffee village located, 650 meters in altitude, in the foothills of the highest coastal mountain range on the planet: The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Magdalena Department. The Sierra rises steeply from the shores of the Caribbean Sea and in just 42 kilometers reaches its maximum height at Pico Colón, 5,775 meters above sea level.
Minca has a pleasant average temperature of 24˚C, lush green landscapes, diverse fauna, crystal clear waterfalls and rock formations. It is also home to warm and friendly people; bringing trust, comfort and absolute peace to the atmosphere.
There are numerous explanations for the origin of the name, Minca. One explanation claims that the name comes from one of the numerous Indian tribes that the Spanish, upon arrival to the Caribbean coast in 1502, found established in this area, the COMINCA tribe. Another explanation states that Minca comes from the word "Minga," a Quechua word that means “communal work or labor.” It is important to note, however, that the original local indigenous culture, the Tayrona, were not one tribe. The chroniclers generalized this name from the name of the group of the Tayros. Although groups had the same technology and the same style in their material culture, different indigenous provinces spoke a variety of languages.
The cities of the Tayrona, before the arrival of the Spanish, were made up of hundreds and sometimes thousands of homes. The communities were organized in circular houses with wooden structures, large temples and stone paved plazas. They were great engineers and made their buildings and structures according to the environment in which they lived; as well as built their towns in a climate of intense rainfall and steep mountains. A prime example of this architecture is seen at the Ciudad Perdida.
During the conquest, many indigenous cities were subjected to persecution and disappeared. Local people were grouped into parishes and Indian villages as a means to assert control over the people and their land; including the conversion to Catholicism and the assimilation to European customs.
In times of New Granada, the Spanish government established a civil-military colony, in what is now Minca, to protect the valuables that were in Santa Marta. In this way, they avoided possible robbery by pirates and repelled and attacked other Indians in the region. Minca was the first and only colony in the Sierra Nevada, but eventually ended up destroyed, leaving today only vestiges of that era.
In the nineteenth century, Minca began to make a name for itself as one of the major areas of sugar cane and coffee plantations in the country. Today, it remains a central point of coffee production in Colombia. Minca is a spectacular little town, in a natural setting and a essential point to get to know the treasures of the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. It is only 16 km from the Caribbean coast, where you can visit quiet and amazing beaches.
Whether you're looking for unique cultural experiences, serene nature and relaxation or adventure, Minca and its surrounding areas have it all. Mountain biking, scuba diving, surfing, hiking, yoga, birdwatching and Spanish immersion are just few of the things you can do while visiting here.
The village of Bellavista sits at about 1,400 meters above sea level and rises to 1,800. It is a coffee region and an area of agriculture that is becoming more organic every day. It consists of dense forests and many rivers. As its name suggests, it offers one of the best views of the Sierra Nevada, Ciénaga (marsh) and the Caribbean sea.
Visit La Tagua, the last village before entering the rugged higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. At 1,750 meters above sea level, it is an experience that will change your life. With only 50 people, including the indigenous community, La Tagua is a haven of peace in a privileged spot, in the mountains, on the northwest face of the Sierra Nevada. La Tagua is abundant with wild vegetation, coffee fields, rivers, waterfalls and one of the most biodiverse areas for birds in the Sierra.
Taganga and the Caribbean
Only a few miles from Minca and a gateway to the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, the Colombian Caribbean is one of the world's most heavenly shores. Taganga, a town of fishermen, is frequently visited by international tourists and recognized as one of the points from which to discover the wonders of the Colombian Caribbean. The area is hugely popular for scuba diving in crystalline waters in the natural bays of the surrounding area. Those who visit Taganga can find dozens of beaches, including the Tayrona National Park. The Taganga area has plenty for travelers to feel at home: friendly and hospitable people, good food, beautiful beaches, spectacular sunsets and all the necessary tourist facilities.