Minca is a tourist Mecca

We had to work pretty hard to get here-a 6:30 am taxi to the bus station, a 5 hour bus to Santa Marta, another taxi from the Santa Marta bus station to 'el mercado' on the outskirts of the city to the 'estacion de Minca' where we found a driver going to Minca that would give us a ride. We were starved by the time we arrived at the estacion de Minca so we decided to wak around huffing our packs looking for something to eat. For blocks all around all we could see were fish markets and auto repair shops. We walked back to the estacion hotter and hungrier. Our car was there waiting for us so we just got a quick limeade from a vendor and got in the car.

This little hunk of junk barely made its way up the mountainside for the 30 minute potholed unpaved ride. The engine was so hot that we actually cooled off when we got out of the car. Minca is a hillside river town where it is noticeably cooler than the coast, one of the reasons we came.
Who knew? Minca is incredibly popular with Colombians on the weekend. Yesterday was Sunday and there were so many people here the streets were jammed with people and cars. And by streets I actually mean just one, there is just a main road and a few smaller roads going off of it. Shops, restaurants, and a church line the street.
We went into the first restaurant we saw, and it turned out to be pretty good. They had tamales, but not like the tamales we think of in Mexican places at home. These were banana leaf packets of food.

Unwrap it and there is cooked rice, beans, meat-chicken in this one- , a slice of carrot and a slice of potato. It was really tasty. We liked it so much that the next day we went back for another one at lunch time. This time the meat looked like a variety of meat, and looked unfamiliar, which causes me to immediately put it on Luis plate. When he ate it he said, oh I think I just ate an organ. Ok, lots of people like organ meats but the even the thought of organ meats makes me feel sick. I lost my appetite a little and asked him not to say it too loud in front of the kids, because I was pretty sure they wouldn't eat it after that.

Our hotel is Hotel Santander, which Luis found by walking around the town while we waited at the restaurant with the packs. Minca is not an economical place to stay, we are actually paying more for this room that we did in Cartagena. It's a pretty good place though, we are the only guests here, and it is right on the river so the kids can step out the door and swim. Food here is also pricy, almost double of what we paid in Cartagena. That's what we get for going to a town that attracts tourists, of the colombian variety anyway. We have seen 3 or 4 backpackers here but haven't made the effort to talk to them.

Just outside the door is a lovely river to swim in.

There is a restaurant next door where they put the table right in the river.

The water is freezing as it comes down from the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Not easy to enjoy a cup of coffee knee deep in cold running water.

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