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June 11, 2020

Minca, Colombia Road Trip Disaster

Minca Colombia adventure with Annie Miller

After three days in Santa Marta, Colombia we heard about Minca, and promptly booked a little getaway.

Oh man, this is a STORY. So if you were looking for like, a super informative blog on Minca, this might not be it. I will of course include links to our hotel, bike rental and coffee tour. But this one…this one is about the ADVENTURE which ended in a motor cycle accident and stitches in the ER of Santa Marta.

As you’ll see in the photos below, this getaway started and ended with a peace sign and smiles. Now we explore what happened between these two photos.

Annie and Nate Miller on a scooter in Minca
Annie Miller visits the ER in Santa Marta, Colombia

Minca is a TINY mountain town an hour outside of Santa Marta, Colombia. It is EXACTLY what I imagined the Colombian mountains to look and feel like. Green, raw, lush, and untamed.

Let’s get some of the details out of the way.

We didn’t have much time in Santa Marta to begin with, so we only booked one night in Minca – you should def stay more than one night if you can. There’s a decent amount of things to do on the way up to Minca and once you get into town.

We rented a 250cc motorcycle from Moto Rent Santa Marta for $120 usd for 48 hours + insurance…Praise baby Jesus in Heaven that we bought the insurance, because we 100% broke off the mirror and the crash cage on the outside of the bike in our crash (which also saved our legs from the bike landing on them – WINNING). This rental company was amazing. They spoke great English and were very professional.

Once we had the bike, we headed to Hacienda la Victoria Coffee Roasters and Happy Tucan and Happy Jaguar Brewery (yes, that’s the full name of one brewery). Paid 30,000 col for coffee tour with two other couples. It was truly lovely.

After the coffee and brewery, we headed to our hotel…the adventure REALLY begins.

Adventuring to Minca Colombia with Annie and Nate Miller
Heading to the coffee tour with Annie Miller
Touring the coffee roastery in Santa Marta
Shovel with coffee beans on tour with Annie Miller
Touring Hacienda la Victoria Coffee Roasters with Annie Miller
Exploring Hacienda la Victoria Coffee Roasters
On the coffee roastery tour in Colombia
Coffee beans at Hacienda la Victoria Coffee Roasters
Large bags of coffee beans at Hacienda la Victoria Coffee Roasters outside Minca
bags of coffee beans in Colombia with Annie Miller
Coffee tour in Minca Colombia with Annie mIller

We stayed at Reserva Natural Tierra Adventro. Which we highly recommend. Arriving at the resort is what made me wish we’d booked more than one night. But getting there was straight up, UNSAFE. Starting in Minca all the way up to the hotel was…well, it’s hard to describe.

God bless your soul if you were following these instagram stories. Check the Santa Marta story highlight over on @meanderingmillers.

That’s where you’ll find me, walking with our backpack up the “road” to our accommodation. And you’ll find me, drenched in sweat, walking alone with our backpack because, prior to me walking alone up the mountain, we began to slide backwards, down the mountain, and I had to jump off the bike. You see, Nathanael, myself and our backpack came in at over 400lbs…plus the adventure bike.

According to science, that physically wasn’t working. Not on the mountain “roads” of Minca. If you’re wondering why I keep using quotes around the word ROAD, well, that’s because there wasn’t a road.

It was like driving up uneven cinder blocks with trenches on each side. Or, when there was no cinderblock-like areas, there was dirt; sometimes as thin as the tires. We learned later, that another couple was life-flighted out after accidentally going off the road and down the mountain side. So while I bring humor to this story, I seriously DO NOT suggest taking this route.

Looking back, it was 0% safe. The only other vehicles we saw were actual SUV’s (makes sense), and single rider locals on their little baby motorcycles. Also, makes sense. I wish I could show you the looks we got from the locals. You can only imagine.

Annie Miller in a hammock in Minca, Colombia
Hammock Views in Minca Colombia

It was a 45 minute drive up the mountain; and I truly mean UP THE MOUNTAIN, until we reached the hotel. We arrived with enough time to shower, breathe, eat dinner, and create a plan for getting down the mountain…

lush mountains in Minca Colombia
View from the hotel in Minca Colombia by Annie Miller
Inside the hotel in Minca Colombia with Annie Miller

My original thought was that Nate would take the bike, and I would walk down with the backpack. But Nate insisted that we both be on the bike. The weight of us both might have actually helped keep us grounded.

We went SLLOOOOWWWWW, and got out early. Which was successful. We wanted to be the only ones on the road. That meant a 7:30 departure. You better believe I prayed THE WHOLE way down. Nate also made sure we wore full coverage shirts, full length pants and full coverage shoes. Which proved to be a VERY intelligent move later.

Long story short, we made it down to the paved roads of Minca with only a few close calls along the way.

We stopped on the side of the road to breathe, and take off my sweatshirt – because I was sweating the most. A move I now regret.

So, there we are. The Millers are back to our Santa Marta hotel by 10am. We figured, “shoot – let’s hit up Playaca beach and maybe visit the National Park.” Playaca was a win, but the National Park was closed. So we headed back to return the bike.

All was going smoothly until it wasn’t and we were in the middle of the road, on our sides, with the bike…

The bike did not have anti-lock brakes. That’s a thing apparently. You see, I was on the back, holding both our phones against Nate’s back. I am the navigator so Nate can focus on driving, not looking at the phone.

We’re driving along, at maybe 20mph, and suddenly the road splits, and we will soon be driving into oncoming traffic if we don’t move quickly. I am completely unaware of this because I’m looking at the map (which shows us going straight by the way). So, Nate goes to follow the road, avoid the median and oncoming traffic; but the brakes lock up, and we end up on our sides, and I have NO FREAKING CLUE what is going on.

I was barely injured but 500% went into shock. I felt blood running down my arm and my elbow hurt like a bitch. Nate was fine. Really, we were both fine. It could have been way worse. I’ll save you the photo, but basically my right elbow, which was the hand holding both the phones, took the impact. It hurt, okay? But imagine if I didn’t have a helmet, or full coverage shoes?! Our shoes and pants took some heat, both tore, but if that was bare skin…I don’t even want to think about it.

Nate grabbed the bike and several locals came over to help us – got us water and chairs to sit in, and told us what hospital to go to. We went directly to the ER, got a three stitch HACK JOB, that should have been at least seven stitches. But it didn’t get infected so that’s the real win here.

Insurance covered my stitches, medication and ER visit. But insurance didn’t cover the bike unless it was totaled. So, the mirror and crash bar did cost us $700 USD but the company was so kind, and we got to not have smashed femurs. Well worth it in our book.

We were sore for weeks, but so so so grateful that everything turned out the way that it did. And now, it makes for an awesome adventure story.

But, if you go to Minca, and you should, make sure you rent a car, or taxi, or have an accommodation closer to town. AND, make sure you know if your bike has antilock brakes. You’ll be fine. It will be fine.

Still want to explore Minca? Pin this post for later!

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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