Minca with the Hinks

Captain had to stay behind last time we went to Minca, so he was super excited to get to ride along. This time we would be staying at Mundo Nuevo, way up a dirt road from town, so we got picked up in a beefy 4×4.

It had been a while since Captain had had the chance to explore a big car, and he made the most of it. He’s not usually a lap cat, but he makes an exception for car rides.

After we passed through Minca proper, the roads got a lot rougher, and we had a bumpy ride up the hill. They also get narrower, so every car coming the other direction presents a small logistical challenge. Also note the plastic tubes running along the road: those are water lines, just hanging out in the open waiting for tires.

We arrived at Mundo Nuevo, and were greeted by a very efficient reception cat. Our rooms were not ready yet, so we hung out in the open restaurant/lounge space for a while.

And we took in the beautiful view as we waited for what would turn out to be a delicious vegetarian lunch. Captain had a great time exploring and meeting the natives.

After lunch, we needed a little more lounging to digest.

Then we collected ourselves and took a walk through the woods to the adjacent coffee and cacao plantation, Finca la Candelaria.

We had a few minutes wait while the owner finished the previous tour. We didn’t mind at all because they had set out bananas and attracted a bunch of birds, including our very first in-person toucan!

We opted for the chocolate tour, which took us out into the woods to look at a cacao tree, and then back into the shop. We watched a demonstration of the cocoa production process, which culminated in a glass of hot chocolate and a chocolate mask. Tauni thought this made great camouflage.

As we left, we passed a donkey making a delivery of coffee beans. Beans from a little further in the production process are drying in the sun.

The walk back lovely, of course. We passed poinsettias and banana trees and some lovely views.

When we got back to Mundo Nuevo, we checked into our rooms, and gave Captain a little time to get acquainted with the mosquito nets and the fleece blankets.

The humans reconvened in time for a lovely sunset from the terraced field below the hotel. Jazz, with her still ever-present tissue box, still wanted to take a drippy sunset portrait.

Then we came back up the stairs and hung out in the hammocks outside the Hinks’ room.

At dinner that night, we started seeing sparks in the night sky, and were just saying “We should probably tell someone about that” when there was a big crack and the power went out. In the morning, the cause revealed itself: a piece of bamboo had fallen across the power lines. This would take a little while to fix; in the meantime, mealtimes would require the generator. Captain didn’t seem to notice or mind, and continued hiding in the flowers and staring at birds.

Meanwhile, Jazz’s heel-blisters from her exploding shoes in Cartagena were refusing to heal. We contemplated just hanging around for the day…

… but our energy was running strong, so we decided to take a hike up to a nearby “mirador” lookout point. We started off on road, which turned into trail, and every couple thousand feet we’d pass somebody picking coffee. Jazz gamely went the whole way in flipflops.

From the top, we could see all the way back to Santa Marta. Jazz’s parents smiled for some great photos.

Andrew, Jazz, and Captain were less successful, mostly because Captain was not excited about the view. We managed to get one good family photo though.

Captain did a lot of walking on the way up, but he’s never been as big a fan of down, so he spent most of the descent riding in his carrier.

We had planned on heading straight back to Santa Marta after lunch, but changed our plans when we learned that the Hinks had never been on a coffee tour. So we convinced our departure taxi to make a stop for us at Finca La Victoria. Getting there was another bumpy ride, including fording the river right out front, but very pretty, especially the huge strands of bamboo.

We took the tour for our second time, the Hink’s and Captain’s first. He loved the outdoor parts.

He was not as excited about the factory sections.

After the tour, we had a beer from the excellent on-site Nevada Cerveceria, and then piled back in the car to drive back down to Santa Marta.

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