A complete and up-to-date hiking guide to the 360 Mirador viewpoint hike in Minca, Colombia.
Looking for the absolute best viewpoint hike from the town of Minca, Colombia? Look no further than the “360 Mirador” hike, offering spectacular views of Santa Marta, Minca town, and the jungle-covered foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about this awesome hike, how to get to the trailhead, what to expect, as well as some photos from the trail and the view from the top!
Featured in: 21 Awesome Things to do in Minca
Table of contents
- Is This the Best Viewpoint Hike in Minca?
- Minca Colombia: Best Tours & Experiences
- Where is the 360 Mirador in Minca
- 360 Mirador Trail – Complete Hiking Guide
- View from the Minca 360 Mirador (Visto Alto)
- Where to Stay in Minca, Colombia
- More Colombia Travel Guides & Adventure Inspiration
Is This the Best Viewpoint Hike in Minca?
Minca is a backpacker and hiking paradise! From awesome waterfalls and jungle trails to alpine vistas, if you're looking for a place to go hiking in Colombia, you've found it!
While Los Pinos is more popular, in my opinion, the 360 Mirador offers the best views in terms of hikes straight from town. In less than 2 hours, you'll find yourself on top of a jungle ridge with views spanning over Minca town, Rodadero, Santa Marta, Tayrona National Park, and the never-ending interior of the Sierra Nevada.
If you're looking for the absolute best viewpoint in the region, you can't miss Cerro Kennedy (overnight).
Minca Colombia: Best Tours & Experiences
Before I get into this guide, here's a rundown of my favorite tours and experiences in Minca.
- Ciudad Perdida Trek - Perhaps the most fulfilling trekking experience in Colombia. Trek to "The Lost City" in the Sierra Nevada, an archaeological site built some 650 years before even Machu Picchu!
- Birdwatching Tour - Minca is world-famous for its wildlife, especially its birds. Let a local show you the best spots to photograph and spot beautiful tropical birds like toucans and hummingbirds.
- Minca Full Day Tour - The best-rated tour in town which covers all the highlights in one day. Includes waterfalls and cacao plantation tours.
Where is the 360 Mirador in Minca
The 360 Mirador (translates to 360 viewpoint), is located just outside of Minca Town, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.
- GPS Coordinates: 11°09′38.75″N 74°06′15.26″W
The viewpoint itself sits at the high point (punto alto), of a prominent ridge just above the town. Below I've pinned the exact location of the viewpoint to help you orientate yourself.
Read on for exact directions and trail information.
Related: Pozo Azul in Waterfall (Minca)
How to Get to the Viewpoint Trailhead
Much of this hike follows a steep and winding mountain road which is unsealed and commonly used by motorbikes. Depending on where you are staying in Minca, you'll have a few options for getting to the trailhead.
However, to make things as simple as possible, you'll want to head to the start of the mountain road. This is located near Cabaña San Luis on Google Maps.
This is a dirt road with a few restaurants and hotels just off the main strip in Minca.
- Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 11°08'46.9"N 74°06'46.6"W
Once you arrive at this point, follow the signs for "360 Mirador", and "Trekker Glamping" (famous mountain pod lodging), which continues up the mountain.
There's also an option to pay a motorbike taxi driver to take you up most of the road. I'm not sure how much this would cost, since we decided to hike instead.
360 Mirador Trail - Complete Hiking Guide
- Hiking Distance: Approximately 8.5 km (5.3 miles) return
- Duration: 3-4 hours
- Elevation: 550 meters total elevation gain |
360 Mirador altitude: 1180 m
- Difficulty: Medium (steep)
This trail is one of the steepest hikes in Minca but follows a road for much of the walk. There are also several lodges and small cafes on the way up, offering a spot to relax and rest.
From the point pinned above, follow the steep gravel and concrete road up the hill. It's very difficult to get lost in this section since you won't be faced with any confusing turns or forks. The road is exposed for much of the walk. However, it passes through forested sections as well, offering a bit of relief from the hot Colombian sun.
Along the way, you'll get nice views of the jungle interior and the steep ridges above. Furthermore, some sections passing small houses and cabañas have beautiful gardens and bamboo outcrops.
After approximately 2.5 kilometers from the point above, you'll arrive at the first fork. Here, you'll see a sign marked "360 Viewpoint", with an arrow pointing to your left. Follow the sign. Next, you'll pass an abandoned set of concrete buildings and enter the dense jungle.
From this point, it's only a short 20-25 walk to the viewpoint. Along the way, there is a small local hut with a very kind lady living here. We asked to purchase some bananas from her but she rejected payment.
Of course, we insisted, but this gesture is just another of many examples of true kindness that I've experienced during my travels, especially from those who have very little. After a short argument, we gave her 2,000 pesos (she wouldn't take more), and she showed us the path to the 360 Mirador.
Related: Marinka Waterfall (Minca)
Just a few minutes from this lady's hut, the final ascent begins. Again, this steep dirt path is clearly marked by a large wooden sign. The last ascent will take you less than 5 minutes but it is steep.
Finally, you'll arrive at a cleared point on the ridge, which marks the end of this amazing viewpoint hike in Minca.
View from the Minca 360 Mirador (Visto Alto)
After the long, steep, and sweaty slog to the top, we were greeted with clear and expansive views over what felt was the whole of Northern Colombia!
To the north, we were gifted with uninterrupted views of Santa Marta town and Rodadero, as well as their outlying islands. Additionally, for the first time in Minca, we were able to see the mountainous coastal range of the world-famous Tayrona National Park.
The reason behind the name "360 Mirador", or "360 Viewpoint" is immediately clear, since this is a spot that truly offers panoramic views of both sides of Minca. From behind, we could also see the beautiful jagged jungle ranges slowly climbing higher and higher into the clouds.
We spent about an hour at the viewpoint admiring the view and waiting for the sunset. In the end, we donned our head torches and double-backed our route back to our lodge at Finca San Rafael.
View the hike: My Strava - note that I started my hike from my lodging at Finca San Rafael, which made it roughly 3.5 kilometers longer.
Where to Stay in Minca, Colombia
The main town of Minca is quite small, and you'll discover that some of the best places to stay are on the jungle foothills of the surrounding mountains. Below I've included the current top-rated options for various budgets. But, don't miss this guide to where to stay in Minca for more options & a neighborhood breakdown.
While everybody knows about the famous Sierra Minca, there are several other great places to consider as well. Minca has some of the best hostels in South America, and the unmissable ones sell out frequently, so it's best to book in advance!
- Stay at an Organic Cacao & Coffee Farm: Finca San Rafael - This is where I stayed, and it was one of my favorite lodges in all of Colombia. Set in the jungle just outside of town, this beautiful oasis offers a pool with mountain views, and private or shared rooms, and offers plantation tours to learn about the cultivation process of cacao and coffee.
- Finca Carpe Diem Ecolodge - 9.6/10 rating on HostelWorld with over 800 reviews! This is an absolute backpacker heaven with 3 swimming pools, and amazing jungle views, and is well-located close to amazing hikes.
- Casas Viejas - Winner of the best hostel award in South America! Unfortunately, this place was booked out when we visited, but many claim that this is one of the best hostels in the world!
More Colombia Travel Guides & Adventure Inspiration
I hope that this quick hiking guide to the best viewpoint hike in Minca has inspired you to climb up to the 360 Mirador!
For more travel and adventure inspiration for Colombia, check out some of my other guides below!