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How to Visit Marinka Waterfalls in Minca & What to Expect

How to Visit Marinka Waterfalls in Minca & What to Expect

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Discover Marinka Waterfalls, two easily accessible cascades in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Minca.

One of the absolute best things to do in the town of Minca near Santa Marta is to visit the Marinka Waterfalls. These two large jungle cascades are situated amidst a beautiful forest and offer a deep swimming pool, an onsite cafe, and a few giant hammocks.

After exploring many hiking trails in the area, I’ve written this guide to help you visit Marinka Falls. I’ll include how to get here (3 options), what to expect, and of course, some photos from my trip.

What You Need to Know About Marinka Waterfalls

Although often overshadowed by the very popular Pozo Azul swimming hole, the Marinka Waterfalls are much more beautiful and far less busy! Here's what you need to know.

  • These are two large cascades set in a dense, green forest, with the opportunity to swim in a deep freshwater pool.
  • You can get here via a scenic 1-hour hike from Minca town along Cerro Kennedy Oriente, or take a moto taxi from town for 15,000 pesos and walk the last 10 minutes. (more info below).
  • There is also a cafe/restaurant on-site, and some huge net hammocks overlooking the lower cascade.
  • These cascades are referred to in Spanish as "Cascada de Marinka".

Tip: You don't need a tour guide to visit these waterfalls. But, you can also combine a visit to Marinka Falls with other waterfalls and other notable viewpoints in the area with this awesome day trip from town!

Marinka lower waterfall, colombia

Where is Marinka Waterfall?

These jungle cascades are located approximately 3.6 km from the town of Minca in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. You'll find it at the end of a dirt road, which begins at a turn-off on "Cerro Kennedy Oriente" leading from the pueblo.

Google Maps Pin: Marinka Waterfalls, Arimaca, Santa Marta, Magdelana

The Marinka Waterfalls are well-marked on Google Maps and finding the location is very easy from town. Below is a convenient map with the correct and up-to-date location. However, I've also included more detailed information on how we got here below.

Marinka waterfalls map in minca, colombia

How to get to Marinka Falls

Since these waterfalls are located near Minca, the first step is getting to this town. Here's an overview of how to get to Minca from Santa Marta.

Taxi40,000 - 70,000 pesosDirect ride from Santa Marta to Minca Town
Shared Bus (Colectivo)9,000 pesos per personRuns daily from the main square in Santa Marta

If you're already in Minca, you now have three options to get to the Marinka Waterfalls, either by a hike (like we did), take a moto taxi, or book a Marinka day tour.

Option 1: Hike Along Cerro Kennedy Oriente from Minca Town

The first option is to simply walk the 3.6 km road from town. This is a pleasant, roughly 1-hour walk, following a shaded and unsealed road called "Cerro Kennedy Oriente". This begins at the end of the main strip (past the church).

This road is easy to follow and climbs gently. Along the way (roughly halfway), we passed a small trail with an inconspicuous sign on the right-hand side. This lead down a short 100 m dirt track to another waterfall called "Oido del Mundo", or Ear of the World. This is another beautiful 2-tier waterfall and swimming spot worth checking out along the way (highly recommend).

Soon, we arrived at a small dirt road turn-off next to a large MotoMink sign and a restaurant/lodge called "Villa Verde Colombia". We turned left here and took the short hike up the slightly steep dirt track for about 10 minutes.

Hiking in minca, colombia

On the way, we passed a few small cafes and strangely, an artificial rock-climbing setup that looks like it's abandoned.

Hiking in minca, colombia
Rock climbing structure

This is the cheapest way to visit the waterfalls since it doesn't cost anything!

Soon, we arrived at the entrance to a complex where we paid the entrance fee.

Breath enjoy sign

Option 2: Take the Moto taxi from Minca Town

If you're feeling lazy, you can take a motorbike taxi from the center of Minca Town. The drivers are located near the yellow bridge in town and their business is called MotoMink. We used their services a few times, including all the way up to Cerro Kennedy and can recommend them.

Location: MotoMink

They will take you as far as the dirt road at the fork above. This costs around 10,000 pesos per person each way.

Note you will still need to walk the last 10 minutes to the waterfalls from the main road as the motorbikes cannot take this track.

Net hammock in the jungle, colombia

Option 3: Full-Day Marinka Waterfall Tour From Santa Marta

A full-day tour is the perfect way to explore the Marinka Waterfalls and other highlights of Minca. This private day trip is customizable to suit your needs, making it ideal for travelers who want to experience more of what Minca has to offer.

About the tour:

  • You'll stop to admire the views and stunning waterfalls of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park
  • Soak in waterfalls
  • Learn about local culture and gastronomy at the Museo del Cacao

This option is perfect for those who prefer a comprehensive and comfortable experience or don't have time to visit Minca for more than a day.

Waterfall in colombia

Our Experience Visiting Marinka Waterfall

  • Entrance Fee: 15,000 Colombian Pesos
  • Opening Times: 9 am-5 pm

Upon arriving, I immediately noticed that these waterfalls had some serious tourism infrastructure, which isn't too common for waterfalls in South America.

At the entrance, the guard asks for the entrance fee, which seems to have gotten more expensive (it used to be 5,000).

From here, you'll take a short walk following a clean, concrete path passing some impressive net hammocks. These hammocks offer a very scenic view of the huge trees, dense forests, and the lower falls.

We stopped here for a few minutes and had a quick snack before heading down.

Girl looking at marinka waterfall in minca, colombia

The First Waterfall: Great for Swimming

Passing the restaurant where you can get a cup of coffee or rest in more large net hammocks, turn left and you'll make your way down to the lower falls.

Walkway to the restaurant at marinka waterfalls

This is the most spectacular and is the best one for swimming as it has the deepest swimming hole at the base of the waterfall. I'd say at the deepest point the water is roughly 1.5 meters.

The falls are set amongst magnificent scenery and flow down rocky creeks with overhanging forests and vines. Furthermore, visitors will find a wooden boarded section near the edge of the swimming hole. This has some bench seats to sit and relax on as well.

Marinka waterfall one, minca, colombia
Swimming at the lower marinka falls, minca, colombia
Marinka waterfall, colombia

The Second Waterfall: Larger But No Swimming

To reach the second Marinka Waterfall, you need to walk back up past the restaurant and up a short concrete path.

The second waterfall upstream is slightly larger than the first but finishes in a very shallow pool that is not great for swimming.

However, it's still a very impressive sight and great for photos. I climbed up on the rock face on the right-hand side to capture some unique angles of this beautiful Minca waterfall.

Upper waterfall, marinka falls, minca
Man standing next to marinka waterfall in colombia
Marinka waterfall, minca

Is There a Third Waterfall?

When I visited, I noticed that there was an old sign indicating a way to "waterfall three". However, on the official map (which seems to be new), this wasn't included. The path was also closed off, and when we tried to go around, we were told by the restaurant staff not to.

Either way, I was happy to experience the two tiers of Marinka Waterfalls, spending roughly 2 hours here swimming and enjoying the beautiful and calm atmosphere.

Marinka falls

Tip: Continue to Los Pinos & Sierra Minca

Looking to include these awesome waterfalls on a full-day hiking trip from Minca? This is exactly what we did, and I'd highly recommend following our route!

Once you leave the complex at Marinka Waterfalls, look for a rocky trail leading up the hill on the left-hand side. This is marked as "Reserva Natural Tierra Adentro".

This trail leads up through an amazing nature reserve (great for bird watching) and continues to climb up banana plantations and coffee farms to the famous Sierra Minca hostel, Casa Elemento viewpoint, and eventually, Los Pinos– an amazing viewpoint over Minca.

If you have time, you can even do coffee tours from the cacao and coffee plantation you'll walk through (another essential travel experience in Minca). These plantations are smaller and less commercialized than the popular Finca La Victoria.

Also, this route can be combined into a 2 or even 3-day journey on the way up to Cerro Kennedy (the best viewpoint in the region).

Typical itinerary: My Strava

Swimming in a river in colombia

After the Waterfalls: Check Out These Nature Experiences in Minca

Here's a rundown of my favorite tours and experiences in Minca.

Lost city trek in minca, colombia

1. Ciudad Perdida Trek Top-Pick

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!

Tropical bird at sunrise

2. 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.

Jungle waterfall in minca, colombia

3. 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 to Stay in Minca

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 my favorite picks for where to stay in Minca.

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!

Finca san rafael minca

1. Finca San Rafael Cacao & Coffee Farm

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 plantation tours to learn about the cultivation process of cacao and coffee.

Finca carpe diem ecolodge in minca

2. Finca Carpe Diem Ecolodge

9/10 rating on HostelWorld with over 1,000 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 by masaya hotel in minca

3. 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 Photos of the Marinka Waterfalls

I hope this short travel guide to visiting the beautiful Marinka Waterfalls in Minca has been useful in planning your adventures!

While you're here, make sure to check out some of my other guides for Colombia below, or more photos of these falls to get you hyped.

  • Medellín Travel Guide: Discover fun activities and top highlights in Medellín
  • San Andrés Island: Guide to Colombia's best Caribbean Island
  • Minca Travel Guide: Discover incredible hikes, beautiful fincas, epic jungle waterfalls, and all-around relaxing vibes.
  • Things to do in Guatapé: Travel to Colombia's most scenic Antioquian town, known for its vibrant streets, traditional street art, and the famous Piedra del Peñol.
Girl and sunset at coffee plantation in minca

Colombia Accommodation Guides

Find the best places, areas, and accommodation picks across Colombia.

Marinka waterfalls
Marinka waterfall
Marinka cascades and swimming pool, colombia
Marinka lower waterfall
Girl swimming at marinka waterfall
Large upper minca waterfall
Marinka falls, colombia
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.