The gringo track along the coast of Colombia is well worn, my friends. Obviously, you start off with Cartagena. Probably hit up Casa en el Agua and the mud volcano. Skip past poor Barranquilla (but don’t!). Drink your face off in Santa Marta. Tick of Taganga, Tayrona Park, Ciudad Perdida, Palomino, and finally Minca.
Minca, in particular, lures tourists with its coffee. Its waterfalls. Its weed. Oh, how I love me some Minca. The cool mountainous retreat, located about an hour from Santa Marta, is also famous for the aforementioned and very Instagramable HAMMOCK. Said hammock is claimed on websites to be the world’s biggest. Yet, about 50 places around the world claim to showcase the biggest, or widest, or highest hammock in the world. Whatever, one needs to see these things in person to be judgmental.
The bearer of the great hammock is Casa Elemento, a hostal high up in Minca that caters to the gringo masses. Though we didn’t stay at the Casa (see below), we made it a point to take advantage of their day pass. The Paradise Pass gives you access to their pool, shower facilities, and hammocks for the cool price of 10,000 pesos. Nevertheless, nine of out 10 tourists chose this hostal as their base for Minca (evident by the motorcyclists that attack you upon reaching Minca… “Casa Elemento? Casa ELEMENTO?!!”) We can’t speak for the sleeping quarters, but definitely weren’t feeling the vibe. It’s hard to absorb the magic of Minca when there are shutterbugs constantly obstructing your view of, oh, everything. The cuisine, however, was fabulous. CURRY. If only that one waitstaff wasn’t such a dick.
The hammock itself
Let’s start with the positive. Position your camera just right and you’re able to cut off the other tourists. The ground below. The edges of the hammock. THERE. You got yourself one hell of a profile pic.
But there’s a lot the online photos neglect to show you. Such as the holes. The giant ass man-eating holes that dot the hammock like ubiquitous Colombian huecos. Aesthetically, it ain’t pleasing but so as long as you’re not intoxicated, you shouldn’t fall through. But if you do, you won’t fall far. The hammock isn’t exactly hovering over a cliff. You may roll off it eventually but yeah. You’re not as badass looking as the photos show.
It’s also not the most agreeable hammock to snuggle up with. Abandon all hope in reading a book. The ropes are coarse as f*&$. I found that the only way to comfortably— and safely— get to the other side was to roll across like a floppy hot dog. And that was after waiting for the other tourists to get their selfish asses up out of my damn way. If the hammock wasn’t so close to the ground, I would’ve pushed several teenage girls off due to selfie abuse.
An alternative solution
Instead of following the other lemmings, forge your own path and make the hammock less of a priority. For example, we stayed at the enchanting Casas Viejas. It welcomes a much more intimate community of tourists and is located just above La Victoria Coffee Farm. If you really must see the damn hammock— as we did— walk off your hangover the next morning. Hike the two hours— through bamboo forests and along spectacular vistas— to Casa Elemento. Then, get that day pass. This way, you can both enjoy the hammock and feel better about yourself for being such a nonconformist.