Pure nature, not far from Santa Marta - Colombia
From Santa Marta, I take a bus for 1,500 pesos towards the National Park Tayrona and Palomino. I get off at Bonda, just after Mamatoco - Santa Marta (about 30 minutes drive from downtown Santa Marta). I'm off to a hostel of a Belgian couple in a not too touristy place in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It lies on the other side of Minca (6hrs walk).
I ask Kobe and Nele, the owners of the hostel Carpe Diem in Paso del Mango, why this idyllic place has the name Paso del Mango or the way of the mangoes. "Look around", said Kobe. And indeed suddenly it strikes me that there are yellow mangoes everywhere on the ground. There are currently growing (August) so many mangoes that the local population cannot even pick them all up to process or sell. Kobe says that he sometimes eats 10 mangoes a day. I also consider to give it a try because he looks pretty healthy.
I totally forgot to take pictures of the mangoes. Too focused on eating them I guess.
The mangoes are ripe after the first rains - usually from mid April - to August / sometimes until early September. There´s a second mango season in november and december, but not all the trees give fruit so the harvest is much smaller. The most delicious mangos are the Mango Azucar and Chancleta but also the mangoes Torito, Corazon and Ilaza are tasty as well.
The riping of each fruit takes place in different times, eg first Torito, Ilaza than Azucar. Then other trees... It all depends on water, sun ... and how you maintain them.
I arrive by car in Paso del Mango (the hostel also provides a cheap pick-up service), together with my friends. There is a lot of life in the hostel because there are many guests. There is even a family from France with four children. They actually wanted to stay 2 nights but eventually stayed six. We are welcomed with a delicious fresh fruit juice from the finca itself. Kamiel, the dog comes to cuddle.
Me and my friends walk to Pozo del Amor, a place in the river with a waterfall where you can swim and dive from the rocks. We need to walk over a suspension bridge to cross the clear river.
We pass fincas, friendly locals, numerous flowers and greenery everywhere around us. The walk takes about 40 minutes and it is an easy route.
Once arrived, we go swimming in the natural pool and have a picnic on the rocks.
Nele, which incidentally is pregnant with their 2nd child, tells me afterwoods that they're going to build a pool as well. (Good to know: the swimming pool is ready since July 2015!)
Carpe Diem recently started with WiFi at the finca, the only place in the village who offers this service.
I chill in a hammock in their new kiosk and I take a look at their viewpoint slightly higher up the hill to enjoy mountain views. It is hard to believe: amidst the beautiful nature and still no spark of luxury that is missing. Healthy food; a good mattress; super service; acceptable prices and many activities to do!
What to do in Paso del Mango?
.visit the cacoa farm
.relax in the naturally formed jacuzi in the river that flows into the garden of Carpe Diem
.learn about fauna & flora in the botanical garden next door
.walk the archaeological remnants of the Tayorona stairs
.explore the mini - Lost City (Ciudad Perdida)
.get to know about the many different fruits by joining the tour around their own finca
.refresh yourself under waterfalls
I did all these things in previous times I was here.
I really like to come to Paso del Mango. For me, it is ideal as a weekend trip to get away of the big city Barranquilla. A must if you love peace and nature!
1. I find the food delicious here. They use many products from their own garden; even the honey is homemade.
2. Because there is a lot to do in the area, you are advised to take enough cash with you because here are NO ATMs’ around and it may happen that you want to stay longer than planned.
3. There is a signposted hike (7hrs walk) which starts from the hostel and arriving back at the hostel. This walk goes through the mountains, passing several waterfalls, coffee farms and even through a nature reserve called Girocasaca.
You can also hike from Minca to Paso del Mango. The walk is 6hrs. A donkey can be arranged to carry your suitcases. Nele and Kobe hung nameplates so you can not get lost. On the website of Carpe Diem you find all the information to do the hike (as a starting point and a small map). Carpe Diem can arrange a guide.
4. Here your read: how to get from Minca to Paso del Mango with public transport.
Written by Inez from Colombia Fácil - 2014