Casas Viejas – A Recap

We never would have expected to find ourselves in the little town of Minca. We had heard nothing of it before we arrived to Santa Marta and our hostel receptionist told us it was a great place to enjoy waterfalls.


Waterfall named Marinka near Minca, Colombia.


It just so happened our first Workaway was located 45min into the mountains by motorcycle from Minca. Casas Viejas is just far enough removed to enjoy the tranquility and beauty the Sierra Nevadas have to offer.


From left: Obed, Johanna, Luis


From the moment we arrived at Casas Viejas we felt at home. All the staff welcomed us with warm smiles and ease of conversation. The surrounding area hooked us like a good book that you just can’t put down. We woke up every morning eager to do another hike. From amazing vistas to refreshing waterfalls, we felt energized and ecstatic to explore more….and more.


Tipi, the weirdest dog that will steal your heart.

We’d come home starving and fill our bellies with the soup of the day, rice, beans, and salad. A good 80% of the time, lunch was followed by the baked good of the day and if it was Marina’s cookies, we had to get two. We’d then go into a food coma and rest was the only thing possible. Unless it was Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, then we had to put our thinking caps on and figure out how to teach the impossible language of English. If anyone reading our blog has tips on how to teach adults English with little understanding of the language, we will gladly accept them. 


Attempting to teach english.

There was a group of about 9 staff and volunteers including ourselves that never spent an evening apart. We shared stories, laughed, danced (we really need to learn to move our hips like Colombians do!), played a new game every night, and ate delicious food. Casas Viejas was an incredible way to start our journey through Colombia. The people and those incredible mountains are unforgettable.



For those of you that happen to find yourself in northern Colombia, do not pass up the opportunity to check out the Minca area. More importantly, do not miss Casas Viejas! It is one of the most unique hostels you will ever stay in. The atmosphere connects everyone on a deeper level than any other place we’ve experienced. I can’t tell you how many times we heard people asking to extend their stay because of how much fun they were having. From the family dinners, to no wifi, to incredible surroundings, to sustainability, these people know what they are doing. Charline, Rebecca, and Arno have thought of the smallest details to make everyones experience enjoyable meanwhile taking care of the staff and the environment in which they live.



11 thoughts on “Casas Viejas – A Recap

  1. Here are my limited ideas for teaching English. Start with nouns…teach words that can be seen or you can ‘picture’ or draw. Act out words. Point out cognates…words that sound similar in Spanish and English. You can google these. Teach carrier phrases…I see a _______. Have fun! What a great experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi guys. fun to hear about how you passed the time at the hostel. I didn’t know you were officially teaching English. Tay, you look like you’re praying for an EL teacher to drop out of the sky. They look like attentive students! Tip – go with food next time… or something they’re interested in. Food – corn, meat, beans, salad, cookies, dessert, fork, knife… etc.
    And now on to Medellin ! Loved talking with you both the other night. Miss you so much. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Teach English with songs!!! People love to sing. Do motions with the songs. If you and Alaina are team teaching, act things out and then ask your students to do the same repeating the words. People love to get up and move. Ok, I’m out of ideas. Casa Viejas looks warm and wonderful. Love the photographs. The people’s faces are warm and welcoming. Lovin’ this blog!


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