Colombia is an incredibly colorful and diverse country with so much to offer. I spent three months traveling around the country and have narrowed down my five favorite hostels. These hostels became the highlights of Colombia; you won't want to miss them!
1. Pacifico Hostel - Pacific Coast
Not many people make it to the Pacific Coast of Colombia, but if you have the time, I strongly encourage you to check it out. It ended up being one of the highlights of the entire country for me.
A mere 3 hour (give or take, the buses are notoriously unpredictable in Colombia) bus ride from Cali, to Buenaventura, then about an hour boat ride and you arrive at this tropical paradise. Pacifico Hostel is nestled into the jungle on the cliffside overlooking the ocean. With virtually no neighbors, this place is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Cali and other Colombian cities.
You can pass the day by surfing, kayaking, lounging on the beach or in the hammocks. The tide changes so drastically that in the morning, you can walk on the beach, and by the afternoon you can cliff jump right where you were walking earlier in the day. When the tide gets high, you can rent kayaks and weave your way into the jungle, if you're lucky you might even see a monkey! The daily rainstorm makes for a therapeutic way to wake up. There's a small town nearby to buy some fresh fish you feel like cooking. Breakfast is included with the price of your night's stay, and lunch and dinner are available to purchase. It's truly a unique and unforgettable hostel experience. No wifi.
TIP: I would book AT LEAST 2 nights in this paradise. I tried to extend and couldn't as they do sell out (although sometimes they're accommodating about allowing you to sleep in the hammocks on the deck- but be warned there are plenty of bugs).
TIP: Don't forget to pack your bug spray. I highly suggest bringing some potent stuff from home with you as most of the bug spray you can find in Colombia doesn't do a whole lot as the locals don't use it, and it's mainly for tourist consumption. Sawyer brand seemed to work best for me. Find it here: https://amzn.to/2YH60QV
Book Pacifico Hostel here: https://pacificohostel.com/
2. Casa en el Agua - 2 hours off the coast of Cartagena
Picture this: you're staying in a two-story house, on stilts, in the middle of the Caribbean Ocean. Happy hour is all day long, and you're mingling with beautiful people from all around the world... paradise found, right?!
Casa en el Agua has to be one of the most incredibly unique hostels I've ever stayed in. I do have some positives and negatives about this place, but overall found the experience to be incredibly worthwhile and was glad that I did it. Two hours off the coast of Cartagena, you arrive by boat to this colorful two-story house in the middle of the ocean. Due to the extremely remote location, you are at the mercy of eating and drinking at the hostel (hello, house on stilts surrounded by the Caribbean ocean) and expect to pay more for food and drinks. All in all, it's an experience that I'm glad I had. Of course, being out in the middle of the ocean means no wifi or service, time to connect the old fashion way!
I can highly recommend the "Beach Day" trip as the nearby island is stunning with white sand beaches (see picture below).
TIP: You must book way in advance as it is one of the most sought after hostels in Colombia. So it does require a bit of planning. I got lucky and was able to snag two hammocks thanks to the persistence of my friend (Thanks, Michelle!).
Book Casa En El Agua here: https://casaenelagua.com/
3. El Rio hostel - 20 minutes outside of Palomino
Although I only stayed here one night, I can tell you that making the side trip to Rio Hostel is well worth it. Cool location, great layout, and fun atmosphere, you're bound to have a good time at this hostel. No wifi, nestled into the jungle on the river. Family-style meals. Although you shouldn't expect to feel any Colombian culture, it's more like walking into a little Europe. Still, it is a fun and beautiful place to stop between Tayrona National Park and Palomino. You can go tubing straight from the hostel during the day!
The music was great, the drinks were strong, and the company was fantastic. We danced and sang along, and the night may or may not have ended with some people skinny dipping in the river. (Not me Dad, I promise).
TIP: Getting there is easy. Simply tell the bus driver you're going to El Rio and he will stop along the side of the road, which you will then have to walk a little bit down a side street to arrive.
El Rio - http://www.booking.com/Share-yCdgqa
See this awesome video for more:
4. Los Patios Boutique Hostel - Medellin
This place is an upscale hostel that you'll pay a little extra for, but I found it was worth it for the rooftop alone. 360-degree view of the vast stretch of the city makes for a perfect spot to watch the sunset and have a drink. A huge plus is that they allow you to bring outside beverages to the rooftops (which always helps on a backpacker budget). It's a large hostel with two buildings across the street from each other. As a solo traveler, I love when a hostel is social, and Los Patios hits that mark. It is such a comfortable place to meet people. Located in the El Poblado neighborhood, this hostel is ideally located: close to a grocery store, metro station, and many cafes/restaurants and bars. But be warned that El Poblado is the most wealthy neighborhood in Medellin, so you'll be paying more a bit more overall than you would in other areas.
Oh, and you HAVE to get breakfast at the tiny sandwich shop, Chispas, across the street. I may have been guilty of eating there about 3 or 4 times. It's close, tasty, and the perfect hangover cure after those long nights out in the city. (They have fresh OJ, bacon, and avocado- see why I didn't want to go anywhere else?)
Los Patios: http://www.booking.com/Share-OHBTUt
5. Casas Viejas - Minca
When heading to Minca, most people chose to stay at Casa Elemento as it has a cool hammock and a good view. But, I had been suggested this hostel, and I'm so, so glad that I chose Casa Viejas. The views are incredible, they offer excellent day trips, and it's walking distance from one of the oldest coffee farms in Colombia, La Victoria.
A 40-minute windy motorcycle ride up the mountain brings you to this small hostel with incredible views. I suggest taking only your day pack with you if you only plan to stay a couple of nights cause having your big bag on your back during that motorcycle ride can be an insane ab workout.
Again, this hostel has no wifi. I realize while writing this blog (4/5 don't have wifi), maybe disconnecting is the best means for connecting with the hostel and the people in it!
UPDATE: They have now installed a POOL since I have been there - talk about a plus!
TIP: Don't forget your most potent bug repellant. I sprayed my skin, then my pants and STILL managed to get a ton of bites. Again, my favorite is Sawyer: https://amzn.to/2YH60QV
Casas Viejas: http://www.booking.com/Share-H4NO4s
There you have it! These five hostels stuck out as the most memorable of my three months in Colombia. If you want any more info or have any questions on the hostels listed above, don't hesitate to reach out! Don't see your favorite Colombian hostel on the list? Let me know your favorites!