Hostels in Colombia: Where to Stay … & Where NOT to Stay!

The hostels in Colombia are some of the best in South America. But which hostels should you stay in, and which should you skip? We went backpacking in Colombia for a month. These are our best Colombian hostel recommendations.
The hostels in Colombia are some of the best in South America. But which hostels should you stay in, and which should you skip? We went backpacking in Colombia for a month. These are our best Colombian hostel recommendations.

We spent a month backpacking through Colombia, from Cartagena to Minca to Medellin to San Gil to Salento to Bogota (ahem – and as you can see by my subtle link hints, we’ve written quite a bit about backpacking in Colombia). Needless to say, it was amazing – backpacking in Colombia was our favorite experience backpacking in South America! During our month of backpacking, we slept in a LOT of beds in Colombia, and stayed at at a LOT of different hostels. From cramped party hostels to isolated hilltop retreats, it seemed like no two hostels in Colombia were the same. Any seasoned backpacker knows that the accommodation you choose can make or break your whole stay. To make things easier for you, dear reader, we’ve come up with the best list of hostels in Colombia: where to stay, and – because we make a lot of mistakes – where NOT to stay!

Psst: We’ve got a ton of other resources for Colombia that you’ll want to look at before your trip:

Getsemani, Colombia is a super hip neighborhood and home to dazzling street art as well as some of the best restaurants in Cartagena.
Gorgeous street art in Getsemani, the hip neighborood in Cartagena, Colombia.

The Best Hostels in Cartagena, Colombia

When staying at a hostel in Cartagena you want to stick to two main areas: Getsemani, and the walled city of old town Cartagena.  Anything else is a little too far, in our opinion. We stayed in both (we actually slept in 3 total hostels in Cartagena). We recommend prioritizing A/C and a filling breakfast for your hostel in Cartagena.

Santo Domingo Vidal Hostal

  • Hostel Location: Located in central Getsemani, Cartagena, 5 minutes walking to the walled city of Cartagena
  • Hostel Perks: Friendly staff. Impeccably clean. Gorgeous street, with beautiful street art, mango trees, wild parrots, and a lovely patio.  Filling included breakfast.
  • Travel Tips: Getsemani is just outside the walled city of old town Cartagena, and is its ultra-hip artsy neighborhood. The hostel is close to several delicious restaurants in GetsemaniRead more about this Colombian hostel & Cartagena here.
  • Hostel Cost: Dorms start at $16; Privates start at $39. Check current prices.
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Volunteer Hostel

  • Hostel Location: Located in the walled city, right in Old Town Cartagena.
  • Hostel Perks: All day AC in the rooms (a rare thing in the very hot city of Cartagena!) Two blocks from TWO supermarkets. A really sweet (and playfully feisty) resident hostel kitten.
  • Travel Tips: Proceeds from visitors support FEM, a non-profit organization that works to empower indigenous communities to undertake sustainable development projects. We love making sustainable and ethical travel choices!
  • Hostel Cost: Dorms start at $13; Privates start at $41. Check current prices
Eco Hostel Yuluka is just outside of Parque Tayrona on Colombia's Caribbean coast. It's one of the best hostels in Colombia!
Eco Hostel Yuluka is just outside of Parque Tayrona on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. It’s one of the best hostels in Colombia!

The Best Hostel Near Parque Tayrona, Colombia

We originally planned to stay overnight in tropical Parque Tayrona, but once we arrived at this hostel, we extended our stay and planned on a day trip instead. This hostel is a must if you’re headed into Parque Tayrona.

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Eco Hostal Yuluka

  • Hostel Location: 2 miles down the road from the entrance to Parque Tayrona
  • Hostel Perks: A budget-friendly eco-resort hostel in a private tropical paradise. Pool with waterslide and waterfall! The best breakfast we had in Colombia – and it was included for FREE. Reasonably priced restaurant on site for lunch and dinner. Free shuttle to Parque Tayrona (about 2 miles away)
  • Travel Tip: The perfect place to stay if you’re visiting Parque Tayrona. Wifi only works at reception, but since this is a rain forest hideout, this kind of adds to the magic. Prepare to unplug and unwind. You can read more about Eco Hostal Yuluka here.
  • Hostel Cost: Dorms start at $11. Privates start at $47. Check current prices.
The sunset from Casa Loma Minca Hostel in Minca, Colombia is one of the most stunning and peaceful we've ever seen. Casa Loma Minca is one of the best hostels in Colombia!
The sunset from Casa Loma Hostel in Minca, Colombia is one of the most stunning and peaceful we’ve ever seen. Casa Loma Minca is one of the best hostels in Colombia!

The Best Hostels in Minca, Colombia

Tiny Minca, Colombia has been off the beaten path for years but is starting to gain notoriety as the main starting point for the Ciudad Perdida trek. We’ve visited Minca several times and fallen in love with it! From the mountain air to the jungle hikes to the waterfall swimming holes to the coffee and chocolate farms, Minca is simply wonderful. And there are two fantastic eco-resort style hostels in Minca!

Casa Loma Minca

  • One of our picks for Top 3 Best Hostels in Colombia! We love this eco-hostel in Minca, Colombia.
  • Hostel Location: 10 minutes walking uphill from “downtown” Minca, Colombia
  • Hostel Perks: Incredible mountain top view of Minca and Santa Marta. Varied lodging types including private rooms, dorms, forest huts, outdoor hammocks, and more. Cheap vegetarian meals served all day. Family style dinners. Friendly hostel pets. Knowledgeable staff that can help you plan day trips in the surrounding areas – and there are TONS of options for adventures!
  • Travel Tips: Casa Loma Minca is a short but intense hike up a hill and is intentionally Wifi free. However, the seclusion and disconnectedness is a blessing because it brings strangers together to socialize in a relaxed environment and provides a setting perfect for mindful relaxation! Plus, that hill is home to the best sunset anywhere in Colombia. Read more about our amazing stay in Casa Loma Minca and why Minca was one of our favorite destinations in Colombia!
  • Hostel Cost: Dorms from $10; Privates from $25; Hammocks from $6. Check current prices.
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Casa Elemento

  • Hostel Location: 2 hours walking uphill, above Minca, Colombia. Not terribly close to town.
  • Hostel Perks: An eco-hostel in the jungle with amazing mountaintop views.  The world’s largest hammock! Great bar onsite. Coffee and food are locally grown (like, they grow the coffee at the hostel). Nightly campfire. Family style dinners.
  • Travel Tips: Cash only, bring cash from Santa Marta as Minca does not have ATMs. Intentionally Wifi free, so prepare to unplug and unwind! Getting here from Minca is not easy, but so worth it: your options are 1 hour by jeep, 30 minutes by thrilling moto-taxi (our favorite!), or 2 hours hiking uphill on a road through the jungle.
  • Hostel Cost: Dorms from $14; Privates from $52; Hammocks from $9. Check current prices.
La Serrana Hostel in Salento, Colombia is one of the best hostels in Colombia!
La Serrana Hostel in Salento, Colombia is one of the best hostels in Colombia! Original photo credit: “P1050183.JPG” (CC BY 2.0) by clandestino_20

The Best Hostel in Salento, Colombia

La Serrana Eco Farm and Hostel 

  • One of our picks for Top 3 Best Hostels in Colombia!
  • Hostel Location: 15 minutes walking (or a short Willy ride) from the center of Salento, on a quiet road.
  • Hostel Perks: Panoramic views of Salento’s stunning famous coffee farms. All-you-can-eat dinners served family style for incredibly cheap. Spacious common areas. You can stay in a romantic luxury “glamping” tent with breathtaking sunset views!
  • Travel Tips: Make sure to walk from La Serrana to Finca El Ocaso to tour an organic, sustainable coffee farm.  Oh, and don’t forget to hike the famous Valle de Cocora. You can read our full review of La Serrana here! 
  • Hostel Cost: Dorms start at $10; Privates start at $33; “Glamping” tents start at $29. Check current prices.
Relaxing in the rooftop pool at Sam's VIP Hostel in San Gil, Colombia. One of the best hostels in Colombia!
Relaxing in the rooftop pool at Sam’s VIP Hostel in San Gil, Colombia. One of the best hostels in Colombia!

The Best Hostel in San Gil, Colombia

Sam’s VIP Hostel 

  • One of our picks for Top 3 Best Hostels in Colombia!
  • Hostel Location: Directly on the main plaza in San Gil, a few blocks from the excellent mercado.
  • Hostel Perks: HUGE Fully stocked kitchen. Rooftop pool. Amazing staff that will help you book your day trips and adventure sports without commission! Free hostel organized nightlife activities.
  • Travel Tips: You can book all of San Gil’s many amazing activities directly at the front desk. We recommend White Water Rafting (but we have mixed feelings about Waterfall Rappelling). Make sure to sign up for the hostel nightlife activities! Our night out playing tejo followed by karaoke was a highlight in our South America trip.
  • Hostel Cost: Dorms start at $10; Privates start at $35. Check current prices.
Can you believe this is Bogota, Colombia? We took this in La Candelaria, Bogota, near our Colombian hostel.
Can you believe this is Bogota, Colombia? We took this in La Candelaria, Bogota, near our Colombian hostel.

Hostels in Colombia to Skip

I want to clarify that this section isn’t meant to scare you away from the below hostels – none of them were terrible, dangerous, or a scene from a horror movie. They just weren’t as awesome as the rest of the hostels in Colombia where we stayed, for various reasons. And considering how many wonderful Colombian hostels exist, we want to direct you to the best of the best! So if you are staying in one of these hostels – or you had a better experience here than we did – that’s OK! Colombian hostels overall are some of the best in South America. Still, our goal is always to give the best and most honest advice that we can. So here are the hostels in Colombia that we recommend skipping.

Mama Waldy Hostel in Cartagena, Colombia

  • Skip this Hostel Because: Half of the lockers in our room were broken. There was one ladder to share between three bunks (as a result I had to just jump off my bed in the middle of the night, and hurt my ankle). The included breakfast was just a huge bowl of fruit – appreciated, but not filling. Lastly, the owners were always busy and the other staffers weren’t allowed to handle the check in/check out and other tasks.
  • Try This Hostel Instead: Check out one of our two Cartagena hostel recommendations listed above. Santo Domingo Vidal is actually right around the corner from Mama Waldy.
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Hostel Esmeralda in Santa Marta, Colombia

  • Skip this Hostel Because: Santa Marta is a party town so naturally every hostel advertises itself as a party hostel. Esmeralda was no different; their rooftop bar was placed right in the middle of the hostel foot traffic, and they pumped out loud party music until 3 or 4 in the morning. The problem? There were NO people partying there! Sometimes the hostel is not where the party is, but Esmeralda refused to give up.
  • Try This Hostel Instead: Check out Santa Marta’s famous Dreamer Hostel! It’s located away from the main areas in town, but this always-busy hostel is the place to be if partying is on your to-do list. (And if you’re in Santa Marta, there isn’t much else to do.) The atmosphere is super social and you can’t help but have a good time – but it’s not so loud that you can’t sleep peacefully. They have a pool, bar, and even a party bus! Check current prices.

Geo Hostel in Medellin, Colombia

  • Skip this Hostel Because: We had the world’s worst luck here as far as dorm roommates go (read the story here), but I won’t fault Geo Hostel for that. In fact, at first glance, this place looked nice! It’s located in the heart of Medellin’s hippest neighborhood, El Poblado, and it has a semi open layout. The problem is at night El Poblado is filled with loud clubs and rowdy gringos, so that open format and central location becomes deafening if you actually want to sleep past 11pm. The hostel is right on top of a loud club.
  • Try This Hostel Instead: Look into staying at a hostel on the outskirts of El Poblado – or at least on a quieter street. We’ve heard great things about Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel, as well as Casa Kiwi. If you really want to stay away from the party places, it’s best to stay out of El Poblado, which locals call “Gringolandia.”
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Masaya Hostel in Bogota, Colombia

  • Skip this Hostel Because: Masaya looked great at first glance. There were plenty of places to hang out, it was clean, and the dorm pods were nice and private. But the beds were ridiculously uncomfortable.  It was cold at night thanks to the freezing Bogota temperatures and an open-air floor plan. There was no included breakfast – not even a bowl of fruit, which is really unusual for a hostel in Colombia. And worst of all, there were around 6 dorm rooms all sharing ONE bathroom. Sure, there were two stalls and three showers, but I still found myself waiting a lot. Not to mention you have to journey pretty far to reach the men’s bathroom.
  • Try this Hostel Instead: Book one of the many other hostels in the La Candelaria neighborhood, like Fatima Suites. It has a similar look as Masaya, but better facilities for the same price.

Psst: We’ve got a ton of other resources for Colombia that you’ll want to look at before your trip:

Booking a trip to Colombia? We’d love to answer any questions you may have! Leave us a comment below.

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The hostels in Colombia are some of the best in South America. But which hostels should you stay in, and which should you skip? We went backpacking in Colombia for a month. These are our best Colombian hostel recommendations. #Colombia #BudgetTravel #SouthAmerica

Disclaimer: We paid for every hostel that we stayed in with our own money, in full. None of the stays were sponsored. That said, the links provided are Hostel World affiliate links which will give us a small percentage commission when used to book a hostel, at no extra cost to you. We really appreciate you supporting us by using our links!


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Hey, I'm Jeremy! I'm a California native, which means I grew up surfing and have really strong opinions about burritos and highways. I'm extremely sassy and I love terrible dad jokes. I also teach high school, which means I get to subject all of my students to my sass and terrible jokes daily. I'm married to Lia and I'm obsessed with her and it's super gross, unless you're us, in which case it's the best.

11 Comment

  1. Kelly says: Reply

    What a great, comprehensive post! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Thanks Kelly! We’re well overdue for some hostel review posts considering the number of hostels we’ve stayed in during the last 8 months of backpacking.

  2. Oh, we missed San Gil and Salento on our tour. Going to check out your articles about them, two more reasons to return! I remember checking out Yuluka while searching for accommodations near Tayrona. It looks very nice!

    1. Lia says: Reply

      You’ll have to check out San Gil and Salento the next time you visit Colombia! They’re wonderful.

  3. Stacey says: Reply

    I stayed at El Arsenal in Cartagena and it was amazing! A good mix of people and ages and great staff! Really loved it

    1. Lia says: Reply

      That’s a great suggestion! We’ll check it out!

  4. freshcoffeestains says: Reply

    Great choices! I’ve stayed in a few of these and some I’ll have to check out. In my opinion, I think Casa Elemento deserves a skip. It’s so touristy and the hammock is just so so 🙂 But still cool! I love your other choice in Minca… we stayed in Casas Viejas. I’ll have to go again to Minca I suppose!

    Tam @ http://freshcoffeestains.com/minca-hammock/

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Interesting! Honestly, I’ve been to Minca twice now and haven’t yet made it to the hammock, but I just hear from everyone that it’s amazing so I had to throw it in. Next time I go I’ll check it out for myself! Thanks for the tip 🙂

  5. Laura says: Reply

    So many incredible tips – I’ve written them all down! Pinning for future reference 🙂

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Thank you Laura!

  6. That’s a LOT of hostels! I liked that you also listed which ones to skip. I did stay at Masaya in Bogota and I really liked it though! I liked the privacy curtains and individual power points for each dorm bed. I did think they needed to have more toilets, although I never had to queue up for one. I guess I go during off-peak hours 😉 Pinned!

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