The BEST hostels in Colombia: A complete guide of where to stay

Hostels in Colombia are world-class: Clean, comfortable and social, with tons of atmosphere.

Good hostels can totally make or break your trip when you’re traveling. A few nights in a bad place to stay leaves you sleep-deprived, cranky, and miserable. But a great hostel is a hive of social activity, where you can make friends with the local staff and get the inside scoop on the best things to do without sacrificing creature comforts. If you’re visiting Colombia, you’re in for a real treat — the best hostels in Colombia rank among the nicest anywhere in the world!

 

In this post, I’ll cover my favorite Colombia hostels by location. I personally stayed at all of these places, but I did not receive any compensation or free stays in exchange for writing about them. Your trust in my honest opinion is more important to me than saving a few bucks on travel.

 

All of the best hostels in Colombia covered in this post — with one exception — have both dorms and private rooms. I typically stayed in private rooms with shared bathrooms, but I stayed in a few dorms along the way as well.

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase through these links, I receive a percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you, which helps me keep this site up and running.

 

The best hostels in Colombia: Bogota

 

Bogota has some of the top Colombia hostels, most of which are concentrated in La Candelaria.
The budget accommodation in Bogota ranges from backpacker hostels in the historic district to swanky hostels in the outlying neighborhoods.

 

Bogota has a huge variety of places to stay, including a few of the best hostels in Colombia. When you’re planning your visit, it’s important to choose your neighborhood in Bogota wisely. You’ll have to weigh convenience vs. safety and touristic areas vs. more of a local vibe.

 

The top hostel in La Candelaria: Cranky Croc

 

Cranky Croc Hostel in Bogota has a real espresso machine.
Cranky Croc is one of the best places to stay in Colombia — partially due to its great espresso bar.

 

If you want to be close to the main attractions in Bogota, La Candelaria is the neighborhood for you. This area will probably be the focus of your Bogota itinerary.

 

The best hostel in La Candelaria is Cranky Croc. This funky little place has a wide array of dorms and private rooms spread out over three floors surrounding a cute courtyard. Security is top-notch and the location is perfect.

 

Dorms all come with lockers, sheets, and towels. Private rooms are on the small side, but they have nice little touches like small desks and full-length mirrors in the rooms. All beds come with thick comforters — a must for chilly high-altitude nights.

 

The bathrooms were recently renovated, and they’re kept sparkling clean 24 hours a day. I never had to wait in line. Showers have hot water and good water pressure.

 

The common areas are all on the first floor and outside, and they’re very social. You can choose between playing fooseball, jamming on the guitar, chatting with the staff, cooking in the communal kitchen, or hanging out at the bar.

 

The hostel organizes activities ranging from free walking tours to party buses to Andres Carne de Res to day trips to Zipaquira. The bar serves excellent cocktails for around 12,000 COP, dinners starting at 14,000 COP, and breakfast for around 5,000 COP.

 

Price for a dorm bed: $10 a night

Price for a private room/shared bathroom: From $21 a night for a single

Breakfast included? No, but you can purchase it on-site or walk to the adorable Hibiscus Cafe up the street

Location: 5/5

Facilities: 4/5; the private rooms are a bit small

 

Book Cranky Croc on Hostelworld here! Note: I booked through Booking.com and they lost my reservation. They recommended booking through Hostelworld to avoid this.

 

The absolute best hostel in Bogota: Aurora Hostel

 

Aurora Hostel is the best hostel in Bogota, with spacious and comfortable rooms.
If you stay at Aurora Hostel, you’ll feel more like you’re at a mid-range guesthouse than a backpacker place. The rooms are that nice.

 

If you don’t mind staying a little further from the action, Aurora Hostel is easily the top pick in Bogota for a budget bed. This tiny hostel is in Quinta Camacho, a sub-neighborhood of Chapinero, surrounded by the best local restaurants in the city in an area that’s totally safe to wander after dark.

 

Simply put, Aurora is gorgeous. The rooms are bright, huge, and even have flowers in them. You get more storage space than you could ever find uses for. The beds are ridiculously comfortable, with thick, warm comforters.

See also  Buses in Colombia: A detailed guide to Colombia transportation

 

Aurora’s shared bathrooms are equally luxurious. You’ll feel more like you’re staying in a 5-star hotel than a budget hostel. The hot water was the best I found in Colombia.

 

The only downside is the common areas are a bit small. There’s a courtyard, a small living room, a kitchen, and a patio. It’s fine considering the hostel can only handle about 15 guests at a time, but if you want some alone time outside your room, it can be hard to find a quiet space.

 

Price for a dorm bed: $9.50 a night

Price for a private room/shared bathroom: From $31 a night

Breakfast included? Yes, but they don’t serve it until around 9 am

Location: 4/5 — great for evening activities; you’ll need to use to Transmilenio or a taxi to reach the main attractions

Facilities: 5/5

 

Book Aurora Hostel on Hostelworld here! Book well in advance, especially if you want a private room.

 

The best hostels in Colombia: San Gil

 

Sam's VIP Hostel in San Gil has great views over the central park.
You can people-watch all night in San Gil from your own private balcony at Sam’s VIP Hostel.

 

San Gil is the adventure capital of Colombia. So in addition to all the normal things you look for in a hostel, you’ll want to find a place that can book all your activities with safe and reputable guides.

 

Sam’s VIP Hostel has all of that and more. This budget favorite has the best location in town — overlooking the central park. They also have two of the nicest kitchens I’ve ever seen in a hostel.

 

The rooms range from dorms to private suites with hot tubs. I stayed in the cheapest private room available and I got my own private balcony overlooking the plaza.

 

While the hot water works and the bathrooms are clean enough, unfortunately Sam’s doesn’t quite have enough bathrooms for the number of guests. There were only two on my floor to be shared among three private rooms and three dorm rooms.

 

The top-floor bar and lounge are ideal gathering places, where everyone meets to discuss their adventures for the day. Sam’s VIP also has a swimming pool on a separate deck, with great views of the mountains.

 

All the staff grew up locally in San Gil and know everything about the town. They have a massive binder of all the activities available, including directions for DIY options (like a day trip to Barichara). If you’re not sure what to do, they can give you recommendations in English and Spanish — warning, they’re very persuasive, so you will be talked into paragliding! They also book bus tickets.

 

Price for a dorm bed: $8.50 a night

Price for a private room/shared bathroom: From $26 a night

Breakfast included? No, but they put out coffee and fresh fruit in the morning

Location: 5/5

Facilities: 4/5 — they could use more shared bathrooms

 

Book Sam’s VIP on Hostelworld now!

 

The best hostels in Colombia: Medellin

 

If you stay at Black Sheep Hostel in Medellin, one of the top hostels in Colombia, you'll be really close to Al Alma Cafe.
Black Sheep Hostel in Medellin is in a green, residential neighborhood a few minutes’ walk from this great cafe.

 

Ah, Medellin. One of those places that makes people want to quit their jobs, pack up their things, and move there forever. Also, one of those places with party hostels full of coked-up travelers irresponsibly fueling the Colombian drug trade.

 

Most lists of the best hostels in Colombia have a big asterisk around Medellin, where they claim that the best they could find was “okay.” Well, I have good news for you — the solution to your mediocre accommodation woes is the incredible Black Sheep Hostel.

 

Black Sheep is Aussie-owned, but most of the super-friendly and helpful staff is Colombian. When you arrive, you’ll get a thorough briefing on the best things to do, where to find cheap eats, safe ATMs, and all kinds of other random travel tips that will make you feel like a local.

 

The location is perfect for exploring both El Poblado — the main backpacker area — and the downtown. The rooms are comfortable, with good size and light, tiny desks, and windows. The dorms offer plenty of space to spread out. And there are more than enough bathrooms for everyone, which are kept spotlessly clean.

 

Common areas include a patio, back porch, and roof deck, as well as some indoor hang-out areas with board games and a book swap. The communal kitchen is well-stocked and they have guest computers. Best of all, the vibe is very friendly but not party-centric — you’ll meet more slightly older backpackers who are interested in exploring Medellin’s culture than 18-year-olds looking for cocaine.

See also  Lost City Trek in Colombia: What to expect

 

Price for a dorm bed: $11.00 a night

Price for a private room/shared bathroom: From $25 a night

Breakfast included? No, but they have free coffee and tea all day

Location: 5/5

Facilities: 5/5

 

Book Black Sheep Hostel on Hostelworld now!

 

The best hostels in Colombia: Salento

 

Budget travelers will love La Serrana in Salento -- the location is so peaceful at the atmosphere can't be beat.
Cows grazing on La Serrana’s property — it’s a working dairy farm as well as one of the best hostels in Colombia.

 

Salento is definitely a traveler’s town, and with that comes lots of great places to stay. Most hostels in town are in historic houses with tons of character. But for the full Salento experience, spend your nights on a dairy farm with spectacular mountain views 20 minutes from the town center at La Serrana.

 

La Serrana is one of the most atmospheric places on the planet that you can stay on such a low budget — and easily one of the best hostels in Colombia. The main building is an old farm-house, complete with wood trimmings and a cozy fireplace. Annexes all over the property provide additional rooms, or you can camp in one of their permanent tents.

 

Most of the rooms have fantastic views of the mountains. They also have wardrobes where you can hang your clothes, and plenty of storage space. Warm blankets — with extras provided in each room — help cope with the chilly evenings. There are plenty of bathrooms — hot water is a bit hit-or-miss, but you can always find it in the showers in the main house.

 

The best part of La Serrana is it seems to attract guests who are social but interested in an authentic experience. You won’t find big drinkers here. Solo travelers and couples alike will appreciate that it’s easy to find peace and quiet if you want it, and you won’t encounter pressure to be social, but you can always find a travel group if you want one.

 

Price for a dorm bed: 30,000 COP a night

Price for a private room/shared bathroom: From 95,000 COP a night

Breakfast included? Yes — eggs how you like, a fresh-baked roll, fresh fruit, and tea/coffee. Extras available for purchase

Location: 5/5 if you like nature. It’s a 20-minute walk or 5-minute Jeep ride down a dirt road from town.

Facilities: 5/5

 

Book La Serrana directly on their website here!

 

The best accommodation in Colombia: Cartagena

 

Breakfast at Patio de Getsemani, one of the best budget hotels in Colombia.
Patio de Getsemani technically isn’t a hostel, but it’s fairly budget-friendly and it oozes family-owned Caribbean charm. Plus the breakfast is great.

 

Cartagena was one of the few places where I couldn’t find anywhere that would qualify as one of the best hostels in Colombia. So instead, I’m recommending a charming little guesthouse that feels more like a homestay than a hotel. It doesn’t have dorms, and it’s slightly less budget-friendly than the other places on this list, but the vibe is similar to what you’ll find at hostels and it’s well worth the splurge.

 

Patio de Getsemani is in the heart of Cartagena’s most exciting neighborhood. It’s a five-minute walk to Plaza de Trinidad, a 10-minute walk to the Old City, and steps away from some of the city’s best street art. It’s family-owned and operated — the elderly couple who run it live on-site.

 

The rooms are spacious and well-maintained, and they all have air conditioning (a must in Cartagena’s Caribbean heat). You’ll also get a private bathroom with a cold-water shower. A first-floor patio and top-floor roof deck round out the space.

 

The family who runs the place speaks mostly Spanish, although you can get by with English if you must. They can book any activities or transportation you want and provide recommendations for restaurants and activities.

 

Price for a dorm bed: N/A

Price for a private room/shared bathroom: From $48 a night

Breakfast included? Yes, a huge breakfast is included, and they pack breakfasts if you have to leave early.

Location: 5/5

Facilities: 5/5

 

Book Patio de Getsemani on Booking.com now!

 

The top hostels in Colombia: Santa Marta

 

See also  Paragliding in San Gil Colombia: Adventure in Chicamocha Canyon
Central Santa Marta only has a few hostels, but Masaya Hostel is a great one.
Masaya Hostel has a great location a few minutes’ walk from the main sights in Santa Marta.

 

Santa Marta is a stopover destination. Unless you’re 21 and love to party, you probably aren’t going to spend more than one night here before heading out on your Lost City trek or to Parque Tayrona. But since your subsequent days are likely to be spent hiking through the jungle and swimming in the sea, you’re really going to want to get a good night’s sleep before you head out. And Masaya Hostel delivers.

 

Masaya Hostel in Santa Marta is a sister property to the hostel of the same name in Bogota — but it’s the far superior location. It’s right near the main pedestrian street in the town center. The hostel is huge — three floors, with tons of common space. It has not just one, but two swimming pools, an enormous roof deck with plenty of activities, and a couple guest kitchens.

 

The rooms are in good shape and the private rooms all come with private bathrooms. They all have air conditioning, including the dorms. Both the private and shared bathrooms are modern and well-maintained, and you’ll never have to wait in line for a toilet or shower.

 

The staff is friendly and helpful, and everyone speaks English fluently. You can even book activities like the Lost City Trek here. Or just join one of their organized activities like a pub crawl or game night.

 

Price for a dorm bed: $9.50

Price for a private room/shared bathroom: From $49 a night

Breakfast included? Only with private rooms. Dorm guests can buy a very good breakfast for a small fee.

Location: 5/5

Facilities: 5/5

 

Book Masaya Santa Marta on Hostelworld now!

 

The best hostels in Colombia: Tayrona and surrounds

 

Costeño Beach surf camp is easily one of the best hostels in Colombia -- and the best value.
Hammocks at Costeño Beach Surf Camp — just one of the many chill-out areas.

 

Perfect Caribbean beaches are one of the biggest highlights of traveling in Colombia. The most famous are those of Tayrona National Park, where you can sleep in a hammock steps from the ocean for about $10 a night. But if you want a little more comfort — and a far quieter beach — head to Costeño Beach instead.

 

Costeño Beach shares the same coastline as Tayrona National Park, but it’s outside the park boundaries (read: no park fees!). It’s a tiny enclave with a handful of guesthouses and not much else. But it has one of the best hostels in Colombia.

 

Costeño Beach Surf Camp has a mix of large dorms, private rooms, and permanent tents set up a few steps from the ocean. It has all the hammocks and bean-bag chairs you could ever want, surf lessons and community activities, and a great restaurant.

 

The rooms are acceptable for the price — I stayed in an 18-bed dorm and my only complaint was that got really hot at night. If I went back, I’d book a private room instead. The bathrooms are decent and have cold-water showers.

 

The only amenity Costeño Beach Surf Camp doesn’t have is great WiFi — the signal is really weak and it only works at reception. That’s standard for the area though, and you won’t want to be on the Internet all day anyway.

 

Price for a dorm bed: 40,000 COP

Price for a private room/shared bathroom: From 160,000 COP a night

Breakfast included? No, but you can buy it on-site for about 5,000 COP

Location: 5/5

Facilities: 4/5 — the bathrooms could be a bit nicer and the “jungle” dorm is hot at night

 

Book Costeño Beach Surf Camp directly on their website today!

 

As you can see, the variety of accommodation in Colombia is huge and the standards are extremely high. If you’re used to grimy dorm bathrooms in Southeast Asia, you’ll love backpacking in Colombia. And even if you’re used to staying in nicer guesthouses, Colombian hostels are higher quality than mid-range hotels in most of the rest of the world.

 

I hope this list of the best hostels in Colombia helps you plan the perfect trip!

 

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Discover the best hostels in Colombia for when you travel to Colombia on a budget. Includes the best hostels in Cartagena, the best hostels in Bogota, the best hostels in Medellin, and more... #colombia #travel

 

Read more about Colombia here

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