3 Best Hostels in Cartagena de Indias (Location is Key and our Favorite Food!)

3 Best Hostels in Cartagena de Indias (Location is Key and our Favorite Food!)

Let us, the Hostelgeeks, introduce the 3 Best Hostels in Cartagena, Colombia. This city is really on top of the hostel game. You can find many fantastic hostels, offering a swimming pool, fun events, cool and clean dorms.

We’ve strived to find you the real deal, the 3 best hostels in Cartagena on offer, suitable for female and solo travellers, couples and backpackers.

The location is soooo important. So please read this to avoid disappointments!

Your shortcut:

  1. Casa del Puerto Hostel & Suites – best for solo-traveller (laid-back)
  2. Republica Hostel – best pick for female solo-travellers (social)
  3. Life is Good Hostel in Getsemani – best for backpackers

In this backpacker guide we’ve included all the necessary information and handy links to make your booking easier and faster.

Our Top Insider Tip: We urge you to consider spending 2 days at the nearby Island Isla Rosario with its “Secret Hostel”. It is a hidden gem! More on that below.

Staying at one of these hostels? ❤️

Share your photo and tag us @hostelgeeks on Instagram.

We have actually spent two full weeks in Cartagena.

This guide is perfect for YOU, when …

  • tired of bad and crappy hostels
  • want to avoid the “young party kids”
  • happy to spend 1-2€ for a better experience

Read: complete guide to the best hostels in Colombia – with itinerary

Cartagena is a tropical Caribbean paradise. This 16th-century old town offers cobbled streets, colourful buildings and beautiful Colombian beaches. It is on everyone’s bucket list when backpacking Colombia.

All you need to add is a cool Cartagena hostel and you’re ready to go!

What we cover in this article?

Traveling around Colombia?

If you’re spending some time exploring this part of the world; check out all of our 5 Star Hostels in South & Central America.

Quick guide to the 3 Best Hostels in Cartagena

Average price for a bed: Quite pricey for Colombian standards, yet a budget option. A bed in a dorm can be as cheap as 15€-25€. This is a rough average just to give you an idea.

Private rooms cost $40 – $80.

If you can, try to avoid high season in Cartagena, which is from Christmas to mid/end of January as well as Easter. Many locals travel at this time again. After this, prices will drop again.

Prices always depend on season and holidays. Please always check exact rates on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com. Hostelz.com is the best place to compare hostel prices.

Check-In and Check Out: The average check-in time is from 15:00 (3pm), while the Check Out time is before 11:00 (11am). Hostels usually offer luggage storage in case you arrive earlier or leave later. Make sure you check if luggage storage is free or if there is an extra cost.

Safety in Cartagena: Unfortunately there’s a lot of pick-pocketing in Cartagena. There is little violent crime in this city, compared to other cities like Santa Marta. But, it is possible; this is Colombia.

You can walk at night from the old town to Bocagrande and Getsemani. We did this four times. Yet, a taxi ride is cheap anyways, around $3.

Getting around Cartagena: Walk! It is by far the easiest. The old town is quite small and you are at max 10 minutes in Getsemani, the backpacker area. You can take a cab to the airport for around $5. A free walking tour is also much better than a bike tour in the old town in our opinion.

Best Hostel Location: Basically there are three districts you can consider for staying in Cartagena. Old Town, Bocagrande and Getsemani. I highly recommend to stay in the Old Town or in Manga, because at night it is more quiet than Getsemani.

1. Bocagrande has all the tall buildings and the beaches.

There are many good restaurants and bars. Yet, from the touristic point of view, it is nothing special.

2. The Old Town is absolutely spectacular.

Walking around here, it feels like a time machine back to Sevilla in Spain in the 17th century. I recommend to walk early as the city gets packed from 10am onwards. At night, it is a safe place to stay in Cartagena too. Other than cities like Barcelona or Rome, staying in the very heart of the city is a good idea. Why? Because there is usually no loud music and party. This brings us to…

3. Getsemani – Backpacker district!

The nightlife area and creative artsy spot. Come here for the night, it is AWESOME! Lots of street art, street musicians, bars, restaurants, you name it. This is where the party takes place. Get a beer on the street and enjoy and dance a bit. That being said, avoid  staying in a street with loud music. Easier said than done. Below I list all the hostels that are not in the loud area.

4. Manga – local gem

Manga is a very local and underrated area right behind Getsemani. Same as Getsemani it has a seafront promenade, with striking city skyline views across the bay. It is much less touristy and you can find fantastic local bars and food here.

Check also the map.

More tips for Cartagena: As I spent 2 weeks in this city, I did a lot of activities. Find below all my tips for things to do in Cartagena and things you need to know before you go there.

New to Hostels? Read our full hostel starter guide here. We especially recommend to read:

3 Best Hostels in Cartagena are..

Are you ready to discover some amazing hostels, including a cool party hostel in Cartagena? Alright, let’s waste no more time.

  1. Casa del Puerto Hostel & Suites – best for solo-traveller to relax
  2. Republica Hostel – best pick for female solo-travellers to socialize
  3. Life is Good Hostel in Getsemani – best for backpacker

We picked these three hostels as they stand out due to their design, facilities and vibes. These three hostels are located in the Old town, Getsemani, and Manga.

We put all three accommodations and the major sights in Cartagena on our handmade map. This way it is easier for you to understand locations.

1. Casa del Puerto Hostel & Suite (Pool and Activities)

One look at this hostel and you want to stay here. This is how I felt!

Casa del Puerto Hostel features a big pool and its own bar. It is a very laid-back hostel, easy to chill. Just get a drink at the swimming pool and cool off here. After all, we consider a swimming pool a must-have in this city.

Casa del Puerto has its own cinema/TV room with Netflix. Each private room has also its own TV with Netflix on it. Therefore, if you need a break from all the tours, trekking and things to do, this is the perfect place to be! Trust me, this can easily happen when backpacking Colombia.

Good to know: You find more private rooms than dorms here. It feels more like a laid-back guesthouse or even resort instead of a typical backpacker hostel. Meaning, it is super chill, but not the best for activities and backpackers. Yes, you can meet other travelers, and in fact, you can bond much better. But it’s not a typical Youth Hostel. For the social butterflies, please hop over to our #2 below.

Casa del Puerto Hostel& Suites is the best hostel in Cartagena for:

  • Solo-Traveller to relax
  • Laid-Back Travellers
  • Couples
Book Casa del Puerto Hostel here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld | Hostelz.com

Our favorite hostel in Cartagena: Casa del Puerto Hostel & SuitesKick Back at the Swimming Pool at Casa del puerto Hostel and Suites in Cartagena de Indias

For us, this is the best Boutique Style Hostel in Cartagena, no doubt! It is sparkling clean and professionally managed. There is a reason why this is the best-rated hostel in all Cartagena.

As for the location: it is located in safe and underrated area of Manga – please check our map here. It is just 15 minutes walking to the old town, and in 10 minutes you are in the backpacker district of Getsemani for nightlife action. Manga itself is a beautiful part of town with much less tourists.

To sum it up, you have the advantage of being a bit away from the hustle-and-bustle and seeing an underrated, beautiful part of the town. The disadvantage might be, you are not in the Old Town.

If you want to stay in a quiet and beautiful hostel and want to go out to drink at night, this is the best place!

Where do you sleep?

You can choose from different private rooms (single to triple rooms) or a bed in a 4-bed dorm. All rooms and dorms come with AC, Ensuite facilities and a yummy breakfast.

You can also expect privacy curtains on the bunks in the dorm.

Book Casa del Puerto Hostel here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld | Hostelz.com

Safe dorms and lockers: Casa del Puerto Hostel in Cartagena, Colombia Design Hostel in Cartagena Casa del Puerto Hostel & Suites

2. Republica Hostel (double bed dorms + social vibes)

We recommend Republica Hostel – a very social hostel with plenty of activities, a pool and its own bar.

This is a pretty big hostel, with a total of 100 dorm room beds. Don’t worry though; the maximum per room is 14. This hostel is located in a stunning 3-story colonial building and has one of the largest courtyards in the entire Old City.

Along with the many dorms on offer, Republica also has two private rooms.

Good to know: the 10-bed dorm includes double beds as well as single!

Book Republica here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Dorms at Republica Hostel in Cartagena are pod-style

Best hostels in Cartagena with private rooms and dorms

Read: Sex in hostels? 4 Dos and Don’ts

Everyone can expect their own personal locker and linen included.

What else:

  • Free breakfast and coffee
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Two bars on-site
  • Swimming pool
  • Rooftop deck with hot tub
  • Two large lounge areas

Add the superb staff and you’re set for a wonderful experience, no doubt.

There are daily activities at this hostel, too.

On Mondays, the staff encourages one guest to cook a typical dish from their country to share together as a big family.

Wednesday is beach games and Saturday drinking games. The team is really creative when it comes to events. Keep an eye on the black board or simply ask the staff what is going during your stay.

We hope you’re ready to make lots of new friends!

Read: the unwritten rules at hostels to make life-time friends

What about the location, you might ask?

Republica Hostel is located within the walls of the beautiful Old City – the famous Old Town! It is the heart of why you are visiting this city. Most of the beautiful photos you have seen are taken within the Old Town walls. Yes, we are talking about the instagram photos too! This instantly sets the scene for an authentic Colombian experience. For me, this is the best location in all the city.

Republica Hostel is the best hostel in Cartagena for:

  • Social Couples
  • Social butterflies
  • top choice for everyone who loves activities like crawls, dinner nights and music events
Book Republica here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Best Hostel in Cartagena for Solo-Traveller: Republica Hostel in Old Town
Best Hostel in Cartagena for Solo-Traveller: Republica Hostel in Old Town
Dorms at Republica Hostel in Cartagena are pod-style

Best hostels in Cartagena with nice dorms and private rooms

3. Life Is Good Hostel (Getsemani)

#3 on our list comes the Life Is Good Hostel, the best hostel in Getsemani for Backpackers.

It is one of the cheaper hostels and still offers perks. First of all, let us tell you about its location.

Life Is Good Hostel is located in Getsemani, the backpacker area. Please check our handmade map to see all locations.

Yet, it is on a quiet street. This is very important! If you choose a hostel without checking the exact location, you might end up at a super loud place with loud music and party until the wee hours.

The main party square, the “Holy Trinity Square” (in Spanish: “Plaza de la Santísima Trinidad”) is just a 2 minute walk up the street. Come here for a drink at night.

Just 5 minutes from here you find our favorite café and brunch place, the Stepping Stone Café. This café supports local communities in the area with little or no help from the government.

Book Life Is Good Hostel here

Compare prices at: Hostelworld | Booking.com

Top location of Life Is Good Hostel in Getsemani
Life Is Good Hostel in Getsemani – Beautiful building with a great location in the backpacker district

They also hire only handicapped people to give them a stable income. I absolutely love this place. Besides the social effort, the food and café is also fantastic and still affordable.

Back to Life is Good Hostel, they also run their own events and even cooking classes. Their roof top terrace might be my highlight. They have a small Jacuzzi on their roof top and lots of hammocks to chill and kick back.

Rooms come with Air Conditioning, which is important, really. Make sure you ask if the AC works in your room; there has been some hick-ups!

What else?! Well, the usual stuff all great backpacker hostels offer: Laundry service, 24 hour reception, great team with cool tips on things to do. WiFi is quick as a bunny and they also have board games in case you hit a rainy day.

As for the rooms, you can choose between private rooms (twin beds and double rooms) as well as dorms. For dorms they have everything from 4-bed dorms to 10 bed mixed dorms max.

So again, personally I feel the location of being inside the Old Town is better. BUT, this is only me being picky.

Both this exact and quiet location of Life Is Good Hostel and the Old Town is great. In fact, it only takes you a 5 minute walk to enter the old town.

I do not want to sound like a broken record, but it is cheaper here…

This accommodation is a top-choice for:

  • Young Solo Travellers
  • Backpacker
Book Life Is Good Hostel here

Compare prices at: Hostelworld | Booking.com

Roof Top Terrace at Life Is Good HostelCommon Area at Life Is Good Hostel Cheaper Hostels in Cartagena: Life is a good is a great option!

Comparing the 3 Top Hostels in Cartagena

Okay, I know this was a lot and the different locations and different types of hostel might be confusing. This is how I felt before I visited the first time. I made a simple and handy comparison chart for you here. I hope this helps!

  Casa del Puerto Hostel & Suites Republica Hostel Life is Good Hostel
Recommended for…
  • Solo-Traveller to relax
  • Laid-Back Travellers
  • Couples
  • Social Couples
  • Social butterflies
  • Young Solo Travellers
  • Backpacker
Swimming Pool Yes Yes No
WiFi Free (Great) Free (Great) Free (Great)
Breakfast Big Buffet Breakfast Big Buffet Breakfast Great!
Location Manga

(less touristy, 15 min to Old Town)

Old Town

(super central and more busy)

Getsemani

(one street away from bars and nightlife)

Special Swimming Pool, Laid-Back, Netflix Very Social and Central – with swimming pool
Top Backpacker Hostel (simple dorms)
Activities No Yes Yes
Lockers – and safe? Yes Yes Yes
Prices from… 15€ 11€ 10€
How to book? Hostelworld Hostelworld Hostelworld

This information can vary by season and availability. Please take this into account. You can always compare prices for hostels in Cartagena at Hostelz.com

Best Party Hostels in Cartagena de Indias

It was actually a little too easy for us to find you an amazing party hostel in Cartagena. The city is known amongst party backpackers for wild nights out.

So, what are the best party hostels in Cartagena?

  1. Wonderland Hostel Cartagena
  2. El Viajero
  3. Hostel Mamallena

Let us explain why Wonderland Hostel Cartagena had to be our number one.

During the day the staff encourages you to join free dance classes. Learn how to dance Salsa, Bachata and Champeta like a local. Fun guaranteed!

Grab a free bike and explore the city or join one of the many activities put on by this Wonderland party hostel.

In the evening, head to the on-site bar – open to the public as well as guests.

The bar closes at midnight so those who want to sleep, can actually get a rest. But if your party is only getting started; continue it in the Old Town with the rest of the crew.

They know the best places to party in Cartagena until the sun rises.

After a crazy night fill up on your free breakfast and Colombian coffee.

The only thing left to do is to relax on the quietest beach in the area, close by to the hostel. Have a look on our map below to find more details.

Perfecto!

Book Wonderland here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Best party hostel in Cartagena, Wonderland

Option two is the energetic Viajero Cartagena Hostel.

Here you can also enjoy free dance lessons, plus many more activities in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

Enjoy a drink in the colonial-style courtyard and relax on the nearby beach after a big night with new friends.

We think WONDERLAND Hostel is a tick better since you can relax on the swimming pool.

Book El Viajero here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

El Viarjero Party Hostel in Cartagena, Columbia

If you are looking for the backpacker hostel in Cartagena, Colombia…

Let us tell you why Hostel Mamallena Cartagena should be also on your list.

They may not consider themselves a party hostel but they know how to party and provide a great backpacking experience.

This hostel has great and plenty of space to chill and make some friends.

Choose from:

El patio or El bar

The bar opens until 2 am and has great deals like 2 for 1 on drinks. Anyone after Happy Hour?!

They have a bar, but they still let you bring your own alcohol into the hostel.

Drinks are very cheap but if you want anyone to visit you at this hostel, they have no problem letting your friends inside either.

Everyone is so welcome, even the animals! They own a very friendly dog and a cat. This place is so homie, they really make you feel at home here.

But if you are on you way to somewhere else, they can help you with that as well. At this hostel you can book your trips to Playa Blanca, Santa Marta/Taganga and boats to Panama if that’s where you are heading.

This backpacker’s hostel in Cartagena brings a lot of value to your visit.

So think no more!

Book Mamallena Hostel here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Best backpacker hostel in Cartagena, Colombia. Best backpacker hostel in Cartagena, Colombia.

More Hostels worth a mention

Cartagena is doing their hostel game right. There are many boutique hostels in Cartagena and picking only 3 was not easy, really.

Yet, we always only recommend three for you. After all, this is all you need. You do not need me to tell you 17 hostels; this is pointless. I simply give you the absolute top ones and you make your final choice.

That being said, I want to mention a few more that are worth it for you to know. Especially in high season in December and January Cartagena hostels can be sold out easily. It is a good idea to have a backup.

  • Be Lounge Hostel (Old Town)
  • Bourbon St Hostel Boutique

Be Lounge (relax like a royal)

This one is also a really great choice, you will see. Ever wondered what a 400-year-old-colonial house renovated into a modern, minimalist hostel would look like?

Welcome to Be Lounge Cartagena Hostel.

The clever blend of old and new offers a cosy, unique hostel in the heart of Cartagena.

Dorm lovers will be pleased: choose between 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10-bed dorms. This includes a 10-bed Female dorm.

Read: 7 Pros and 4 cons of female dorms

The reception is open 24-hours. We know this is important to you, and also to us. It adds some security and obviously you can check-in when you arrive late. Just make sure you let the hostel know when you will arrive. That always helps.

The friendly staff speak English, Spanish and Portuguese and love offering their guests tips and tricks about the area. So just ask! They have also a map on the reception to show you the main sights in the city.

Make sure you also ask about walking tours and the events going on inside the hostel.

Book Be Lounge here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Where to stay in Cartagena for solo travelers? Be Lounge

A few extras to be aware of:

  • Free WiFi available
  • Breakfast included
  • Terrace surrounding rooms (2nd floor)
  • Book exchange
  • Shared kitchen

As for relaxing after a day of exploration?

Choose between the seating area in your room, a terrace, the bar and restaurant, garden and the sun deck area. You’re really spoilt for choice, it would seem.

It is a really social place, easy to connect thanks to the many different areas.

What about the location of Be Lounge?

In the heart of the Old town and nearby Bourbon Hostel. This great hostel is located just a 2-minute walk from Palace of the Inquisition. Other nearby interests include Cartagena’s Walls and Bolivar Park. Have a look on our map we created below for more details.

Be Lounge is the best hostel in Cartagena for Female Travellers and sloths.

Book Be Lounge here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Cozy vibes at Be Lounge, one of the best hostels in Cartagena, Colombia

Dorm at the best hostel in Cartagena for solo female travellers, Be Lounge

Bourbon St Hostel Boutique (pool party anyone?)

Update: This hostel is closed atm. Please check at Hostelz.com, Hostelworld or Booking.com for latest updates.

Welcome to the gorgeous little Bourbon St Boutique hostel.

This boutique hostel hosts a total of 42 guests, spread over 3 mixed dorm rooms of 12, 14 and 16 beds. This is for us on top of all the best hostels in Cartagena for solo-travellers.

Why? It is a small, yet sociable design that we think is wonderful for solo travellers in particular.

The decor has created a lovely warm, homely vibe throughout the accommodation. At the same time, you will find live music here, events organized such as Halloween and a few more fun events every traveler loves.

Book Bourbon Boutique here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Where to stay in Cartagena? St Bourbon hostel

What’s included in the rooms?

  • Linen
  • Blackout curtains, 4 plugs + night light per bed
  • Lockers
  • Free WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Free breakfast

There is also a free breakfast on offer, as well as the use of a fully furnished kitchenette. On the top floor is Bourbon St Bar-Restaurant where live music is regularly free to enjoy.

Good to know: guests at the hostel can enjoy 2 for 1 on meals in the restaurant. Yum!

Feeling sociable?

Make new friends at the on-site swimming pool and attached bar or over a game of billiard pool.

There is also a TV lounge and plenty of seating space throughout the building. Reception is open 24-hours so there’s no need to worry about a curfew ruining your evening plans.

This hostel is found 100 yards from Bolivia Park and only a 15-minute drive from the airport.

Bourbon St Boutique hostel is the best hostel in Cartagena for:

  • Solo Travellers
  • Party animals
Book Bourbon Boutique here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Bourbon St Boutique one of the Best Hostels in Cartagena

Any Discounts or Promo Codes?

Currently, we have no special hostel discounts or Promo Codes for hostels in Cartagena. They all expired already and we would not give you discount codes that are not valid anymore.

Yet, you can always get the 35€ discount for Airbnb here.

Wanna be updated? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Here we share our newest promo codes for hostels and hotels in Cartagena and all other destinations first.

Things to know before you go to Cartagena

Let me give you a few more things I think you should know before coming here. This will help you to plan a bit better and might add a few things to your list you haven’t considered yet.

Old Town – Magical, but…

I absolutely love the old town of Cartagena. It is soooo beautiful.

That being said, there is a lot of cons here. The city can be super packed from 10am on. Prices are high, no, very high compared to the rest of Colombia. Many people only enjoy 1 day here and move on. As a budget traveler, this is the better option. With a limited budget, only stay 1 night at one of the hostels in Old town Cartagena and take a bus up north to Palomino.

We woke up early and wandered the old town at 7:30am. It was empty. Not even a café was open and there we no cars. This is the best time to take photos and enjoy its beauty.

The street vendors can be quite annoying too. The ladies dressed up in their beautiful yellow and colorful dresses constantly try to charge high prices. However, always keep a smile and negotiate. You should totally get your photo with one of the ladies.

One more thing you should be aware of.

The square of Plaza de los Coches with the Clock Tower Monument, is the main square basically. When sun sets, you will notice many beautiful women looking for work here – if you know what I mean. It is a safe area though. Nothing to worry about, just be aware.

Old Town Cartagena de Indias

Freedom of choice - street art in getsemani

Sunset Walk at the City Walls

One of my highlights was watching the sunset form the city walls. Go to the Western side of the wall, facing the ocean. There is also a bar called “Café del Mar”. I added it to the map.

Obviously, you will need to be here ahead of time. There are not too many tables.

Bocagrande District

As a tourist, it makes not much sense to stay in Bocagrande unless you are a family or a digital nomad, planning to stay longer. It feels more like a district to actually live, but not to see anything special.

The beaches in Bocagrande and Cartagena Area are not great anyways.

The sand is dark and super busy. The vibes are great though. If you want to have a drink, go to the beach and mingle. This is always fun. There is a lot of music and dancing going on.

Much more lively than in Spain or Italy for instance.

Yes, we actually stayed here as well when we visited for 2 weeks. For Digital Nomads, the Bocagrande District can be great. You can book cool Airbnbs in Cartagena with a swimming pool and private gym, too.

Check Airbnbs in Cartagena here

Bocagrande District; Beach and high buildings

Getsemani and Nightlife

In terms of nightlife with bars and music, I would also go to Getsemani and not the old town. Good thing is, they are only a 5 minute walk away from each other.

Getsemani is the backpacker area, I already mentioned this. There are many hostels, bars, restaurants, clubs – this is where you go once the sun sets.

The main square would be Holy Trinity Square.

You can even have drinks at the street with music. When we visited, there was even street musicians and dancers performing. It was great! This is also the cheaper area to get a drink and go out.

Backpacker District in Getsemani, Cartagena
Backpacker District in Getsemani, Cartagena
Street Art at Holy Trinity Square in Getsemani, Cartagena
Street Art at Holy Trinity Square in Getsemani, Cartagena

Party Bus, Chiva Rumberas

Yes, FUN! The Chiva Bus in Cartagena is worth the money. At night, you will see many party buses driving around with people dancing and loud music. It is quite a fun experience, and cheap too.

Here is a video for you to get an idea.

Cheap Food in Cartagena

You will find many good places to eat here. You find everything from Pizza to Chinese food and of course local Arepas and street food.

My favorite places for cheap food in Getsemani were:

  • Restaurante Coroncoro – super local food and cheap!
  • Cafe Stepping Stone – best for Brunch! They work with handicapped people and support the local communities. COME HERE, perfect food and coffee!!!!
  • El Arsenal: The Rum Box – for fish and posh dinner. Okay, NOT cheap, but worth a night to splurge. You can try many types of rum
  • Basilica Pizzería Cafe: Great pizza in Getsemani
  • Abacus Books and Coffee – cool café and library for a coffee and snacks
  • Restaurante Vegetariano Girasoles: Cheap daily menus; even non-vegetarians will love their local food.

I added all my suggestions to the map below.

Are you visiting any of these places? Then please let us know and tag us on Instagram @hostelgeeks and #hostelgeeks.

Stepping Stone Café in Getsemani

Kite Surfing Hostel

Personally, I started Kite Surfing in Mayapo, near Riohacha in the North of Colombia.

From Cartagena on you can actually do kitesurfing as well.

Near Cartagena there is the Zion Beach House, directly at the beach “Playa Manzanillo”.

You can either stay at their hostel or you can arrange with them a pickup from Cartagena. They have a daily bus running to bring people from Cartagena to their beach for kite surfing.

You see, you can then sleep in Cartagena and go kite surfing during the day. Pretty cool. The bus ride takes around 30 minutes.

Important: Although Zion Beach Hostel is listed as Cartagena, it is really a 30 minutes out of the city. So it is really not the best idea to stay here and enjoy the Old Town at night, for instance.

Book Zion Beach Hostel here

Yoga and Kite Surfing with Zion Beach Hostel

Isla Rosario, Isla Grande and your Hostel Choice

For sure you might have heard of this island already. It is on ALL the lists covering the best things to do in Cartagena.

Now, it is super worth it. It is wonderful!

However, my recommendation would be not only to come as a day trip. It takes you 1.5 hours one way on a speed boat. The island is small, but has enough to discover to spend here 2 cozy days.

You will need to stay at Secreto Hostel at Isla Rosario. We spent 2 nights here.

You can join their tours such as:

  • snorkelling at the sunk airplane of Pablo Escobar at Isla Rosario
  • diving
  • Bioluminescent Plankton Tour (this depends on the weather conditions!!)

On Isla Rosario you can also eat at the other hotels, chill at the pool at Secreto Hostel, relax at the beaches and visit the famous Pablo Escobar villa. It is said, it was not his villa at all, but it attracts people. Either way, we went there. It is a very impressive, old building with some serious damage. Great to take photos!

Read our full review of Secreto Hostel here.

How to get to Isla Rosario? Book Secreto Hostel online with Hostelworld (the only way!). You cannot go there without a reservation and it is usually sold out quickly. After your booking, write them an email about the boat connection. They will give you instructions on where you can get the boat, the terminal is near the old town.

They will tell you the time and price and which company.

Important: Do not fall for the laziest scam ever. The price was 50 pesos per person. The lady on the pier told us 50 pesos as well. The price for 2 people would be then 110 pesos. Well…not in my world?!

She tried this with every single one, and actually many people we asked fell for this…Just tell the lady 50 pesos times twice is 100…not 110.

Super important: You can only pay cash in the hostel, there are no ATMs on the island. Make the math and bring enough money with you. You need to pay the hostel, the transport, tours, and food and drinks.

Book Secreto Hostel here

One of the coolest hostels in Colombia; Secreto Hostel Secreto Hostel in Rosario Island is a brand new 5 star hostel in Colombia

Pablo Escobar Villa at Isla Rosario - or is it?
Pablo Escobar Villa at Isla Rosario – or is it?

Playa Blanca…worth it?

I’ll keep this one short: Do not come here if you do not like crowded places.

Personally, I do not understand why someone would enjoy a day trip to Playa Blanca. It is expensive, crowded and so on. Yes, the beach itself is very nice but that’s about it.

Skip this experience and swap it for Isla Rosario. You will have a much better time!

Map of the 3 Best Hostels in Cartagena and Sights

So here it is, the magical map. The useful map of all the hostel locations and cool sights, just for you.

We also included the main tourist attractions you’ve to know in this list:

  • Playa blanca (not worth it on our opinion!)
  • Bazurto Market
  • Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
  • Ciudad Amurallada (Old Town)
  • Isla Rosario
  • Sunset spot
  • all my favorite cafés
  • places to eat
  • bus terminal to Santa Marta and boat terminal to Isla Rosario

I highlighted the three districts:

  • Old Town  – Green
  • Getsemani – Orange
  • Bocagrande – Purple

(You can activate and deactivate the different layers in the left sidebar. Open the map in a new tab here.) Please zoom in for details and zoom out to see the kitesurfing hostel and the islands in the area.

Best Hostels in Cartagena FAQs

If you are not sure about where to start, here the answer to your most asked questions

What are the best hostels in Cartagena?

If you are looking for the best hostels in Cartagena, check this guide with our top 3 we recommend for you

  1. Casa del Puerto Hostel & Suites – best for solo-traveller to relax
  2. Republica Hostel – best pick for female solo-travellers to socialize
  3. Life is Good Hostel in Getsemani – best for backpacker

Look no more!

Best hostels in Cartagena for solo travellers?

If we have to choose one hostel from this guide for solo travellers, we do recommend you to check the Republica Hostel. We love their events as well as their roof top terrace and swimming pool. It is very clean and social; LOVE IT!

It is a small and cosy hostel in Cartagena, Colombia. They have a few more hostels around Colombia too, e.g. in Santa Marta.

Bogota or Cartagena which city I should visit?

Cartagena is much more beautiful, Bogotá not so much. Bogotá is a cool city, but I would always choose Cartagena.

Cartagena has the sea, islands nearby and it’s walled city. As a tourist, Cartagena is much better to visit than Bogotá. Bogotá has the Salt Cathedral and other sights nearby.

We recommend to read our full guide best hostels in Bogota for more information.

Best Photo Spots in Getsemani

Flights to Cartagena?

Cartagena is so well connected. In fact, you can even fly in from USA and Europe directly. Just check your options. We also took a flight from Cartagena to San Andres, the island in the far North. Flights cost here around $25, if you prebook.

Cartagena is also well connected with the rest of Colombia. You can get direct flights from Bogotá, Medellin and so on. The Airport in Cartagena is quite central. You can either take a bus, a cheap cab ride or organize an airport pick up with your hostel. I just took a cab outside the terminal, and it was around $5 to get to Bocagrande.

We enjoy Omio.com and Kiwi.com to find cheap flights all over the world, including Cartagena, Cuba and more.

This new website has super cool features like a so-called radius search.

Just draw a circle over Central America and find the cheapest rates for the area.

Here is our full review of Kiwi.

Cheap Flights in South America

More Epic Hostels in South America

You know what, we gave written even more guides for you.

We at Hostelgeeks are here to help you to stay in safe and epic hostels around the world. Check out the finest hostels in the world, the 5 Star Hostels.

For more cool hostel guides around South America, check out:

What about 5 star hostels? We have a great selection in and around South America:

Find all our hostel guides around the world here.

Over to you

We hope we’ve helped you to choose the best hostel in Cartagena, Colombia. We gave you the 3 best hostels in Cartagena, two best party hostels and finally a huge detailed map.

Perhaps you’ve already stayed in one of them? As always, drop us a comment below with your stories, questions and anecdotes.

Any questions, doubts?

We want to make this guide as useful and detailed as possible. Your question(s) actually help us to improve and helps you to get your travels sorted out.

Therefore, do not be shy, please. Write your questions below in the comments and we will get back to you rapido rapido.

Last note: Our commitment

This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter and find the best place on a budget!

We ONLY recommend places we know you will enjoy, no matter what.

Also, we will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by.

We share with you exclusively places we recommend to our best friends and family!

Enjoy this fine hostel selection and all 5 Star Hostels.

Discounts for Hostels in Cartagena

Would you like a promo code for any of the Cartagena hostels mentioned? Of course you do. Since you are a Hostelgeeks reader and part of the community, you can get access to discounts and special promo codes.

You can find all our fresh and valid hostel promo codes here.

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Hostel Discounts Promo Codes

Your Smart Packing List

It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality hostel, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.

The most important things to pack are: Read the full packing list here. Download Hostel Packing List