Although not the capital of Colombia, Cali has become the world capital of Salsa, enchanting all who visit it to move to the rhythm of its unique beats. But this city offers much more than bewitching turns and body movements.
We will show you the best hostels in Cali (where you can dance or simply mingle) and some safety tips so you can really enjoy this town where colonial and modern architecture meets the shade of nearby mountains.
Also, make sure you check our best hostels in Colombia. We put all hostels and hidden gems on a map for better planning.
Money-saving tip: Compare hostel prices with Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Hostelworld, Booking.com and others with 1 click.
Cali has over 200 Salsa dance schools and even more private teachers and locals who offer classes to tourists. It can be overwhelming to choose where to learn salsa and have fun. The best hostels in Cali will provide you with a safe and accessible location to explore everything the city offers and fun activities to partake in – like Salsa lessons! Best way to try to learn to dance and meet some new friends.
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 Cali: We are sure you hear that Cali (and Colombia in general) can be rough. Even though safety in Colombia has improved so much in the last few years, travellers still need to be smart about their decisions.
Here are some safety tips we think you should keep in mind:
Don’t take a taxi by yourself after 10 pm, especially if you’ve had a few drinks and you don’t speak Spanish. You might end up with someone who sees you as an easy victim to rob. If you have to use a cab, go in groups, and try to see if your hostel can order one for you instead.
In case you need a taxi, use: Uber, Cabify, or MAT applications. Using the apps will make it easier to avoid scams and communicate where you want to go. Also, if the driver says where you want to go is not a safe area, do not insist on going there. It might be too easy to get into trouble.
Don’t casually walk into neighborhoods you haven’t researched. Although Cali has a lot of safe and beautiful areas to explore, some still have a high crime rate, so make sure you know where you’re going. This isn’t a city where ‘wandering off’ is a good idea.
There’s a local expression in Colombia that you should follow: ‘‘No dar papaya,” which translates to ‘‘Don’t give papaya’’. Locals are not referring to the sweetness of the fruit but the fact that you shouldn’t display any of your own ‘sweet’ items like computers, watches, and phones (unless you want someone to take them).
Oasis Cali combines salsa’s fast-paced party style with Bachata’s slower romantic feel, as its dance instructors teach both styles of dance. Here, although classes are free, they are more personalized to your needs, thanks to teachers that belong to the local La Sucursal Dance school.
But enough about dancing, this accommodation is regarded as one of the best hostels in Cali Colombia in significant part thanks to its atmosphere. It provides travelers with some of the best social areas in South America, with numerous activities to choose from throughout the day.
It is also known for its clean and peaceful space that provides a great social ambiance and encourages travelers to form bonds.
Communal spaces are somehow luxurious and comfortable and include:
mini gym (yoga mats, weights, punching bag), and
a beer garden and terrace equipped with its own little hot tub.
Location: One of the most popular nightspots in Cali is the leafy and safe San Fernando neighborhood. This hostel is a couple of blocks from Parque del Perro, where you’ll find busy bars, clubs, pubs, and a sea of fusion-cuisine restaurants.
Although the area is quite popular, it has managed to maintain its Colombian charm and authentic culture.
At El Viajero, you’ll learn to dance to salsa beats and reward yourself with a well-deserved drink by the pool. While this accommodation has free salsa classes and private lessons every day, its main reputation is that of being the best hostel in Cali for party lovers above the age of 18. As such, expect a wide range of tours and parties to pick from almost every day of the week.
But don’t scratch this place off your bucket list if you’re not really into this type of social scene. There is an endless list of non-party activities that you can also partake in, from yoga sessions to salsa shows. They even organize a circus show almost every week!
The Viajero hostels have been slowly taking over South America, with locations opening up in Uruguay, Argentina, and Mexico. Even Miami has become home to one of their spots, so you know you’ll be staying at an establishment with plenty of experience serving guests and providing a safe and fun environment for them to relax in.
Regarding facilities, you can expect:
great social areas,
a well-equipped kitchen,
private and comfortable beds, and
swimming pool with a cool area to hang out
One notable thing is that they pride themselves in a philosophy that contributes to the local community. So part of their private sales lesson fees is donated to organizations in Cali that help children affected by violence.
Location: In the city center, a short 10-minute walk from the Historical district of Cali, Colombia. Nearby popular points of attraction include:
San Antonio Hill park,
Parque Simón Bolívar riverwalk,
Centenario Commercial Center, and
The hostel’s street is lined with impressive colonial buildings hosting cafés, restaurants, and vendors, and it is a short walk from the city’s main bar area.
La Sucursal Hostel is known for valuing its guest comfort over everything. This accommodation provides spacious common areas, rooms, and large beds with individual fans, lamps, and lockers to make for an enjoyable stay. Like many hostels in Cali, it is adults-only and provides complementary Salsa classes to travelers every day from 7 to 8 pm.
You’ll find a coffee shop on the ground floor with fast Wi-Fi that offers discounts to the hostel’s travelers and many supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants, and bars nearby. If you feel like cooking, the hostel has a decently equipped kitchen that overlooks beautiful panoramic city views.
This is one of the best backpacker hostels in Cali, Colombia, for solo travelers and is very focused on socialization: staff organize pub crawls or hangouts almost every night and tours and yoga glasses during the day. Alternatively, their rooftop bar provides a fantastic terrace space to mingle in and very cheap drinks to indulge in. The hostel has 43 rooms and is continuously frequented throughout the year, ensuring you’ll find a good group of friends to bond with.
Location: In the heart of the Granada neighborhood of Cali, Colombia, near the city’s main attractions.
Nearby sights include:
the Cane Aquapark, and t
he Merced Church.
Sports fans will also note the hostel’s proximity to the Canaveralejo Bullring and Olympic Stadium Pascual Guerrero. The area is lively – particularly at night- and is one of Cali’s most popular neighborhoods with both locals and travelers.
La Vaina is the new kid on the block but has quickly added itself to the list of best hostels in Cali, Colombia. It provides travelers with recently renovated areas and elegant modern decor filled with plants extending from its cozy private rooms to its sunny swimming pool terrace. Facilities include a Dance & Drinks lounge, disco room, restaurants, and an open island-style bar.
Location: This hostel’s terrace overlooks Cali’s historic district and is close to many museums, bars, and cafes. Popular sightseeing points include:
First things first: if you do hate Salsa you are in the wrong place.
Cali is the Salsa paradise and partying in this city consist also of dancing salsa. That does not mean that you have to know how to dance it, beginners are fully welcome. Just bear in mind you would be asked to dance as most people come to Cali to learn and dance salsa as much as they can. Don’t be shy and try, just follow the rhythm. I am sure you will get it easily.
At El Viajero they do have salsa classes daily and also party every evening. They do also have a circus show every week. Therefore this would be the best hostel to party in Cali.
Cali understood that backpackers love learning how to dance in a safe environment. There are many cool hostels with salsa classes in Cali and picking only 3 was not so easy.
Yet, we always only recommend three for you. We wanna give you simply the absolute top ones and you make your final choice.
That being said, we want to mention we found a few more hostels worth it for you to know.
The Pelican Larry Hostel
Hostel Rossa Palma
Hostal Ruta Sur
The Pelican Larry Hostel
Hostel Pelican Larry is a bright and colorful decorated hostel that provides travelers with an environment filled with contemporary paintings and whimsically tiled floors. The atmosphere here is much more relaxed than in other hostels in Cali, and this accommodation is known for its delicious morning breakfast served at a big shared table.
They also have many facilities, especially compared to similarly-priced hostels: entertainment space with board games, a huge garden with hammocks, an outdoor pool, a rooftop terrace, a dance studio, a Netflix room, a bar, a pool table, a ping-pong table, and an air-hockey table.
In addition to its salsa lessons, this hostel also provides Spanish lesson services to its guests.
Location: In the Historic Center! In addition to being one of Calis’ best and safest neighborhoods, close to many restaurants, bars, and popular points of interest, the area is also well connected through public transport.
Of course, there are always cheap hostels. But how do you actually find them? When you are traveling on a shoe-string budget and you want to save every dollar, there are ways to find the cheapest places in Cali.
Open Hostelz.com with a full list of all hostels in Cali
add your dates
Order the listings by price
Simple as that.
Hostelz.com is a price comparison site for hostels. They list every single one in the world and tells you exactly which website is cheaper to use.
Another smart Tip: Check what is actually included, and what is excluded. Take a closer look at the location, too. A further location might mean more costs in transport.
The two most popular booking platforms are Booking.com and Hostelworld.com. They both list numerous hostels and cheap accommodation. We wrote a detailed guide on the best booking sites for hostels.
The coolest App you need for Hostels comes as well from Hostelworld. It comes with super cool features like you can contact your hostel mates beforehand and make plans together. Download the Hostelworld App here.
All 3 Hostels put on a map + sights
Let us have a look at the map. Below, we list all three best Cali hostels on a map.
Personally, we love to plan our trips with a map having all sights and potential hostels on it. We thought this map will help you with planning your trip too.
In Cali we absolutely enjoyed:
Admire a panorama over the city at El Cristo Rey
Enjoy a Cholado, a mixture of condensed milk, fresh fruit cut into small pieces, and syrup
The fastest way to arrive in Cali is by plane. You can use Avianca Airlines or the following low-cost airlines:
Always make sure you read the terms and conditions to comply with checking bag measures as they check them cautiously.
To book and pay for tickets on one some Colombian airline’s websites you must use an international credit card. They do not accept international debit cards. If you do not have an international credit card you could pay in cash by selecting the method efecty.
Efecty is a platform that helps you do cash payments in many stores around Colombia. If you select Efecty as a payment method, you will be emailed a code. Then you have 12 hours to pay for your flight in any of the Efecty payment points. Check the nearest payment point before booking on their website to make sure it is convenient for you.
There is also a bus from Bogota that will bring you to Cali. It takes around 11 hours.
We also created a huge guide to hostels. Here we cover how to build lifetime friendships in hostels, the perfect packing list, and more.
Over to you
Do you have any questions left, maybe doubts? Then please leave it in the comment below. We are very keen to help you - and actually you would even do us a favor!
Your question will help us to improve this Cali guide.
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 will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by. We are constantly updating all our guides to keep them as fresh and accurate as possible.
Safe travels, The Hostelgeeks
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