Hola and welcome to the complete guide for the absolute best hostels in Colombia. We have backpacked in person around Colombia and brought back this handwritten guide. All hostels have been visited by us in person!
We have collected a bunch of amazing places to stay in Colombia; from Bogota over Medellin to Cartagena de Indias. And trust us, you want to read this guide carefully as we share some juicy secrets that will enrich your backpacking Colombia trip.
We also share why we think Colombia may not be as safe as you think. It is safe to travel if you follow certain rules. More on that later.
You’ll spot a big map of Colombia complete with ALL hostels at the end of this guide. This is really helpful for your planning.
Are these the best hostels in Colombia?
Do Colombians speak Spanish…?
Another thing we’re certain of: these hostels are jaw-droppingly beautiful. So much so, you might decide to lay down roots and never leave. Maybe just warn your parents before reading further.
Get ready for backpacker hostels, flashpacker havens and of course, ideal places to have a good time by the pool. Not only that, but we share with you our ultimate hostel packing list.
In this guide we cover the best hostels in following destinations:
Ríohacha is known for its native Wayúu people and is the place where the Riohacha river meet the Caribbean Sea. If you want to go up the North to La Guajira, then you have to pass Riohacha as well as the famous and popular Palomino.
We recommend staying 1 night in Riohacha, it is underrated and very very local experience. The market there is fantastic and safe. You can shop almost anything for very cheap prices. Here in Riohacha you are far away from the tourists crowds. Seriously, this is the Colombia you want to experience.
Update: You can stay at any Bona VIa Hostel and visite the main one which is Bona Vida La Quinta. It is the “main one” as it has the swimming pool, the roof top terrace and this is where the breakfast is being served.
La Tercera is run by an Austrian-Colombian couple, just a few steps away from the beach, nice restaurants, bars and shops. This colourful hostel offers many great perks. See for yourself:
Again, this one is our FAVORITE and the main Bona Vida Hostel La Quinta. You have the swimming pool, the epic roof-top terrace and the delicious breakast is served here. I highly recommend going for a smoothie, which is extar for breakfast. First, it ic cheap, second it is DELICIOUS!
Both Bona Vida Hostels are equally as beautiful and welcoming. What is the difference you might ask?
Well, La Tercera is just 3 streets away from La Quinta. La Quinta is the social hub, but I found that La Tercera is more quiet for sleeping as it has less rooms. We stayed in both aswe had to change rooms due to availability. We liked them both!
La Quinta also boasts a sun terrace, rooftop with bar and restaurant, and chillout area with hammocks and board games to play.
Their famous FREE breakfast includes pancakes, eggs and fruit to go with a hot morning coffee – wow!
Also to mention is the:
Selection of dorms & private rooms
Great dinner & cheap beer
Cocktail happy hours
Super fast, reliable WiFi
And on and on the list goes. See you by the pool.
First Important Secret: If you come to Riohacha to Kite Surfing and taking the epic tour to La Guajira, the Team helps you book it with a very safe and relaiblae company. We paid the same price as the other tours we have meet, but we got more out of it. Meaning, a safer car, better accommodation and good food.
The other groups we met along the awy were not as impressed by their own tour.
1. Casa del Puerto Hostel & Suite (Pool and Activities)
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.
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.
This unconventional and beautiful eco-friendly hostel can only be accessible by boat.
Located off the coast of Isla Tintipán in the Archipiélago de San Bernardo, on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast. This relaxed hostel has everything you could ask for. You can get a bus or taxi ride from Cartagena to a port. From there you need to take a boat.
Important: You need to book before! You cannot arrive without booking and you need to arrange the boat trip with the hostel directly.
Fresh and handmade food (vegetarian options too)
A bar on the water with some reggae music
And, what else can you expect a this hostel:
King-side private room
8 bed dorm
Double bed private room – great for couples
Queen bed room – one for solo travellers
And Hammocks – perfect for backpackers
This place is not for you if you are not willing to:
Shower yourself like the good old days!
Yes, They have only bucket showers.
Unfortunately they do not have a lot of water, at this Tintipan Island they only have two water tanks that hold up to 100,000 liters of clean rainwater and the house already uses about 1000 liters daily.
So yes, if you are not willing to take only showers in the evening, this place may not be for you.
To live without WI-Fi.
This place is perfect for instagramers, but unfortunately does not have Wi-Fi which means you will have to share your awesome photos later.
This hostel takes eco seriously so it means that all the toilets are dry toilets for composts.
Good to know: Hole #1 for pee and hole #2 for poos.
What you should bring?
Lots of cash because they do not take any cards at all.
Bring some repellent and plenty sunscreen since you will be under the sun most of the time.
Note: This hostels does not take any visitors under 18.
Best Hostels in Rosario Islands: Secreto Hostel
Just one hour by speedboat from Cartagena, on the Isla Grande of Rosario Islands is the magnificant Secreto Hostel.
Rumour has it that this was once home to the famous Narcos before being swallowed by Mother Nature for a number of years.
In 2015, Secreto was re-born into an intimate, peaceful and unique hostel.
There’s a bar, swimming pool, restaurant and great tours on offer here. Swing the day away in a hammock, wander through jungle and enjoy small, cosy dorms with other travellers.
Click on the ‘full review’ below to read a first-hand experience from our team.
If you’ve ever fancied seeing the views from the top of Piedra del Peñol, Guatapé is a good place to base yourself.
It’s the sort of destination that will win over the hearts of any type of traveller, even you!
Most people only come to Guatape for a day-trip. BIG MISTAKE! It takes you 2 hours one way with the bus. We even had traffic jam and it took us a whopping 5 hours.
Therefore, take your time and stay at least 1 night in Guatape. It is worth it. there is great food, prices are cheaper than in Medellin and there is plenty of things to do in Guatape. From climbing the famous Peñol, water sports or exploring the region all the way up to San Rafael.
We stayed 3 relaxing days, loved it! Pick a hostel in Guatape city center. It is a tiny town, but you do not want to be out of there in the middle of nowhere.
The City of Eternal Spring is calling your name! Medellin is in fact Colombia’s second largest city, so you can expect a great hostel game here. Yes, you can join the famous Pablo Escobar tours, but make sure you reflect a bit on it and soak in the locals opinion.
Have a look at our hand-picked suggestions we know you’ll love:
This is our very honest opinion, as always. Before travelling to Colombia for the first time, we were wondering:How safe is Colombia for Solo Traveller?
Truth be told, is it safe, as long as you follow certain rules. You cannot just walk any road you want, hire a car or motorbike and hit the road blindly. Unfortunately, this is not a good idea, still. If anyone else tells you so, I would be wondering why this person says so.
The tourist spots are safe in Colobmai. This is the richer areas in Medellin, main Bogota, Cartagena de Indias, Salento and as well the Lost City and Tayrona Park as well as famous Minca.
It is a good rule of thumb to ask at your hostel if there’s any safety rules for their city to follow. For instance, in Santa Marta is well known that the streets #11, #12 and #18 are known for being hot spots for robberies. We wrote some more detailes in our guide best hostels in Santa Marta.
Now you may wonder: These streets are not even next to each other, how ow am I supposed to know this stuff? Therefore, again, ask your hostel You can call beforehand or stimply ask at the reception. A good hostel cares about your safety.
Here are a few basic safety tips for Colombia:
Do not walk sideroads at night
Take a look around if there’s more people in the street; avoid empty streets when sun sets.
Do not “give papaya“. Meaning, do not show off your new iPhone and big camera. Do not give the opportunity to steal something from you.
Stay with your hostel crowd when going out a night; and go home in a group.
Only take officail taxis. Best option is to use the app Cabify.
Inside the hostel, always ue the locker with your own padlock.
Stay in a hostel with safe location. We share them above!
Try to arrive to your new hostel and city with sunslight.
All that being said, Colombia is amazing and you do not need to be paranoid now! Simply follow some basic rules so nobody takes avntage of you. We have travelled Colombia for 3 months, and we had no incident. Yet, we met other backpackers who got robbed.
Besides the listed accommodation, we also put together the best hostels in the world; the 5 Star Hostels.
We stayed in a former winery in Santorini, in a former jail-now 5 Star Hostel and many more. And we share all of these unique budget accommodations with you.
Make sure you check out our guides “best hostels in“. Here we cover many more destinations.
Update: We now cover as well curated ‘3 best hostels’ guides to cities with no 5 Star Hostels such as Paris, Tokyo and Sydney.
By now you should have the answer to your question where to stay in Colombia. Which of the best hostels in the Colombia have you fallen in love with? Let us know!
This guide is your shortcut to your hostel-picks, saving you lots of time in your accommodation research.
And for sure, it gives you the security of a top-hostel choice without any bad surprises.
Then please please leave a comment below. We would be thrilled to hear from you and to help a fellow backpacker.
Have fun & Safe travels
Discounts for Hostels in Colombia, South America
Would you like a promo code for any of the Colombia, South America 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.
How about we let you know once we get fresh promo codes? Simply leave your email and subscribe here to our newsletter. It it easy, free and you save real money.
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.