3 BEST Hostels in Popayan – Guide to Exploring Colombia’s White City
Welcome to the town of Popayan – the capital of the Colombian department of Cauca, located between the Western and Central Mountain Range in the country’s southwest. It is well known for its characteristic Colombian architecture, as well as its rich cultural and historical heritage; this town is quickly gaining popularity in recent years. Here you’ll find the best hostels in Popayan.
It is one of the country’s most important religious centres, home to many popular landmarks, and several of the best hostels in Popayan, where you can unwind after your exploring tour.
The city is also known as La Ciudad Blanca due to the whitewashed buildings everywhere. Almost all sites and accommodations can be reached on foot, making it a convenient place to discover even if you don’t have a car.
are happy to spend $1 to $2 more for a much better experience
Apart from its vibrant history, this city is also known for its lovely vibe and the hospitality of the locals. Being one of the oldest and best-preserved towns in the area, Popayan is quite photogenic, meaning that you could take some pretty photos during your stay there.
When you’re not wandering around with your camera, you can try its popular and rich local cuisine that offers some of the tastiest and most distinctive specialities you’re ever tried.
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 Popayan: Yes, Popayan Colombia is generally considered to be a safe place to visit. The crime rate is low, and the city is well-policed. It is recommended to take the usual precautions to stay safe, such as avoiding walking alone late at night and carrying only necessary items.
These are our favorite hostels in Popayan. We want to make your life even easier, so we put all accommodations on a map for you. We even added our own tips for favorite restaurants, things to see, and more.
Hostel Caracol is a modern and comfortable hostel located in the centre of Popayan. But despite its central orientation, it offers both independence and privacy of self-contained studios and private ensuite rooms.
All studios can be found on the first floor, offering stunning views over the historic city centre and the mountains in the front. These small yet very comfortable rooms are modernly decorated and contain wooden floors and beds, private bathrooms equipped with all of the basic amenities, and access to free Wi-Fi and clean sheets.
They also have a compact kitchenette, stove, breakfast bar and refrigerator. This is a perfect place for all digital nomads or those looking for a place they can feel at home.
At El Caracol, you can also find a beautiful and cosy cafe you can spend your free time in. You will be able to enjoy the best coffee in the area, as well as some delicious homemade meals.
The property also has a shared lounge and outdoor garden patio where you can meet fellow backpackers and share your adventurous stories. There is also an option to arrange activities in the area through a tourist agency the hostel cooperates with.
Location: It’s located only 450m from Caldas Park and just 550m from the most popular archaeological site in the area- El Morro del Tucan. The Casa Mosquera Museum is only a 5 minutes walk away.
Les Balcons Hostel is often praised for the level of cleanliness, as this is something the host and the staff take very seriously. They offer several types of rooms, including double and deluxe rooms, as well as mixed dormitory rooms that can accommodate up to 6 guests.
The rooms all have comfy wooden beds, lockers to keep your belongings in, access to free Wi-Fi, and clean linen. There are both private and shared bathrooms, equipped with a shower, hairdryer and other basic amenities.
This hostel has a shared kitchen and lounge area, which guests can use and hang in. The guest house has a tennis table, so you can play games with other guests. There is also a laundromat and dryer service and 24-hours reception assistance.
As the host likes to say, this is a hostel from travellers for travellers. As they have explored the world themselves, they are now trying to provide optimal convenience and comfort for backpackers on the journey.
The proximity to all the popular sites is another reason Les Balcons is great for those who want to explore Popayan thoroughly. What makes this one of the best hostels in Popayan is the option to go on some of the organised tours and visit and learn about the places from an experienced guide.
Location: Situated in the centre of the city, Les Balcons hostel allows you to explore this beautiful city in comfort and convenience. It is situated in the very heart of Popayan, meaning that all the visit-worthy sites can be within short walking distance.
The hostel is only 1km from Genagra, 2km from Machanagra and around 6.6 km away from Pueblillo and Calicanto. There is a supermarket right in front of the property and several other shops around.
Hostel Spray provides several rooms, including single and dormitory rooms that fit from one to 4 persons. Every guest can access a refrigerator, terrace and dining table. Each room is also fitted with a shared bathroom, which includes a shower and other basic amenities.
The hostel also features a shared lounge area and outdoor garden patio where you can spend your free time hanging with other backpackers and sharing your stories. A tennis table is also available, which allows for an interactive group activity.
Hostel Spray has a 24 hours front desk service, free Wi-Fi, as well as a shared kitchen area that’s equipped with all the essential things you might need for cooking. There is a free bike rental service, which can be a huge advantage if you wish to use this means of transportation to travel to places close to the accommodation.
Moreover, you can request to stay with your pet and bring your furry friend along during your travel.
What’s interesting and unique about Hostel Spray is its appearance. Namely, the walls are covered with colourful murals and graffiti, which adds to its distinguishing character.
It’s one of the best hostels in Popayan that is cherished for its lively atmosphere and friendly staff. Their main goal is to make your stay comfortable and convenient, and they are willing to assist you in every way they can
Location: It is conveniently located in Carrera, around 630m from the city centre. It is a colourful and cosy accommodation you can stay in during your visit to Popayan. Genagra is only 1.2 km away, while Machangara is 2.4km far.
With this, we come to the end of our list of the best hostels in Popayan. Being one of Colombia’s most important religious, cultural and historical centres, we are confident that you will have a great time exploring the area. Despite being small, a town is definitely an invaluable place due to its long list of landmarks that every backpacker should see.
So, befriend this article before your trip to Popayan and ensure you get the most out of your stay there. We always keep our guides as fresh as a coconut on the beach. Bookmark Hostelgeeks to stay up to date!
More Hostels worth a mention
At the moment, we think you are all set with the hostels we just shared with you. We always try to keep our guides super fresh and up to date. We might add more hostels worth a mention soon here if we feel that it could enrich your travel and hostel experience.
Backpacking Tips for Popayan
The city of Popayan has long been overlooked as a backpackers’ destination. But the recent increase in its popularity has made many travellers visit this beautiful Colombian destination. But before you book your stay at some of the best hostels in Popayan, here are several backpacking tips you need to keep in mind:
Getting around the town
Because Popayan is a small town, you won’t have any problem exploring the cobblestone streets on foot. However, there are also many bike rental services, some of which are available in the hostels you can choose to stay at.
There are quite some things worth seeing in Popayan, and we advise you to visit most of them during your stay. Some of them include:
Torre del Reloj – this is the local’s name for the clock tower in Popayan- a bell tower in the Cathedral Basilica Nuestra de Senora. It is more than a century old, and even though it’s been renovated after the 1983 earthquake, the clock is stuck at 02:45, showing the time of the tremor.
Iglesia de San Francisco– this is one of the most popular religious sites in Popayan and the whole of Colombia. It’s a bell tower with one of the largest gold and bronze bells and a tall golden altar on the inside that stretches up to the ceiling.
El Morro de Tulcan– being the main archaeological site in the town, it’s no wonder this place is a must-see. The pyramid dates from the pre-Columbian period and features a statue of Sebastian de Belalcazar – a famous Spanish conquistador.
Enjoy the local food
No visit would be complete if you don’t try at least some local culinary specialities. Popayan is known to be the UNESCO city of gastronomy, offering a range of typical dishes, some of which include: Sopa de Tortilla (a mix of aged corn, minced potatoes, ground meat, banana and herbs), Tamales de Pipian and Empanadas de Pimpian (stews made from red potatoes, peanuts, onion, garlic), Desamargados (acidic fruit sweets), and so much more!
What about the cheapest hostels in Popayan?
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 Popayan.
Open Hostelz.com with a full list of all hostels in Popayan
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.
We recommend booking your hostel as early as possible! All of Popayan best hostels are popular; especially in high-season. To make sure you end up in those stylish and good hostels, secure your room/ bed as soon as you have your travel dates fix.
The coolest Hostel App you need comes as well from Hostelworld. It gives you super cool features like you can contact your hostel mates beforehand and make plans together. Find more details in our review of the app
Hostels in Popayan cost 6€ - 12€ per night for a bed in a dorm. A private room starts from 24€ up to 40€ per night. This is a rough average just to give you an idea.
Prices always depend on season and holidays.
Is Popayan safe to visit?
Yes, Popayan Colombia is generally considered to be a safe place to visit. The crime rate is low, and the city is well-policed. It is recommended to take the usual precautions to stay safe, such as avoiding walking alone late at night and carrying only necessary items.
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 Popayan 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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