Colombia has come such a long way since its cartel days and you can really feel the warmth and enthusiasm of the locals as soon as you step foot in this magnetic country. Every place is completely different but the welcome remains the same - warm and inviting, yet curious.
After spending 2.5 months exploring Colombia, I fell madly in love with it. I had my fair share of shady accommodation experiences and sleeping on bus station floors (I have a habit of missing my connections!) but I also experienced some of the BEST and most unique hostels on my solo adventures to date. And the best part? Most are sustainably driven and came at super affordable budget backpacker prices.
I made some of my best memories in these places, and now you can too.
Accommodation options range from private doubles, a dormitory or hammocks. A hammock is the cheapest option and in my opinion, the best (€23 / $26 per night) because you wake up to the sound of the ocean, with front row seats to the sunrise.
Why you must visit Casa en el Agua:
If you are looking to kick back and relax in the middle of the ocean and experience unmissable sunsets. Expect to meet awesome people and create unforgetable memories.
Why Go Travel and Talk love Casa en el Agua:
Casa en el Agua is translated from Spanish as ‘House on water.’ This hostel is pure magic and only 2 hours by boat from the highly popular Cartagena. Surrounded by open ocean, you wake up to sunrises that will warm your soul. You will spend your days swimming in crystal clear waters and sun worshiping on the lower deck, only to welcome in the evening sky with communal dinners, games and dancing with sundown cocktails in hand. At the end of the night you drift off to sleep in your hammock, stargazing, only to repeat it all over again the very next day. Activities range from snorkeling, diving, sunbathing and swimming with bio-luminescence plankton.
Casa en el Agua is 100% eco-friendly and employs residents from local communities of the Island of Isolate. This employment is a huge positive for them as paid work is limited on the island. Employees are also educated about ocean conservation and the importance of protecting our seas.
You have the option of private huts, camping, hammocks and dormitories. A bed in a mixed dormitory cost around €7 ($8) per night.
Why you must visit Casa Loma:
If you are looking for a digital detox in a serene mountain oasis with a beautiful community vibe (great for solo travellers looking to connect with likeminded people).
Why Go Travel and Talk love Casa Loma:
Casa Loma is an experience in itself and there really is nowhere else is to stay when you visit Minca (despite the previous glory of Casa Elemento). Perched on the side of a mountain, the name translates as ‘house on the hill’. With its location, Casa Loma offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys and the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
You can choose to pitch your tent, sleep in a hammock, tuck yourself away in their tree house dormitory or gaze out at the stars in your very own private hut. The food is sensational, their open top showers connect you to nature and the night time camp fires with your fellow travellers as well as the super friendly staff, give it a strong community vibe. If that’s not enough, there is sunrise yoga and sunset beers, all whilst being surrounded by nature and wildlife - although you do have to climb around 100 steps to reach the hostel - with your backpack in tow! (totally worth it!)
Plan your adventure: Casa Loma
2 hours by boat from Buenaventura on Colombia’s pacific coast. You can reach Buenaventura easily from Cali. Details in our travel guide here.
The cheapest option is to camp, or you can stay in one of their jungle treehouse dormitories for €9 ($10) per night (or cheaper if you sign up to our email list!)
Why you must visit Pacifico Hostel:
If you are looking tor a digital detox, to get involved in the local community and to take life at a slower pace - all whilst meeting incredible and likeminded people who will become friends for life.
Why Go Travel and Talk love Pacifico Hostel:
Pacifico Hostel is located in one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world, the Bahia Malaga National park, which borders the Pacific coast of Colombia. The Bahia Malaga National park is bursting with wildlife, and if you visit during the months of July and October, you will see giant Yubarta whales as they migrate down the coast. When you arrive at the Pacifico Hostel, it feels like you have found a heaven on earth - prepare to get a little wet as you jump off the boat and walk through shallow waters to reach the hostel.
The surrounding water is bright green, the vibe is super chilled and you will wake to the sound of the ocean waves lapping against the cliff. And the icing on the cake? When the tide goes out, you have a private beach all to yourself.
For a hammock it costs €6 ($7) per night. If you prefer a little privacy or you are travelling with someone else, you can bag a double room for €14 ($16) per night. We strongly suggest sleeping in the hammock for a truly unique experience.
Go Travel and Talk Top Tip: To sleep well in a hammock, lay in it diagonally! This way, the hammock will straighten up and you don’t have to sleep banana style.
Why you must visit Hospedaja Alexandra:
Whilst this hostel is relatively basic, it is nestled in the middle of the desert, giving you panoramic views of rolling sand dunes, transporting you to another world - much like Noches de Saturno in the Tatacoa Desert (see below).
Why Go Travel and Talk loves Hospedaja Alexandra:
Punta Gallinas is tiny, so your accommodation options are limited. But Hospedaje Alexandra did not disappoint. It is simplicity in its purest form. If you opt to sleep in a hammock, you will stay with your fellow travellers under one roof but with no walls, right in the centre of the desert, rocked to sleep by a gentle and welcomed breeze.
Plan your adventure: Hospedaja Alexandra
€9.50 ($11) per night for a bed in one of their dormitories or you can pitch your own tent for €6 ($7) and have a prime spot for the morning sunrise.
Why you must vist La Serrana:
If you want an affordable and authentic Colombian hacienda experience, with expansive views of the surrounding green valleys.
Why Go Travel and Talk love La Serrana:
Nestled in the emerald green Los Nevados mountain range sits this gem of a retreat. La Serrana is a 20 hectare farm of green pastures offering 360 degree views of rolling mountains and lush green valleys. They offer horse riding, mountain biking, rock climbing and coffee tours. They are also position as the perfect gateway to the breathtaking Valle de Cocora trek - An absolute must when you are in Salento.
La Seranna offers dormitories, private rooms and grounds to pitch your tent on. This hacienda offers a little slice of paradise. A delicious breakfast is included in the price of the rooms and all of the ingredients are sourced locally or produced on the farm. Their family and communal style dinners offer the perfect opportunity to meet other travellers.
In the middle of the Tatacoa Desert, in Southern Colombia. It is fairly tricky to get to (travel guide coming soon!) The easiest way is to first go to Neiva, the capital of El Huila region. As soon as you get to the bus station someone will come up to you and offer to take you to Villavieja. If not, just ask around at the bus station and a minivan will take you there. Once in Villavieja you will then take a tuk-tuk for the remaining hour to the Tatacoa Desert..
There is the option of private rooms, pitching a tent and hammocks in an open air room. We strongly suggest opting for the hammocks as the private rooms and tents can become very hot in the desert heat. Hammocks cost €1.50 ($1.65) per night!
Why you must visit Noches de Saturno:
You are seeking simplicity under the night sky and a completely unique experience in the middle of a desert.
Why Go Travel and Talk love Noches de Saturno:
Noches de Saturno is a posada (hostal) in the middle of the Tatacoa desert. Whilst on first appearances it seems little more than a run down shack, look a little closer and you will find the perfect place for you to begin your magical desert adventure. The hostel comes equipped with a large dining room, a bar, a swimming pool (the only hostel in the desert to have one!), private cabanas and an open air room full of double sized hammocks.
If you opt to stay in a hammock, you will fall alseep under a night sky shining bright with twinkling stars. The atmosphere is electric and yet serene. The food is delicious and the portions are huge (although at an additional price). There is no WIFI and power for only certain times of the day. It is just you and your fellow travellers in the middle of a red desert. The Noches de Saturno is perfect for meeting other people because of the large communal dining space, and you can buddy up on the tours the hostel organise. As a bonus, the observatory is 10 minute walk away, where astronomy talks are held and through a telescope you have the chance to inspect the stars shooting above you.
If you are seeking a truly unique experience that will in no way break the bank, this is for you.
Plan your adventure: Hostel Noches de Saturno
El Rio has something for everyone. From private cabanas and dormitories to a large communal hammock hut. Prices range from €6 per night to €50. All food is served from their onsite restaurant, prices are fairly reasonable. All costs are added to your bill which is paid at the end.
Why you must visit El Rio Hostel:
You are looking for a slice of paradise where you can kick back and relax with a digital detox, or get involved in an inproptu party.
Why Go Travel and Talk loves El Rio Hostel:
Voted as one of the best hostels in Colombia, you won’t find it hard to understand why. Nestled in the Colombian jungle, with its own private beach along the Buritaca River, El Rio Hostel is a very special place. They have a riverside bar, a sundeck, lots of nature activities, daily tubing down the river, communal style dining, sunrise yoga and a really cool community vibe. Whether you want to chill on the beach, take a dip in the river, have a relaxing massage in one of their tree-houses or party all night long, El Rio offers it all.