Cartagena | Hostel Media Luna
We found this through a number of blogs as the top place to stay in Cartagena due to its fun, lively culture, and figured we would start our first night in Colombia with a bang. Welcomed into an open courtyard with a pool, we stayed in a 6-person dorm and enjoyed the close proximity to the walled city.
Taganga | Hostel Pelikan
I had no say in choosing this accommodation, but I was definitely pleased with the decision. Hostel Pelikan is a short three blocks from the water and main drag in Taganga, making it quite easy to navigate the small fishing village. After talking to some other backpackers, this was probably overpriced compared to other options further away from the action, but we ended up having a 6-person dorm to ourselves and enjoyed the upstairs hammock-deck area. My biggest thumbs up goes to the staff. They let us keep our bags there for free while we stayed a night in Tayrona and searched far and wide to find me a Spanish teacher the same day.
Santa Marta | Drop Bear Hostel
You can’t go wrong staying in an ex-cartel house while in Colombia. Drop Bear was phenomenal. Either due to the crowd or the hostel itself, it was a little strong on the party culture, but also offered an upstairs hammock area, giant movie room and swimming pool for relaxation. It was a bit far from the city center, but overall offered an unforgettable experience because of its history and sweet digs.
Cali | Caelum Hostel
Words can’t describe my love for Caelum Hostel and its owner, Alvero. I was so infatuated by it that I decided to stay there again for my return trip to Cali. Not only is it in a unique castle-esque building (a bit hard to find for taxi drivers) in a convenient part of the city, but the family-feel makes it feel like home. Be welcomed by a playful, sweet black lab, pass out in the large beds and enjoy the backyard area and local conversations. Plus, the free breakfast doesn’t hurt.
Salento | Hostel Tralala
Alvaro at Caelum Hostel booked this one for us from Cali. We were about to stay in a more bed-and-breakfast style one further outside of the city and are glad we didn’t. Tralala was so conveniently located being a block from the main square where we could find dinner, stop by the grocery story and catch the Jeeps to the Valle del Cocora. They also offered a great informational brochure that essentially shaped our entire trip with valle, coffee farm and horseback riding recommendations. And the “dorm” was a 3-person room—a lovely change-up from some of our larger options.
Medellin | Arcadia Hostel
This was a combination of “one of the best” options we found online and one of the few hostels that had availability in Medellin. I ended up staying there four nights—the longest anywhere thus far—and really enjoyed the ambiance. Good balance between fun and relaxing, with some in-hostel activities like free salsa on Fridays, group dinner on Sunday and free pancakes every day. Only downside was the 11-person dorm that was quite squished but you can make-do and take advantage of the close proximity to the La Poblado area and 20-minute walk to the metro.
Pasto | Koala Inn-Hotel
I found tons of information about this online but no easy way to book, so I took a chance and walked-in to this one in Pasto. I was with a fellow backpacker and we received a double-bed room to ourselves for a great price. Helpful staff and nice facilities, I’d definitely recommend for your journey down to Ecuador.
Tayrona | Campground at Cabo San Juan
Popayan | Couchsurfed