Hostel accommodation can always be hit and miss; with guidebook information often being out of date and giving the wrong impression of a place. So we thought it would be useful to share our honest reviews of the hostels we stayed in over 7 weeks  of traveling in Colombia.

Bogota’:

  • Hostal Alegria – La Candelaria, Colonial house with a nice and relaxed atmosphere. Very good location, in a quite area, very close to the center, restaurants and bars. Free breakfast: bread, butter and black coffee. Free Wi-Fi Internet. Double room in with shared bathroom costs $25 a night and in dorm costs $8 a night. For $5 you can sleep in hammocks.

Villa De Leyva:

  • Hostal Renacer – Part of Colombian Highlands. The only hostel in town has a relaxed atmosphere. Clean rooms and bathrooms, Hot water, garden, lounge with a fireplace, Internet and free Wi-Fi, Free coffee. It‘s a good place to meet other travelers

Downside: it is a 15 minutes’ walk from the town center which is inconvenient especially at night. Taxi costs $2.5. Free Wi-Fi and coffee. Rooms with private bathroom cost $25, shared bathroom $22 and dorm $9 per night.

El Cocuy:

  • El Parco. Hotel situated on the town square. Not much atmosphere but has clean modern rooms with hot shower and cable TV in every room, Comfortable beds. $18 for a double room. No dorm, kitchen or internet
  • Casa Museo – 5 minutes’ walk from the center. Cold at night and a bit noisy because the restaurant is near the rooms. Hot shower and cable TV in every room. $18 for a double room. No dorm, kitchen or internet.

Malaga:

  • Hostal Casa Salzburg. In a lovely old colonial house the owner is an expat Austrian lady. Big, airy, clean rooms with hot showers.  Free Internet. $20 a night for a double room. No dorm.

Santa Marta:

  • Hotel Costa Azul. The owner Juan is very informative and friendly, always available for advice or recommendation. The rooms have air con, which is a must in Santa Marta, very clean and comfortable.  Free Internet, Coffee and Drinking water. $17 for a double room. No dorms.
  • Avoid: Hotel Miramar. Small rooms, dark and dirty. The only reason to stay here is to save money but for $4 extra a night there are numerous options elsewhere.

Cartagena:

  • Hostal Real: A mediocre place to stay near the center of town, in the Getsemani area which isn’t the best are but the cheapest and only a 5min walk to the city walls. Nearly al the other budget hostals are in this area. Free internet, Wi-Fi, and coffee all day. Rooms without air con, which can get very hot. Free use of the kitchen. Good place to book tours to the islands. Double room cost $20 a night with bathroom. Dorm $8.

Medellin:

  • Hostel Medellin. It is a house converted into a hostel. The rooms are spacious but the beds are hard! Big clean kitchen with free coffee all day and free Internet. Nice garden with tables to enjoy the cool evenings. It is in a quiet and close to the center and to the Metro station – Sud Americana. Cheap Drinks. Very good for a long-term stay. Double room costs $20 a night with shared bathroom. Dorm $8

Santa Fe de Antioquia:

  • Hostal Sweet Home. The only hostel in town, old colonial house, and rooms situated off the inner courtyard, big rooms with shared bathroom. Clean. Free Breakfast and internet. A little expensive: double room costs $25 a night. Dorm $8. The hostel is relatively new and doesn’t have many visitors yet, so often you can have it all to yourself.

Manizales:

  • Mountain house. One of the only hostels in town: nice bright rooms, the better ones are on the top floors with shared bathrooms, with windows overlooking the mountains. Clean, hot showers. Free breakfast and Wi-Fi, TV room with cable TV.  Great homely atmosphere and a good place to meet other travelers. The hostel is situated near the “Zona Rosa”, the best part of town. Double with bathroom $22, with shared bathroom $20 and dorm $8 per night.

Salento:

  • Las Palmas. Nice rooms with or without bathroom. Hot shower. Clean. Free coffee and breakfast in the morning. Free internet. Double with bathroom $20, with shared bathroom $18, dorm $8 per night.
  • La Casona de Lili. We didn’t stay there, but we heard rave reviews from other travelers about it.
  • Avoid: Plantation house. Small rooms with shared bathrooms. Not very clean (especially the kitchen) and badly organized. Some rooms didn’t have proper doors or windows. Internet worked sporadically and was expensive, No Wi-Fi and they charged to do a book exchange. No free coffee or breakfast.

Popayan

  • Hosteltrail: Very well organized hostel with nice bright rooms, comfortable beds and hot shower. Internet costs $1 per hour. Free coffee and  Wi-Fi Internet. It has a small kitchen which can get crowded in the evening. Good information on places to visit in the area. $24 for a double room with shared bathroom. In the center of town. Good selection of films in the TV room. Double with bathroom $23, with shared bathroom $19, dorm $8 per night.

Tierradentro

  • La Portada: big, clean rooms with bathroom. Not hot water. Family owned and run, very friendly, cheap and delicious food.  Private room $7 per person per night. No internet.

Pasto:

  • Hotel Koala: Large colonial house in the center of town clean, big rooms, with or without bathroom. Hot shower, Internet ($1 per hour) and Free Wi-Fi, book exchange. No free coffee or breakfast. Friendly and knowledgeable owner. No dorms. Double $14 with shared bathroom or $18 with bathroom per night.

These are just some of the hostels we have visited. If you have any suggestion or want to add a place not mentioned in the list, please add it to the comments section below.

N.B All the information above is gathered from our own personal experiences. Before booking any of our recommendations we would advise you to confirm the rates and facilities of each hostel by contacting them directly. Prices as per December 2009.