Colombia is a backpacker’s paradise. This country is oozing with natural beauty and unforgettable adventures. Few countries can boast having sparkling turquoise waters, snow-capped mountain ranges, and the freakin’ Amazon Rainforest. From charming villages nestled in the mountains, to vibrant cities teeming with life and color, Colombia is as well-rounded of a destination you could ask for.
Throughout the country, you’ll find some amazing hostels to stay at along the way. In Colombia, hostels are much more than just a cheap place to rest your head. Whether you’re looking for a lively social scene in Medellin or a tranquil retreat in Minca, you won’t have to break the bank whatsoever while backpacking through Colombia. The hostel scene in Colombia is next-level, and these are among the best hostels to stay in Colombia. Grab your backpack, and let’s roll.
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El Rio Hostel | Buritaca, Magdalena
El Rio Hostel is one of my favorite hostels in Colombia for a number of reasons. Not only is it pure luxury at a backpacker’s budget, but it also is a huge supporter of its local community through the El Rio Foundation. They often hold fundraisers that can be as simple as buying drinks at the bar to raise money for the local children. It’s easy to laze the day away by the river just steps away from the hostel, but El Rio also offers volunteer opportunities such as beach cleanups and tutoring to keep you busy. I love supporting a good initiative while traveling, and staying at El Rio Hostel is a great way to have fun and make a difference while traveling.
The hostel itself is out of this world. It looks like one of those villas that all the influencers stay at in Bali. It’s got everything you need, which is good because it is pretty far away from town. The restaurant, bar, and cafe are all reasonably priced. There’s a coworking area with passable WiFi, although it’s the only place with WiFi on the property. Oh yeah, and it’s right along a beautiful river to cool off in during the midday heat.
At night, everyone heads to the bar and the party begins. They’ll often have DJs, but even if they’re just bumping a Spotify playlist, it’s a good time and a great way to befriend fellow travelers. And hey, like I said, you’re pretty far from any semblance of a town or neighbors. No noise complaints, baby!!
Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel | Salento, Quindio
There are two giant Saint Bernard’s that greet you every time you walk through the gate. Do I really need to say anymore? Tucked away in the quaint and quiet village of Salento, Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel is the place to be for a getaway into nature. The hostel itself is stunning and beautifully decorated. The staff are always happy to help you with planning and booking your adventures through Salento. If you stay here, give Tommy and Pecas some extra big cuddles for me.
Viajero Hostel | Salento, Quindio
Although I stayed at Coffee Tree, I would occasionally go to Viajero Hostel Salento to hang out. It was usually livelier than Coffee Tree since they had a bar and restaurant where travelers could go and socialize. Salento doesn’t have much of a party scene, so Viajero’s as good a spot as any to have a few drinks, play some bar games, and make some new friends. The hostel itself is pretty nice, too, although not quite as nice as Coffee Tree.
Sadly, the only pic I have from Viajero is us playing that stupidly addicting game where you throw metal balls into a frog’s mouth.
Masaya | Medellin, Antioquia
Located in the lively neighborhood of El Poblado, you’ll find the gorgeous Masaya Hostel. It is objectively the nicest hostel in Medellin, with a rooftop view that rivals any rooftop bar in the city. The terrace boasts a bar, restaurant, pool, and a couple of jacuzzis. It’s a popular hangout spot for both locals and travelers. Masaya Medellin has it all, whether you’re on the digital nomad vibe in search of a coworking space or you’re just a backpacker looking to have unadulterated fun in the sizzling nightlife capital of Colombia.
Los Patios Hostel | Medellin, Antioquia
Perhaps on par with Masaya is Los Patios Hostel, also located in El Poblado, Medellin. The view from the rooftop bar and pool here is absolutely stunning. However, the terrace is quite small and I prefer the more central location of Masaya better. The dorm rooms are nice, with each bed having a privacy curtain, plugs, and the works. Los Patios also has a co-working space, common kitchen, and table games in the common areas. It has everything you could ask for from a hostel and more. You can’t go wrong with Los Patios.
Viajero Hostel | Medellin, Antioquia
Completing the holy trifecta of out-of-this-world hostels in Medellin, you have Viajero Hostel. The rooftop bar boasts two jacuzzis with a stunning view of Medellin. I’d say it’s the best party hostel in Medellin. There’s an event happening almost every night at the terrace. It ranges from themed parties to live DJs and musicians. The rooms are also amazing, with each dorm bed being a little private capsule curtained off from the rest of the world so you can nurse your hangover in peace.
Yolo Hostel | Medellin, Antioquia
The only issue I have with the three previous Medellin hostels is that they often felt too big. As a solo traveler, I prefer the cozy, family feel of smaller hostels. Yolo Hostel had a chill garden that was perfect for meeting travelers from all over the world. If you’re looking for the backpacker vibe, look no further than Yolo Hostel. Until I visited Yolo Hostel, I thought all travelers in Medellin were just American and British digital nomads.
If the owner is around, be sure to have a chat with him since he has some fascinating stories to tell. We hopped on a Comuna 13 and Pablo Escobar tour with him and boy, does he have an interesting life. Also stop by Betty’s Bowls next door for a great breakfast and my favorite frappe in Medellin.
Isla Roots | San Bernardo Islands
This hostel is located on its own private island. Need I say more? Isla Roots is about a two-hour boat ride away from Cartagena, but it’s worth the journey to be in this beautiful part of the Caribbean. Isla Roots has a restaurant, volleyball court, a bar, and several swimming holes to choose from. The hostel itself has seen better days, but I imagine it’ll be renovated soon as tourism begins to pick up post-pandemic. Regardless, I don’t think you’ll find a paradise on a budget quite like Isla Roots. Say hi to Orlando for me, if he’s actually behind the bar and not disappeared somewhere. I mean, it’s a tiny island, but he somehow manages to be everywhere but behind the bar? What a character. You’ll see what I mean when you meet him.
Casa en el Agua | San Bernardo Islands
A short boat ride away from Isla Roots is a house floating in the Caribbean. Its name literally translates to house on the water, and that’s exactly what it is. It’s like Isla Roots in a way, but instead of a private island, it’s just a big floating hostel. Don’t worry, you’re not stranded at this hostel, at least not during the day. There are plenty of adventures to take on in this area, from snorkeling to other island getaways. It’s good for a night or two for the novelty of it, but I’d reckon you’d get Caribbean cabin fever if you stay any longer.
Casa Zahri | Cartagena, Bolivar
Cartagena has no shortage of beautiful hostels to choose from, but Casa Zahri might take the cake. Located in the colorful Getsemani neighborhood, you’ll find the quaint, pink hostel called Casa Zahri. It’s a boutique hostel with a pool perfect for countering the Cartagena heat. Cartagena is definitely a party city, but lately, it’s been growing in the digital nomad scene. Casa Zahri is one of the more suitable hostels if you plan on working remotely in Cartagena. I also much preferred the neighborhood of Getsemani to the Ciudad Murallada. It was more local, colorful, and budget-friendly.
Casa Movida | Cartagena, Bolivar
Within the Walled City of Cartagena, Casa Movida might be the best hostel. The location is unbeatable, only a block away from the Clock Tower Plaza. You’re at most a 10-minute walk from anywhere in the Ciudad Murallada or Getsemani neighborhood. Casa Movida has a pool, a restaurant, and a rooftop bar where lots of people come to party. It’s a great place to kick off a night out in Cartagena.
Masaya | Santa Marta, Magdalena
Masaya is taking over the hostel game in Colombia, and rightfully so. You can expect nothing but excellence out of Masaya. Their hostel located in downtown Santa Marta is the best in town. They’ve got a pool, rooftop bar, and lots of events going on all the time to keep you busy. It is truly luxury at a backpacker’s budget.
La Brisa Loca | Santa Marta, Magdalena
La Brisa Loca will always hold a special place in my heart as the first hostel I ever stayed at on my first solo backpacking trip. Lots of good memories in this place, although there are admittedly some nicer hostels in Santa Marta now. It’s a great budget-friendly option, with dorms still hovering around $10 per night. That’s a steal in Santa Marta. All things considered, it’s still a great hostel with a lively social scene.
Origen Hostel | Tayrona, Magdalena
Tayrona National Park is one of Colombia’s top destinations. The town of Santa Marta is the typical kick-off point for most Tayrona adventures, but if you want to be closer to nature, stay at Origen Hostel. You’re only 600 meters away from the main entrance of Tayrona, allowing you to head out early and beat the crowds coming from Santa Marta town, nearly an hour away. For immaculate jungle vibes, Origen Hostel is the place to be.
Casa Loma | Minca, Magdalena
The laid-back town of Minca is a backpacker-favorite in Colombia. There are few better places in Colombia to immerse yourself in its natural beauty. Most hostels in Minca don’t have wifi, so just plan on disconnecting for a few days and take in the stunning views from this hostel. Be sure to book Casa Loma Hostel in advance because it is almost always full.
Sierra Minca | Minca, Magdalena
A lot of hostels in Minca offer pretty much the same things. However, I think Sierra Minca Hostel just edges all the other ones out. They’ve got an infinity pool, bar, restaurant, and lots of those big nets with a view. Like most hostels in Minca, they won’t have wifi, but hey, you won’t need it to keep busy here. Just kick back, relax, and take in those stellar views of the ocean, forests, and mountains.
Dreamer Hostel – Palomino, La Guajira
Palomino is a laid-back beach town about two hours away from Santa Marta. Dreamer Hostel in Palomino is a great home base for some chilled out vibes just steps away from the beach and a river that you can swim in. Whether you want to zen out with some yoga classes or sing karaoke all night, Dreamer Hostel can cater to you. It’s a perfect hostel for any backpacker passing through.
Costena Beach | Guachaca, Magdalena
Costeno Beach is basically a luxury beach resort at a backpacker price point. It’s a popular party destination, and many people come to this hostel literally just for the hostel. It’s an hour away from Santa Marta and just a short drive away from Tayrona National Park.
Sam’s VIP Hostel | San Gil, Santander
As far as bang for your buck goes, I don’t think anywhere can top Sam’s VIP Hostel in San Gil. I mean, when you’re paying $5 a night for a hostel, you don’t really expect much, do you? But Sam’s delivers. I stayed in a 4-bed dorm with the biggest bed and locker I’ve had in any hostel so far. There’s a pool, a sauna, and the kind receptionists, Vanessa and Daniela, are always happy to help in any way they can. It’s located right on the main plaza of San Gil. You couldn’t ask for a better location.
Selina | Villa de Leyva, Boyaca
Selinas are often hit-or-miss for me, but the Selina at Villa de Leyva has been one of my favorite Selinas in the world. It has a great location just minutes away from both the bus terminal and the main plaza. Like most Selinas, it has a bar, restaurant, cinema, coworking space, and library. It also has a swimming pool, although Villa de Leyva was quite chilly when I was there so I never took advantage.
The Cranky Croc Hostel | Bogota, Cundinamarca
Most travelers won’t be particularly fond of Bogota, but more often than not, you will find yourself passing through Colombia’s sprawling and chaotic capital. Located right in the heart of Bogota’s historic La Candelaria neighborhood, you couldn’t ask for a better home base than The Cranky Croc Hostel. If there’s one thing that Bogota does well, it is nightlife. Treat yourself to a night out in one of Colombia’s best party cities, and there’s no better place to kick your night off than the Cranky Croc.
If this post helped you out, show some love and support for the blog and help keep my adventures going by buying me a beer! My adventures are entirely self-funded, so any show of support is greatly appreciated, and allows me to keep writing helpful travel guides and creating travel content to help you all travel the world on a budget.
If you’re a backpacker on a budget, use Skiplagged to find the cheapest flights possible. It’s free to use and I’ve saved thousands of dollars on flights since I started using it religiously. Oh, and before you go, make sure to have good travel insurance handy whenever you’re out adventuring. I use SafetyWing to keep me covered throughout my travels for as low as $45 a month.