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Backpacker's rejoice! Not only is Colombia a an absolutely outrageously great place to visit thanks to its beaches, mountains, deserts, people, cities and so much more, it's also got a superb selection of hostels.
Where elsewhere in the continent you may be forced to spend your night with cockroaches and no direct sunlight, in Colombia there is a wealth of hostels that are clean, well-located and well looked after. What else can you ask for when you're paying less than $10US a night, eh?
Here's my pick of the bunch:
Run by a French lady in love with the local culture, Divanga is the perfect place to stay in Taganga if the all-hours parties and non-stop hedonism don't really suit you. In fact, it's the kind of hostel you can fall in love with, and one that highlight's Taganga's other charms, such as the beach, the juices and the general tranquility about the place. Of course, in a fishing village on Colombia tranquility is subjective -- you'll still hear a ton of vallenato.
Prices start at COP30,000, and the hostel is found going uphill. Be careful, they have 2 hostels, obviously choose the one with the swimming pool!
[caption id="attachment_740" align="aligncenter" width="199"] Aerial view
If it's partying you're after, partying what's your getting. La Brisa Loca is Santa Marta's most popular hostel and a great place to let your hair down and relax. A short walk from La Plaza de Los Novios and a bus ride from Taganga, it's well situated so you can enjoy the nearby fantastic restaurants and nightlife. Not that you need to leave, if you don't want to. With food on offer and bar service, you can just enjoy the party at the hostel itself.
Prices start at $20,000, the hostel's address is Calle 14 # N3 - 58
Run by the very friendly Timothy and his family, the Plantation House is the oldest hostel in Salento. Just on the outskirts of Salento's main plaza, it is ideally located for trips to Cocora Valley and nearby coffee plantations. Actually, the Plantation House also has its own farm where you can take guided tours and learn about the coffee making process (in English) for COP 5,000. The surrounding views are stunning, and it's the perfect place to enjoy an authentic experience in Colombia's coffee region.
Prices start at COP 19,000, the hostel is 150m from the main square in Salento.
[caption id="attachment_741" align="aligncenter" width="300"] View of the gardens
Another French owner, another fantastic hostel. La Casa de Francois' main attraction is the stunning views offered to those who stay there. Smack bang in the middle of the dramatic, undulating landscapes of Huila, this hostel is a tourist experience in itself with its eco-friendly approach including recycled beer bottles to make the walls of the buildings! Nevermind the fact that you can easily explore San Agustín and the local national parks. Unmissable.
Prices from $20,000, contact the hostel here: (57) 314 358 29 30
Rooms start at $17,000, although camping is cheaper.
[caption id="attachment_739" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Karaoke!
The Wandering Paisa is a little outside of Medellín's bustling and rampant Parque Lleras, but that's a good thing. Many backpackers restrict themselves to this area only, but a stay at The Wandering Paisa will allow you to see so much more of the city -- including the old Zona Rosa, a street full of traditional Paisa character and some unforgettable salsa. This hostel is clean, the staff are great and it's a great way to spend your time in Medellín. Oh, there's also salsa, language exchange and kareoke! Boom!
Prices start at $24,000, the hostel's address is Calle 44A No. 68A 76