There are some really cool small-business niche hotels and hostels competing with overstated corporate hotels, which are selling a dusty, “in-the-box” product.
Always use your travel intuition when seeking out the right place to lay your head. It’ll make all the difference – no matter what your budget is.
Did you know that Colombia had its own unique type of traveler hostel during the Colonial period?
Common transport routes had structures with “paja,” or thatched roofs, where travelers could hang their hammocks and rest for the night without getting wet.
They were based on indigenous architecture designs, with a load-bearing beam in the center, and wooden poles forming a circle “hammock length” away from the middle.
It wasn’t uncommon for men and women (with proper chaperons), to sleep in the same room either – especially in rural areas.
In Colombia we have many common chain hotels, like Marriot and Hilton in Cartagena, plus a slew of in-country hotel chains too.
Look for the niche hotels and boutique hotels.
Travel blogs, local websites, and Facebook groups are great ways to find nice hotels in Colombia.
If you're already in the midst of your journey, then keep an ear out for “trail talk” and unique experiences.
When it comes to hostels in Colombia, you need to read customer reviews carefully.
You might find a hostel that looks really cool with plenty of friendly people, but really uncomfortable beds, in rooms which are poorly lit.
You don’t have to go to the most expensive hostel, but definitely search for the one that suits your vibe, whether it be a more conservative bed and breakfast, or a social, ‘meet people and party’ vibe.
Always carry locks for your bags and/or lockers – especially if you’re staying in a group dorm. Try to keep your stuff well organized to prevent accidental loss and theft.
AirBnB has become so big that even the smaller cities of Colombia have plenty of options available.
Be aware, many AirBnB options in Colombia tend to let out individual bedrooms with or without private bathrooms for guests.
That being said, there are fully -furnished apartments, but they will cost a bit more per month.
Be sure to check with hostels too, because they sometimes offer long-term apartastudios, or studio apartments, at lower monthly rates.
Colombia is not as developed for camping, but it does exist.
Along the Caribbean coast and Punto de Gallo, the northernmost tip of South America, there are some popular camping options available.
Rent a hammock on the beach, take a boat out to an island and stay in a cabin, or go on a three to four-day hike to la Ciudad Perdida, or the Lost City, and experience jungle trekking at its finest.
In the Central Andes Mountains, Los Lanos (Eastern Prairies), and the coastal jungles, you’ll find many national parks and hiking trips.
There are camp grounds available in many areas, but be sure to take care of your belongings, and always check to see if the area you intend on visiting is safe for travelers.
As the civil war starts to wind down, there will be new areas to discover and trails to be blazed in Colombia’s vast rainforest and jungle regions.
This is a country in development, which mean that costs are low while they are working to get a foothold on tourism and build up infrastructure. There are so many options for places to stay, especially if you take a little bit of time to listen to what other travelers are saying.
Our insider Chris knows where to go in Colombia’s undiscovered Amazon basin.
Whether you're a learner or a pro, Taganga on Colombia's Caribbean coast is a fantastic spot for scuba diving.