Hostel dorm room

Day 209: Bogota, Colombia

So I don’t really write hostel reviews on this site, I’ve seen the good, bad and ugly and have never felt the need to share other than a very early post to reassure loved ones that hostels are a great place to stay.

But in Colombia I stayed in 3 memorable hostels that don’t receive much attention as they aren’t party hostels and I wanted to share them for those that may travel to Colombia.

I’ve been telling all the travelers I meet and finally I just decided if I felt so strongly about it I should write a post.

Double bed in a room

Tostaky’s – Cali

Tostaky’s was part of the reason I stayed so long in Cali. Vinz, the owner, is from France and runs a very clean hostel.

There are only about 15 beds total, 4 in a dorm and the rest in rooms for really low prices. I moved to a private room after being in the dorm for a week and really loved it there.

Bonus points:
- Vinz has a fantastic music selection
- Locals often drop by and will often take you out with them dancing if you want to learn to salsa
- Two kitchens are in the hostel and both are fully equipped, I was in heaven


Chef Joseph at La Serrana hostel

La Serrana – Salento

While everyone stays at Plantation House, La Serrana has been noticed because a visiting chef was creating 10 course meals.

Although Chef Joseph has moved onto the coast I still recommend this hostel. About a ten minute walk out of town on a farm and reminds me of a large farmhouse and is so comforting that I spent one afternoon just curled up on the couch reading.

Although it’s a bit chilly, I had no problem getting another blanket.

Bonus points:
- Awe-inspiring views of the country-side
- Real furniture, they don’t cheap out on big comfortable furniture that begs you to laze around all day

Casa Bella Vista Hostel

Casa Bella Vista – Bogota

Luis, the hostel owner, is actually the reason I decided to write this post as his hostel is not full and it really should be. I found Casa Bella Vista while walking through the Canderlaria.

It’s only been open for 3 months and as I was reading the hostel sign Luis invited me in for a tour and offered a desperately needed map of the city.

There was no hard sell, he just showed me around and the next day I moved in.With two small dorm rooms it’s perfect for people who want to chill out.

Bonus points:
- In the heart of the Candelaria
- Police are generally stationed only a few feet outside its doors.
- If you’re looking for somewhere good but cheap to eat, Luis has great recommendations



  1. Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    This is awesome… I might’ve mentioned this before but Colombia is our first stop on our RTW trip next year so all of your posts from the country have been super helpful (especially the list of slangs). Cheers!
    Jill – Jack and Jill Travel The World recently posted..RSS and Twitter – Socially Challenged

  2. Nancie on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    Hotel/hostel reviews from bloggers you follow are a god send. I’ve had a few misadventures when I’ve relied on reviews from some of the booking sites. This is probably something we should all do from time to time.
    Nancie recently posted..Wanderfood Wednesday &8212 Welcome to my Korean Kitchen- Again -

  3. Carmie Brogan on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    What a great ambassador you are! The pictures make me think of our Ecuador experience and how great that was…

  4. Elise on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    Thank you so much for posting this. we head to south america in about 3 months, so will definatly keep this in mind.
    Elise recently posted..Ho Chi Minh Trail

  5. Tran on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    The good people at Casa Bella Vista were very friendly and helpful. Glad you stayed there and ditto on La Serrana.
    Tran recently posted..South American Buses- Its Ok Even When Its Not

  6. Adam. on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    Great recommendations. We had a few places we loved while in Colombia as well. The people are just so friendly and welcoming, and that makes such a massive difference in how I view a place. It can really just put it over the top, as it seems it did here with you. Thanks for the recommendations.
    Adam. recently posted..The Benefits of Slowing Down

  7. Andrew Murray on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    Wow a great selection of hostels. The bed in that second pic looks amazing!
    Andrew Murray recently posted..Attractions of Arkhangai Aimag- Mongolia

  8. Camels & Chocolate on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    Wow, the rooms in Tostaky’s don’t at all look like a hostel–more a mid-range hotel. And so cute, too!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Macau- Beyond the Casinos

  9. Cathy Sweeney on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    Always enjoy reading your articles and reviews. These places look very nice. I think it’s great for you to share this information with travelers. I’ve never stayed in a hostel, but I do know that the quality can really vary.

  10. Jim on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    Clean, quiet and with all the facilities you need. At least they appear to have a lot more room than the 6 beds in one room we stayed at in Scotland.
    Jim recently posted..Who Let the Dogs Out!

  11. jamie on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    i have stayed in about a billion hostels over my time, and can i say that these look WAY too good. where is the mould dripping down the walls, the empty bottles of cheap rum and the overflowing toilets? ha.
    i do find it weird that some of the best ones arent full. i think the dreaded lp has a bit of a role in that. good work on getting these ones out there!
    jamie recently posted..Mayan Ruins Part 1- Mexico

  12. Michael Figueiredo on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    Those don’t look like the kinds of hostels I stayed in after college in Europe! I’m especially surprised being that they’re in South America. Thanks for the tip! When I (someday) make it to Colombia I’ll check ‘em out!
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Greetings From… Coronado- California

  13. Kelly on the November 18, 2010 remarked #

    I agree! These are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing, I will definitely check these out if I ever make it to Colombia. Awesome!
    Kelly recently posted..Pickpockets- Mustard and Spit- Scams You Never Knew About

  14. Ayngelina on the November 18, 2010 remarked #


    I think because in South America hostels are a fairly new phenomena so they are built with modern conveniences in mind.

  15. Robin on the November 19, 2010 remarked #

    I fully endorse this kind of piece, having recently had an experience in the hostel from hell…
    Robin recently posted..Vampiros

  16. Claire on the November 19, 2010 remarked #

    Thanks for sharing. Columbia may just be in my summer future ;)
    Claire recently posted..Murphys Law of Travel

  17. Jeff on the November 19, 2010 remarked #

    I didn’t stay at La Serrana as I hadn’t heard about it before but I did meet someone in town who was staying there and it sounded so nice I decided to take a walk out to see it. Very nice indeed.

    I am also glad you found a great place in Bogotá as I heard mostly stories of disappointment for most of the “highly rated” hostels in that city.
    Jeff recently posted..Street Art- El Salvador

  18. Cam on the November 19, 2010 remarked #

    Nice to hear you’ve had some good hostel experiences (more often we only hear of the disaster stories!). Unfortunately we didn’t make it to Columbia last year but hopefully one day – you’re doing a great job selling it to us! ;-)
    Cam recently posted..Hot Air Balloon over Cappadocia in Central Anatolia- Turkey

  19. Bethany on the November 19, 2010 remarked #

    These look amazing! I have Columbia coming up on my wish list – I’m hoping this spring! I will def. check these out – they are fabulous :)
    Bethany recently posted..Across the Street from the Moulin Rouge- Paris – Somewhere In Time

  20. Sophie on the November 19, 2010 remarked #

    Tostaky’s looks very cosy.

  21. Sarah on the November 20, 2010 remarked #

    The Queens Size Room looks very classy and clean. I would like it too.
    Sarah recently posted..Photos- A Glimpse of Hollywood- The Entertainment Capital

  22. Devin the Travel Writer on the November 20, 2010 remarked #

    I think the dorm-style days of hosteling are over for me, but I still have some great memories. I still do an occasional private room when I can find them
    Devin the Travel Writer recently posted..The 5-Star- 2-Star Conundrum- part one

  23. Playa Del Carmen on the November 20, 2010 remarked #

    Hi Angelina,

    I am traveling down to Colombia, directly from The Netherlands and hope this info will help me loads =)

    Thanks once again


  24. Brian H. on the November 24, 2010 remarked #

    La Serrana sounds like an awesome place. Glad you had fun there.
    Brian H. recently posted..Do Good at Home

  25. Stephen on the November 30, 2010 remarked #

    I love La Serrana in Solento! What a great place to stay a week and chill out. And the views are fantastic.
    Stephen recently posted..Colombian Colonial Towns- Barichara and Guane

  26. 25BAR on the December 1, 2010 remarked #

    I know how it is. It takes a lousy hostel to entice a person to write reviews of better ones!
    25BAR recently posted..Estadi Olimpic

  27. Ceri on the January 6, 2011 remarked #

    What a great post. I’ve written down these hostel names to remember when I’m going through Colombia. :D
    Ceri recently posted..“Short Ode to Girly Thing”

  28. Jon on the January 7, 2011 remarked #

    You are all welcome to stay with us anytime at La Serrana. And yes it really is that nice. $10 per night.

  29. Scott on the March 6, 2011 remarked #

    I met Chef Joseph in Medellin, amazing chef! Also stayed in Bella Vista over Christmas. I had trouble in Bogota, but Luis was amazingly friendly and helpful.

  30. Daniele on the May 29, 2011 remarked #

    Thanks Ayngelina!
    I’ll be in Colombia soon and I had bookmarked this page.
    Also looking forward to cross from Panama’ to Colombia by boat as you did, -1 day to go I’m soooo excited!!!! :)

  31. Don on the September 6, 2011 remarked #

    Great article.

    for all of you who are going to colombia… you are going to love it. It is an amazing place
    Don recently posted..Bucaramanga

    • Ayngelina on the September 6, 2011 remarked #

      I completely agree it is such a special place.

  32. Payje on the August 13, 2012 remarked #

    My boyfriend is going to love this! He really wants to go to Colombia, and it’s always good to have an idea of what to do and where to stay!
    Payje recently posted..Whale Watching in Resurrection Bay, Seward Alaska

    • Ayngelina on the August 15, 2012 remarked #

      So happy to hear this. I just heard back from a couple that went to Tostaky’s and said it was the best hostel of their vacation so I’m happy it’s still as good as I remembered.

  33. Ellen Keith on the October 8, 2012 remarked #

    This is great! I have stayed at La Serrana before, but I’ll have to check out the other two places when I head back to Colombia next month!
    Ellen Keith recently posted..Photo Essay: Camino de los Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes Route), Bariloche, Argentina

  34. Daniel Buitron on the June 22, 2013 remarked #

    We love Tostaky in Cali too! Fantastic setup. I would highly recommend Masaya in Bogota over Casa Bella Vista!

    In Manizales, The Secret Garden is a gem, it’s also a Bistro:

    Highly recommended as it is #1 on TripAdvisor for manizales! :)

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