The Best Hostels in Cartagena, Colombia

Stay at a hostel within Cartagena’s charming old town
Stay at a hostel within Cartagena’s charming old town | © Starcevic / Getty
Photo of Chris Bell
29 May 2019

With beautiful Spanish churches and shuttered mansions, Cartagena is one of the most popular stops on the Colombian backpacker trail. Ticking off the colonial city has become a rite of passage for the thousands of backpackers, drawn annually by its colorful history, coral-fringed Rosario Islands and long sandy beaches. It can be tricky to pinpoint a perfect base in this city, so with that in mind, here are the very best hostels in and around Cartagena, Colombia.

Maloka Boutique Hostel

Hostel
Map View
Maloka Hostel Cartagena
Courtesy of Maloka Boutique Hostel / Expedia

Set in a colonial mansion inside Cartagena’s ancient city walls, the pocket-size doubles and dorms here have few frills, but all the necessities. The hostel’s complimentary breakfasts – served in the central atrium – are generous, with lots of tropical fruits, eggs, pastries and strong coffee, and there’s a lively little bar. But ask for upper floor accommodation – away from kitchen smells and street noise.

Casa del Pozo Boutique Hostel

Hostel, Chain Hotel
Map View
Casa del Pozo Boutique Hostel
Courtesy of Casa del Pozo Boutique Hostel / Expedia

Set on a cottage-lined backstreet, the cute, lime-green Casa del Pozo is less than a 10-minute walk from the walled city. The boutique hostel offers whitewashed dorms and doubles with simple, chipboard and pine pallet beds, colorful scatter cushions and Sevilla tiles. Enjoy the onsite bonsai bar and small pool.

Santuario Hostel

Next to the Bulwark of Santa Bárbara and with views over the imposing Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas (which looks like it belongs in The Count of Monte Cristo), the Santuario Hostel is a 15-minute walk from the colonial center. It has bare, white doubles and dorms with cubicle bunks, along with an open kitchen where you can cook meals and connect with other travelers.

Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
24-hour front desk
Terrace

Hostel La Antigua Capsula

Hostel, Boutique Hotel
Map View
Hostel la Antigua Capsula
Courtesy of Hostel La Antigua Capsula / Booking.com

As the name suggests, the dorm beds at the Hostel La Antigua Capsula are self-contained capsule spaces. Doubles are tiny and furnishing is sparse. However, the hostel sits in the heart of the lively Getsemani neighborhood, with plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs at your doorstep.

El Barrio Hostal

Hostel, Boutique Hotel
Map View
Barrio Hostal
Courtesy of El Barrio Hostal / Booking.com

Cartagena hostel locations don’t get better than the El Barrio Hostal, which sits right in the center of the old city. It has balconies overlooking the Spanish colonnades and courtyards of the University of Cartagena. There are no dorms, but the basic ensuite rooms are budget-friendly, and brightened with light cream walls and stencil art.

Be Lounge Cartagena

Hostel
Map View
Be Lounge Cartagena
Courtesy of Be Lounge Cartagena / Hostelworld
Be Lounge is a beautiful hostel inside a 400-year-old house in the center of the old walled city of Cartagena. Its downstairs area features a lovely restaurant and garden bar, while the upstairs is home to private and shared bedrooms. This intimate little hostel also has a pleasant terrace ideal for sunbathing by day and stargazing by night. It’s just two blocks from the city walls and a stone’s throw from Plaza Santo Domingo, meaning you get a premium setting at hostel prices.

El Arsenal Hostel Boutique

Hostel, Hotel
Map View
El Arsenal is a winsome boutique hostel that gets all the little details right – including a private light and socket by each dorm bed – and is equidistant between the Getsemani neighbourhood and the old walled city. Among the other draws are an excellent little swimming pool in the central courtyard – a very welcome amenity in such a hot city – and a couple of private rooms with private balconies and sea views, a rarity in Cartagena hostels.

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  • Viajero Cartagena

    Hostel
    Map View
    El Viajero
    Courtesy of Viajero Cartagena / Expedia
    While Viajero is a chain hostel, it’s up there with the best that Cartagena has to offer. With charming touches such as free classes in salsa, bachata and champeta dancing, as well as a pair of lovely colonial patios, the hostel occupies a privileged location in the heart of the old town, just a few blocks from the relaxed Plaza Fernández de Madrid. It was also ranked the best hostel in South America by Hostelworld in 2013, so has the credentials to back up its popularity.

    Media Luna Hostel

    Hostel
    Map View
    media-luna
    Courtesy of Media Luna Hostel / Booking.com
    Welcome to the ultimate Cartagena party hostel, sitting in the artistic neighborhood of Getsemani – it’s a favorite among backpackers wanting a quality night out. The lovely sunny patio is great for relaxing on by day, but becomes a dance floor by night, so if you want peace and quiet, think twice about staying here. If you want to socialize however, you’ll also be in a perfect position to dive into its celebrated Media Luna Mega Party every Wednesday.

    Casa en el Agua

    Hostel
    Map View
    Floating on the Caribbean Sea’s sparkling blue waters, Casa en el Agua is the definitive fantasy stay for beach and sea devotees. The only way to get there is through a boat transfer from Cartagena. With not much to do other than sip your way through cocktails on the deck, splash around idly or chill out in a hammock, it couldn’t be a dreamier. A Caribbean-castaway fantasy at a backpacker rate.

    República Hostel

    Hostel
    Map View
    República is an excellent hostel in the old town near Plaza Fernández de Madrid. Its appeal is in its lovely pool and bar area, where you can relax away the day, chatting with fellow travelers over cold beers in the sunshine. There is a main bar, too, on the second floor, with a slightly more pronounced party atmosphere. Each dorm bed is set in a separate cubicle space, so you needn’t worry about noisy drunken roommates waking you when they crash following a raucous night out.

    Alex Robinson contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on May 29, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.