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Best Hostels in Santa Marta: Where to Stay in 2019

Santa Marta

Santa Marta

The best hostels in Santa Marta are a solid base from which to explore this northern coastal region of Colombia. 

Santa Marta is a gateway to several notable places, including the beautiful beaches of Parque Tayrona, the desolate desert of La Guajira, and the jungle-covered Ciudad Perdida (“Lost City”).

Quick Recommendations

Some of the best hostels in Santa Marta are in the historic center

Santa Marta's historic center

What to Look For

Santa Marta is a relatively quiet city, which captures tourists with its relaxed coastal vibe.

Today, the town has more hostels than it ever has, and this guide will help you find the best place to stay in Santa Marta for your money.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when deciding where to stay.

Best Neighborhoods

Centro

Santa Marta is a relatively small city, especially when you disregard the parts of the city tourists would have no reason to visit.

The most popular neighborhood for backpackers is its historic city center, Centro, which feels a little like the larger, well-preserved colonial center of Cartagena.

Centro is the best area for restaurants and nightlife. There's a beach, but you probably won't be inspired to go swimming.

If staying on a more beautiful beach in Santa Marta is your priority, then you have two options.

Taganga

Taganga is a small fishing village, a 10-minute taxi ride north of Santa Marta. It's popular with backpackers and is a cheap place to learn how to SCUBA dive

Rodadero

Rodadero is a 10 to 15-minute taxi drive south of the city center and offers a larger, nicer beach than either Taganga or Centro. 

This is a more modern part of the city with high-rises, so you don't get the same atmosphere as you would staying in the historic center.

Cost of Hostels

Hostels in Santa Marta are consistently priced. Expect to pay an average of $8-10 per night for a dorm bed, which is on par with the rest of Colombia.

See also: Cost of Travel in Colombia

Courtyard at La Brisa Loca, a hostel in Santa Marta's city center

Courtyard at La Brisa Loca Hostel

Best Hostels in Santa Marta

Time to get down to the details. Below we have highlighted some of the best hostels in Santa Marta based on what you may be looking for.

Best Hostel for a Quiet Night — Tunido Hostel

From $11 for a dorm (10 beds)

Located in the historic center of Colombia’s oldest city, Tunido Hostel stands in a renovated colonial-style home directly behind Iglesia San Francisco (Santa Marta’s oldest church and one of its main attractions.)

It is a quiet place, just a few blocks from all the action. Guests love that it is easy to get out of town using transportation near the hostel.

The free breakfast is well-done, and the hostel is new-ish, so everything is clean as can be.

Check availability: Hostelworld

Best Hostel for Social Atmosphere — El Rio Hostel

From $10 for a dorm (18 beds)

Winning Hostelworld’s honor of Best Hostel in Colombia in 2018 and being awarded runner-up of all of Latin America, it’s no wonder we have a particular liking for El Rio Hostel.

Not only does this place have a fantastic social atmosphere and the accolades to back it up, but it is also only ten minutes from the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida) pick-up point and less than half an hour from the Tayrona National Park entrance.

This hostel is set in the middle of the jungle featuring a ping pong table, a basketball court, a volleyball net, pool table, and a great bar serving up chilled mora gin and tonics, maracuya vodka soda’s, and more.

Check availability: Hostelworld

Best Hostel for Party-Goers — Dreamer Santa Marta

From $9 for a dorm (10 beds)

The Dreamer Santa Marta is the closest hostel to Tayrona National Park and an excellent base for exploring the city’s outer edges.

It is also a great place to meet friends with whom you can hike the beautiful trails.

With a large garden and swimming pool set in a gorgeous location, it is the perfect place for beers and conversation.

Easy access to downtown Santa Marta means you are never too far from the bars and clubs, while also being in an ideal spot to relax.

Check availability: Hostelworld

See also: Colombia Nightlife – Bars, Clubs, and Dating Tips

Best Hostel for Amenities — Calle 11 Hostel Santa Marta Rodadero

From $8 for a dorm (12 beds)

Calle 11 Hostel is located in Santa Marta’s safest neighborhood, Rodadero, near three of the city’s prettiest beaches.

The hostel was converted from a luxurious Colombian villa and was voted the sixth most Instagrammable Hostel in the World in 2019 by Lonely Planet and Hostelworld.

Legend says an infamous Colombian drug cartel once owned the villa before being abandoned and repurposed years later.

Hang by the pool and meet friends or party it up in town — the choice is yours!

There is a calendar of nightly activities going on at the hostel, including movie nights in the pool, while enjoying a two-for-one cocktail happy hour every night.

Check availability: Hostelworld

Best Hostel for City Entertainment — Hostel Masaya Santa Marta

From $8 for a dorm (12 beds)

From learning to salsa dance to making empanadas, there is something to learn about Colombia’s culture for every backpacker who comes through Hostel Masaya Santa Marta.

Enjoy one of two swimming pools at the hostel or sip a cocktail from its rooftop terrace bar. Meet friends over a friendly game of pool or relax in the hostel cinema to an inspiring film.

The hostel also hosts daily cultural activities throughout the city, which is why we’ve chosen it as the best for city entertainment.

Check availability: Hostelworld

Best Cheap Hostel — Cacao Hostel

From $7 for a dorm (10 beds)

Cacao is the ultimate budget hostel in Santa Marta. The free breakfast immediately helps to make it a bargain stay.

However, that’s only just the beginning. On top of that, Cacao has so much to offer, including a swimming pool, hammocks, a fully-equipped kitchen (to save more money), and a great bar. Plus, it's only a ten-minute walk to the beach.

Cacao Hostel also has experienced tour operators as staff, so you are sure to get the best advice possible. 

Check availability: Hostelworld

Conclusion

Santa Marta, although not necessarily everyone’s first choice of Colombian cities, will surprise some people.

Most use the town as a stopping-off point before heading off into the jungle or desert; however, the city’s charm may catch some people off guard and force them to stay a little while.

Read more about Colombia and enjoy your time there to the fullest while staying at the best hostels in Santa Marta.

More Colombia Hostels

Last Updated on November 14, 2019 by Dave Lee