Basic but clean rooms - from single w/bath COP 50M/wo 35M to dorms, it possibly the most popular hostel in Bogota. A traditional building in the historical part /Candelaria), good fun to meet backpackers from allover the globe in the pation. MTransmilenio bus stop Las Aguas only 5 mins away, so is the city center with banks and shops (and the famous Gold Museum). Ann and the rest of the staff are very helpful and friendly.
Unique Quality: Colonial old town residence, so does not have all the amenities of a modern hotel, but has cooking facilities, hot showers, free coffee etc. Platypus has also a hotel just around the corner, also in traditional vuilding, but rates around COP 120M single/bath and breakfast.
Directions: Taxi from airport around COP 25M.
I have mixed feelings about Platypus. Renowned as the best hostel in South America, I could be forgiven for having such high expectations but as with most such scenarios, it hard to live up to such mental images. Since our trip to Colombia had such a long planning stage due to it being cancelled twice over a period of three years, I had a lot of contact with its owner, German Escobar. The Bogota legend had opened a hostel in the nearly forbidden zone of La Candelaria and was about as single-handedly responsible for the capital's resurgence as could be possible. He was beyond helpful and I would never tell anyone not to stay in the cool and certainly trendy Candelaria institution. That said, our experience was less than perfect. We had reserved weeks in advance but upon arriving were given a room right across from their very busy office. Admittedly, we had arrived late but it was less than ideal for a light sleeper like myself. There was constantly someone in the office and its bell rang at all hours with people arriving home late from a night of partying and other leaving for the airport insanely early. We had reserved for four nights but in the morning I insisted we had to be moved to another more quiet room which was met with a “we'll see what we can do attitude” until I said we'd have to elsewhere otherwise. I'm sure if German was there, it would have been easy but it's a big operation now and people who work in a place never have quite the attitude as the owner. The second room was much better though overall, it was a bustling place as can be expected of the most popular place in town. The showers/toilets were less than spic and span but again maybe not easy to do with so many people using them. Though I had every intention of keeping true to my reservation once I was moved to a more secluded room, I was not so sure I would stay there again on our return trip to Bogota on our way home.
I checked out a few other places, small hotels that looked a lot less crowded and found one that looked like a real possibility and was less expensive too. I kept it in mind and made a reservation for our return with Platypus just the same. When the time came to return I wrote German directly and asked to be put in the most quiet part of the hostel and hoped for the best. When we arrived, we found we were not in the main building but up the street a few houses. While it lacked a bit of the security features of the hostel proper, it was definitely more quiet. We liked it a lot more and if going there and not of the “true hostel spirit,” it's worth asking to be placed there. One of the main reasons I wanted to return to Platypus was to tell German about our successful trek in El Cocuy. He had been very helpful in our planning it and had not been there in many years. He was unfortunately out of town so had to relay the information in a mail to him.
Unique Quality: In short, if you are traveling solo and looking to meet lots of people, Platypus is The place to stay. If you are a couple who wants more solitude, it might not be your best choice. They do have a pricier place nearby but it's not exactly a budget option. Overall, our stay was good but not sure I would stay there again aside from it being German's place who is every bit the legend is deserves to be.
We paid 176,000 COP or $187 for our four nights in a room without private bath. The rooms are smallish but have a nice rustic charm to them. Both the hostel proper and the one up the street have very nice Colonial courtyards to hang out in. It is classic Candelaria architecture.
Directions: In the heart of La Candelaria.
I heard lots of good things about Platypus. So when I visited Bogotá there was no doubt about where I was going to stay. And I was not disappointed. Really enjoyed my stay there and came back a few more times after my first visit.
The staff are very friendly and helpful. They provide you with any information you might need: about the transportation, sightseeing, restaurants, nightlife, accommodation in other places (they phone and book it for you)... I made some shorter trips out of Bogotá and there was no problem to leave my big bag. They looked after it.
And German, the owner, is certainly one of the nicest people I met during my Colombian trip. He warmly welcome every visitor with a drink and a conversation and shares his great knowledge about his country. On arrival, when my luggage delayed already for almost two days, he phoned for me to the airport to claim. And he offered to make a scan of the 'delayed baggage report', to have a proof when I ask for a refund. Thanks so much German! :)
Unique Quality: Located in the attractive old quarter La Candelaria, Platypus is within walking distance of many museums, restaurants, bars, buses (also TransMilenio), banks and ATMs and Plaza de Bolivar. I had my own room and payed 33.000 COP (January 2009). The hostel also offers dorm rooms. There is a shared kitchen with free coffee and a huge lounge room. Book exchange, internet access, small lockers for valuables and laundry service are available and there is a fridge with beer and water for reasonable price. Local phone calls are free. Did I forget something? Oh, yes, warm smiles of the staff :)))
Directions: historical centre La Candelaria
Platypus is a popular budget hostel in the Candelaria district (old town). I sent an e-mail about a month before arriving as I knew it is very popular. I asked for a single room with bathroom and was told I could get it the last days of my trip (when I was staying in Bogotá for four nights), but when I a few days earlier were passing Bogotá for one night I could only get a room without bathroom.
Many things are good with Platypus. It feels like a safe place with a security camera outside. There is a kitchen with free coffee, and a communal area were you can chat with other tourists. In the reception there are three computers (can’t remember how much it cost to use them) , books to exchange, safety boxes, possibility to store luggage and helpful staff.
The disadvantage is that it can be noisy. The first night I stayed there I had a room facing a small courtyard. Some people were sitting there talking in the middle of the night and others came back making noise and speaking load. I didn’t sleep very much that night. So the rooms without bathroom outside the reception (by the courtyard) is not to recommend if you want to sleep. When I had the room with bathroom it was situated around the corner and therefore more quiet.
The evenings in the communal area were nice, but the last evening it was too noisy and full of smoke. We were three people sitting by a table trying to speak to each other and the rest of the room were full of people who all seemed to know each other (there had been a party another night and it seemed to be one that night too.
Another thing I didn’t like was that the light in the bathrooms were turned off automatically after a short while and I often found myself standing in the shower in complete darkness.
The owner Germán is said to be very helpful, but he was not in Bogotá when I visited.
A double room (with one person) without bathroom was 30 000 pesos. And a double room (with one person) with bathroom was 35 000 pesos (August 2007).
Platypus has 3 buildings. #1 is where the reception is, and is more noisy and crowded. Also the dorms in #1 are cramped and do not have private bathroom. In building #2, the dorms are better, less beds, and each have private bathroom. Also there is a TV in #2. #3 is for long term stays.
Platypus is the quieter of the two main hostels in Bogota.
The owner, Herman, is a nice guy and quite informative on all things relating to travel in Colombia.
Dorm bed : 14,000pesos (regardless of if it's in the cramped #1 or better #2)
Directions: In La Candelaria.
I had an amazing stay in this Hostel, it was very hard to leave this place. Lots of amazing people to talk, share meals and party with. Herman, the owner, is a verynice guy
Unique Quality: 3 nice houses
Directions: near Las Aguas transmilenio station, Candelaria district
This place is a classic backpacker hostel. Chess, free coffee, hammocks, good location, internet (not free). Their website has great directions (with photos!) on getting there from the airport. The place is often booked up, though they have overflow. Also, the hotel Aragon is close by with rooms about the same price (15 million = 6 dollars)
Directions: The area of Bogota is called "La Candelaria", near the old city
Ok, I never actually lived there, as I know the owners wife from my old schooldays (Jutta and Germán, forgive me please for mentioning this ;-)
But I spent some hours in the Hostal, felt the atmosphere, saw the rooms and the whole surrounding.
It's a wonderful place to stay in Bogotá - more or less the only way to start the visit of Colombia.
Germán (the owner) speaks 5 languages, knows so much about his country, helps in anything you can imagine.
Unique Quality: The Hostal is set in an old colonial house, just in the beginning of La Candelaria (Bogotá's old city center).
Wonderful courtyard !
It has all, backpackers need during their travel - internet access, washing facilities, kitchen, storage, numerous books on the shelf for everyone, nice staff, safe environment - and whatever question you have, whatever problem - they help you.
Also in giving information about any other destination within Colombai, you might plan next.
Update, November 5, 2007:
MalenaN was in Colombia recently and also stayed in Platypus. I highly recommend to read also her Platypus review, as it is more reliable than mine. I only stayed there for coffee and to pick up my friends - while she slept in the rooms and some rooms seem to be a bit noisy.
A nice and rather clean and cheap place. The atmosphare is really nice and friendly. The staff is very helpful and informative. Lot's of back-packers, so you'll be lucky if there is room. Location is very good - in La Candelaria - the oldest part of the city and relaly close to the sightseeing places. A bed in the dormitory costs about 4 US $, and a provate room starts from 5 US $ per person.
Unique Quality: Kitchen, bathrooms, compter-room with internet, nice common area with TV. Laundry service, free coffee, good book-exchange.
Directions: La Candelaria
Calle 82 No. 12 - 35, Bogota, Colombia
Avenida El Dorado 69A 51, Bogota, Colombia
Calle 84 N 13-54, Bogota, 350196, Colombia
Carrera 21 # , Bogota, 101-10, Colombia
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Address: Calle 16 N. 2-43, Bogota, Colombia