I´ve been in many hostels across several countries around the world, I think I can affirm that the best bunk beds (and matress) I met on my way are at Hostel Caldas...
It´s really a friendly a comfortable place to stay.
For more details :
Dorms : 15000 COP
Double room: 45000/50000 COP
2 Double rooms (1 with private bathroom), 4 dorms with balcony. All rooms with flat screen + tv cable and towels included.
* Internet wi-fi
* Computer is provided with free internet access
* Bicycles for hire
* Hot water
* Tourist information
* Laundry service
* Fully equiped kitchen
* Coffee, salt and sugar are provided
* Free hot coffee and water during the day
Though the majority of our accommodation choices in Colombia were small local hotels, we found ourselves using hostels towards the end of our trip. It was not a conscious decision, it was just the fact that we found some very good ones to patronize. The Plantation House in Salento and Cafe Totasky in Cali had both been great places and Hosteltrail sounded like a can't miss. Owned by a young Scottish couple who backpacked to and fell in love with the area, it is very customer-oriented and run very obviously by people who know what backpackers want. The building is modern and lacks the charm of an old colonial but it has all the mod-cons like wireless Internet as well as modern computers for pay-use for those without their laptops. Communal baths are kept spotless as is the whole facility. It has become THE place to stay in town and if you are looking to meet up with fellow travelers, this is the place. The common areas are comfy and they have beer for sale to loosen lips. Their best asset though is their wealth of information on places to eat, how to get around the area and what to see in town, all in English as well as Spanish. The owners are always on hand to give you suggestions aside from midday when they take a break and a local woman aptly runs the place (while cleaning it evidently!).
Our room was simple but nicely furnished and sans the florescent lighting common in South American cheapies. Unfortunately, it was on the street side of the building and there was some fairly major construction going on just outside so noisy during the day. There were signs apologizing for this but it was not as peaceful as hoped for, especially for D who was resting up a bit while not feeling so great. To make matters worse, prices had risen considerably since the edition of our guide, from 30,000 to 38,000 COP ($17). It isn't a lot of money but with the noise factor, I checked out Casa Familiar Turística in town since our guide said they were only 28,000. Their prices had remained the same and while the old colonial building was run by friendly locals and surely more authentic, the communal baths were equally old-fashioned and the overall privacy was not as high. It also seemed a bit cold temperature-wise and with D not feeling so great, we decided to stay put. It was a good thing as without the Hosteltrail owners, I would not have likely found La Fresca and their delectable empanadas de pipián!
I remember hostels from 1960's Amsterdam, around the Red Light district. Hostels in general, and certainly not Hostel Trail, are nothing like those days! I can't say anything much more enthusiastic than has already been said about The Trail and its remarkable proprietors, Kim and Tony, a young couple from Scotland, wise and entrepreneurial beyond their years.
As you might guess from Amsterdam, I'm about fifty percent older than their *combined* ages.
The Trail is a perfect place for anyone of any age willing to stay where toilet seats come without paper necklaces. It's on the Spartan side in the rooms from a tourist point of view but comfortable enough, clean, safe, and a natural meeting ground for travelers from all over the world. (As most in these e-pages will know, travel is far different from tourism. Travel is related to 'travail'; tourism is emphatically not.) We stayed in the High Dollar Suite -- private loo enveloped by a main double bed along one ell and a futon-couch offshoot along the other.
If you have your own laptop. wireless is for free; if not, you can rent time at one of their three stations. Hot coffee and tea are free; cold beer and soft drinks are for sale. There's a communal kitchen and fridge -- but some things about hostels just don't change and, well, your name on the stuff just somehow sometimes gets overlooked, no longer how largely writ.
A general word to those for whom Cali and Medellin are only half words (as in Calicartel): things are much different in Colombia these days (and Popayan never had that other half-word anyway). As ever, bad press well outlives the news which created it and that reputation is largely no longer valid. (Standard disclaimer: don't go anyplace stupid, no matter where you are.) Don't miss a chance to see Colombia before it's rediscovered by everyone else.
Here's my stab at an untold little vignette about The Trail, but I admit I may not have read everything else written in here about it.
Kim and Tony have a wonderful dog, Ali, adopted and rescued from the streets of Popayan. Like dogs found all around the Indian Ocean's tolerant beaches, Ali converges to a more-or-less similar anatomy. They're lean, short-haired, and stand high enough at the shoulder so that they can mostly be petted on the head without bending over. The tail curves 360 degrees over their backs. In Ali's case, she's black with white boots and jaunty streak down the snout, but they come in any color at all, mostly multi-colored. Like all those survivors on the Indian Ocean's beaches, she has a delicate mouth.
Ali is charming and energetic. She'll keep you tossing her tennis ball or pork-chop-shaped chew toy endlessly -- until you figure out the best thing to do is stand at the top of the stairs and toss the toy to the bottom, compelling Ali to run up those stairs to keep the game going. She *will* eventually literally tire of this . . . for a while.
I have to be honest -- I don't know how Kim and Tony spell Ali's name. Here's the charming bit: it's really short for Allergy, because Tony's allergic to pet hair! From his point of view, one cost of Ali's keep is the inhaler he has to use to share that dawg.
Located in a nice area, only four blocks from the city's main square and 10 minutes from the bus terminal, HostelTrail is a fantastic new hostel (from July 2007) run by Scottish couple Kim and Tony. During my stay they were on holidays in Scotland so I did not meet them. But their friendly Scottish friend Eddie and the local lady took a good care of the place and they were always helpful with the information about Popayán and other places through Colombia.
The hostel has one dorm and several single and double rooms with shared or private bathroom. Hot water is available 24 hours. I had my own room and payed 25.000 COP (December 2008). Guests can use fully equipped kitchen and free coffee and tea is available all day. There is a fridge with beer, water and other drinks for sale: you simply note down what you take. The hostel has fast computers with high speed internet (2.000 COP per hour) and free WiFi. On the first floor is also a TV room with excellent collection of Colombian and other films. Lockers, luggage storage and laundry service are available.
I really liked Popayán and enjoyed my stay in this excellent hostel. Instead of one day planned I stayed two days :)
Kim and Tony also started the website HostelTrail which serves as a great source of information about hostels and places to see and things to do not only in Colombia but also in other South American countries.
Honestly, an awesome place to be in. Very informative, clean, has a kitchen, DVD/TV room, and loads of info regarding excursions and stuff.
Now, others have already described the place....I am just here letting you know that the Wifi there is free.
- 24 Hour Access
- Dorms & Private Rooms
- Laundry Facilities
- Self-Catering Kitchen
- Fast internet ($2000/hr), WIFI (free) & Skype
- Extensive DVD collection
- International Calls at 200 Pesos p/m
- Book Exchange
- Cold beer ,soft drinks, mineral water for sale
- Courtyard patio area
- Free tea & coffee all day
- 5 mins walk from the main square!
Hostel Trail Guesthouse is a nice hostel owned by Tony and Kim from Scotland. They are very helpful and they have started the website Hostel Trail which gives great information about hostels and places to visit all over South America. It is a convenient place, within walking distance from the main square and the terminal, and there are many facilities.
There is a kitchen and you can have free coffee and tea during the day. In the fridge there are beer, water and other drinks you can buy. The bathrooms are clean and the showers have got hot water. There is also a TV room where you can watch films.
Some prices in July 2008:
Dorm bed 15 000 pesos
Single room 25 000 pesos
Double room 35 000 pesos
Laundry 8000 pesos
Internet 2000 pesos per hour
WiFi 3000 pesos per day
Beer 1500 pesos
Water in a bag (600 ml) 500 pesos
Update January 2009: VT-member Perdomo who reasently have stayed at Hostel Trail says that now wifi is free.
Hotel la Herreria is a nice hotel with 16 pretty rooms with cable TV, conference room, a restaurant serving good quality food and pizzas, and parking space. The hotel manager's attention focuses on the satisfaction and entertaiment of the guests. Its location is very central. Prices 70$ for very spacious singles and 50$ for doubles (25$ each) including breakfast .
Casa Familiar Turistica is low budget hostel. A friendly lady is running the hostel so there is a family atmosphere and it is clean and safe. It has comfortable rooms, hot showers, kitchen and laundry, good breakfast (paid extra), free luggage hold. Prices 6$ for dormitories, and 7$ each in a double room
When I arrived I didn't feel like carrying my bags very far so I booked at hotel La Gaitana which is near the bus station but also within walking distance from the center. Hotel La Gaitana is very basic, secure and friendly. It is nothing special but it's convenient and cheap. Double rooms with bathroom and cable TV cost 11$ for two people (5.5$ each). If you are single you will have it for 9$.
Hotel los Balcones is one of the most beautiful hotels in Popayan. Its wooden furniture and its elegant decoration give you the feeling of staying in a colonial mansion. Everything shows a good taste. It is housed in a building constructed in 1794-1798. The hotel is part of the original mansion that covers the corner of Carrera 7 and Calle 3. The mansion has a glorious history. Eminent citizens of Popayan lived in it such as the poet Guillermo Valencia whose son Guillermo Leon Valencia was born here. He became President of Colombia in 1961-1966 and the airport of Popayan bears his name. The hotel was wonderfully reformed in 1970. There is room service, a conference hall, and a private collection of pre-colombian art. There is a sitting room for watching videos but you can also rent the equipment and watch it in your room. They can also prepare the food according to your liking. The rooms are spacious and very comfortable. Rooms are 35$ for singles and 50$ for doubles.
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Friendly hostel just on the edge of the old town in Popayan and within walking distance of the bus station. Internet, TV with good DVD collection, kitchen etc make this an ideal place to base yourself for visiting the town and the surrounding area.
Good location and knowledgable owners.
They also run a network of hostels throughout South America. For example, you can reserve and pay for a hostel in Medallin here in Popayan! Very handy!
- None!! It is dirt-cheap but not worth it if you love yourself. I had arrived at 3am and as I was afraid for my safety, I just jumped into the first hostel that opened its door for me. I didn't want to be picky and walk up and down the streets by myself, sniffing around for a 'nice' hostel.
- Room is a closet, so tiny, worse than a prison-cell.
- No ventilation
- Shared toilets are gawdawful, door could not close properly, tiny, no place to hang anything.
- Avoid at all cost
Room: 7,000 Colombian pesos (2005)
This is another nice option in Popayan, if you are travelling with someone and don't want to stay in a dorm. It is clean, the family that run it are friendly (and the guy, who's name I've forgotten, builds robots!). Hot water, TV.
A little English spoken by Robot Man, the rest only Spanish.
Double room : 30,000pesos
Single room : 15,000pesos
This small cozy hostel is a really nice one. It almost has a bit of a homestay feel, the lady that owns the place is super friendly, and she has two dogs, of which the smaller one is really nice too (and I don't like dogs!). Hot water.
Spanish only, no English spoken.
Dorm bed : 11,000pesos
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