Santa Marta is a city on the Caribbean Sea on the northern coast of Colombia. It is where the first Spanish settlement set in Colombia. Known for amazing trips to the Tayrona National Natural Park and hiking treks to the Lost City (Teyuna) archaeological site in the Sierra Nevada montains.

Santa Marta, Colombia is the go-to place for backpackers. Due to its strategic location, it has become a major hub for backpackers and travelers alike, especially with having extra colorful hotel history – like colonial mansions, kingpin’s mansion, ex-narco places, and party hostels. 

Also known as the oldest city in Colombia, Santa Marta can also be a romantic place as it is surrounded by beautiful beaches and the stunning mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range. This city is situated on a bay by the same name and as such, it is a prime tourist destination in the Caribbean region. 

Check out also: Best Hostels in Cartagena for BackpackersBest Hostels in Cartagena

This precious jewel sitting on Colombia’s Caribbean must be included in your bucket-list when coming to explore the north of Columbia. 

With that we have collated these top hostels we would like to recommend for easier backpacking.

The Dreamer Hostel

HostelWorld (*9.3) Booking.com (*8.7) Map Starts at ($10) for 10 bed-dorm

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

A unique and friendly hostel, built by travelers for travelers. It is voted as one of the best hostels in Santa Marta and the whole country of Colombia. It is the closest hostel to Tayrona Park and Minca making them an excellent choice for exploring and discovering the natural beauty of the Sierra Nevadas while also strategically situated to the city sights and fun nightlife of downtown Santa Marta. You can’t go wrong with their location!

The Dreamer Hostel boasts of their garden swimming pool and hammock areas that create an ideal chill and rest spot for backpackers and travelers to relax and unwind before or after their adventures. 

Their very friendly receptionists can also be a tour desk cause they can offer tips on getting around the area and arrange tours for you to the mountains, main beaches, and to the Lost City, as well as diving activities and horseback riding.

Their wide range of accommodation from comfortable and spacious dorms to twin and double rooms in a suite decorated warmly with hand-painted murals, both have private bathrooms and shared facility options. Aircondition is also available. 

Aside from all that, they have their own bar! The Coelhos Bar where you can shoot pool or play table tennis with friends. They also have this onsite Italian restaurant offering home-made pizzas, pasta and international cuisine where breakfast and lunch are usually served. There is also an option to make their own food, as they have a fully equipped kitchen open all day, and the hostel is located just a few blocks from a shopping center – the largest in town featuring cinemas, supermarkets, and shops. 

Comfy travel hack: Best Travel Pillows 😉

La Brisa Loca

HostelWorld (*9.2) Booking.com (*8.9) Map Starts at ($9) for 10 bed-dorm

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

La Brisa Loca an amazing 100-year-old, a new-republican building that has been restored and converted into a backpacker’s hostel. To highlight its classy colonial, Caribbean charm they retained the old design. They put a focus on bringing comfort and convenience to all visitors and they also impart history and style as part of their service. Their large, high-ceiling manor rooms can house up to 90 people in dorms or private rooms. 

La Brisa hostel presents you with traditional style and unique color schemes of lovely & authentic  Caribbean architecture.  While staying there you will definitely enjoy and appreciate the beauties of the Santa Marta coast and region, not just around the tourist spots in the oldest colonial town in the Americas, but right in your accommodation as well. 

La Brisa Loca is a social hostel where you will meet interesting people from around the globe. It’s an ideal choice for solo travelers who would like to hang out and meet fellow travelers.

Don’t let the luxurious architecture, beautiful décor, or exceptional amenities restrain you. They also pride themselves on helping their guests get a little ‘loca’ while in Santa Marta, encouraging you to venture out and explore the region and get into some adventures!

They have an onsite full-service bar, Rum Junkies that offers an extensive breakfast and lunch menu. Their guests usually spend time on the bar at 5 hours of ‘happy hour’ daily at the minimum! They have regular themed parties and they also broadcast major sporting events. Some of the regular events are, Burger nights every Monday, quiz nights every Thursday, pool BBQ parties on Saturday, language exchanges, Full Moon rooftop parties and many more.

Calle 11 Hostel

HostelWorld (*9.2) Booking.com (*8.8) Map Starts at ($9) for 12 bed-dorm

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

This hostel is converted from Colombian Villa in El Rodadero, which is considered as the safest neighborhood in town, and just minutes walk to some of the Santa Marta’s TOP beach spots. Calle 11 Hostel was named by Hostelworld as one of the best hostels of Colombia 2018! CONGRATS!

A place where you can meet other travelers and have a fun time in Santa Marta’s best bars and restaurants around. It is said that this Villa used to be a cartel house before being abandoned and later turned into a lovely Calle 11 Hostel.

Aside from their clean, organized, and beautifully presented hostel – they boast of their friendly service as they can help you book tours, or if you need information on your next tourist destination they can give you tips, you can also choose to have a self-drive transport or tap in a tour package.

They also have this free luggage storage which means you can have peace of mind when you want to head off for a couple of days and not think about some of your luggage as it is securely kept inside the hostel. They also have a massage service where you can opt to have with a glass of wine or hang out by their stunning pool which has a bar at the side that has a nightly social calendar set up. You can also watch movies above the pool and have cocktails. 

The hostel is situated just 3 minutes walk to all the major supermarkets, banks, ATM machines, restaurants, cinemas, bars and souvenir shops and only about 10 minutes bus ride from Santa Marta historical center. The airport about 20 minutes away. 

Check out also: Best Hostels in Bogota for Backpackers

Hostel Masaya

HostelWorld (*9.1) Booking.com (*8.8) Map Starts at ($11) for 12 bed-dorm

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

Masaya hostel is known for its passionate history of Colombia and incorporates it with travel. Their aim is to give you the opportunity to submerge and experience the local ways as if actually living there. They will tour your taste buds to the local delights and have you enjoy the magic of the hospitality of Colombians in taking part in some unique cultural experiences.

Masaya is an absolutely top spot for some chill time by the pool, find a quiet reading spot or join daily trips and cultural events. Their area is full of open spaces and niche private spots where you can lose yourself in their authentic ambiance. 

They have Salsa classes and a class on making your own empanadas, they have activities to involve every individual in discovering Colombia.

As for the rooms, they have luxury private rooms available, comfortable dorms also with electric outlet, fan, and lockers for every bed. All rooms come with AC at Hostal Masaya, tiled floors, minimalist decoration, and stylish wooden beams. They are equipped with a flat-screen TV, and the dormitories have beds with privacy curtains.

For chill places, they have their 2 swimming pools, cinema, roof terrace bar, pool table, bbq spots, and free WiFi!

Drop Bear Hostel

HostelWorld (*8.6) Booking.com (*8.1) Map Starts at ($7) for 10 bed-dorm

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

The Drop Bear Hostel is like no other hostel in Santa Marta! It’s a fun and party hostel situated in a historic & rustic Colombian mansion that’s been given a new lease on life as a hostel for backpackers.

Thoughtfully designed and planned out to accommodate every backpacker’s needs and located only 5 minutes away from the city center by taxi, but far enough away to escape the heat and noise of the busy downtown. 

They have their own pool where you can relax and have a cocktail, or chill out in a hammock or hang out on their stadium sofa to watch some Netflix stuff.

They have a 24hr bar, 8 happy hours a day, 50mb Fiber Optic Internet Connection, on-site restaurant and the mystery of their huge house which was supposedly once owned by the cartel. You can ask the staff, they might show you some of the hidden secrets this hostel has – like escape tunnels, hidden safes, underground whiskey storage cellar!

They boast of their exemplary service and provide each and every person who walks through their doors with service like no other. They also offer FREE luggage storage so you can explore the beautiful surroundings with the peace of mind knowing your belongings are safe and secure.

The hostel is extremely spacious massive TV/chill-out/games room with pool table and table tennis. They have weekly activities like pool parties in a week, surrounded with stunning gardens, a lot of hammocks and a giant pool. 

They are known for their perfectly cooked eggs benedict or their pancakes which is available all day in their restaurant. Their menu also has vegetarian options available. They open from 7 am – 2 am. Poolside massages and cocktails are also available. 

La Villana Boutique Hostel

HostelWorld (*8.7) Booking.com (*8.7) Map Starts at ($9) for 16 bed-dorm

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

La Villana Boutique Hostel has a friendly, helpful and accommodating people running it, they’ve got clean and good beds, cool dorm rooms, yummy breakfast choice and of course FREE wi-fi. 

They’ve got their own chill-out area where their pool and bar are located. They can assist you to plan out your tour for the next day as their reception is open 24/7 ready to help you with questions. 

Located in the heart of colorful Santa Marta, and the city center is only about 3-minutes walk to the nearest beach and surrounded by tiny streets filled with fruit vendors and markets where you can get a variety of fresh tropical fruits, visit local coffee shops and enjoy street markets. After the sun goes down you just need to make it to the Parque de Los Novios park which is just around the corner. It’s the evening gathering spot for the locals as well as tourists, offering a number of really good party bars, clubs, and local restaurants.

El Rio Hostel

HostelWorld (*9.3) Booking.com (*9.0) Map Starts at ($11) for 18 bed-dorm

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

El Rio Hostel doesn’t have WiFi! Prepare to disconnect yourself and indulge in nature.

A new hostel located right on the Rio Buritaca! They have a literally private beach right on the river with a bar, water sports, horse riding, fishing, lovely sundeck and bunch of other activities. They are situated amongst the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

A spartan hut offers hammocks with mosquito nets, lockers and reading lamps. Dorms come with fans or air-conditioners. The 7 airy rooms have garden views. Bathrooms are shared and linens are provided. A lone upgraded room features an en suite open-air facility, plus a terrace. Private cabanas are also available.

There is a tour desk at the property for assistance and guidance on the way around. Their restaurant offers meals, including vegetarian options. And El Rio hostel also offers bike hire.


Santa Marta is definitely a must-visit place before you leave this Earth. If you’re thinking of getting there, you get a chance to feel Colombia’s Caribbean vibes and see white sand beaches with palm trees. Exactly what you need for your insta post 😉

If you are fond of history – Santa Marta has a golden history of its own. The Spanish emperors and colonizers chose Santa Marta for their first settlement in Colombia because of gold. The local native communities were known for their popular goldsmithing work that can be found in Capital of Bogotá at the Museo del Oro. 

Founded in 1525, Santa Marta has the perfect location for visits to the mountain range, second in height only to the Andes running through Colombia and two national parks. It doesn’t have some of the tourism infrastructures as Cartagena but on the other hand, it has warm, beautiful clean beaches and many national parks.