2017 Update: The Best Hostels in Medellín

Is this a hotel? No, it's a hostel. But it sure feels like a hotel when you're in one of the comfortable and spacious suites.

Writer’s note: This is the second story in a monthly series on the “best of” Medellín and the surrounding area. To read the first story, click here

Editor’s note: This post was updated on June 11, 2017. It’s sponsored by International House Medellin Hostel. We thank them for their support.

Finding the right hostel can change your trip. Profoundly.

Your hostel is where you make new friends, partake in local activities, create memories.

There are a handful of good ones to choose from in Medellín and the surrounding area, so I’m going to do my best to narrow it down to the best hostels in Medellín. It goes without saying that these hostels are clean, the staff friendly. It’s tough to choose. But here goes…

Beautiful mountain view from the rooftop of International House Medellin (Photo courtesy of IH Medellin) Hostel
Beautiful mountain view from the rooftop of International House Medellin Hostel (Photo courtesy of IH Medellin)

International House Medellin Hostel

Calle 32B #66C-06, Belén

International House Medellin Hostel, also known as IH Medellin, has been near the top of The Best Hostels in Medellin on Trip Advisor for several years in a row now. The owner, Joel, personally takes care of his guests by hosting occasional barbecues and community dinners on the hostel’s famous rooftop terrace, equipped with a professional, restaurant-style kitchen.

With a dedicated T1 fiber-optic internet line to the building, IH Medellin is one of only a handful of hostels in Colombia with this technology, making it the perfect destination for backpackers and professional digital nomads. Private two-bed dorms and shared dorms for groups of 4, 6, 8 and/or 10 are available, with 4 modern bathrooms on each floor.

The hostel is well located within a two-minute walk of buses that go directly to historic downtown and to El Poblado.  These same buses take you to Medellin’s famous metro system.  Nearby as well are many venues of the Feria de las Flores and the football/soccer stadium.

Located in a quiet, residential neighborhood, the hostel has great views of a huge public sports complex equipped with a free open-air weightlifting area, swimming pools (there is an entrance fee, but they also have free entry certain hours during weekdays), running track, basketball courts, as well as free aerobic and yoga classes that are open to the public. Despite its central location in the city, the neighborhood itself is lush and green, with lots of trees, parks and fresh air.

Just stop by reception for help booking the most popular city tours in Medellin, including the Pablo Escobar Experience Tour, Free City Walking Tour, Mountain Bike tours, paragliding, graffiti tour through the famous “comunas” and trips to the upper outskirts of the city via the aerial cable cars that terminate in a huge forested reservoir that connects with nearby traditional villages and towns.

At IH Medellin private Spanish lessons and salsa dancing classes can also be arranged.

This hostel review was written in collaboration with International House Medellin Hostel.

If you're staying at Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel, you can enjoy the adjoining Tree Bar as well.
If you’re staying at Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel, you can enjoy the adjoining Tree Bar as well.

Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel

Carrera 35 #7-108, Poblado

Easiest choice ever. For any story I’ve written.

The only problem is, it took me a while to actually go see how great Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel is.

The mission here is to give backpackers the comfort and elegance of a hotel with the social atmosphere of a hostel. Just look at these amenities:

  • Chic décor
  • Stylish bar terrace
  • Pool and ping-pong tables
  • En suite bathrooms with complimentary soap, conditioner, shampoo and towel
  • In-room flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi
  • Free breakfast (eggs and hot dogs, bread and sometimes calentado)
  • Spacious lockers with shelves and charge ports for your electronics
  • Electronic key cards for each room
  • Individual bunk bed lights
  • Balconies
  • 24-hour bilingual reception

You can’t go wrong at this place, and it’s only going to get better. There soon will be another Happy Buddha, in Guatapé. (Editor’s note: Book your stay at the Guatapé location here.)


Andromeda, one of the private rooms at Arcadia Hostel
Andromeda, one of the private rooms at Arcadia Hostel

Arcadia Hostel

Calle 11A #31A-188, Poblado

Love the Greek theme, love the owner’s commitment to get better, love the wall outlets at each bed.

The last one is especially important, something I didn’t notice until I went there recently to take some pictures.

During my travels I’ve gotten tired of scrambling to find wall outlets to charge my electronics. At Arcadia Hostel, you can lie in the comfort of your bed while you charge them and use them at the same time.

Spyros, the Greek owner, said he soon will put curtains up with every bed, to help people sleep. And he’ll continue his popular Greek barbecue on Sundays, of course.

If the Happy Buddha is booked full, which it often is, go to Arcadia.


The bar is a popular part of The Wandering Paisa.
The bar is a popular part of The Wandering Paisa.

The Wandering Paisa

Calle 44A #68A-76, Laureles

With a bar and lounge inside that stays open just late enough to get everyone ready to go out, The Wandering Paisa is kind of a mix between a party hostel and a place to relax.

I’ve been there a couple of times, once to hang out at the bar and watch people sing karaoke. It was our first stop before we went to Son Havana, a popular nearby club.

The Paisa is only a block from La 70, the nightlife strip that connects Estación Estadio with Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. Maybe you can pregame at the Paisa bar, then move on to one of the top spots in the area.

You have lots of options here.


The garden is one of the prettiest parts of Urban Buddha.
The garden is one of the prettiest parts of Urban Buddha.

Urban Buddha

Circular 73A #38-55, Laureles

Urban Buddha (different ownership than Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel) is the tranquilo option. On a weekend, anything can happen because it’s in Laureles, one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city, but the hostel is usually quiet during the week, La Feria de las Flores aside.

Amenities such as the koi pond, the garden and the eclectic art add to the atmosphere, and activities such as paragliding are offered. And if there are enough people staying, it’s not unusual for Mariano, one of the owners, to cook up one of his specialties: paella. He comes from a family of chefs so it’s not to be missed.

Oh, and full disclosure: after staying at the Buddha in the spring, I returned from two months of traveling in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay to find a position open. So I took it.

Sure, you can say I’m biased. But would I work somewhere if I didn’t like it? (The answer to that, by the way, is “no.”)


An emerald toucanet near Hostal Rancho Rueda Libre (photo: Wilmer Quiceno)
An emerald toucanet near Hostal Rancho Rueda Libre (photo: Wilmer Quiceno)

Hostal Rancho Rueda Libre

Santa Elena (see map on hostel Facebook page for directions)

So it’s a little outside Medellín. That’s what makes Hostal Rancho Rueda Libre great.

It’s where you go to get away from the city, from the chaos and congestion.

For those unfamiliar with Santa Elena, it’s all about nature. With so much green and so many bird species there, you can’t help but feel relaxed.

There are comfortable rooms, or if you prefer, you can camp outside. This finca/hostel is in the middle of a mountainous paradise, a gateway to your peace of mind.

I love the pool at Hostal La Finca.
I love the pool at Hostal La Finca.

Hostal La Finca

San Jerónimo

Like Hostal Rancho Rueda Libre, this is another place to go to get away from the city. But it’s hot at Hostal La Finca so bring your swimwear and take advantage of the beautiful pool.

Or, if you want something more natural, go to the creek and waterfall down the hill from the hostel.

I brought my parents here when they were visiting last year and they loved it.

Just remember to bring your bug repellent. You’re in the middle of nature, about 20 minutes outside the town of San Jerónimo, and the heat attracts the mosquitos.


A party at The Pit Stop
A party at The Pit Stop (photo: The Pit Stop)

The Pit Stop

Carrera 43E #5-110, Poblado

The Pit Stop is great.

There’s a lot of energy, but you can still relax, especially because they have a big, nice pool there. It’s the reason two of my friends from Bogotá stayed there instead of at the Buddha. If you really like this amenity, remember the driest months in Medellín are January through March and June through August.

There’s also a volleyball court and basketball court/soccer field at the hostel, along with a bar with a pool table.

The location, though, might be a bigger draw. The hostel is in El Poblado, only a five to 10-minute walk from Parque Lleras, the city’s primary nightlife zone, or zona rosa. You won’t be bored.


The rooftop at Casa Kiwi is a great place to relax. Or party.
The rooftop at Casa Kiwi is a great place to relax. Or party. (photo: Casa Kiwi)

Casa Kiwi

Carrera 36 #7-10, Poblado

If you want to party, Casa Kiwi is the place.

That’s the main reason I’ve been there.

I had some friends staying there on a couple of occasions and the place was hopping, enough that there was not much need to go anywhere else if you didn’t want to. But if you do, the hostel is in the heart of the Zona Rosa, just a few blocks from Parque Lleras.

The outdoor deck overlooking the street is great, like being at a bar in a Jimmy Buffet song. The place also offers a (very) small rooftop pool and a pool table near the bar.


Staying at the Palm Tree Hostel will give you the chance to get to know Suramericana, a neighborhood most foreigners never will see.
Staying at the Palm Tree Hostel will give you the chance to get to know Suramericana, a neighborhood most foreigners never will see.

Palm Tree Hostel

Carrera 67 #48-63, Suramericana

Palm Tree Hostel sits in one of the most underrated neighborhoods in the city, Suramericana, just east of Estadio Atanasio Girardot.

It’s a great place to relax and get away from the touristy areas of the city. If you want to learn Spanish by practicing with the people in the neighborhood, it’s a great place.

Inside, you’ll find a quaint, clean place, a setting made for getting to know other travelers.

The Exito supermarket is right next door if you prefer to cook your own food instead of eat out at what seems like a million restaurants.


Out front at Geo Hostel
Out front at Geo Hostel

Geo Hostel

Carrera 35 #8A-58, Poblado

One of my friends insisted I had to include Geo Hostel, so I stopped by.

I love the modern look. It seems like a really comfortable place to stay.

It’s clean and the staff was really friendly when I went there to look around.

The Via Provenza location is also near lots of great restaurants and nightlife, so you might not even spend much time in the hostel, no matter how nice you think it is.


What’s your favorite hostel in Medellín?

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  1. hola!
    quisiera reservar para casa kiwi del 10 de enero al 31 de enero una habitacion para una persona(yo)
    cuanto seria?en dolares o en pesos

  2. Why didn’t you mention The “Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel”? It’s a top rated hostel located in Poblado and it puts most of these hostels to shame. Full Bar, restaurant, 60 beds.

  3. Wow great find!! I stayed at pitstop and loved it it was so close to all the bars and clubs I recommend it to anyone. It was clean and everyone was really nice there.. I miss Medellin and can’t wait to go back!!

    Cr 43E # 5-110 POBLADO
    Two foreign guess has died from drogue overdose.
    They don’t complaint with city Hosting regulations.
    They have dogs waking around BQ and pool area.
    Garbage contamination lots of bugs can carry “concuña virus as well many viruses that foreign are not aware.
    Cops get paid under the table.
    City should shout down this dumpster.

    • Believe the foreigners who look for place like this are the ones who bring he “viruses” that you are taking about. They come to Medellin to use drugs and hire prostitutes. Medellin authorities should close these places. Medellin deserves better tourists than these. If those guys died from an overdose it was their own fault and the reputation of Medellin suffers because of this. Shame on you Americans who should behave better and respect the welcoming people of Medellin

  5. Whoops… Didn’t find my favorite place to stay in El Poblado. The Black Sheep Hostel… owned by a guy from New Zealand. Busy, clean, well-run, great tours, close to supermarket.

    • Hi Ken, we’re familiar with The Black Sheep, one of the oldest hostels (I know of) in the city. Last we talked to the owner, he wasn’t seeking any publicity so that factored into our decision to leave it off the list.

        • None of the hostels on this list paid Medellin Living commissions for referrals at the time it was published, nor do they today. However, I do not see anything wrong with such an approach to doing business so long as there’s transparency with readers (which happens to be a hallmark of our editorial policy).

  6. Sorry guys i’ve been to Arcadia and i was very disaponted really …in all the aspects staff, quality of rooms, of beds bathrooms, lack in cleaning so after seing this one on the second place you will recommend i am dissapointed i dont even wanna read the rest of the article for me is totally irelevant although I ‘ ve always followed your posts and always found great infos and stories, I hope you eill keep it that way and keep people informed eirh relevant and real facts based on your experience not trying to favor anyone becayse you will lose your credibility, again guys nothing personal eith this hostel but there are tons of great beautiful amaizing hostels in Medellin where people should be guided to and believe me this is not one of them by any meand. Looking forward for your great future posts keep on the good work. Mario

    • Hi Selena (or is it Mario?),

      We appreciate your feedback. This list is updated annually and as such the hostels on it and their positions can and will change over time.

      Which hostels, if any, do you recommend to backpackers in Medellín, and why?

      • Hi Dave! It’ Selena o Maria however you like ;). Well first I think by adding places like Happy Buddha, Geo, La Finca its a good think I’ve personally have been there and they deserved to be promoted. I don’t know what bases is the list made on if is actually a publicity that people pay and if so it’s understandable and justifying only that it has to be mentioned that way or is just an opinion based on your experience. I do not know some of the places you’ve posted but I’m familiar with a few but if you’d like my personal opinion again based on my personal experience I would put in the list Casa Bambu a very simple but with an incredible garden witch scores big time for nature lovers , Maloka Hostel next to Buddha , very cozy, vintage feel, clean and top notch rooms and great bar and outdoor areas, Casa Provenza Hostel for people who are looking for a nice, clean and quiet place and the list could go on. All the best to you guys :)!

        • Selena,

          Thanks for responding. To be clear, we do not solicit or receive any money from hostels to appear on this list. If we did, we would disclose it in the interest of transparency. You can read our full editorial policy here.

          The “best of” series is based on our own judgement, however as a result of recent feedback, we’re re-evaluating our methodology for ranking the hostels to make it more objective.

          We’ll be taking into account both user reviews on Hostelworld as well as reader recommendations (such as yours here). I expect there will be some changes to the current list by the end of next month.

          • Hi guys,
            Firstly, as someone who has recently began living in Medellin I want to mention how helpful medellinliving has been to me. Needless to say I’m an avid follower of the site but have never posted until now.
            The reason I’m posting now is because I feel that the previous post is completely at odds with my experience. I’ve stayed for over a week in Arcadia on two separate occasions, where they made me feel super welcome to this amazing city.
            The staff at Arcadia have been fantastic both times I stayed. They did a great job of making me feel at home and I noticed they went out of their way to accommodate guests needs. I’ve visited the hostel on subsequent occasions and, though staff members have gradually changed, their quality has not.
            As for the accommodation, I have stayed in both the economic and pricier dorm rooms and had no complaint. The mattresses are of decent quality and size, clean sheets, wall plugs, bedside shelves and lockers of a good size. All in all I found the rooms to be very cosy.
            As for the bathrooms and cleaning, I know the communal bathroom, which the economic room shared, is quite small and, like all communal bathrooms, is prone to getting messy quickly. That said, I never found it particular bad. In my experience the other room’s ensuites were only ever dirty because previous users hadn’t been considerate, but I noticed they were usually visited by the cleaners more than once a day. The kitchen could get messy when it was very busy. But outside ‘rush hour’ was always clean and was always very well equipped.
            The vibe I got from Arcadia was that of a cosy, fun home in the middle of a crazy city (in fact it’s 5-10 mins from busy lleras, but sits in a peaceful, green part of the neighbourhood). The staff and layout made for a relaxed, warm atmosphere, there was tons of information about things to do, making the hostel a perfect little base to explore the city from. All in all it made my introduction to Medellin (and South America!) a very smooth ride. For which I am grateful. I can’t speak for the critic’s experience, but mine has been the total opposite which is why I felt compelled to reply.

            I hope this is helpful, keep up the great work Medellinliving!

    • Hi!
      I would just like to say that I had a very different experience at Arcadia. I found the staff to be particularly helpful, especially the owner who is always on hand to answer questions about the city and further travel. The hostel is kept very clean and the quality of the beds and bedding is really high compared to other hostels I’ve stayed in.
      I would recommend staying at Arcadia hostel.

  7. Speaking about aracadia hostal, i have been there few times and i have always been treated very well. Nothing is perfect in this life. I have personally always been treated very well and greated when i come. I have been to the BBQ as well few other times. In my opinion it is a good clean nice place to stay. it has a nice common area and nice BBq area as well.

  8. Ok, I have been visiting this site couple of times, and I think is a good guide in general, but I disagree with you with La Finca it IS for real a fantastic place and all, I know the owners and they are really nice people, but is not in Medellín, so in that case you missed the point, “10 hostels in Medellín”,and saying that you missed a lot of other fantastic places around Medellin, and also very good hostels, Santa Elena is very close from Medellín but not the actually City, what about the real Medellín, in Downtown there is beautiful hostels like Hostel Antiguo or Hostel 61 Prado, not like Poblado about the turistic athmosphere, but is the real thing, but also worthy to know. No saying more, hope your path get bless always and keep with your fantastic work!

    • Thanks for the tips Leon. I’m going to check out Hostel Antiguo soon as I’ve read good reviews on Hostelworld and we want to offer alternatives to staying in Poblado or Laureles.

  9. Dear all hostelers, since 4 years I am recommending to friends and foreigners the Arcadia hostel. Never anyone was complaining. There are nice events, bbq, salsa lessons, organized and the management is extremely helpfull with tips where to go. I am renting out myself and do not understand why people are complaining without raison. Just visit the Arcadia yourself and find out it is a great bargain price and quality

  10. Hi, which hostel is closest to the tourist area. i’m not going for the party or nightlife but more to get a feel of the city. thanks!

    • Hostel Antiguo is located in downtown Medellin, and is the most central place to access points of interest in the city.

      The reviews on Hostelworld and TripAdvisor are very good, which is the only reason I’m recommending it. Downtown Medellin can be very dangerous at night, so if you choose to stay there, you need to be extra careful (I wouldn’t advise walking around alone after sunset).

  11. Hello everybody! I recentlly just moved to Medellin and i found this web site extremlly helpfull just wanna thank you guys for all the wonderfull tips and information you re doind a fantastic job. I have booked The HappyBudha for one week prior to my arriving based on your recommendation I wanted to stay in the best hostel. I was not thrill about this place, althou its a very modern hip hostel, in a great location the vibe of the place, the service and lot of other details kind of dissapointed me. It feels like they are more concern of gathering people from the sreetl and other hostels, therefore it can be came very noisy even after hours, very impersonal, and unfortunally i ve seen in my 3 days stay a lot of things that it shoulnd be happening by any meand in a hostel I wont go any further with the details. I ve moved after tree days to Maloka witch is right next door and i felt like i wouldnt want to leave this place, the staff were incredible, the ambiance, the breakfast the confort and everything else and what surprised me that this place was not anywere on this list. That been said again thats just my personal experience i do not know any other hostel here in Medellin and i am sure that you havent seen them all either :)) anywYs again thank you guys for everything you re doing i eill soon contact you to buy a guide. Hasta luego!!!

  12. Hi guys, I was wondering if you could feature an article about our hostel, Purple Monkey. We opened in Poblado a year ago and are consistently first or second ranked in the city on Hostelworld. Our website is http://www.purplemonkeyhostel.com. Let me know if you want to come round for a beer and I can give you a tour of the place! Thanks