Santa Marta, Colombia is a major hub for backpackers keen to explore some of the top sites in the country.

As a port town located on the Caribbean coast of Columbia, nice beaches, great scuba diving, and chill vibes are never too far away. Santa Marta is also the gateway to Tayrona National Natural Park and a multitude of treks including the hike to the Lost City.

As this is Colombia we are talking about, a visit here is not without its dangers. That said, touristy Santa Marta is considered to be quite safe when compared to some of the neighboring cities. However, there are still a few areas that fall into the sketchy category.

That is exactly why I wrote this guide to the best hostels in Santa Marta 2024!

Get all the insider tips on the best and safest places to stay in Santa Marta.

Whether you are on the hunt for the best party hostel, the best hostel for digital nomads, or just the cheapest possible place to lay your head, this hostel guide has got you covered.

There is a hostel for every backpacker on my list!

Let’s dive right in…

Quick Answer: The Best Hostels in Santa Marta, Colombia

Best Hostels in Santa Marta, Colombia
Welcome to my ultimate insider guide to the best hostels in Santa Marta, Colombia!

The 10 Best Hostels in Santa Marta, Colombia

Santa Marta has it all. National Parks, beaches, charming people, and amazing food. If this sounds good to you should definitely put the city on your backpacking Colombia list.

In order to experience the city at the fullest, we’d recommend staying at one of Santa Marta’s hostels. Keep the travel costs low, meet like-minded travellers, and rest your head in a comfy bed.

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Park

The Dreamer – Overall Best Hostel in Santa Marta

The Dreamer best hostels in Santa Marta
This hostel rules. Comfortable, clean, plenty of chill spaces; The Dreamer has got it all, making it my top pick for best hostel in Santa Marta.

You literally will think you’re dreaming at this top hostel in Santa Marta since it’s AMAZING. I mean, the grounds are amazing by themselves: a huge garden with a huge pool out back, and a basketball court in the front. It’s quite possibly the best hostel in Colombia, let alone the overall best hostel in Santa Marta. Seriously – it’s that good. And when we say best staff in the world, sure it’s a turn of phrase, y’know, something people say, but actually they really could be. It’s not right in the centre of town, but it doesn’t need to be when it’s this chill and fun staying somewhere. Easily the best hostel in Santa Marta 2024.

Cacao Hostel – Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in Santa Marta

Cacao Hostel best hostels in Santa Marta
You that feeling when you start to develop a little hostel community/family? That is what happens on the regular at Cacao Hostel: the best hostel for solo travelers in Santa Marta.

Cacao is like, the perfect place to get to know people. In fact, it actually feels like a little mini-community all of its own: that’s the vibe at this recommended hostel in Santa Marta. The staff are really nice – no, really, like REALLY nice. They seem to actually like their jobs – if not love them! And that helps make this the best hostel for solo travellers in Santa Marta. There’s nothing quite like feeling welcomed somewhere, right? On top of this it’s clean, the pool is pretty sick, the kitchen is very good, but the AC is a bit weak. Price is super good also.

La Guaca Hostel – Best Cheap Hostel in Santa Marta #1

La Guaca Hostel best hostels in Santa Marta
Somehow, the best cheap hostel in Santa Marta, La Guaca Hostel, manages to be at once luxurious as well as cheap. Thanks!

This is the best cheap hostel in Santa Marta because although it’s cheap it certainly CERTAINLY does not look it. Not one bit. It actually looks quite boutique-y and that is something we like. A bit of casual luxury. Yeah. Well, it’s not exactly in the centre of town – but you don’t need to be there 100% of the time, do ya? However, it means there’s a different vibe in the area. Supermarkets and that, which are fun to explore when you’re backpacking. It also has a V chic pool, you get a free Colombian breakfast every morning, and the rooms are clean.

El Rio Hostel – Best Cheap Hostel in Santa Marta #2

El Rio Hostel best hostels in Santa Marta
El Rio Hostel rounds off my list of best cheap hostels in Santa Marta. Another hostel with an excellent location and great prices!

Another Santa Marta backpackers hostel that’s located pretty far out of town (this time not in a jungle) is El Rio Hostel. The name suggests rivers and, well, there is one here – and a beach, and a bit of jungle, too. It’s really cool. And even though it’s removed from the city itself, the nightlife is pretty cool here. For people who really like being outdoors, they have an 18-hammock ‘dorm’ – each with mosquito nets – set in the shelter of an avocado tree. Pffft, what else? Well it’s actually really easy to get to, the food and drink on offer is cheap AND good (actually – incredible), and the team working here is truly an awesome bunch.

The Journey Hostel – Best Cheap Hostel in Santa Marta #3

The Journey Hostel best hostels in Santa Marta
My friends who live in Colombia swear by this hostel. Plus it is one of the best cheap hostels in Santa Marta. Def a hostel to keep on your radar!

For something a little bit different – and something that’s definitely, definitely mainly for nature-lovers (city people and scaredy-cats might not like it so much) – here’s a recommended hostel in Santa Marta that’s pretty much in the jungle. Yep, that’s right: the jungle. It’s ok though – the food’s good and the owners are a friendly brother-and-sister team who can recommend/book stuff to do in the area; for instance, there’s a hike where you’re pretty much guaranteed to see monkeys straight out the door. Pretty close to Tayrona, too. But yes: it’s a bit far from Santa Marta so don’t expect to be clubbing at night!

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Aether Backpack

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Hostel Masaya Santa Marta – Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Santa Marta

Hostel Masaya Santa Marta best hostels in Santa Marta
If you can manage to get a little work done in this backpacker paradise, good on you. Hostel Masaya is the best hostel for digital nomads in Santa Marta.

Although it isn’t what we’d call a BUDGET hostel in Santa Marta, Masaya is a really, REALLY cool place. It might just be the coolest hostel in Santa Marta for the number of spaces it has to chill and lose yourself. Snug little corners and hidden balconies – it’s sick, in a word. So with all of these hidey-holes, it’s the best hostel for digital nomads in Santa Marta; there are plenty of places to work with your laptop here. Along with all the space, it’s the authenticity of the place that’s conducive to a pretty magical working environment, we gotta say. Combine with a rooftop bar, swimming pools, etc. and you’ll be treatin’ yo’self that’s for sure. It is also pretty well-situated to all of the fun things to do in Santa Marta.

Calle 11 Hostel Santa Marta Rodadero – Best Hostel for Couples in Santa Marta

Calle 11 Hostel Santa Marta Rodadero best hostels in Santa Marta
Calle 11 Hostel Santa Marta Rodadero was once a cartel mansion. That said, you know it is going to be nice, making it our top pick for the best hostel for couples in Santa Marta.

How about staying at a unique, sprawling and somewhat labyrinthine converted ex-Colombian cartel mansion/villa when you’re travelling around Colombia? Yeah, we thought so. And that’s why this is the best hostel for couples in Santa Marta. Something memorable, innit. PLUS the private rooms here are pretty luxury. The kinda thing you’d expect of an former cartel mansion TBH. Seriously cool. Nice little pool area, too. It’s located in a decent barrio, El Rodadero, and one of the best beaches in Santa Marta is just a few mins walk away. If this isn’t the coolest hostel in Santa Marta we literally don’t know what is.

Republica Hostel Santa Marta – Best Party Hostel in Santa Marta

Republica Hostel Santa Marta best hostels in Santa Marta
Looking to let loose and hang out with fellow backpackers? Republica Hostel Santa Marta is the best party hostel in Santa Marta…

Smack right in the middle of the Centro Historico is this little beauty of a Santa Marta backpackers hostel. There’s a definite party vibe at Republica; we’re talkin’ late nights – perf if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s also set in an old colonial villa and the decor is chic and minimalist (pastel tones, polished concrete and design-mag furniture) so it’s a very cool place to party. Possibly, in terms of its decor anyway, this is the coolest hostel in Santa Marta. But it’s our pick for the best party hostel not just for the vibes inside – incl. nightly activities, evening meals, nice staff – but the bars and restaurants literally on the doorstep.

Aluna Casa y Cafe – Best Hostel with a Private Room in Santa Marta

Aluna Casa y Cafe best hostels in Santa Marta
Aluna Casa y Cafe is once cool spot with a nice on-site cafe and reasonably priced rooms, making it the best hostel with a private room in Santa Marta.

Pretty centrally located Aluna Casa y Cafe is, in fact, an old 1920s house, which is definitely cool. So along with the ace location, you got a very cool building to stay in here, too. The decor is simple but stylish, and the private rooms are clean and comfy. Needless to say, there’s an onsite cafe that serves tasty food, plus a rooftop patio complete with kitchen for all your chilling and cooking needs. And for the price, we’d say that this is the best hostel with a private room in Santa Marta. The breakfast here isn’t free, but it IS literally amazing.

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Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

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More Best Hostels in Santa Marta

Playa del Ritmo

Playa del Ritmo best hostels in Santa Marta
Beachfront hostel alert! You heard right. Playa del Ritmo is the best hostel in Santa Marta right on the beach.

This is the only top hostel in Santa Marta that is literally beachfront, so if you like the beach PAY ATTENTION. It’s pretty far out of town, but for the beach, you can make a sacrifice, right? It’s also not for lazy people who can’t walk the half-kilometre to the bus stop (c’mon, you can manage that!). Staff are nice and can call you a taxi though But then you’ll probs be an active person – so rejoice for there are kayaks and paddle boards for you to use here! The beach is chill, rooms are clean, the atmosphere is calm ‘n’ friendly, the onsite restaurant is very tasty, and the WiFi is GREAT.

What to Pack for your Santa Marta Hostel

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hostel Packing list for our top packing tips!

Why you should travel to Santa Marta

Well amigos, that’s all I got: You have made it to the final chapter of my best hostels in Santa Marta 2024 lists!

For the most part Colombia is a super safe country to go backpacking in. Santa Marta is definitely included under that umbrella. That said, it is always a good idea to be aware of potential safety risks and stay in the best possible areas of any given place when possible.

With the help of this hostel guide, you are now ready to book a hostel in Santa Marta that is as much an awesome hostel as it is a safe one.

The goal in writing this guide was to put all of the best accommodation options out in the spotlight so that you can easily book the best hostel in Santa Marta that bests suits your own traveling style.

Backpacking Colombia and Santa Marta specifically is bound to be a fantastic, rewarding experience. Where you stay def matters! Hopefully one of the hostels featured on my list caught your eye and will be in your backpacking future!

Still having trouble picking the right place? Not sure which hostel is the best hostel in Santa Marta for you?

In times of uncertainty, I advise that you to just go with my top overall pick for the best hostel in Santa Marta: The DreamerHappy travels!

The Dreamer best hostels in Santa Marta
A night (or more) at The Dreamer hostel is never a bad time… Good luck!

FAQ about Hostels in Santa Marta

Here are some questions backpackers ask about hostels in Santa Marta.

How much does a hostel cost in Santa Marta?

The average price of hostels in Santa Marta can range from $11 – $18+ per night. Of course, the private rooms are on the higher end of the scale than the dorm beds.

What are the best hostels in Santa Marta for couples?

Check out these top-rated hostels for couples in Santa Marta:
Reserve Biologica Caoba
The Orange House Santa Marta

What are the best hostels in Santa Marta near the airport?

While there aren’t any hostels in Santa Marta that are particularly close to the airport, some offer airport shuttles or will help you arrange transport. Check out Playa del Ritmo, the best hostel in Santa Marta right on the beach.

Travel Safety Tips for Santa Marta

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

If you’re concerned about your safety in Colombia, then be sure to check out our in-depth safety guide, which is full of realworld adivce and useful information.

More Epic Hostels in Colombia and Latin America

Hopefully by now you’ve found the perfect hostel for your upcoming trip to Santa Marta.

Planning an epic trip all across Colombia or even Latin America itself?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

For more cool hostel guides around Europe, check out:

Over to you

By now I hope our epic guide to the best hostels in Santa Marta has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure!

If you’re planning on travelling further, you can be sure that you’ll always find a place to rest your head. There are amazing hostels all over Colombia, each offering a safe home-away-from-home, a chance to meet like-minded travellers and an affordable price for the night.

If you think we’ve missed anything or have any further thoughts, hit us up in the comments!

Looking for more info on travelling to Santa Marta and Colombia?

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!