What happens when two close friends leave Italy together to backpack around the world, fall in love with Colombia, and open a hostel there? They fulfill a dream and they open the best hostel in Santa Marta and Palomino Colombia, for starters.
We love staying in hostels. It’s a great way to meet people, interact with fellow travelers, and save money while traveling long term. However, after staying at the Mad Monkey Hostels in Cambodia we gained a new-found appreciation for hostels that do more than just provide an awesome environment for their guests. Mad Monkey showed us that a hostel can be both a haven for travelers AND a source of positive change within its community. Nowadays, we try to stay in hostels that adhere to that principle when operating a business. Which is why we highly recommend The Dreamer Hostels in Santa Marta and Palomino to anyone traveling in Northern Colombia, regardless of age or budget.
Dreamer Hostels currently operate two hostels in northern Colombia, one in the city of Santa Marta, and one right on the beach in the town of Palomino. Both hostels offer a great place to interact with fellow travelers, have nice swimming pools, cool bars, and organize a variety of fun activities. Pretty cool, right? But what does The Dreamer do that makes it stand out from the rest?
The Best Hostels in Santa Marta and Palomino, Colombia
The Dreamer Hostel – Santa Marta
It’s obvious that the owners of the Dreamer Hostel were former backpackers because it has everything you might look for in a great hostel. The moment you step through the front door you are greeted by the friendly faces of the front desk staff.
The hostel’s common areas include a lovely and inviting pool surrounded by lush greenery, a bar with a buzzing atmosphere, a restaurant to satisfy your daily cravings, a huge breakfast buffet, a well stocked kitchen for preparing your own meals, and a movie lounge.
The rooms, unlike most of the hostels in Santa Marta, are spacious and the cleaning staff work endlessly to keep the entire property spotless. Whatever your mood is during your stay there the Dreamer Hostel can accommodate.
Want to relax? You can lounge by the pool in a hammock reading a book. Want to be social and party? You can take advantage of the lively bar each night or go on one of the planned outings organized by the hostel. Want to get out and explore or go to the beach? The Dreamer can arrange that for you too.
What sets The Dreamer apart from other great hostels, however, is its desire and commitment to giving back to the communities which the owners fell in love with when they first visited Colombia.
Directly across the street from the hostel is a small playground which The Dreamer hostel recently renovated. Now neighborhood kids frequent the park, playing games with childish zeal, local boys and men play friendly basketball and soccer? games and guests of the hostel are encouraged to join and and interact with locals by organizing games for either sport. The result is a welcoming environment for tourists to mix with locals in friendly competition and cultural exchange.
Additionally, each week the hostel organizes an outing for guests to visit a school outside of Santa Marta. The group interacts with local kids, plays games with them, and swaps culture giving the children a chance to practice English, meet foreigners, and expand their understanding of the world outside of their community. In turn guests get a glimpse of the realities of life in the area and an experience they won’t soon forget.
All this makes The Dreamer Hostel one of the best hostels in Santa Marta.
Located so close to the beach that it may as well be ON the beach, The Dreamer Hostel in Palomino is a total gem, and should not be missed if visiting the town. It has everything you would want in a hostel, and as we already mentioned, IT’S ON THE BEACH!
Dreamer was the first real hostel in Palomino, and the realities there are quite a bit different from Santa Marta. For example, poverty in the area is much higher, and Dreamer accepts its share of responsibility for introducing mass tourism to the area. As such it focuses even more energy towards community efforts in the region.
In order to promote ethical business behavior, one that does not leave locals at the mercy of developers and the needs of the tourism industry, Dreamer Hostel set up an organization in Palomino that agrees and enforces certain ground rules that such businesses now adhere to. Coupled with their various charitable work for the children of Palomino, such as a scholarship that helps send kids to university, Dreamer is a great example of how a Hostel can and SHOULD interact with its environment.
All this is a super long way of saying that The Dream Hostels are among the best hostels in Colombia, and probably the best hostels in Santa Marta and Palomino. You can have a great time at both of them, and rest easy knowing the money you spent is going towards good causes.