For years, I turned my nose up at hostels. What out of college adult with a job would resort to bunk beds and community showers again? I gave that up freshman year in college and I was not going back. Not for me. Now way. I’m GOOD!
Or so I thought…
Fall 2010, I found myself with a Jet Blue All You Can Jet Pass and weeks left before expiration. I had already crisscrossed my way around the US and wanted to get one more trip in before the pass expired. Colombia seemed like my best bet out of all of Jet Blue’s international options.
Seems easy enough right? Well my nearly non-existent travel budget and negligible loyaly program balances begged to differ. Couchsurfing was out of the picture unless I planned to stay an hour out of the city and I had yet to discover Airbnb.com or similar rental sites, so it was either a hostel or stay at home…
So a hostel it was.
I spent about a hour researching my options on Hostel World and found a spot in the La Candelaria area that would be perfect, Anandamayi Hotel and Hostel. The hostel was named after Anandamayi-ma, which means bliss-permeated mother. She was a Hindu spiritual teacher and guru from Bengal,which is directly in line with the hostel’s model of love all, serve all. In addition, it had high ratings all around, but specifically in terms of cleanliness. Several commentors mentioned that it wasn’t a party hostel and was actually somewhat boring….Perfect! I like to have a good time, but when it comes to my sleep, I need not be disrupted.
I arrived at Anandamyi late in the evening and was welcomed with a nice cup of tea and peace and quiet. As we walked through the property to my room, I noted the smell of clean that permeated the halls. The rooms of this colonial property were a bit rustic, but comfortable. There were 2 shared bathrooms for the guests in private rooms. Luckily there was only one other occupied single room, so I essentially had a bathroom to myself during my stay (Still glad to have my shower shoes regardless).
In terms of proximity, this hostel was a short walk to downtown and other points of interest including Monserrate, Museo del Oro and public transpiration. Despite Anandamayi not being a party hostel, I still met some other great travelers who joined me for a night out at Andres Carne de Res. All around, a great first hostel experience that was repeated in Lisbon, Portugal at the Albergo Odisseo.
While I enjoyed my stay at the Anandamayi Hotel and Hostel, hostels are not my first stop for accommodations. For impromptu trips or limited budgets, hostels are a great way to stretch your travel budget when traditional hotels and vacation rentals are too much. Be sure to do your due diligence before making your reservation and ask for recommendation if possible.