To Hostel or Not to Hostel?

Remember when I said I was going to stay in a hostel for the first time in Colombia? Yea, that’s not happening. Or, at least, it won’t be happening the way that I thought. What’s that saying? “Everything ain’t for everybody.” Let me explain.

I had a hostel in mind thanks to a friend’s recommendation, but I waited too long to book it. Being that this was to be my first hostel stay I wanted to keep it as stress free as possible. Translation: a 6-bed all female room. Well, the room I wanted was full for 6 nights in the middle of my 2-week stay. The next room, an 8-bed all female, was full for what appeared to be random nights throughout each week. I could have gotten creative and played musical rooms for several nights, but the thought of doing that drives me batty.


Add to the lodging madness my silly fear of not fitting in. Will I be too old? Will I be the only one sans backpack as I roll my suitcase in? Where will I store my suitcase during the day? Will I honestly be able to sleep in a room with 5-7 strangers and not be irritated or grossed out? Yea, my issues run deep.

When I first booked this trip I had no idea what I should do or where I should stay once my plane landed. After talking with a few people about their experiences in Cartagena, I was all set with an itinerary. This is where the trouble began. I was so caught up on trying to re-create someone else’s experiences that I forgot to account for my own idiosyncrasies. I’m still going to have a blast just like everyone else, but I’m going to do it in my own way.

Ultimately, I decided to forgo all of the preconceived (and likely nonexistent) drama I had conjured and upgraded myself to a private room I found via AirBnB.


It’s in the same neighborhood as the hostel, has great reviews, and the host seems very sweet (as sweet as one can be via email). I’ll already have enough on my plate navigating the city with my piss poor Spanish skills and teaching ESL classes for the first time. I’m hoping that the $11/night upgrade is worth my peace of mind 🙂


I’m also treating myself to a week at a beach house I found on AirBnB in the Santa Marta area. Somehow, having my lodging mostly solidified (I still have to book a room for my last 2 nights) has made me more at ease for my trip.

I’m now enjoying the thrill of interactive lesson planning and shopping for school supplies for the kids at the youth center. More on that last bit next time.

Disclaimer: AirBnB did NOT pay me to book with them, mention them, or write this post… However, if you’re reading this and think you want to do just that, AirBnB, I’m always game 🙂