Kasa Guane Hostel in Bucaramanga Colombia – My top pick for backpackers and budget travellers
So you’re going a bit off the beaten path to the city with the funky name – Bucaramanga! If I were to guess, you are probably on your way to San Gil, the adventure capital of Colombia or you’ve heard about the amazing paragliding flights. Whatever your motive, if you are overnighting in Bucaramanga you will need a clean, safe place to rest your head.
I have now been to Bucaramanga three times and I am a huge fan of the city. The best way to describe it would be as a – “Mini-Medellin”. With that being said, if you haven’t been to Medellin that comparison would be worth as much as one colombian peso. Like Medellin, Bucaramanga is an industrial city set in a valley between green mountains. It has a very favourable year round climate – not too hot and not too cold – just right in my opinion. Bucaramanga is called “The City of Parks” because there are over 160 parks scattered throughout the city. It has become nationally recognized in the shoe and fashion industry and some foreigners like my friend Elisabeth Red have moved their shoe design and manufacturing operations to Bucaramanga.
Finding a Hotel or Hostel in Bucaramanga, Santander
Like in most big cities in Colombia there are countless options for accommodation in Bucaramanga, but if you are like me and you travel on a budget, staying at a hostel is a great option if you want to save your hard earned money.
If you were to do a search on hostelworld.com for Bucaramanga you would only find 3 hostels available, one of which is Kasa Guane Hostel. I have no basis for comparing Kasa Guane to the other two alternatives because I keep going back to Kasa Guane every time I visit Bucaramanga. As they say, ‘don’t fix what isn’t broken’.
The well-located hostel is owned and managed by two cool guys from England – Tim and Milo. These friendly blokes (yep I said it ‘blokes’) love their city and can give you the insiders scoop on what to do, where to party, and how to make the best of your time while you’re visiting Bucaramanga. The same can be said about the friendly bilingual staff who always take the time to help guests with their itineraries, reservations, and onward travel through Colombia.
The hostel is conveniently located about 15 minutes from the Central Bus Station. A private taxi will cost you about 7000 Colombian Pesos ($3.70USD). You can choose from shared dorm rooms which start at $20,000 COP per person per night, or private rooms for as little as $40,000COP per night. Private rooms with private bathrooms cost a bit more. Other features include a well equipped kitchen where you can cook your own meals, hot water showers, Wifi, lockers, and a common area with a TV and a computer to stay connected with the rest of the world.
The BIG BONUS of staying at Kasa Guane
One thing that should not be overlooked is Kasa Guane’s rooftop bar which has become one of the most bumping hangout/party spots in the city on weekends.
I was surprised to see foreigners and locals alike pouring into the hostel as early as 7:30 pm on a Friday night. By 9:30pm the bar was buzzing with the chatter of bohemian partygoers and an eclectic mix of upbeat music. I discovered that many people were there because the Kasa Guane bar provides a unique environment not found anywhere else in Bucaramanga. The others were there for the cheap mojitos – the delicious speciality of the house.
Just imagine a hopping language exchange party where foreigners and locals can mix and mingle over affordably priced beers and cocktails. Personally, I think that this is the icing on the cake. I usually travel alone, so any hostel that provides a fun environment where I can socialize and meet people before heading out for a night on the town has my vote. There is nothing worse that sitting in hostel room feeling lost on a Saturday night in a strange town. In the wise words of sweet brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.
Small Acts of Kindness
Volunteering opportunity in Bucaramanga, Colombia
Over the past two years Tim has become a friend of mine, making me feel right at home whenever I’m there. On my last visit a few weeks ago Tim cooked up a massive shepherd’s pie in the hostel kitchen and invited me to have dinner with him and the rest of staff. It is these small acts of kindness that win my loyalty and earn my recommendation on this blog.
Another act of kindness by the folks at Kasa Guane Hostel is their initiative in starting an arm of an international foundation called “Goles por la Paz” (Goals for Peace).
“Goals for Peace International is an organization that aims to help improve the lives of people that do not have the same opportunities in life that we do. We are currently working in Bucaramanga, Colombia and in the Philippines.
Kasa Guane set up Goals for Peace Bucaramanga in October 2012 using money from local donations and help from friends. After working successfully for 9 months we legally registered the foundation in July 2013.”
For more information on volunteering with Kasa Guane and Goles por la Paz, click here.
Visit the Kasa Guane Website: http://kasaguane.com/