Being two persons among 400.000 visiting Medellin for the “Feria de Las Flores” between July 31st and August 9th puts your abilities to find a livable accommodation to a test. Gilles succeeded in getting a “pre-reservation” for a private room at the Palm Tree Hostel. They would not confirm it during such a busy week, so we were relieved to find our misspelled names on the board in the reception area.
But when we saw the “room”, our heart sank: smaller than a prison cell without a window. A few minutes in the room and it was stuffy and smelly. But everywhere we called, no private rooms were available, only dorms, which we even dreaded more … The whole hostel felt cramped. Worst, the communal area was right next to our room and the entrance. People kept coming back from the “Zona Rosa” all night long.
Desperately, we set out to inquire in person at some hostels. The famous “Black Sheep” looked exactly what we wanted, a large common area downstairs, private rooms upstairs. But of course: full! “Pit Stop” was next. This party Hostel looked very nice with a small pool in the garden and a very young crowd enjoying themselves, also full! Casa de Sol and Yellow House were of course also booked and they seemed even sadder than what we had. Simple but nice Israeli-run Sun Shine Hostel was the last we tried of the known traveler hostels, another “Sorry, we have only dorms available”.
We steeled ourselves for one more attempt, which sounded too good to be true. An unremarkable ad in “Medellin’s guide to culture and nightlife”, about a “Finca within the city” had caught Heidi’s attention. At first sight, “Ram Hostal Campestre” looked like paradise, located on the edge of “Zona Rosa”, quietly sitting at the end of a cul de sac, surrounded by a small tropical garden, next to a wooded creek and a small pool.
The concept of the hostel seemed to cater all different needs. With a dorm bed selling for 15 USD, it is obvious that the owner tries to make money with the two big dorm rooms, one with 20 beds and one with 14 beds, a few private rooms for 85.000 COP or 43 USD and two nicely equipped apartments for no less than 125 USD a night. This makes it twice as expensive as other hostels, especially considering the shared bathrooms.
Well, maybe we were just too happy to find an alternative to our prison cell that we simply overlooked almost everything we should have immediately noticed. First, the hostel is completely new and there is still no warm water. In order to be lulled into sleep by the nearby creek, there are no real windows. This does not help when all the party animals return from the “Zona Rosa” all night long till dawn, screaming, singing at the top of their lung, laughing loud and getting rid of their excessive alcohol. There is nobody to stop this, and the kids on night duty hid behind the computer. People bring their stereos to the pool and play THEIR music whenever they feel like it. The private rooms are next to the entrance of the two dorm rooms and the giant room with shower stall, all this adding to the noise level.