Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Dreamer Hostel, Santa Marta, Colombia

I normally wouldn’t write about a hostel in a blog. I have learned while traveling to be very careful who I recommend a hostel to. One person’s palace is another person’s nightmare. The Dreamer hostel is different though because it was where I arranged to work.
Back in August I was surfing the net looking for information on Colombia and perhaps opportunities for work when I came across a forum. Some guy put up a post inquiring if he would be able to work in Colombia to stay longer. There were the usual replies from knobs such as, “you are not Colombian you can’t work there, why do you want to take job away from the locals”, or the usual English teaching job suggestions. Then I saw a reply from a hostel owner saying he will be opening up a hostel in Santa Marta Colombia in either December or January and is looking for staff. I replied to the hostel owner hoping he would forget this guy and hire me. We kept in contact since and I arranged to arrive in late February after Carnaval. On my way through Peru and Ecuador I tried promoting the hostel to help him out.
I didn’t know much about the hostel, only that is was somewhere in Santa Marta and the owner was Italian. I was a bit weary though because I had no idea what it was going to be like. I feared it was going to be one of those party hostels that you find all over South America. The bar is raging all night full of drunken Canadians, Aussies, Brits and the rests of the gringos. Girls are coming out in groups from the bathroom after having done lines of coke. People are shagging in one bed while coke is being dealt in another. A guy is so messed up on coke and drunk that he shits on a white pool chair.
I wasn’t sure what my new job was going to be but if it was going to be behind the bar I was afraid I would be the one feeding this mob and creating the disaster.
I left late from Barranquilla on a last minute decision and got on the last bus to Santa Marta. I got dropped off somewhere on the side of the road in the dark and the bus driver grabbed a taxi for me. The taxi driver had no idea where he was going and had to ask directions several times, we eventually got to The Dreamer Hostel. I was tired from the bus ride and from the week of Carnaval so I didn’t take in much of the hostel only that I was greeted by a very friendly attractive Italian who told me they had been waiting for me.

In the morning I was refreshed and able to discover the hostel and Santa Marta. It is beautifully designed with one storey colonial buildings surrounding a swimming pool. To one end is a guest kitchen with a bar yet to be established. Off of reception is a TV room with comfy couches and all the way around hammocks are hanging waiting for the tired traveller. It is a traveller’s paradise. The owners Fulvio and Miguel are young Italian guys who also share the passion for travel. They went on an around the world trip in 2006 for 18 months with the thought in the back of their minds to try and find a location for a hostel. They travelled the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, India, South East Asia and more countries but of all those places they fell in love with Santa Marta, Colombia. At the time as well there weren’t any hostels in Santa Marta. In the last year they have been popping up all over.
They have a lot of enthusiasm towards their hostel and pay a lot of attention to their guests. I haven’t seen hostel owners as helpful as them. I started out trying to organize them and make touristic information for the guests then I worked in reception. When we had a full house we made BBQs and on weekends we took the guests to the city centre to drink Aguardiente in the Parque De Los Novios and dance in the discos.

I was delightfully relieved that is was just the type of hostel I was hoping for. It reminded me of the hostel I worked in, in Mexico. It felt like home and the owners and employees felt like my family. The hostel is located in a neighbourhood outside of Santa Marta called Mamatoco, set amongst beautiful houses with grandmas rocking in their rocking chairs on their front porch trying to cool off from the hot Santa Marta nights where at midnight the temperature hovers at 35C.
The Buena Vista shopping centre is only 3 blocks away with a huge super market and at night you can get the best pizza in Colombia from a street side vendor for 2000pesos a slice ($1).
I would lie in a hammock by the pool of the hostel writing on my laptop in my bikini thinking to myself, Carrie Bradshaw had her location all wrong.

Check out my updated post about the Dreamer hostel; The Dreamer Hostel Santa Marta Six Months later


  1. awesome! I am heading to work at Dreamer Hostel myself, and had many of the same concerns that you expressed! It will be nice to stop traveling for a month and just BE in one place - glad to hear you had a great experience there!

  2. Hi. Im from Santa Marta and my parents live one block away from The Dreamer's,unfortunately I don't live in Colombia anymore but last year I visited my family for a couple of months and had the pleasure to see the location and meet the guys, I loved the place, also recommended it to an italian guy that now lives and owns a restaurant in Santa Marta. It´s so nice to hear that they keep up the good work. The pizza guy you talk about is named Edgar,he´s been there for years, great pizza! Loved your article, Santa Marta Rocks! Thanks!

  3. Do you have an e-mail address for the hostel?

  4. been there, was amazing! recceomend to everybody, nice location and great italian food, owners fantastics

  5. I don't get notified when people make comments on my blog its just by chance I find them sometimes. Sorry for not getting back about the hostel e-mail address. You can contact them at

    As for someone who wrote an nasty untrue comment on my posting. I am very disappointed! The guys who own the dreamer would never ever pull on scam on anyone. Do not believe any warnings or lies. Everything I wrote in my posting about how fantastic they are is true. They are genuine and honest people. If you are posting something against them on here you are posting something against me and I will not have any of that.

    Thank you

  6. Miguel is a top bloke, he helped me learn Spanish when I lived in Spain a couple of years ago. I was supposed to go and work at the Dreamer Hostel but life hasn't worked out like that, maybe one day.

  7. Hostels come in all shapes and sizes, and some are sightseeing destinations in themselves.

    Buzios Pousadas


Blog directory