Globe Trotting

Casa Kiwi – The Best Hostel in Medellin, Colombia

Casa Kiwi is by no means a hidden gem.  Actually, I’d go as far to say that it is unanimously considered the best hostel in Medellin, Colombia.

Of course I met plenty of other backpackers who had pleasant stays at Pit Stop or Buddah Hostel, but these hostels were their second choices.  Not because Casa Kiwi was cleaner, or cheaper, or even in a better location …no, it’s something else.  There’s something about the community at Casa Kiwi that is unlike any other hostel I’ve visited.
 Let me back up and explain.


Casa Kiwi is located in the El Poblado district of Medellin.  Arguably the only place fit to stay on your visit if you want to be in a safe, beautiful area that is home to the best nightlife and restaurants of the city.  The clean streets are lined with every type of restaurant you could imagine – from traditional
Colombian fare at Tres Tipicos to a Hooters (I know, I was just as horrified).  Not to mention trendy boutiques, salsa clubs, and exotic plush flowers and plants lining the streets and brooks that run through the wealthiest neighborhood in Medellin.
The price point is in line with the competition and will put you in hole about $12 american dollars (or 24,000 pesos).  Yes, you read that right.  Twelve dollars.
Which leads me into the next bullet point.  Twelve dollars will get you a shared room with 3-4 bunk beds, a private balcony and a locker.  You also get clean sheets, blankets on request and unlimited towels.  The bathrooms are shared and extremely clean and well kept.  There are a few public showers and bathrooms on each level, but I always climbed up to the roof, where my favorite al fresco roof shower was.  The entire enclosure was stone and the fresh air flowed in from the large window and open roof.  For $10 more, you can get a private room with a double bed and a private bathroom.
Here we go, now I’m getting to the good stuff.  Casa Kiwi is a maze, and each time I wandered around I found myself staring out at a different vista, or finding a new reading nook.  When you walk up to the front desk, you will see a full service bar with a sitting area and a pool table.  Around the corner, there is a full kitchen available for guests use and a movie/tv room with stadium seating.  Back to the front if you went left you’d find yourself on a covered porch with groups of backpackers enjoying Club Colombias over cards looking out onto the quiet street below.  There is an internet cafe with four computers free to use, a full service kitchen where you can order breakfast, a book exchange and laundry.  Go up either staircases and you’ll find different patios and look outs, quiet water features with bamboo and a zen tranquility.  Up one staircase to the third floor and you’ll find 6 hammocks and a sitting area, the city scape looming in the backdrop.  Up to the roof and there is a small wading pool and open porch, perfect for sunbathing or to house the weekend bands that play there.  From here, you can really enjoy your surroundings – the distant mountains hugging you in.
Sure, the location, price and description is wonderful – but it’s not very unique from any of the other hostels located in El Poblado neighborhood.  What makes Casa Kiwi so wonderful is the community.  This hostel is THE meet up spot.  It’s the place to have drinks and meet likeminded travelers.  The place where lifelong travel friends are made.  The atmosphere is fun and inviting and no one even bothers asking before pulling a chair up to a table of strangers.  The owner, Paul, is an American who came to visit and fell in love with the city — and wanted to share his love with travelers from around the world.  The hostel was built on the concept of the backpacker community.  This hostel isn’t just a place where you ‘leave your bags’, it’s a meeting point.. a place to party.. a place to reflect and relax.  A place where people come for a night and stay for two weeks.  Or in the case of a few friends I made in Medellin, stay forever.

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