Colombia is a country with a huge variety of travel destinations and in all of them you will find some special accommodation options. In this post, I am going to share with you, my top 3 of the most special hotels in Colombia.
In the early 2000s, when tourism was only taking place in Bogotá and Cartagena, there were just a handful of decent hotels. Most of the existing hotels by then where standard and boring hotels that were not very well maintained, as there were almost no tourist coming to Colombia any way.
The ending of the internal conflict and the long-lasting civil war, created huge opportunities for tourism. Little by little, foreign travellers lost their fear of coming to Colombia and the numbers of foreign visitors has been increasing incredibly fast during the last decade.
As the incoming of travellers was a lot faster than the construction of new hotels and the renovation of old and ran-down hotels, the government launched a big project to motivate and dynamize the industry.
One of the most important parts of this project, was the tax reductions for new and renovated hotels. Those hotels being built or renovated in the following 10 years, were going to have huge tax reductions during the subsequent 30 years.
The project was very successful and motivated lots of local and foreign companies to build new accommodation options to cope with the increasing numbers of foreigner travellers that are arriving in Colombia year after year.
Most of the newly build hotels are still standard and ordinary, but luckily for those who always look for different and unique experiences, there are some hotels that have managed to create extraordinary accommodation options.
Don’t get me wrong. When I talk about extraordinary hotels, I don’t necessarily refer to luxury. Sure, some of the hotels in this list are fancy and luxurious, but what make them special is not just that.
For me, an extraordinary hotel goes a lot further than just fancy facilities. It also involves a combination of being in superb locations, being attended by exaggeratedly friendly people, offering remarkable meals and allowing guests to connect with the communities and surrounding nature.
After having created hundreds of Colombia Tour Packages for foreign tourists and having travelled to almost every corner of this country, I have managed to get to know quite a lot of hotels. The variety is huge, but if I had to make a list of the most special and extraordinary ones, it will be the following:
Located in the middle of the Tatacoa Desert, this hotel is truly extraordinary. Following traditional construction techniques and using local and eco-friendly materials, this hotel offers you the possibility of being in this remote and desolated area, while having all the necessary comfort and luxury.
The Bethel Bio Luxury Hotel started with just a couple of rooms in an old farmer’s house, but it has managed to expand very quickly. Nowadays, the hotel has 3 different swimming pools, 5 different types of accommodation, 2 restaurants with recognized chefs, and even a spa.
The 5 types of accommodation are all creative and comfortable. The less special ones are the rooms in the original house and the Bed Pings (a group of beds surrounding one of the swimming pools, with shared bathrooms and showers).
The other 3 accommodation types are just wonderful, though. The BioEggs and the Glamping are quite similar. They are both small rooms located in different parts of the desert and have their own private area to enjoy the views over the desert and the stars in the evening. Additionally, they come with private open-air showers and toilets with a view.
The BioEggs are like bubbles in the shape of an egg with a big and comfortable bed at the bottom. The Glamping are modern fixed tents and come with a bit more space and air circulation than the BioEggs.
The last and the newer of the room types, are the Cave Rooms. These are luxury rooms constructed inside caves. Even though it sounds weird to sleep in a cave, these rooms have been carefully designed to give you a very comfortable, luxurious and romantic time.
In my opinion, this is the most creative hotel in Colombia. They have managed to offer extraordinary experiences to tourists right in the middle of one of Colombia’s top attractions.
Created by a group of rock climbers, this wooden house is literally hanging off a cliff. It is located in an area called Abejorral, a mountainous countryside region about 3 hours away from Medellin.
Getting there is part of the adventure. After those 3 hours driving through the mountains, you will have to hike for about 1 hour, take zipline to cross a valley and walk over a hanging bridge.
The house is basic and small, but the views are breathtaking. The house fits up to 12 people and comes with a small kitchen a toilet and a bath with the best views you can imagine.
If sleeping in a wooden house that hangs out of a rocky hill is not adventurous enough for you, then I am sure the activities offered here will give you the adrenaline you need.
Besides some fantastic hikes in the surrounding mountains, you can do some crazy ziplining, do some rock-climbing, ride one of the longest swings in the country (that feels more like a bungee jump than a swing) or spend your afternoon in a hammock that is hanging over a 200 meters-high cliff.
All these activities are offered and managed by very experienced climbers and they come with all the necessary safety equipment.
Spending a night or two here, is one of the most extraordinary experiences you can have in Colombia.
Gorgona is a small island located in the Pacific Ocean about 35 kilometres off the Colombian pacific coast. It is the “Galapagos of Colombia”.
The island is nowadays a natural park protected by the Colombian Authorities. It has an incredible variety of wildlife and vegetation and it is the ideal place for those who love nature and appreciate the combination of beaches with jungle.
During decades, the island was used by the Colombian Government as a maximum-security prison where most of the worst criminals were being kept. It was the “Alcatraz of Colombia”.
During those years, hundreds of prisoners were kept in a jail that is nowadays in ruins and being “eaten” by the jungle. The houses constructed for the guards and for the administrative workers, have been converted in to an extraordinary hotel.
The rooms are not luxurious but they are comfortable and spacious. However, what is really special about this hotel is its location.
There are only a couple of rooms and the few tourists who dare to come here, get to experience a very strange feeling of being in a former maximum-security prison that is nowadays a beach hotel in one of the most biodiverse places on earth.
Besides the many monkeys, snakes and insects you will see almost every day in the gardens of this hotel, you will be able to scuba dive in some of the best diving spots of the whole country. It is totally normal to spot sharks, eels, turtles and many other fish in one single immersion.
To make things even more special, during the months of July to October, the waters surrounding this remote island become a kindergarten for baby humpback whales.
These amazing creatures, travel all the way up from the south of Chile to give birth and raise their babies in the surroundings of this island.
Witnessing a mother whale teaching its baby how to jump and hit the water with its fluke and fins, is an unforgettable experience. And the best of all, is that in Gorgona you can see this happening from the hotel’s restaurant or from the beach.
Nowadays, Colombia has plenty of amazing travel destinations hosting great hotels and accommodation options. There is always a hotel for each type of traveller.
During the last decade and thanks to some great projects promoted by the local government, Colombia has seen a very big increase in the construction of new hotels.
While most of those new and renovated hotels are standard and ordinary, there a few hotels that offer tourists something really different from the others. Something that makes them unique and extraordinary.
From the hundreds of hotels I have personally visit during the last years in Colombia, the 3 most special ones are the Bethel Bio Luxury Hotel in the Tatacoa Desert, the Casa en el Aire in the surroundings of the town of Abejorral and the Gorgona Island Hotel.
If you want to experience something different, something that you might not find anywhere else, then you should consider including one of these hotels in your next Colombia Tour Package.