As my compact cab whipped around narrow street corners in La Candelaria, the historic district of Colombia that houses most backpackers, I wondered momentarily if I was already in the presence of a kidnapper. It was so dark and so quiet — this couldn’t possibly be the popular section that I was repeatedly told to stay in.
Musicology Hostel popped up on one of these dark streets and I let my shoulders relax when I finally spotted it’s little sign. I thanked my cab driver profusely, trying to make up for my unwarranted suspicion towards him.
In the morning, I’d see a much more inviting side to the steep hill that Musicology Hostel is perched on, and I’d also learn that the area is in fact, quite dangerous come nightfall.Musicology Hostel offered a reasonably comfortable and safe haven from the streets that I’d only explore between the hours of 9am and 5pm. Someone is almost always at the front desk to let you into the locked entrance, and lockers below the bunk beds provide security for your belongings.
The common areas are inviting with outdoor space for reading and socializing, equipped with plenty of hammocks for lounging about. The staff is friendly and helpful and they all speak English which is always useful (for English speakers, anyways.) However, the most welcoming member of the Musicology team is definitely Lola, the little black street dog that they’ve taken in. She patrols the courtyard with a tentatively wagging tail and she’s always happy to receive a little attention from visitors.
The best part of Musicology Hostel was that they offered free breakfast and Dinner, Monday-Saturday. Breakfast was modest and seemed more impressive to the French girls I met. (Personally, I like a little protein with my fruit.) But its free, so you really can’t complain! Dinner is similarly small but the curry chicken I had was delicious. Just keep in mind that if you like your meals American sized, you might want to grab a snack elsewhere before nightfall.
The comfort level of Musicology Hostel however, was not quite up to par — Sorry, Lola. Now, keep in mind this place was on the cheaper side. But one thing I just can’t live without is a hot shower and 2 out of 3 of the days I stayed there, only ice water spewed from the shower head. Also, the beds didn’t provide the best night’s sleep. The nights in Bogota are freezing and while I would have liked to wear my puffy winter coat for added warmth, I found it more useful as a pillow since the one they offered might as well have been a place mat. The big scruffy blankets on the beds are warm, but I fought the urge to pull them up over my freezing face because they clearly aren’t cleaned between visitors.
Musicology Hostel is a good bargain option. It cost me $10 USD a night in a 4-bed dorm and with the included meals, its a great deal. Just bring your own pillow and plenty of warm jammies!
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ***