When traveling solo, so much of your experience depends on who you meet and where you stay. For me, the two go hand in hand and are two major factors that will determine the success of your trip.
I recently returned from a weeklong solo trip in Colombia, and absolutely fell in love with the city of Medellín. I had the time of my life, met so many awesome people and became seriously obsessed with solo travel. You may have already guessed from the post title, but I owe so much of my memorable experience in Medellín to my stay at the Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel and the people I met there.
Pretty much any young traveler, solo tripper or backpacker who’s passed through Medellín already knows the name: Happy Buddha. It’s without a doubt the most popular hostel in the city and with good reason. Simply put, The Happy Buddha is the place to be. Even if you’re not staying there, you better believe you’ll be there at some point. There’s always something going on at the Buddha and its “Tree Bar,” constantly filled with foreigners from around the world, is an awesome place to start your night. Sure you can visit even if you’re not a guest, but why not stay right in the center of it all?
Not enough reason to book your stay?
Here are 7 other AWESOME reasons to stay at the Happy Buddha in Medellín.
1. A Lucrative Location
The Happy Buddha is located smack in the middle of Medellín’s trendiest neighborhood, El Poblado. The hostel is short walking distance from luxurious creature comforts like swanky restaurants, chic boutiques, cafés, yoga studios, juiceries and well, you get the picture. It’s also steps away from Medellín’s popular nightlife hub Zona Rosas, in the area surrounding Parque Lleras. The El Poblado neighborhood is home to the young, beautiful and fashionable and with an apparent police presence it’s also one of the city’s safest spots to wander.
2. The Suite Life
I’ve stayed in plenty of private rooms at many different hostels before, but Happy Buddha’s two person suites blow all the rest out of the water. The private rooms at Happy Buddha are fit for a king (or queen) and are equipped with mini fridge, safe lock box, flat screen TV, spacious heavenly showers, fresh towels and complimentary soap and shampoo. My jaw literally dropped when I opened the door to my room. Two minutes rolling around in my luxurious fluffy white bed and I completely forgot I was staying in a hostel.
For an inside look at a Happy Buddha suite (& to watch me make an ass of myself) watch this video:
*Note to save face: After sleeping on many couches and staying in smelly 10 person mixed dorms, this room was pretty exciting ….
3. “There’s so much room for activities!”
At the Happy Buddha it’s damn near impossible to be bored. There is always something to do. They advertise all of their specials, activities, events and tours at the front desk and their helpful staff is full of information. With exclusive discounts and bookings on an endless number of tours and classes including salsa lessons, paragliding, paintballing and other day tours, they’re sure to have an activity to fit every traveler’s taste.
The Happy Buddha has also partnered up with Poblado Pub Department to offer awesome nightly events. The Tree Bar at the Happy Buddha is always full and with kickass events like Messy Mondays, “Shots & Salsa,” and Ladies Night, you don’t even have to leave the hostel to get your drink on.
Happy Buddha’s Weekly Activities:
- Messy Mondays: Shot Power Hour from 9-10PM
- Tuesday: Free Salsa Lessons from 7-9PM with complementary shots for students
- Wednesday: Pub Crawl with 5 bars, 5 shots and free beer for games. Check in is at 8:30PM at the Happy Buddha
- Thursday: Ladies Night with live DJ and open bar for girls from 8-10PM
- Deep Fridays: 2×1 Moscow Mules from 9-12PM
4. At the Happy Buddha you can drink for good
The above-mentioned Messy Monday event is jointly run by the Happy Buddha and Poblado Pub Department every Monday at the Tree Bar. The 60-minute Power Hour allows guests (and visitors) of the hostel to effortlessly give back to the local community. All profits are put towards a good cause, whether benefiting different local organizations and charities or going directly to local families in need. Yeah, you read right, “doing good” at the Happy Buddha is as easy as throwing back some shots.
5. Join the Poblado Party Animals
While we’re on the subject of Poblado partying, let me quickly talk about the Happy Buddha’s Wednesday Night Bar Crawl. Also run by the crazy crew over at PPD, the Buddha Bar Crawl is kind of a big deal. It’s the biggest and longest running crawl in all of Medellín, usually drawing in over 80 eager crawlers a night! For less than 10USD you can join the pack and visit five of Poblado’s hottest spots where you’ll be welcomed with free shots and exclusive discounts!
6. Adios Motherf*ckers
Pardon my French. And no, I’m not saying goodbye just yet. If you’re wondering why I’m bolding profanities, you’ve obviously never tried an “Adios Motherf*cker.” You can find a big ol’ jug of this potent bright green beverage atop the Happy Buddha bar and dangerous as it is, it’s sure to get your night started right. I was a bit repulsed by this drink at first, but at less than $3USD a pop, it quickly became my beverage of choice. (What can I say. I’m low on funds….) Suffer through a few sips and they tend to grow on you… go figure. I’m still not exactly sure what’s in these things (also not sure I want to know), but I definitely had some great nights fueled by these bright green beauties.
7. Despite it’s reputation, Happy Buddha is not all about the party
Yes, I know. I just extensively highlighted the party aspects of the Happy Buddha. But, the truth is that Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel is so much more than your typical party hostel.
I have to admit I had really low expectations when it came to sleep and cleanliness for my stay at the Happy Buddha. I don’t usually expect too much from any hostel with such a crazy “party reputation.” But, The Happy Buddha is not your average party hostel. It was impeccably clean (actually one of the cleanest hostels I’ve ever stayed in) and the rooms were spacious and comfortable. The bar is a separate entity from the rest of the hostel and was separated from rooms by a divider and a door that only guests are allowed to enter.
Most importantly, there is a security team during the night to keep order and the bar closes at 2AM. After two, everyone was asked to leave the bar and no one was allowed to remain in the common areas. They took this very seriously. Needless to say, I was very surprised. I thought the balance was awesome. Sure the Happy Buddha was a really fun place to stay, meet people and a provided a great start to your night, but it’s also good place to rest and get some real shut-eye!
Information about The Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel
- Location: Carrera 35 # 7-108, Poblado Provenza, Medellín, Colombia
- Rooms: Available rooms include hotel quality privates and spacious shared dorm rooms.
- For more photos and information on Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel check out their Facebook page.
- You can book your stay at Happy Buddha here.
Welcome to my AWESOME Accommodation Series, where I feature exceptional accommodation from my travels around the world. In this series I’ll highlight unique and memorable lodging that made a significant difference in my travels! As a traveler on a pretty tight budget, I’m a big fan of youth hostels and alternative accommodation like AirBnB! Click here to see where else I’ve stayed!
What do you look for in a hotel or hostel? Would you like to stay at the Happy Buddha?
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Disclaimer: I received a free stay at Happy Buddha Boutique Hostel for purposes of this post. Still, as always, all opinions expressed are my own. I would only recommend something that I genuinely felt would benefit my readers.
This post contains affiliate links.
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This week I’m highlighting The NEON District in Norfolk, VA & Thoughts on Creative Placemaking by Setarra! This post was so interesting to read and really opened my eyes to the wonders (& dangers) of Creative Placemaking. Her colorful pictures and insight into this concept are so inspiring! If you haven’t already, be sure to go check out her post and spread the love! Thanks for linking up with us Setarra!
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