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Cranky Croc

Cranky Croc
Calle 12D #3-46, La Candelaria, Bogota
314.427.5299
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crankycroc.com

Overview: Bogota's Cranky Croc hostel is definitely at the top of the pack in Colombia. In a city with dozens of hostels to choose from this hostel stands out with its friendly and knowledgeable staff, superb location just two blocks from the Museo de Oro Transmilenio stop, and a wide variety of clean and comfortable rooms. One of the largest hostels in Bogota, it's always a popular stop with backpackers. 

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Neighborhood: The Candelaria is where all the action is in Bogota. You're just steps from the best museums, cultural attractions, universities, as well as the heart of the Colombian government and economy. It's also a major entertainment zone, with numerous bars, pubs, and discotecas catering to tourists, backpackers, and college students.

The heart of downtown Bogota is Avenida Jimenez, which runs east/west through the city, and la Septima, which is the major thoroughfare not only for the city of Bogota, but for the entire country of Colombia. National protests typically begin here, and end in la Plaza de Bolivar, where you'll find the Colombian Congress and Supreme Court. Just a block south, you'll find la Casa de Narino, the residence of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

And last but not least, you're just steps from the bohemian Chorro de Quevedo. Walking around the cobble-stoned streets and quaint architecture, you'll feel as though you've stepped back in time.

How to Get There: The Cranky Croc is right where you want to be in Bogota. It's just a 20 minute taxi ride (without traffic) from El Dorado Airport, and about the same distance by taxi from la Terminal, the city's main bus terminal. Or, you can even catch a bus for just $1.600 to both places as well, a few blocks north on 19th Street. It's a great option if you want to save a little money.

Management: Australian owner Andy has had this spot up and running for five years. What makes Cranky Croc a great place is the great staff and the fabulous common areas. Someone is always on hand to help you, if not Andy (the Australian founder), himself, and the staff is enthusiastic about tourism in Colombia, and most speak English.

Rooms: The Cranky Croc has space to accommodate about sixty guests, with numerous private rooms as well. Prices are comparable to most hostels in the area.

Shared Rooms: Dorm beds range in price from $23.000 to $25.000.

Private Rooms: Private rooms ranging from $50.000 to $80.000.

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Amenities: Make sure to swing by the restaurant for breakfast where Nelson serves up extremely tasty pancakes, french toast, and omelettes. But the best part of all may be Cranky Croc's weekly barbecue. On Saturday night at 7:30pm don't miss the delicious dinner served up over an open-flame grill. For just $14.000 you can enjoy a spectacular meal of a sirloin steak, chorizo (type of Colombian sausage), chicken, potatoes, bread, and salad. There's also a vegetarian option as well for just $8.000.

You can count on the Cranky for a fun, but not overwhelming, social atmosphere. It's a great place to meet new friends and fellow travelers, and they sell Colombian beer at reasonable prices in the reception.

The Cranky has a fabulous TV lounge with comfortable couches where you can choose from hundreds of movies to watch. The guest kitchen is spacious and pleasant, although I do typically find that there aren't enough dishes.

There's always free coffee on hand, and if you're running out of clean clothes, just talk to Miriam in the laundry service, and she'll have your clothes washed, dried, and folded in no time!

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Conclusion: If you're planning on a stay at the Cranky, make sure to call ahead for a reservation, as even during low season, it seems to be completely booked more and more often. All in all, you can't find a better spot in Bogota. It's a perfect place to kick off your Colombia journey. Spend a long weekend here before heading off by bus or plane to Medellin, Cali, or the treasures of the Caribbean Coast: Cartagena and Santa Marta!

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