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Sunflower Hostel

Sunflower Hostel
Carrera 27 #3-07, San Fernando Viejo, Cali, Valle del Cauca
+57 300.644.5109 (whatsapp/celular), (032) 373.3770 (landline)
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sunflowerhostelcali.com

Overview: Sunflower Hostel, with its friendly owner and staff, and ideal location, is an excellent choice for tourists in Cali. The San Fernando Viejo neighborhood is the perfect spot to make your homebase while you explore the city. It is safe, centrally located, easily accessible by public transportation (the Manzana del Saber on Cali's public "El Mio" integrated bus system), and is just 2 blocks from the delightful Parque del Perro, where you will find some of the best dining and entertainment options in the city.

Its pleasant patio and common spaces are ideal for enjoying a cold beer and making new friends, while its proximity to a variety of salsa clubs, and offerings of free salsa and Spanish classes, make it a great spot to meet people.

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Neighborhood: The San Fernando Viejo neighborhood is nestled along the western edge of the city, where the majority of the city's most interesting offerings are found. The neighborhood is roughly bounded by Carreras 24 and 39, and Calle 5 to Calle 3 Oeste.

There are numerous wonderful dining options nearby. Just two blocks away, in the Parque del Perro, you'll find La Llanera del Parque, where you can sample ternera, traditional veal prepared in Colombian plains "llanera" style. El Corral offers hamburgers in a Colombian style; Jairo particularly recommends the Mexican burger with frijoles. The best pizzeria nearby is Jackie's Pizza, offering a good value thin crust pizza. Jairo's personal favorite is the figs and bacon, and Sunflower Hostel guests receive a 10% discount off of their purchase. Vegetarian lunch option Duurga Mision, serves up delightful healthy fare, and also offers yoga classes. For Italian fare, head to Colombian favorite Archie's, while Akita Ichiban is the best nearby Japanese dining option.

If you are looking for nightlife, and especially salsa dancing, head to Topa Tolondra on Calle 5, just a 15 minute walk away. El Rincon de Heber nightclub offers a relaxed environment, where you can always meet locals enjoying a beer in front on the street. La Tintindeo is one of Cali's most renowned discotecas, located on Calle 5 con Carrera 40.

The normal time for the free salsa class is on Tuesdays at 3pm, taught by Erica Montano, who also gives private classes. Free Spanish classes happen once a week as well: the normal time is 11am on Wednesdays.

How to Get There: Your transportation options for arriving at the hostel depend upon your budget and your time availability. If you are arriving at Cali's Alfonso Bonilla Aragon Airport (CLO), located northeast of the city, in between Cali and Palmira, you are 24km from the hostel. A taxi will cost around $55.000 COP, and take around 35 minutes.

A great option for saving a little money is to take a "colectivo," or small bus, from the airport to Cali's main bus terminal. This costs $6.500 COP and is just 30 minutes. From here you can either take a taxi directly to the hostel ($12.000 COP and around 15 minutes), or you can take Cali's El Mio integrated bus system, which you will take heading south towards the "Manzana del Saber" stop on El Mio. 

Manzana del Saber, is just two blocks away from the hostel. San Fernando Viejo is a very safe area, so it is fine to walk the two blocks from El Mio.

Management/Staff:  The hostel is run by calenos Jairo and Gloria Carvajal, who have a real passion for the history and architecture of the city, showing Colombian and foreign guests alike the delights of the San Fernando neighborhood, and more than anything the "cultural immersion experience."

Jairo, a musician with a passion for the marimba and the clarinet, hatched the idea for starting a hostel during backpacking trips through Europe and South America.

Rooms: Sunflower Hostel has space for 26 guests, in clean and comfortable dormitories and private rooms.

Shared Rooms: There are three dormitories in total: with four, five, and seven beds. The five and seven bed dorms go for $25.000, while the four bed goes for $28.000.

Private Rooms: There are four private rooms: two with private bathrooms, and two without. The rooms range in price from $70.000 to $90.000.

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Amenities: 

Breakfast: Yes, included in the price, from 7am to 10am.

Kitchen: There are two kitchens available for guest use. They are open until 11pm. Remember that the nearest supermarket is Carulla, two blocks to the south. Superinter is right next to Carulla.

Restaurant: Within a five minute of the hostel you will find at least a dozen restaurants, offering a wide variety of cuisine, but focused on Colombian, Brazilian, and Peruvian fare.

Bar: Beer is available for purchase for $3.000. There is also arrechon,and biche, traditional alcoholic beverages from the Colombian Pacific coast.

Terrace/Patio: There is a patio in front of the hostel, with umbrellas and tables.

TV Lounge: Yes

Computers: No

Wifi: Yes. Both in the common areas and bedrooms. 

Lockers: There are lockers in all of the dormitories.

Bicycles: Yes. $10.000 per day (8 hours). $7.000 (4 hours)

Credit Cards: Yes. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diner's Club

Luggage Storage: Yes.

Check-in Time: 2pm

Check-out Time: 11am

Jairo is a musician who offers guets the opportunity to experience Colombian Pacific music, typically called "musica folclorica" in Spanish. They even have the opportunity to try their hand at the marimba and percussion instruments on the premises.

This philosophy of cultural immersion is the key to Sunflower Hostel. For Jairo, one of the best offerings is the Cali salsa orchestras, which incorporate the cultural influences and rhythym of the currulao. Although the city's best orchestras are often touring, if they are in town, they can often be found at Delirio near Menga.

If you are planning on taking in the sights of Cali, Jairo recommends Zoologico de Cali (Colombia's largest zoo); the Museo de Arte Moderno, El Parque de los Gatos, los Tres Cruces, and a trip up the Miocable, a cable car that winds its way into the mountains surrounding Cali. 

If you are interested in ecotourism, Jairo recommends the Ecoparque de Pance, located one hour to the south. First take El Mio to the "Universidades" stop, and from there you can get on another bus that will take you to the park enterance. Another unforgettable experience is a "paseo ecologico" to the San Cipriano River, 2 hours to the west of Cali. It's the river that connects to the ocean by way of Buenaventura, and offers guests the opportunity to see tropical flora

At the nearby Plaza del Mercado Alameda, located at Calle 8 and Carrera 25, you can sample good seafood options from 6am until 5pm, as well as ceviches, sancochos de pescado, cazuela de marisco, and cholados (fruit and shaved ice concoctions).

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Conclusion: Staying at Sunflower Hostel in San Fernando Viejo is well worth the experience. It's nestled into the beautiful western hillside of Cali, and it is a welcome change from the usual hostel experience in San Antonio and Granada. Jairo and Gloria will make you feel right at home. Just call or email to make a reservation!

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