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Parklife Hostel


ParkLife Hostel

Parklife Hostel
Calle 5 #6-19, Centro, Popayan, Cauca
+57 300.249.6240 (whatsapp/celular)
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Overview: Parklife Hostel is a particularly attractive option because of its location. It is right on Parque Caldas, Popayan's main plaza, and, in fact, shares a wall with the city's cathedral. It's a medium sized hostel with a mix of private and shared accommodation, a great staff, and proximity to the cultural and historic attractions in Popayan. All in all, it is a great homebase as you explore Popayan and the department of Cauca.


Neighborhood: With its location on Parque Caldas, you are just a few minutes walk away from most of the main attractions in the city. Popayan has always thrived on its reputation as a historical, cultural, and architectural wonder. Museums such as the Museo de Arte Moderno, the Museo Guillermo Leon Valencia (in honor of the ex-Colombian president) and the Museo Guillermo Valencia (in honor of his father, the renowned statesman, poet, and diplomat), the Museo de Arte Religioso, and the Museo de Historia Natural should be at the top of your list. You'll also want to stroll across the charming Humilladero Bridge, which was built 

Popayan has been such a success that UNESCO has declared it a city of both gastronomic and cultural heritage. It's a delightfully romantic city, where the main attractions are in the streets of the city itself. Indeed, Popayan, despite the tragic earthquake in 1983 that destroyed much of the city, is widely regarded as the second best preserved city in the country, second only to Cartagena. Plus, it's strong university population makes it a hotbed for artistic groups, music, yoga, local craftsmanship, and entertainment. 

This is evident in the "rincon payanes" and the "pueblito patojo", when the city recreates its spectacular architecture in miniature. The first Friday of every month there are story-telling events, which keep alive the traditions of Cauca and its rich history.

Many restaurants offer live music, while the Universidad de Cauca, with its various campuses throughout the city, is a major cultural force: recitals and concerts are frequently held in the nearby Paraninfo Francisco Jose de Caldas.

How to Get There: Popayan is best accessible by either bus or plane. If you are arriving by plane at Guillermo Leon Valencia Airport, you are flying right into downtown Popayan. It's just 1.7km north of the hostel. Bear in mind that Popayan's airport is small and has rather infrequent flights. Avianca and EasyFly both offer flights to Bogota, and charter airline Transporte Aereo de Colombia offers flights to the tiny coastal town of Guapi.

You are likely better off flying into Cali, just three hours to the north, which offers dozens of weekly national and international flights.

If you are arriving by bus (either heading north from Pasto or south from Cali), Parklife Hostel is just a 5 minute $5.000 COP taxi ride from the bus terminal. Major destinations accessible from the Popayan bus terminal include Pasto (6 hours), Ipiales (8 hours), Cali (3 hours), Medellin (13 hours), and Bogota (14 hours).

Management/Staff:  Parklife Hostel was founded in 2011 and has been run since then by Carlos, with the help of Mar and Cristian. The staff is a wealth of information about tourist activities, both in Popayan, and Cauca.

Rooms: The hostel has a capacity for 30 guests, in both private and shared accommodations

Shared Rooms: There are 3 dormitories, with space for 18 people: there are 8 bed, 6 bed, and 4 bed dormitories. The 8 and 6 bed dorms have their own private bathrooms. The 4 bed dorm is $27.000, and the 6 and 4 beds cost $25.000.

Private Rooms: There are six private rooms. One has a private bathroom, and the others are shared. For one person they range in price from $45.000 to $57.000. For two the prices range from $55.000 to $70.000



Breakfast: No. But there is free coffee all the time.

Kitchen: There is a kitchen available for guest use. It is open from 7am until 10:30pm. The nearest supermarket is Exito, two blocks to the south, and one block to the east, less than a five minute walk away.

Restaurant: No, but there are many restaurants close by.

Bar: There is no bar, but beer is available for purchase: Club Colombia costs $3.000, and Poker, Costena, and Aguila cost $2.500.

Terrace/Patio: There is a terrace on the third floor, that also doubles as a TV lounge.

TV Lounge: Yes

Computers: Yes. There is a computer for guest use in the reception.

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

Lockers: There are lockers in most of the dormitories (of various sizes), and additional locker service outside of the rooms. Guests must bring their own locks.

Bicycles: No

Credit Cards: No

Luggage Storage: Yes. This is a free service.

Check-in Time: Flexible, depending upon availability.

Check-out Time: 12pm

Restaurants: It is no surprise that UNESCO has designated Popayan a city of gastronomic heritage with the abundance of restaurants in the city

La Cosecha is a romantic spot, with a great menu variety with entrees from $16.000 up to $50.000.

El Italiano serves up some of the best Italian food you'll find anywhere.

Escuela Taller features fusion gastronomy: Colombian food with French influences.

Carminia offers a mix of Colombian and Spanish food.

Los Quingos is reputed to offer the best empanadas de pipian in the city. They are a local specialty made of cornflour, potatoes, peanuts, and local spices, accompanied by a sweet peanut sauce.

Cauca is a region where corn, potatoe, and peanut play large roles, as well as the "guanabana" and "mora" from the Pacific Coast. Make sure to try a salpicon de baudilia, which features mora (blackberry), naranja (orange), and guanabana (soursop). And make sure to try caratanta con hogao: Cauca's own version of fried corn chips with a tomato and onion sauce.

Tourism in the City:  September is the month of Popayan's famed Gastronomic Festival: Huila and Belgium were the invited guests last year.

In October the city sponsors a short film festival. The whole city lends its white walls to project short films to the public.

In April or March (depending on the year) there is a festival of "patrimonio de la humanidad", where traditional indigenous religions, as well as Catholic traditions, are celebrated.

Tourism Outside the City: Cauca is an impressive department because of its geographical diversity, stretching from steamy Pacific coasts to towering Andean peaks.

On the Pacific Coast, you can head to Timbiqui (home of the famous marimba group "Herencia de Timbiqui), Guapi, or la Jagua. Tourist facilities are basic. If you look around, you can often find deals for only $250.000 to fly into Guapi. Alternatively, you can also take boats from Buenaventura. June and July are prime months to see the humpback whales. While once a bit of a dodgy area, this region of the Pacific now is not a dangerous zone for tourism.

In the other direction, headin east, you will find the spectacular Parque Nacional Natural Purace: You can take public transportation from Popayan's main bus terminal. In the park you'll find waterfalls, frailejones, osos de anteojos (spectacled bears), and of course, the spectacular Purace Volcano itself, which towers over the region at 4,650m. The park, which is under the authority of a local indigenous council, currently charges $10.000 to enter, and $35.000 for local guide serices. One recommended local guide is Wilson Ospina, who can be reached at 313.606.0027. If you're planning on hiking, be prepared for a long day. It's roughly 2 hours to get to the base of the volcano, and then around 5 to 6 hours up and down.

Large parts of Cauca are inhabited by indigenous groups. Among the most prominent are the Guambiano, Nasa, and Coconuco. 

An additional interesting offerings is a tour of the honey production region in the south of Cauca, centered around the municipality of la Sierra. Here you can see the "madrejea" or honey production. Parklife can help arrange these tours, where the "angelita" bee both produces honey, and helps to pollenize the coffee farms. 


Conclusion: Popayan's Parklife Hostel is a great option to make your home base as you explore all that Popayan and Cauca have to offer.

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