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Hostal los Juanes

Hostal los Juanes
Kilometro 7, Via el Eden, Armenia, Quindio
(036) 731.9740 (landline), 311.287.8271 311.314.6288 (cell)
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hostallosjuanes.com

Overview: Hostal los Juanes is a delightful resort on the southern outskirts of Armenia where you can enjoy all of the activities that Colombia's famed Coffee Zone or "Zona Cafetera" has to offer. It can accommodate different-sized groups of travelers and lives by the motto: "your home away from home." It offers amenities like a swimming pool, bar area, and soccer field, and sits on 3,200 square meters of grassy terrain with well-manicured gardens and plants. The elegant house also features a fine kitchen, common areas, and a TV lounge.

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Neighborhood: The hostel is located 8km to the south of the city center of Armenia along the Via El Eden which heads south to Cali. It's nestled amongst sprawling banana plantations in an area with plenty of restaurants, hotels, and a small shop nearby. Although you're outside of downtown Armenia, you are very close by either bus or taxi if you want to head into town and do some sightseeing. 

It's a great stopping point if you are flying into or out of AXM, or heading by bus north to Medellin or south to Cali. Just half a kilometer north of the hostel you will find an amazing restaurant for "carne a la llanera", or beef typical of Colombia's eastern plains region. It's called Restaurante El Llanero Cuyabro, and serves up heaping portions of delicious beef and pork with potatoes, yuca, and fried bananas, all at a very reasonable price.

Just 3km south, in the "rotonda de campestre", you'll find a nice, upscale commercial area, with several nice restaurants and a well-stocked premium supermarket. 

How to Get There: As with most destinations in Colombia, your best options for transportation are plane and bus.

If you're arriving by plane, a great feature of Hostal los Juanes is its location 6km north of El Eden International Airport (AXM). It is under a 10 minute taxi ride, and costs around $15.000. El Eden is serviced by Spirit (American low cost carrier), Avianca, and Air Panama, which offers routes to Panama City. Spirit Air offers twice weekly flights (Tuesdays and Fridays) to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Florida. Additionally, if you're looking to save money, you can take the red bus, which is located right outside the airport to the left. This will bring you to the hostel in about 10 minutes.

If you are are arriving at la Terminal de Transporte (bus station) in Armenia, it is about 8km to the south. It's about a 15 minute taxi ride, and should cost around $15.000. There is also the option of taking the bus: the bus says "La Tebaida"; it costs $2.000 and will take around 20 to 25 minutes. Alternatively, if you want to head from the hostel to la Terminal by bus, you can take the same bus back towards downtown Armenia.

Additionally, the owner offers a free shuttle service from the airport or the bus terminal for stays of 2 nights or more, which is a great deal.

If you are heading from the hostel to downtown Armenia, look for the new mini-terminal called "El Mirador", a lookout point on the righthand side as you're heading north. When you get in the white, pink, and green bus, ask the driver for a ticket for $2.300 which gives you access to any other bus in the city. At "El Mirador" you can switch buses and continue heading north to downtown. Alternatively, almost all buses at the Terminal also head to downtown Armenia and Calarca. 

Basically there are three main highways that pass through the city, heading towards Cali to the south, Pereira to the north, and Bogota to the east.

Management/Staff:  The hostel is owned and run by the Parra family, who have had the hostel for five years. They and the staff are keen on making your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

Rooms: There is space for 25 people, in 8 rooms, and they are currently building a ninth suite with a balcony and bathtub.

Shared Rooms: There are two dorms, with four beds each.

Private Rooms: There are a total of seven private rooms. For one person, they range in price from $50.000 to $100.000, while for two people, they range in price from $80.000 to $160.000.

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Amenities: 

Breakfast: A light breakfast (coffee/chocolate, eggs, arepa) is included in the price for all guests, from 7am to 9am.

Kitchen: Guests are welcome to use the kitchen.

Restaurant: The hostel offers both lunch and dinner to guests. These must be ordered ahead of time. Lunch must be ordered at breakfast time, and dinner must be ordered at lunchtime. Each of these meals costs $10.000, or you can also order special dishes such as fish or beef, with anticipation.

Bar: Beer is available for purchase from the refrigerator or in "La Fonda de Don Sebastian", the bar area located next to the pool.

Terrace/Patio: There is a central patio area in the hotel with tables and chairs. There is also another patio area aroudn the pool, as well as hammocks.

TV Lounge: Yes

Computers: No

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

Lockers: There are no lockers, but every room locks with its own key. The owner is in the process of putting locks in the room drawers.

Bicycles: No

Credit Cards: Yes

Luggage Storage: No

Laundry Service: Yes. $10.000 for washing, and $10.000 for drying, in a bag of a size provided by the hostel.

Check-in Time: 2:00pm

Check-out Time: 12:00pm

The real highlight of this beautiful hostel is the pool/bar area, and the soccer field for "cancha 5" or half-court soccer. There is also a pool table and a basketball hoop. This is a great place to come in groups and enjoy some rest and relaxation on your way into or out of the Coffee Zone.

While you're staying at Hostal los Juanes, take time to check out the Jardin Botanico/Mariposaria (botanical garden and butterfly museum) in Calarca, about 20 minutes away by car or bus.

Or head to Recuca, an authentic coffee farm where you actually live the coffee experience. You'll have the opportunity to dress up as a coffee farmer, and you go out and harvest and grind the coffee beans. It is also about 20 minutes away. Additionally, make sure you get to sample "bitute". It's a Colombian food typical of Quindio, which is something akin to the "cuyabra" version of a "bandeja paisa".

Another popular attraction is the Museo de Oro de Quimbaya, which is a free. It is located to the north of Armenia, and features an impressive collection of objects fabricated by the Quimbaya, the original indigenous inhabitants of the mid-Cauca region where Quindio is located.

And finally, you won't want to miss the Parque del Cafe, a Coffee Zone-themed amusement park, which is also located 20 minutes away.

The main area of interest in Armenia is la 14 (14th Avenue), and Avenida Bolivar to the north. Heading further to the northern outskirts of the city you'll find the city's major entertainment zone, lined with posh, expensive bars and nightclubs. Be forewarned that taxis to this area are expensive: routinely $10.000 from downtown and $20.000 to get back.

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Conclusion: With great rooms, a great staff, and great facillities, Hostal los Juanes has everything you need to maximize your time in the Coffee Zone. It's conveniently located close to the Armenia Airport, the bus terminal, and downtown, and you can't beat the free shuttle offer. If you want to be in a great location in Armenia, make Hostal los Juanes your destination!

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