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“fanciest cheap place we've stayed at”

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La Serrana Eco Farm and Hostel
Certificate of Excellence
Bogota, Colombia
Level Contributor
25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“fanciest cheap place we've stayed at”
Reviewed July 15, 2013

For the price this place is a steal! We were in a tent but we still got access to two kitchens, hot water, the incredible breakfast, the Tv and all common areas. Such a fantastic deal. The facilities were the fanciest type we've stayed at while traveling Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. I'm disappointed to see people are reviewing la serrana as if they were responsible for the magic mushrooms growing in Salento. From what Ive heard they just grow all over the valleys and in farms, they do not grow on the property and la serrana has nothing to do with the fact they grow in salento and people eat them. I don't think its fair to blame la serrana like I've seen in other reviews. And though some people seem "clichy" as other reviews have mentioned I still found the people super nice and friendly. The clichyness didn't bother me at all because I didn't feel like being engaged in conversation the whole time but relaxing in the peaceful environment.

Room Tip: Camping makes this place way cheap.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Megan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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442 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Arizona
Level Contributor
54 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed July 8, 2013

This was a tough review to write and I fluctuated between a 3 or a 4 star review. I chose La Serrana based on tripadvisor ratings. In retrospect, I think the mixed reviews you see on tripadvisor are probably about accurate for the experience. There was much I loved: Being outside of Salento itself (a must, in my opinion); location and views from the property are amazing; the food (loved the included breakfasts, dinners were very inexpensive with great fresh food, the staff there was so nice); the staff working the Serrana was very nice and helpful; and I reserved a private bedroom and bathroom in the main house and I think the price was very reasonable. Definitely a very safe place. I knew this was a hostel and so had different expectations that I do when I stay in hotels. Also, before I get to the not so great experiences I want to be fair: had any one of these issues been different my overall experience might have been much more positive. Nevertheless: in the private room/bathroom (#9) it was just more dingy than I had expected from the pictures. The room is tiny (no problem) but the super old blankets were SO old as to appear yukky. There was a mild old moist room smell until we had the window shutter opened for a while (see below about privacy). Also, while the private bathroom was clean, it had to me a bit of a dorm feel to it. We were not provided towels when we checked in, so had to come back later when we realized there were none in the room (no biggie, I know, but a little more organization at the front end could make a big difference--like asking us at check in how many towels we would like).
Also, when we arrived we needed to take a nap. Unfortunately, the hammocks are located JUST outside of the bedrooms, so people are sitting about 2 feet outside of the room, which is not a problem except: There is a serious gap at the bottom of the wooden shutters that prevents any privacy and it was like happy hour out there. The people sitting on the porch/hammocks sounded as if they were in the room with us--very disconcerting.
There is not wifi available in the dormitory "house" (which also includes the dining room). For that, you have to walk next door to the main building with the office. Again, no biggie, but a little inconvenient. In the little kitchen area for guests to use in the main building, the sink was dirty and microwave was REALLY dirty. I didn't even want to put a mug in there to make tea.
Now this next complaint I cannot say is the fault of La Serrana itself, EXCEPT it is a complaint you see from several other reviewers on tripadvisor. While I do not stay in hostels too often any more at this point in life, one excepts a nice social environment to be present and a chance to meet fellow travelers. That was NOT our experience--at ALL. When we arrived in a Willie's jeep there were people milling about. It was as if we were not there. Guests did not say hello or even make eye contact with a "hello" nod. The vibe wasn't hostile--it was more like ships passing in the night. There were several groups of travelers there and we found this to be the case with everyone.
Most of the visitors were American (and in their 20's) and I don't think there were any guests who weree Colombians or from South or Central America. I had noticed when I investigated this hostel that their website appears to be ONLY in English, so I guess this is who they are marketing to. Very unfortunate. My fellow Americans were NOT friendly which was such a contrast to the people of Colombia itself. Plus, it was disappointing to travel to South America only to end up with so many other Americans there. Overall, I suspect for travelers staying only in hostels this facility is probably above average. If I had to do it again, I might chose to stay in their other house on the property down the driveway that appears to be more private and nicer based on the reviews I have read here. Would I return to Salento? DEFINITELY. Would I stay again at La Serrana? Possibly.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank ArizonaDoglover_50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Villavicencio, Colombia
Level Contributor
127 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 2013

We stayed here for 4 nights. We stayed in Las Camilias just a 5 minute walk from the main house. There are only 3 rooms in this house but the views are incredible and its nice and quiet here. In room 2 the only issue is that your private bathroom is not only outside your room but you have to go outside the house to get to it. A little inconvenient but not a deal breaker. Room 1 has an in room private bath and is right next to the kitchen area. Room 3 is the biggest room but you have to go outside to get into the house and living room and kitchen. The living area is nice and comfy with a fireplace and lots of sofas to relax on. The Wi-FI worked fine for us but we had no communication with the main house since the two-way radio was not working. We didnt need anything but it would be nice to be able to call if needed. There is a family living behind the Las Camilias house which take care of the grounds and cleaning the rooms. They were very friendly and helpful. We never heard any noises or had any negative issues with them or the two great small dogs they had. My cousin stayed in a private room at the main La Serrana house and had no issues other than having to share a bathroom with other guests and tent campers, which made for some long waits. We had the free breakfast every morning plus opted to buy french toast and smoothies, which were all great. We did have one issue with one of their dogs at the main house going after my 6 year old for no reason. He didn't hurt him but my son was startled. The main house seemed very nice with lots of visitors. They also seem to have lots of people that have been here a while working on different projects or volunteering at the hostel. I would highly recommend the Las Camilias house for a stay in Salento. The rooms were clean and comfortable and the bathroom and kitchen area were very well maintained. They have TV in the rooms and a radio and books in the living room area.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DaytonaMike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
36 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed June 21, 2013

This place was amazing! There are so many good things, I don't know where to start.
First, the staff was very helpful. This hostel had more staff than I've ever seen at any hostel. This lead to it being incredibly clean at all times. In addition the breakfasts were delicious. The included breakfast was good, and for a very fair price you could add generous helpings of pancakes, granola, smoothies etc. They also offer dinner for a very reasonable price, and it was amazing both nights we had it. If you are headed there, I strongly encourage you to get the meals there.

In addition to helpful staff and great food, the location was amazing. It was absolutely stunning. It was peaceful, beautiful and safe. There is a dirt road that leads to the hostel, and I walked it at all times of the day and as late as mid-night. It is well lit, and it is totally safe. I never felt unsafe in Salento. The road continues down to a pretty river in the valley and it leads to many coffee farms that offer tours. I want on the Sacha Mama coffee farm tour, and I loved it. It is only offered in Spanish, and it is a tiny organic farm, but it was really fun and the family who owns the farm is enduring and so, so kind!

Last, about the facility, it was great! While the beds were a bit hard (per-usual for Colombian travel), this place had a lot of people, but it never felt crowded. There are nice social areas that allow for some folks to watch a movie, others to be on-line, others to be playing a game of cards, others to be lounging in hammocks and still more are drinking and looking at the stars...all at the same time without disturbing each other.

My only complaint is that I didn't have more time to go. I would have loved another week there, and I totally understand why some people were staying for one to two weeks. I only had four nights. If you like hiking, silent mountain spaces and beautiful views (oh, and great cooking) then this is the hostel for you!

Room Tip: The dorms are all nice, and they aren't over crowded like in some hostels. If you are a couple...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Goal60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Serrana S, Owner at La Serrana Eco Farm and Hostel, responded to this review, July 1, 2013
Thank you very much for the great review! We try very hard to do all of the things that you have discussed right so it's great to hear that it is appreciated. We hope to see you back some day soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
129 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed May 24, 2013

This was one of the harder ratings I have had to give on this site for a few reasons so I will list the good and bad in here.

On the plus side the views from here are amazing and whilst I'm not sure the hostel can take credit for the natural beauty the hostel being on the hills that it is do give a great view of the surrounding area. It also can make it very quiet at night and therefore rather peaceful.

On arrival the owner, Jonathan, did give us a lift to the room as it was about 200m away which was nice and called to say we would have dinner which was helpful and we were grateful for. Also the volunteer staff are very friendly and helpful.

The option of eating dinner here is a good as you are a little way out of town, although it is walkable and you can do it at night. However, the food served is very nice and there is a great deal of it so it is very good value. Plus it is all locally sourced and it was the first time in ages I have had decent vegetables so that alone was a novelty! Plus it is served at the same time (7pm) each night and everyone sits together in the dining room so it is a communal event and a good time to meet others and swap stories. I was on my own one night as my boyfriend was ill but was made very welcome and it was lovely to feel I could still eat with the group.

Breakfast is two eggs (fried of scrambled) or fruit salad plus paid options if you want them, I'd recommend the granola and the pancakes (although the dog also ended up with breakfast because there were so many of them)!

The communal areas are always busy and not very relaxing and the wifi is intermittent. They would benefit from a few more hammocks!

We stayed in the smaller house which is about a 7 minute walk away from the main house and is very nice but there were a few issues. Firstly you can contact the main house by radio but no one showed us how to use it on arrival so we only found out on the second day when I asked. Also they told me to use channel 3 on the radio and then it went missing for a day (apparently it was broken but no one told us), then when it was returned they didn't bother to put a sign up saying it had changed to channel 1 so I spent 10 minutes trying to call someone unsuccessfully! They then wrote the channel number on the sign next to the radio when I suggested they did!

Our room was the suite which has a fire but no way of lighting it, when I asked how to light it, I was given a lighter and nothing but massive blocks of wood, when I asked how to light I was told that they didn't know but ask the family who lived out the back of the house! Not very helpful!

The family were also very loud and when we booked we were not told that they lived there. One night they partied very loudly until 4am which was annoying when we had come there for peace and relaxation!

Our bathroom was dirty when we arrived and I cleaned it as best I could but complained. One the first day our room wasn't cleaned and when I complained I was told that the maid didn't like to go in the room if someone was there (poor excuse). I explained that we had been out for four hours and when we were there she could have just knocked and we would have left the room for her to clean. On the second day I went horse riding for three hours and returned to find our bed not made but the bathroom cleaned but no cleaned towels. When I compained, Carol came to look with me but my boyfriend had made the bed. The excuse this time was that the maid didn't want to touch the bed because our sleeping bags were on top - even more ridiculous an excuse - move them and then put them back! The room even after cleaning was not very clean and I was upset by this. When I requested clean towels to have a shower I was told they would come in 10 minutes but after 30 minutes I called and was told to get them myself from the washing in the familys house out the back!!! Also because of the radio issue I had been back and forth to the main house about 8-10 times a day to get assistance which was not relaxing!

When I complained and asked for a discount on check-out I was offered 10,000 pesos - 3 GBP - which was absolutely disgusting! We had paid to stay in their top suite and they happily took the money but offered terrible service and excuses! We also hadn't been told that they didn't take cards - strange when the prices are quite high - and therefore we ran around with one of the volunteers, who was wonderful, trying to get cash in town to pay and ended up using a cambio to change some dollars we had!

All in all I was terribly disappointed with our stay which was supposed to be relaxing and fun but ended up a very expensive and annoying few days!

Room Tip: Don't book the suite - it's not worth the money!
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Beau2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Serrana S, Owner at La Serrana Eco Farm and Hostel, responded to this review, July 1, 2013
We are sorry that you did not have a good experience with us. Although it was a very low score, it seems as if you did appreciate many good things about La Serrana like the view, setting and food. Since your review we got new internet service with a better provider and faster service. It seems like there was a miscommunication with our staff regarding your room and we do apologize for that.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Marta, Colombia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 21, 2013

I absolutely loved this hostel. The views were incredible, the vibe was laid back and the rooms and common areas were quaint, unique, comfortable and clean. Don't let the distance from town deter you -- the walk to town is very nice and there's not a whole lot going on in the town of Salento that you're missing out on anyway. The staff in the reception are accommodating and very helpful. I tell everyone I hear is going to Salento about this place. I can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Carla M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Serrana S, Owner at La Serrana Eco Farm and Hostel, responded to this review, July 1, 2013
Thanks for the great review! We hope to see you back soon...
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
103 reviews
90 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed May 15, 2013

Okay, i cant really claim that as ive not been to EVERY hostel...but its the best ive stayed in so far. Really chilled vibe, lots of places to relax. Great people to socialise with. Amazing views of the valley. Decent guest kitchen. Good wifi. TV room. Option to volunteer there for free accomodation. Helpful informative staff.

Its a 10min walk out of town, so bring food with you from town. They offer set meals every week night, but you have to tell them by 4pm if you want included.....we arrived at 5pm and had to order take away from town.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank thecuriouswolf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Serrana S, Owner at La Serrana Eco Farm and Hostel, responded to this review, July 1, 2013
Even if you have not been to every hostel in South America it is good to know that we are your favorite! We hope to see you back and wish that you will join us for dinner.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Serrana Eco Farm and Hostel

Property: La Serrana Eco Farm and Hostel
Address: Via Palestina KM 1.5 Finca La Serrana, Salento, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Quindio Department > Salento
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 65 Specialty Lodging in Salento
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 12
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Also Known As:
La Serrana Eco Farm Hotel Salento

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