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“good vibe”
Review of Hostel Mamallena

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Hostel Mamallena
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 10, 2013

We stayed twice at this hostel with a month in between (they held our luggage which was great). Our initial impressions via email contact with Stuart the owner were very good, he replies quickly and with plenty of information.
We reserved a private double with shared bathroom. These rooms are at the back of the complex which is good from a noise perspective. The hostel rooms are either side of a busy courtyard and can be a little noisy but our room was at the very back of the hostel and was one of the few rooms that didn't have openings in the walls so it was not a problem to sleep, the slight downside was that the room could be quite warm as it didnt tend to get the afternoon breeze but it did have a nice powerful fan so we tended to sleep fine. The rooms are a little small and very basic but are reasonably priced for this town.
The first stay at the hostel was a little chaotic, the hostel was full as some big groups had arrived off the boats. This gave the hostel a good vibe but it did highlight the problem for the double rooms with shared bathroom - they share one bathroom which is minimal for the rooms itself but when all the others from the dorms use it as well the wait can be a long one. After our 16hr bus journey we had to wait a couple of hours for our shower. Considering the dorms have showers/bathrooms it would be good if they could limit the one bathroom to the double rooms only. Stuart wasn't here on this stay and the staff were a bit surlish.
The second stay was much quieter and had a low key vibe, Stuart was back and the staff seemed much better and more friendly.
A pancake breakfast is included, the hostel has a kitchen, 3 computers for use and wi-fi. Laundry was reasonably priced. There is a bar out the front of the hostel but otherwise people tended to relax with a few drinks in the courtyard which made for a good atmosphere without being too crazy.
The location is in gestamani which is just outside the old city proper a short walk away. The area is full of colourful old buildings and seems to be becoming the main area for hostels, bars and restaurants.
Mama llena has a lot of useful information on the boats through the San Blas islands and has information on which boats are leaving, prices and availability. I did feel that when asking for information from Stuart about the boats he was quite abrupt and short with his answers, I understand he doesn't want to give too much expectations for services he doesnt provide himself but if you are going to sell the boats people will have questions. We went with the Darien Gapster out of Capurgana and it was a great trip.
Overall a good choice especially if you want to meet people, fun atmosphere without being all night party

Room Tip: room 7 was quiet
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank teamflames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Casa762, Owner at Hostel Mamallena, responded to this reviewResponded May 29, 2013

I'm glad you enjoyed the stay, and came back twice! Sorry about the showers, but there are only 3 rooms, with a total of 5 people using that bathroom. Every other room, including all the dorms has their own bathroom. I understand the situation, but all the people that arrived from the boat had had 5 days with no showers, we try to accommodate everyone so no one feels left out. It would be very hard, and not so nice, for us to limit the access for certain bathrooms. I'm sorry you felt I was abrupt as well. I think we got along ok, and I know exactly what you're saying, and I think you know why. I have no problems answering your questions, but yours started to go beyond what most people normally ask, and beyond what I can possibly know. I don't know every single detail of every single boat that does the trip and I can't be expected to. I did say that you should look up the boats on line and look for reviews from past passengers and that they can give you more up to date and precise information than I could. It wasn't a problem to answer but I do have other guests in the hostel and other things to deal with so it's hard to spend an hour talking about a couple of boats. Sorry!! I'm glad you had a great time on the Darien Gapster though, it is a good trip.

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Reviewed April 24, 2013

Stayed at the Mamallena Caragena for 3 days in April 2013 - great location but more importantly fantastic service. I had forgotten my running shoes and shorts there and the staff there were amazing...couriered my stuff to my hostel in Cartagena (plus free of charge). Thanks guys.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Ryan G
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Casa762, Owner at Hostel Mamallena, responded to this reviewResponded May 3, 2013

Don't tell everyone, they'll all want the same!!!

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Reviewed March 25, 2013

We were deposited at Mamallena Cartagena after Captain Sebastian of the Corto II cut our time in the San Blas islands short (read more about our high seas hijinks at pasturebraised.com/san_blas_panama/).

Our original Cartagena plan was to spend three nights at Hotel Puertas de Cartagena for a little post-sailing R&R. But when Sebastian dropped six of us at the docks at 8am Sunday morning with nothing more than a suggestion to cab to Mamallena (we'd booked the trip through Mamallena Panama City) plans changed.

Mamallena Cartagena was a really pleasant surprise. It's a pretty small hostel with a festively grafted courtyard, and large, wonderfully dark and cool bar/restaurant (they're totally cool with you using it while not patronizing the bar).

We ended up juggling our reservation to stay at Mamallena both before and after a night at Hotel Puertas de Cartagena. It was too good a value to pass up.

Rooms are large and clean if not brimming with personality. The staff is polite—the owner, Stuart, is the most friendly of the crew.

The neighborhood has a great energized up-and-coming vibe. There are lots of cheap and cheerful jeugo and lunch options on the block, and be sure to have a roof-top drink around the corner at Malagana Cafe.

Room Tip: Rooms toward the front are nosier, but have far stronger wifi.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank PastureBraised
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Casa762, Owner at Hostel Mamallena, responded to this reviewResponded April 19, 2013

I apologise again for the bad trip on the boat, I really do think that was out of character for the captain. We do always try to be honest in our dealings with the boats and if this was a common problem then we would have told you. I am glad you made it to us to us at the hostel though! Sounds like it was a good enough pace to recover :) You´re right about the rooms, they do need that something extra to jazz them up, but they are perfectly servicable and I´m sure better than most hostels. If anyone has any suggestions le us know.

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Reviewed March 16, 2013

This great hostel provides comfortable beds and spacious private rooms, but if you need a place to rest in silence then don't come here. It's located in the perfect location for drinking and late night snacks (just outside there are three bars, a taco place, pizza joint and a small stall for empinadas)

They also have a pet dog and cat who can keep you company as you recover from the night before.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Mark N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Casa762, Owner at Hostel Mamallena, responded to this reviewResponded April 19, 2013

We actually like to think we´re in the middle, a fun place but not too noisy nor too much of a party, That said, it does all depend on the people that are here at the time, and our courtyard is close to the rooms. We do try to control the noise but on weekends most people want a party and we do try to accomdate everyone. I am glad you enjoyed the stay though.

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Reviewed March 13, 2013

This is a decent hostel with a good vibe. Staff on the front desk are nice enough but certainly don't go out of their way to help you like at Marmallena Panama. We paid $55000 per night for a private room with shared bathroom. Shared bathroom was ok but probably not cleaned as consistently throughout the day for the number of people using it. If you are looking for a private room consider the shared bathroom rooms as they are closer to the back of the hostel and further from the bar and noise. Still pack your earplugs though because quiet time starts at 1am and even after, the noise from the bar and the slamming bathroom door are quite loud. Not unbearable though. The kitchen was well-equipped but it didn't have a culture of cleaning up so we often had to wash up before we could use anything and like many hostel kitchens, it isn't made for a lot of people. The location was great. Close to everything and we always felt safe walking everywhere.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank kieranspt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Casa762, Owner at Hostel Mamallena, responded to this reviewResponded April 19, 2013

We do try with the staff, honest!! And they are usually pretty friendly as you said, one thing here is that they have more work to do meeting certain government requirements, which means that they don´t always have the time to dovote themselves to the customers as in Panama. That said, we´re in Latin America and it´s very hard to find people like back home! It can get slightly noisy here, but we do try to control it later at night, so poeple can have a combination of sleep and a party. That always depends on the people that are here as well though. The kitchen is a problem, it is small but it´s also all we had to work with. We´ve done the best we with what we had and I think it comes out OK. We try to get people to clean up but it doesn´t always work. The staff in our restaurant are now in charge of cleaning it so it should be better now. Glad you enjoyed yourself in general though.

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Reviewed March 11, 2013

I stayed in Cartagena for about a week in 3 different hostels in all and Mamallena was by far my favorite!! It is very resonably priced and each dorm room has an attached bathroom in the room which is a nice bonus. There´s a great courtyard inside that´s nice to hang out in and stong wifi (a big plus in my book!) What really stands out about the place however is the owner. My friend and I had reservations to stay here after a trip out to Parque Nacional Tayrona. Something went wrong with our reservations and we ended up booking a private double instead of two dorm beds. Rather than charging us the room we had accidentally booked the owner came moved us to two free dorm beds AND gave us a discount for the downpayment we had already made on the more expensive room. I was literally blown away, after four straight months of traveling I´ve never heard of a nicer hostel owner!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Patti S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2013

I stayed a whole 3 weeks at Mamallena's in Cartagena... They have everything I look for in a hostel:
They are located stumbling distance from the main party hostel in Cartagena, so you can get crazy at the party hostel yet sleep in a relatively quite dorm when you are ready for bed.
A convenient restaurant and bar attached to the hostel.
Fast wifi 4-5 MB up/down.
Location close to ATMs & Grocery stores.
Meet friendly locals to practice your Spanish with.
Also I totally recommend you buy coconuts for breakfast at the fruit store a block away.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Jonathan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hostel Mamallena

Address: Calle Media Luna, Cartagena, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Beach
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 199 Specialty Lodging in Cartagena
Price Range: $12 - $48 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
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