Latin America has been the destination of adventurous travellers for many years, but it’s only recently that Colombia has come to be seen as a more mainstream option, thanks in part to a historic peace deal between the government and FARC rebels.
If you’re one of the brave souls to take advantage of Colombia’s newfound stability and resurgent economy, but want something a little more off the beaten track than Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin, then there’s one place you might want to check out. Casa Elemento.
Perched on a ridge in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range above Santa Marta, Casa Elemento is a hostel like few others – a place to get away from everything and disconnect with a view you have to see to believe. Famous mainly for its giant hammock, which we’ll come to shortly, there is so much more to offer.
Just to get to the hostel is an adventure in itself, requiring intrepid travellers to first get to Minca, a quaint village below and then either hike up the mountain, which will take a good two or three hours, or by motorbike – much quicker, but outrageously dangerous. Both options force you to leave as much gear as you can behind. When you arrive, the first thing you are greeted with is the view stretching all the way to the Caribbean in the distance.
The second thing you’ll see is what all the fuss is about – a giant hammock hanging off the edge of the hillside with enough space for about 15 people to lay back and get lost in the moment, with a view even better than before.
You’ll meet all sorts of people at Casa Elemento, but every single one of them came to enjoy the view by day and to sleep under the stars by night in what really is a mountain paradise. If you’re unable to book a bed or private hammock to sleep in, the hostel offers day-passes just to spend some time there and enjoy everything they have to offer without spending the night.
Although you can spend hours on the giant hammock reading, listening to music, chatting away with fellow travellers or just enjoying the view, there is much more to do at Casa Elemento, with everything there you might need to have a good time.
Not only is there a pool, a bar and giant fireplace to chill at by night, but there is also some top notch food and since you pretty much have to eat there, this is a welcome sight.
According to the owners, “Almost all of our produce comes from surrounding farms and our own 37-hectare plot. Whether it’s fruit, coffee, beef, vegetables, eggs, chicken or fresh herbs, our highly skilled chefs know how to transform it into something delicious every time. If it’s local and fresh – you’ll find it on your plate.”
If you eventually get bored lounging around eating, drinking and enjoying the isolation (which you never really do), then there’s a host of trails, natural pools and activities to get stuck into in the surrounding area, making sure that there really is something for everyone in this Colombian hostel in the clouds.