What would you say if I told you there’s a hostel in the middle of the ocean just a short boat ride from Cartagena? Casa en el Agua offers a one of a kind experience you will never forget.
My first thought when I heard of Casa en el Agua was that it can’t be real. A hostel built on top of a tiny piece of land, basically floating in the middle of the ocean? That can’t be.
When I saw the pictures I immediately panicked since I’m terrified of water. But I knew staying in this surreal place would be an amazing experience and decided to go for it.
Booking this place is tricky. They only open their reservation for a month in advance and they get bookes almost immediately. Since most of us don’t have a clear schedule in mind this can limit your trip route and many simply miss out on the opportunity since they just can’t plan their trip in advance. I was lucky to find a bed in their dorms 3 weeks ahead and planned my trip according to this reservation.
Since the place is tiny, it offers a couple of private rooms, one dorm with 6 beds and about a dozen hammocks. Surprisingly their accommodation is actually affordable (especially the hammocks). Just think, you’re staying on a private island basically. The dorm and private rooms get books really fast so oftentimes you will be left with one option: sleeping in hammocks.
This option is not great, to say the least. Sleeping in a hammock if you’re not used to it is very difficult. Making it even more difficult is the strong wind that shakes the entire hostel during the night. This also means you might be freezing during the night. Of course, some days might be less windy but keep in mind your in the middle of the ocean. Be aware of these conditions before booking it and prepare adequately (bring a blanket, a jacket won’t do).
Getting to Casa en el Agua is done in the mornings by a boat that works for the hostel. The tricky part is the boat leaves every day but Sunday. There are other ways to get there but they are so complicated it’s not really an option. Unfortunate for me I booked my stay to Sunday till Tuesday but had to cancel one night since I couldn’t get there on Sunday. The boat ride is probably the most expensive expense you will have (almost double the price of a bed in the dorm).
I was unlucky and had a nightmare of a boat ride on the way there and going back. On my way there the ride took double the time and the waves washed us all so we got there completely soaked. On the way back the winds were strong as well so we had to go by another route that took us hours.
Was it worth it? I think so.
Here are some additional things you need to know about Casa en el Agua:
Since this is a small place you can only bring a backpack. Don’t even try and get on the small boat with a suitcase or a huge backpack. There’s simply no room.
Since you’re basically stranded on a tiny island, the hostel is lit at night, but there are no power outlets in the hostel (only to charge your phone but there is no reception). And of course, while you’re surrounded by water, there’s no water in the hostel. You will get a bucket to shower around 6pm, which for me was enough to even wash my hair.
The food is limited as well and you will basically have to bring your own or buy lunch and dinners there. The options will normally include rice, some cooked veggies, and fish/seafood. Keep in mind water is scarce so they can’t properly wash your food so everything has to be cooked.
I would highly recommend bringing your own food. Bread and some spread, fruits or whatever you need so you won’t have to but both meals at the hostel. The hostel also offers free coffee and tea throughout the day.
Final warning- in the past (Around the time I was there- January 2017) there were many problems of bed bugs in the hostel. If you see anything moving on your bed, insist they will change your sheets.
Now, let’s move on to the greatest thing about Casa en el Agua. What do you do there?
Chill, relax, unwind and any other synonym. The hostel has awesome floaties tied to its dock and you can basically fall asleep there on in the hammocks spread all around.
Get to know other awesome people that made the effort to get to this amazing place.
Use your isolation to do some cell phone detox.
Still, being so far from civilization, laying in the sun and doing nothing can be exhausted itself pretty quick. That’s why I would recommend staying there for 2 nights.
For more information and booking go their official website.
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