Mama Waldy, Getsemani, Cartagena (Colombia)
First the good news: the hostel is conveniently located in the heart of Getsemani, a cool area of Cartagena that is undergoing constant restoration, where you can meet many locals and other fellow travellers. This is about the only positive thing I can think of about this hostel.
However, when I ckecked in at Mama Waldy, in Cartagena, I knew I had made a mistake. This is possibly one of the worst hostels I have been to in my many years of travelling. The hostel is in what used to be an old colonial house. Which by the look of it has never been restored nor properly cleaned. I arrived here at night, after a day of travelling, to find they were having a party. My dorm was just on the main lobby, and since there are no keys to the dorms, people can walk in and out as they like – and by people I mean people, not just guests. In fact, while I was there, somebody who was at the party just did so. All the guests belongings were left there, for people to grab them if they liked. The room was so dirty (paper, food, clothes, shoes and what not on the floor, under the bed, etc; no bins to place garbage), the bathroom so cramped, small and filthy, that I did not even consider going there. I just locked my stuff in the locker and ran out to eat and breathe.
As I got back past midnight, it was finally quiet. But the dorm was so hot, so suffocating (there are no windows in any of the room, just a door to the lobby) that I soon realised I could not sleep there. I walked out and one of the owners saw me and asked what was wrong, and I plainly said the room was filthy, hot, and I could not sleep there. He explained that they clean the place regularly but that if travellers are dirty and messy he can’t help that. Possibly, what would help would be putting less beds in a dorm and maybe a hanger and a basket to throw away stuff? Hats off for his friendly and cooperative reaction: he put me in a private room, which was only slightly better – yet, no shower curtain, tiny bathroom, and cleanliness is another issue (there was about an inch of dust there).
Breakfast was supposedly included, and surely paid for, but consisted of 2 slices of toasted bread (with, I guess, cream cheese or butter), and coffee. Not even served on plates. After all, the kitchen hardly seemed equipped. There is a laundry service. That’s if you like your clothes to hang to dry on the roof of the hostel. By which I do not mean hanging lines in the roof, but actual tiles.
But what really bothered me the most about Mama Waldy was the music and noise. It only stopped past midnight and was really so loud that, if you are up for an early night and feel tired, you won’t be able to sleep. It felt like being in a disco, really. And since noise travelled really easily and by 6 am people would start waking up, my sleep would be cut short.
The landlady was nice and helpful, she helped me getting bus tickets, but this can only make up for about a tenth of how bad this place was and for the 3 sleepless nights I had.
Disclaimer: the views expressed in this review are of the author and based on her personal experience.
An Italian human rights lawyer, animal lover and academic, Claudia is more than anything a traveller who craves to see the world. On November, she decided that it was time to live and embarked on a 6 months trip through Central and South America, which changed her life and gave her the final input to live as a writing nomad. Her mission is to let people dream through her travels, providing guidance and inspiration to other backpackers. You can follow her adventures through www.myadventuresacrosstheworld.com or through her facebook page My Adventures Across the World.