Category: Hidden Gems

jaguar negro hostel

Jaguar Negro Hostel – Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Situated only a minute’s walk from the beach, surrounded by palm trees and sunshine, Jaguar Negro has the perfect location for those looking to relax on the beach and hit up Fifth Avenue for some excitement.

 

jaguar negro hostel

 

The rooms are clean and well-stocked with large lockers with built-in locks to store your valuables. The kitchen is equipped with what you need to cook a quality meal, and there is a TV with comfortable seating for those nights you just want to stay in. The beds are comfortable, the location is fantastic, and the bathrooms were perfectly adequate for the three nights I stayed there.

The only things I would say weren’t ideal were the mosquitoes and the heat. Mosquitoes are heavier in Mexico; it kind of comes with the heat, so the owner is adding a fan and/or A/C in the near future. This is a new hostel, so when I arrived things were still being developed. I love staying at new hostels for the advantages they provide, the improvements I get to both witness and add to, and the ambience is much different than you would get in a strict hotel or hostel that I previously have experienced in Playa del Carmen.

Overall I enjoyed my stay at Jaguar Negro Hostel. I loved the art and atmosphere and the staff was friendly as well as accommodating. I would recommend this hostel to those coming to Playa del Carmen, Mexico to get a nice mix of relaxed beach vibes while still soaking up the excitement of the area. A short walk from all of the clubs and bars, yet still far enough away from the noise makes this a great selection for backpackers traveling around Mexico.

 

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Accommodation was kindly provided by Jaguar Negro Hostel, but all opinions, photography and spelling mistakes are my own 🙂

Kantarrana Casa de Campo – Jardín, Colombia

Fall asleep to the sounds of the rushing river, breathe in the fresh air the surrounding plethora of plants are constantly purifying, and sleep soundly and safely tucked away in the jungle outside the center of Jardín, Colombia.

The nature here is incredible. I saw a frog on the balcony hopping it’s way to his room, and combined with the amount of bamboo, fruit trees, and colorful flowers, ecohotel Kantarrana inspires feels of The Jungle Book.

This hotel has to be my favorite so far. It’s the little things that add up to a fantastic stay, and this one had numerous. Upon my arrival, I was greeted with smiles and taken to a cozy room for one or two, fully-equipped with a feeling of home. The bed is comfortable, the surrounding seating overlooks the river just a few meters away, and the traditional breakfast is included in the price of the room.

Wake up well-rested to the rushing river snuggled under cozy blankets and head out to the dining area to watch the cows graze on the steep hillside while you graze on a delicious breakfast. including eggs with tomato and onion, arepa, cheese, bread, a banana, tree tomato juice, and coffee.

Parking is available on-site for those who wish to come by car and tours to caves and waterfalls are available for arrangement through the front desk. There’s also a river nearby to explore the incredible views, leaving guests with endless things to do despite being a taxi ride away from the center of Jardin.

The hotel has several rooms of different types. If you’re a couple looking for a nature getaway, with the option of enjoying a jacuzzi bathtub or a nearby steam room, outdoor jacuzzi, and a massage, Kantarrana is a great choice. If you’re a party group and wish to stay in the same room for a more economical price, check out the dormitory room. Otherwise, you can stay in one of the uniquely decorated one-to-two person rooms, bathroom with hot shower included. Best for those who appreciate the incredible diversity of nature and culture Jardín, Colombia has to offer.

Accommodation and breakfast was kindly provided by Kantarrana Casa de Campo, but all opinions, photography and spelling mistakes are my own 🙂

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Colombia’s Pueblo of Paradise – Jericó

Glowing under the sun in the middle of a mountain ecosystem, Jericó, Colombia has everything it needs to have sustained the village for the last 150+ years and many more to come. Clean river water bisects the town’s lush landscapes, allowing for sparkling clean and tasty tap water. Fruits and flowers are abundant, colors are on every corner, literally, and there is hardly a reason to complain here when the Earth is taking care of the community perfectly.

 

The culture reflects their happiness. Jericó has traditions that have been working for them for centuries. It all began when the founding family chose which other families could come to live in the town. Through the generations, the pueblo (Spanish word for town) has sustained its good nature, both in the land and its people.

 

Parque Natural, Las Nubes

 

Everyone is so friendly, like they know they are meant to be here. I made friends easily just walking through the main square every so often, seeing many of the same friendly faces. It’s not uncommon to see people belting out old Spanish love songs in the park, or to see young kids popping bike wheelies on the streets in the middle of the night. It’s safe and secure, even though many people do little to protect their homes and belongings. I can’t help but think trust has something to do with it.

Even the dogs are friendly. Usually I try not to pet dogs I don’t know while traveling (duh) but when multiple come up to you just looking for some love, it’s hard to say no. Many make friends with shop owners, and have names and food waiting for them.

Making friends with our favorite coffee farmer – Photo by Maxime (click photo for his blog)

 

People are proud of their pueblo and of what they’ve achieved for themselves here. I make it a point everywhere I travel to ask people I meet if they like their city. Usually people will tell me yes, but it’s the body language I look for when I’m processing the answer. Normally I get a lot of yeses; many with a lot of hesitancy, like there are many things that could be improved. In Jericó, I get an “of course” or an “I LOVE my home”, said with gusto. It’s easy to be happy when you are provided with all that you need, and then some.

 

 

The houses are re-painted regularly; it’s something they enjoy to let others enjoy. Flowers drape over detailed balconies, easily tended to by the town’s even rain-sun exchange in the climate. The land flourishes easily and there are endless hidden gems sprinkled around the small village.

 

 

In Jericó life is easy and carefree. Sure, people still have their problems like every other living being on the planet, but they have remembered something many big cities seem to lose: life is supposed to be enjoyed.

Jericó, Colombia has got to be the happiest town I’ve ever visited. What about you? Where have you discovered Heaven on Earth?