International House Medellin: Comfort and Tranquility Close to Nightlife Hotspots

Beautiful mountain view from the rooftop of International House Medellin Hostel
Beautiful mountain view from the rooftop of International House Medellin Hostel

International House Medellin Hostel, better known as IH Medellin, with nearly a 10-year history, is not new to the hostel scene in Medellin, Colombia. When it comes to hostels, there are two main areas in the city that backpackers can turn to: Parque Lleras (El Poblado, party area) and La 70, quite close to the local soccer/football stadium.

Parque Lleras is considered the hip part of town, where most travelers converge and merge with the young local crowd and where most of the nightlife happens. Most backpackers prefer not to stay in the party sector because of the all-night noise from clubs, etc.  From International House Medellin you can reach the party sector for less than $3USD (or $1USD each in a shared cab) in 10 minutes!  As for La 70, it is a long boulevard filled with hotels/motels rather than hostels and offers a more traditional Colombian nightlife. It’s a great spot to locate yourself if you enjoy mixing with football aficionados during the end of tournament finals, etc.  La 70 is a 10-minute walk from IH Medellin.

International House Medellin hostel is right in the middle of these two areas: closer to La 70, i.e. within walking distance, and just a 10-minute cab ride from Parque Lleras. It is the perfect spot to be near everything a traveler needs (metro, bus stations, party districts and the stadium), but away from the loud and stereotypical tourist areas. The hostel directly overlooks a huge public sports recreation area, surrounded by large trees and with a free, outdoor public gym and swimming pools (free certain hours of the day). The perfect location for a quiet and tranquil sleep.

The Best Hostel in Medellin

Trip Advisor awarded International House Medellin the “Best Hostel in Medellin Award” for two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016, and since then it has been featured in the top 10 hostels in Medellin.

What is so great about International House Medellin?

This is one of the very few hostels in the city that offers a free T1 fiber-optic internet connection to its guests.

Travelers can book a shared dorm for groups of 4, 6, 8 or 10 people, with modern and ultra-clean bathrooms on all four floors. In addition to dorm rooms, the hostel manages two nearby homes with a total of 10 private rooms (most have private bathrooms).

Hostel guests enjoying a nice meal with a view
Hostel guests enjoying a nice meal with a view

The Best Part…

The best part of the hostel is undoubtedly the dome-covered rooftop.  Open on all sides, it boasts a 360-degree view of Medellin. On the rooftop terrace, you will enjoy frequent communal meals/dinner parties, bimonthly complimentary dinner provided by the hostel, occasional barbecues, as well as group activities like salsa dancing, movie night, and beer pong, to name a few.

The Face of International House Medellin Hostel

The owner of the hostel is Joel Goleburn.  Back in the 80s, at a tarot card reading, he drew the card HOST, and a consummate host he is.  It is not surprising, therefore, that he appears in most of the visitor photos!

American by birth, Joel settled down in Medellin 10 years ago and has consistently worked to grow his hostel business since that time.  The hostel has grown in size and capacity since then, and thanks to his background in construction, he has been able to upgrade the hostel every year, making it one of the best equipped in Medellin.  People are often surprised that everything works and that they find everything they need at the hostel.  Joel knows his market and provides hot water and high-pressure showers at all times, the best internet of any hostel in Medellin, terrific security, a great kitchen, and plenty of activities to keep you engaged.

Joel has traveled the world, having lived and worked in the local language in Italy, Israel, Japan and Cuba, and now 10 years in Medellin.  He’s been manning the family grill/BBQ since he was 8 years old in New York, so don’t miss the barbecues!  And now, with his extensive knowledge of the best things to do in Medellin, he and/or his staff will be happy to help you book the best tours and provide helpful advice to newcomers to Medellin.

Cozy dorm room among the trees!
Cozy dorm room among the trees!

Take Some Tours

Through Joel’s contacts you will have access to the best insider tours in Medellin:

  • Pablo Escobar Tour – Visit all of the emblematic locations related to the famous mafia drug lord, including the still-standing building that was once his office and was bombed by the enemy cartels; what used to be his personal jail with luxurious quarters and now is a church dedicated to his victims, with a cross made from weapons; the house where he was shot dead by the special task force; and his present resting place.


  • Free Walking Tour – International House Medellín’s central location makes it so easy to navigate the city by foot. Right in the middle of the valley, Joel can take small groups to visit the traditional neighborhoods, local museums and historical sites downtown, and the local stadium.


  • Local Brewery Tour – Visit a small brewery where you’ll get to know the entire process of delicate beer manufacturing; the tour ends in a very special pub.


  • Paragliding – Just 30 minutes away from the hostel, the tall surrounding mountains offer a spectacular view of the small valley city.


  • Trips to Neighboring Villages and Towns – Visit the magical town of Guatape and climb the ancient rock formation; visit the colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia and the natural paradise of Rio Claro.


  • Graffiti Tour – Take a walk through Medellin’s comunas that overlook the city from the highest spots in the mountains, and enjoy the urban art. IH Medellin’s very own bar boasts graffiti murals created by an artist from one of these comunas.


  • Mountain Bike Tour – Rent a mountain bike and ride the serpentine roads that circle around the numerous small towns surrounding the city in the hills above the valley.

Minimarket and Catered Meals

On the first floor of the hostel, guests can find a well-stocked minimarket, so you don’t have to go anywhere to buy commonly-needed items.  Also, if you order in advance, the hostel can prepare traditional Colombian and many international dishes for lunch and dinner. Breakfast is served daily from 8:30am to 10am.  At night, enjoy frequent drink specials in the trendy hip-hop bar next to the minimarket.

All photos courtesy of IH Medellin.

This post was written in collaboration with International House Medellin Hostel.

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  1. I have a friend that lives in Belen near this hostel. Sorry, it’s not a 10 minute taxi to Parque Llereas – more like 20 minutes or even more during rush hour in my experience. Also it is not a 10 minute walk to the part of La 70 where most of the bars/discos are located, it’s about 10 minutes in a taxi or 20 minutes to walk in my experience.

    • I disagree, Kate.

      As you point out, the taxi ride to Parque Lleras is going to vary according to traffic/time of day. You mention that it will take longer during rush hour, but that part of the article was focused on going to Lleras for nightlife, which means traveling during off-peak hours.

      As for going to La 70, Google Maps indicates five minutes by car to reach the corner of La 70 and Circular 1. From there it’s only a couple of minutes max by car to reach other parts of La 70. On foot, Google Maps shows 18 minutes to reach the corner of La 70 and Circular 1. But I find Google Maps is usually on the high side when it comes to walking times. I pass through that area three times per week on the way to the gym, and I doubt it takes me longer than 10 minutes.

      • HI ALAN , VERY NICE ARTICLE About International HOUSE HOSTEL.

  2. I’ve stayed at this hostel for one month whilst taking a course at UPB. Nice residencial area, great atmosphere and hospitality; it’s close to supermarkets and well served by bus lines.
    As I don’t walk very fast, I would take 10-15 minutes to reach UPB and 15-20 minutes to reach La 70. You have to cross some busy streets at Barrio Conquistadores and this may affect the time you need to reach these places.