We recently spent a couple nights at Hostel Mamallena on the Beach in Rincón del Mar, a couple hours south of Cartagena. With basic but affordable accommodations beachfront with dorms and privates available, it makes for a great budget and backpacker place to stay in Rincón. Read on for a complete review of Hostel Mamallena on the Beach in Rincón del Mar, Colombia.
*Disclosure: My wife and I were invited to spend 2 nights at the hostel by the owner in exchange for sharing our experience. The opinions here are still my own honest ones and like with all things I would encourage you to read other reviews and make your own judgments as well. You may consult my disclosure policy here.
Where is Rincón del Mar?
Rincón del Mar is located approximately 3 hours to the south of Cartagena. It is a small town of a few thousand Afro-Colombians situated on a lovely stretch of beach.
A growing but still relatively hidden gem, there are small crowds, even in the January high season when we visited. You definitely will not find the massive crowds of Playa Blanca.
That makes it a great place to spend a couple days just relaxing. The town definitely has that chilled out, move a little slower, Caribbean small town vibe. You can also do a day tour or use Rincón as a jumping off point to stay in the beautiful San Bernardo Islands.
*You can learn more about Rincón at my complete travel guide here.
Hostel Mamallena on the Beach
It has a great location close to the entrance to town on the beach in a large cabin and adjoining building.
Accommodations and Facilities
There are several dorms and private rooms available at Hostel Mamallena on the Beach, including group/family rooms. Some of the rooms have A/C, some only fans. We actually found it to be relatively cool at night time, so you can probably get by fine with just fans if you’re looking to save a few pesos.
There is a communal kitchen and refrigerator available with your basic assortment of pots and pans and cooking utensils.
The rooms and beds are pretty basic, but they were just fine and everything from the sheets to the bathrooms were very clean.
There are a few tables by the kitchen and places to hang clothes. There are also small lockers available for guests.
The highlight of the communal areas though was the beach front sitting area. A few benches and tables along with hammocks and beach chairs make it the place where you’re probably going to spend most of your time around the hostel.
The sunset over the water just in front of the hostel is also spectacular!
Tours and Activities
The hostel offers several tours and activities to visitors.
Day Trip to the Islands
You will definitely want to do the tour to the San Bernardo Islands. It includes a stop to snorkel with masks included (a rarity in my experience) as well as stops at Santa Cruz del Islote, the most densely populated island in the world, and at the gorgeous beaches of Mucura and Tintipán.
These are some of the prettiest beaches I have been to in Colombia, so you should definitely do the tour, especially since many tours only go to one or the other, not both.
*Learn more about the islands at my complete travel guide to them here.
*If you want to spend the night in the islands, you can also arrange for the boat to pick you up at a later day.
Bioluminescent Plankton Tour
This is also a really neat tour. We didn’t do it this time but have done it elsewhere, and the plankton is really neat.
The tour offered by the hostel also makes a stop at Isla Pajaros for some bird watching before seeing the plankton.
Horse Back Riding
We didn’t do this either as Susana isn’t a huge fan, but Mamallena can set you up with some horses and a guide to explore a bit of the area around town and head back along the beach.
Conclusion and Overall Impression
Overall, we were pretty pleased with Mamallena.
Their prices are also very affordable. There are a few newer, more high end boutique lodge style hostels that have opened up (at of course less affordable prices).
But if all you really need are some lounge chairs, hammocks, and a clean bed and shower to go along with your beach, then Mamallena on the Beach makes for a great option.
Some Practical Considerations to Keep in Mind
- There are no ATMs in Rincón, so make sure you bring the cash you will need.
- There a several restaurants around the hostel where you can get breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is no restaurant on site at the hostel itself.
- Mosquitos weren’t bad the 2 nights we were there, but it may not be a bad idea to make sure you have some bug spray.
- There are shops in town where you can get basic goods like rice, vegetables, pasta, meats, eggs, snacks and drinks as well as things like sunscreen or bug spray, but there is not a large supermarket.
- The water is not drinkable in Rincón, so make sure you buy bottled water (it’s pretty cheap in town).
Ready to Plan Your Visit to Mamallena on the Beach?
*If you are traveling to Cartagena, check out the Mamallena Cartagena property as well.
How to Get to the Hostel
You will have to get a bus from Cartagena or Medellín to the town of San Onofre.
From San Onofre, you can get mototaxis to Rincón. Your moto can probably just leave you at the hostel or if not, you can find it heading to the right about a 5 minute walk from the road into town.
There you have it, a complete review of Hostel Mamallena on the Beach in Rincón del Mar. I hope you found it informative and useful for planning your trip. Don’t forget to check out my complete guide to Rincón too, and most importantly, if you go, I hope you have a terrific time!
Cheers and Happy Exploring!
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You may also be interested in the following posts:
Complete Travel Guide to Rincón del Mar
Practical Travel Guide to Colombia’s San Bernardo Islands
Complete Guide to Visiting the Rosario Islands from Cartagena
Playa Blanca, Barú – Complete Guide from Cartagena
Practical Guide to the Lush Mountain Town of Minca, Colombia
Planning your trip to explore Cartagena?
Check out the following posts to help plan:
Insider’s Guide to the Best Areas to Stay in Cartagena
Complete Packing List for Cartagena
Top Things to Do in Cartagena