A quirky hostel in Colombia offers guests bucolic surroundings, Indian tents to sleep in and a generously stocked bar.
BOGOTÁ — Living in traffic-choked Bogotá means stress and anxiety, and locals are always looking for a rural refuge outside the Colombian capital. I recently found one particularly charming and unusual guesthouse that felt far away even if it was only a 45-minute drive to get there.
This is El Monte Teepee Hostel on the Bogotá to Guasca road, designed to give you a taste of nature without subjecting you to hardships. The name Teepee — meaning "For living" — recalls the buffalo-skin tents of Native Americans. Indeed, the hostel has five conical, synthetic tents brought in from the state of Oregon in the northwestern United States. They sleep three, though the hostel also has cabins for up to six.
When I arrived, I was welcomed by our host Mateo Páez, a young photographer who found in Guasca not just an interesting enterprise, but the opportunity to live quietly while entertaining others looking to spend some alone time with nature.
Inside a teepee — Photo: El MØNTE teepee hostel.
The hostel's dining room serves both local dishes and foreign fare, like an exquisite pizza made on site. They bake bread here, and particularly a Nutella bread, which I must warn may become many a visitor's favorite dessert. The hotel is committed to using local ingredients and promoting local farming. You can buy some of the produce and handicrafts to take back home. Monte Teepee has also contributed to reforesting the surrounding land with native plants.
This is, however, no rigorous retreat: there is a drinks bar inside, and an open-air bar I noted on arriving, the Venado de Oro. Customers on this visit were a mix of foreigners, locals, and one family with a dog lapping up the Arcadian surroundings.
Perhaps the only possible imperfection was the lack of en-suite bathrooms. You must walk a little, both to shower and to answer nature's call.