A Solo Female Traveler's Experiences On And Off The Beaten Path

Haunted Hostel Living At The Drop Bear

There are travelers who seek out a haunted hostel. The thought is a fun one, to spend the night with a ghost and possibly have an excellent story to go home with. But what about those of us who just happen to stumble upon a haunted hostel? A place where advertisements do not exist to the fact that the place is indeed haunted. You only discover this fact when you partake in the hostel history tour on a Sunday evening after a couple of beers. Even worse, you find out that the ghost likes to visit your room, the hallway outside of it, and the bathroom you will be sharing with another guest.

This happened to me in Santa Marta, Colombia when I stayed at the Drop Bear Hostel. A great hostel, no doubt, with a wonderful pool, movie room, in-house bar with fantastic bartenders, and a staff that is incredible hospitality-wise, and to spend time with over a drink, or share a laugh any time of day. I had only planned to stay three nights at Drop Bear Hostel, and then move on to other parts of the coast of Colombia. I ended up spending multiple nights over the course of three weeks there because unbeknownst to me, January is a very busy time in Colombia as the locals are on holiday. This translates to every decent hostel/hotel being booked, or severely expensive. For a solo traveler like myself it makes it very difficult then to visit places I had planned. Drop Bear Hostel became a pseudo home during this time, and I had to learn to sleep knowing that a ghost may very well visit me during the night.

I’ve always made a deal with ghosts. A one-sided conversation it has always been, of course, as I have never actually seen a ghost, but a deal nonetheless. A neighbor of mine once told me her apartment was haunted, and my response was that of laughter. I did of course go back to my own apartment and have a conversation with said ghost. I told him that he could live in our building as long as he liked, that I would not bother him if he did not bother me. I never had any problems with him; he honored the deal.

I made the same agreement with the Drop Bear Hostel ghost. It did not stop me from being incredibly frightened each and every time I went back to my room down a dark hallway or to the bathroom. I may have asked a hotel employee to escort me a couple of times, just to make sure the ghost was not lurking around the corner. The worst part is that the Drop Bear Hostel is haunted by a young girl. I am incredibly afraid of children in horror movies; blonde girls especially–I blame Poltergeist. I can watch a crazed man wearing a human skin mask mutilate a group of teenagers but if you put a young girl in the movie, creepy eyed and vengeful, I shake and whimper.


The Drop Bear Hostel ghost dates back many years, when the house was owned by the cartel of Colombia–yes, it is quite a story and one everyone should hear when staying at Drop Bear. The little girl supposedly drowned in the pool during a party. Ever since, she has haunted the halls–there have been reports of her walking down the main hall, casting a shadow behind people on the common computers. But the spooky part of her haunting is that she likes to appear in the bathroom outside of the single rooms downstairs. There are two rooms, next to one another, and they share her hall bathroom. It is a secluded area of the hostel, far from the dorm rooms or other privates. A little spot in a great big house; perfect for a ghost to make a home for herself.

In case you don’t think its scary to stay in a haunted hostel, consider this: the little girl ghost appears soaking wet, her hair dripping water, her clothes too, and she leaves a puddle on the floor wherever she has been. Oh, and she likes to only appear to women. Lucky me (us)!

Are you a tiny bit freaked out now?

I braved two nights in the haunted part of the hostel. I used the bathroom, slept alone in my room, all under the belief that the ghost would keep the agreement I made with her in the dark the first night as I was getting into bed.

My nights in the haunted hostel proved uneventful as I never saw the little girl ghost. Maybe next time, should I ever return to the Drop Bear Hostel and Santa Marta, Colombia. I may have to bring my video camera next time, and set-up shop all night to see what it may catch.

Until then, may my travels be free from ghost stories. I really need the sleep.

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