In recent years Couchsurfing has transformed the form of tourism of all young travelers who want to explore the world. Today we will analyze if Colombia is ready to join this platform, which is very used in the most developed countries.


How Couchsurfing was born?

Picture: Wikipedia

Couchsurfing was created in 2004 as a non-profit organization that promoted responsible tourism. The website is a platform that contacts travelers (surfers) “surf on the couch” with hosts (couchers). This generates a type of tourism that is more real and less commercial. A tourism focused on experiences and not on figures. The platform also includes functions to organize and participate in meetings of travelers. These meetings are focused on travelers meeting new people and sharing travel experiences.

Currently couchsurfing has more than 14,000,000 users around the world, which means that surely there is a lot of people ready to help you all around the world.


What is Couchsurfing?

Couchsurfing is a collaborative hosting platform that works worldwide. The principle of the platform is that users register to offer their sofas or to find a sofa to stay. When we say “sofa” we do not refer only to a sofa in the literal sense, we talk about the option of accommodation in general terms.

Couchers offer their homes for surfers to arrive and stay without paying anything. The only thing that is asked in return is that there is an interaction and exchange of experiences and cultures. That doesn’t mean that surfers should take the accommodation as just free accommodation, at all. They must understand that they share the collaborative and cultural growth spirit of the platform.


Principles for users of Couchsurfing

Photo: Flickr @blmurch

Couchsurfing is based on a collaborative principle. This means that it is based on the voluntary interest of platform members in making their system work. Despite being a volunteer, Couchsurfing has a series of rules that users must follow.


For couchers:

Couchers should be honest about the accommodation conditions they offer. It is not mandatory that the hosts offer individual rooms or a very luxurious space. What is necessary is that they are honest about what they offer and that they are clear about the rules they have at their home. In this way, travelers can have more information that help them take a better decision.

Hosts also must give data and travel tips to travelers so they can improve their experience. This new type of tourism hopes to be more real and more experiential.

On the other hand, the coucher should respect the privacy of the guests. This means that, although you can share spaces, you must respect the decisions that the travelers make about their trip.


For surfers:

Travelers who use couchsurfing should have an expectation that goes beyond just getting free accommodation. The platform recommends that surfers bring a present to the hosts and something to share about their culture. In addition to the willingness to meet and share with the person who receives you. Also be respectful of the rules of cohabitation of the coucher.

In addition, surfers are committed to help other travelers. Help that does not necessarily have to be to accommodate other travelers, it can also be to guide and give travel recommendations to travelers arriving in their city.


The couchsurfing experience in Colombia

CouchSurfing activity across the globe. Picture: Flickr @J. Nathan Matias

Colombia is a country that has a lot of tourism offers for all types of public and interests. This is why Couchsurfing has attracted the attention of travelers who want to live the adventure of being in Colombia. Visit and know the typical plans of each of the regions and share with the Colombian people who are known for their kindness worldwide. But to make a good analysis it is necessary to recognize advantages and disadvantages.


Advantages of using Couchsurfing in Colombia

The first and most obvious advantage for users of the platform is that they will be able to learn more about the customs of the Colombian people. Customs that go from knowing what is the typical breakfast of Colombian homes, to where to go to have a great party.

Another advantage is the kindness of Colombians. Colombians are generally willing to receive people in their homes with or without a platform. But the platform helps you to be sure about their capacity and availability.


Disadvantages of using Couchsurfing in Colombia

One disadvantage that can affect your trip in Colombia as a surfer is the conservative and Catholic principles of some families. Colombian families have a tendency to follow conservative customs. This could make the rules of coexistence much stricter.

Another issue is that some people have misinterpreted the usefulness of couchsurfing. They believe that it is a platform similar to AIRBNB where users pay for their lodging. This has been solved thanks to the intervention of the community. The users that have identified the hosts that charge travelers for their stay make a report on the platform and these users are eliminated.


General recommendations

The first recommendation to use Couchsurfing in Colombia is that you try to choose lodging with verified users. You can identify verified users by the blue check in their profile. It is also important that you review the comments that other users have left on the host’s profile. This helps you to get an idea of ​​how was the experience of other surfers during their journey.

If you decide to use this platform you must be willing to serve other travelers when you have the opportunity. Many users in favor of the platform have as a requirement that you have helped a traveler before. Also, it is important that you give a feedback about your experience as a host or guest so others can use this information to take their decision.

Finally, try to arrive with a present for your host. That generates a significantly positive impact on your image and how your host will treat you. Colombians are people who pay a lot of attention to that type of details … regardless of the cost of it.


Conclusion: It is viable to use couchsurfing in Colombia

Although Couchsurfing may has some disadvantages, these disadvantages are typical of any country where you use the platform. Anyway, this is compensated with the kindness and social skills of Colombians. Try it!


If you want to access more detailed guides for tourists in Colombia, we invite you to explore our travel blog.