When you’re backpacking through Central America you have a ton of great hostels to choose them. It’s easy enough to pick the top rated hostel on Hostelworld or to stay wherever you’re travel buddies are planning on staying. But to make things even easier, we’ve put together a list of all the top-rated backpacker hostels in Central America.
Not everyone feels comfortable staying in hostels, I’m well aware of that. But, staying at hostels is great for more than just saving money.
Backpacker Hostel Travel Buddies
If hostels didn’t exist, I don’t even know if I’d be traveling. You’ll meet so many amazing people at hostels. You find travel buddies who stick with you for the rest of your travels. You make lifelong friends on the other side of the world who you still keep in touch with. Hostels offer some of the best experiences you’ll have during your trip. Yes, the islands, beach towns, and cities are all amazing. But, it’s the people who make the trip so memorable.
It’s an old cliché, but the thing about clichés is that they’re often true, and this one is no exception. It’s the people you meet along your travels that make your travels so wonderful. Making sure you stay at the right hostels helps ensure that you’ll have the perfect trip that you’re hoping for. If you stay at hostels that are too noisy or too boring for you then you won’t make as many close friends.
The trick is to find one or two great hostels at the beginning of your trip. You’ll meet a ton of people once you arrive at your first hostel if it’s a good one and you’re not afraid to introduce yourself to people.
So, without further ado, here is the list of the top-rated backpacker hostels in Central America.
Dirty and nasty, the hostel definitely lives up to it's name but one thing that isn't mentioned in the name but is probably easy to guess, and is the reason this place is able to not only survive but thrive, is that's it's f'in awesome! Incredible fun and incredible people staying here - nothing but great times here. Free rum punch from 7 - 8 pm and you can play beer pong with free rum punch. Great breakfast in the mornings for an affordable price. Great snorkeling tours and did I mention great people?
The Selina in Bocas del Toro is one of the nicest waterfront hostels in the world, and it helps that Bocas del Toro is one of the nicest islands in the world. With so much nightlife and so much to do on this island, this hostel is not only in the perfect location, but they offer everything you need to enjoy this beautiful island to the fullest.
With surfing lessons, daily boat trips to nearby islands, a great restaurant, and bar, and pub crawls, there's not much more you could ask for here.
Selina is a chain-hostel with dozens of hostels throughout Central America, South America and now they've even moved into Europe and the United States. They're strongest in Costa Rica where they have a hostel in just about every backpacker stop along the way of Costa Rica. The photo above is of the Selina in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
All Selina hostels are held to a certain standard and you can be sure that you're going to get the same experience at any Selina you go to. They're a mix between a party hostel, a digital nomad hostel, and a chill - laid-back - yoga hostel. If you pay extra you'll have access to certain workspaces so this is a great hostel to stay at if you're a digital nomad backpacking through Central or South America.
Zephyr Lodge is a one-of-a-kind oasis hidden away in the hills so you can enjoy you can your peace and quiet with a beautiful view.
The bedrooms are little cabins tucked away in the jungle of Guatemala and the communal bathrooms at the top of the hill are over-looking a beautiful mountainous range with a river winding through the middle of it. It certainly makes for one of the best views you'll ever have while showering.
When you check-in to this hostel you have to leave your passport with the hostel staff and from that moment on, everything you purchase will be added to your tab that you have to pay at the end of the week. This is great convenience but it also leads people to rack up a pretty hefty bill since there aren't really any stores nearby and outside food and drink are prohibited anyway.
One a street full of dive centers, how do you know which one is going to be the best one for you? Well, for my I had a few things I was looking: (1) price, I'm always looking for something affordable, (2) fun, I'm always looking for something fun, and Underwater Vision Dive Center has both of those things. For less than $300 you can receive your PADI certification at a fun and social hostel with a waterfront property with a volleyball court, restaurant, and social area.
Room2Board Hostel and Surf School is a fun and social hostel located just steps away from the beach. Horse rides are frequently offered on the beach just right across the street from the hostel.
Located just off of Jaco's main strip, there is plenty of nightlife, great food, and beautiful women (ehh, ehh - prostitution is legal in Jaco).
With so many incredible party hostels to choose from in SJDS, I accidentally stumbled upon Yajure Surf Hostel - meaning I didn't book anything and was walking around with my backpack looking for a place to stay when I ran into some travelers I'd met in Antigua, Guatemala and they told me about this place.
After talking to other travelers and reading some reviews from the major party hostels in this beach town, I think I made the right decision by choosing this hostel. With Sunday Funday pool crawl to all of the party hostels, you get a chance to visit and party at the party hostels without having to 'sleep' there and be unable to get any sleep.
Tropicana Hostel is one of the most popular party hostels in Antigua, Guatemala. It's a great place to meet people to hike Acatenango with or to attend the infamous midnight empty-pool rave party.
There are plenty of hostels in Antigua, Guatemala and this one may not be for everyone - if you're not looking to party you should stay away. I had to check out after only a few nights because there are only so many nights in a row you can go without sleep. 😂
First off, it has a pool and air conditioning, which are both musts in León, Nicaragua. Aside from that, Bigfoot offers great volcano boarding tours, a great social atmosphere with their own bar and restaurant, and great fun all around.
Bigfoot is home to their own concoction or hot peppers that have been fermented for months and are available if you're brave enough to try them.
Los Amigos Youth Hostel is heaven in Flores, Guatemala. Only a quick one or two night stop to make the day-trip to Tikal, I wasn't expecting to find such a lively and fun hostel in Flores. With its plant life and jungle designs all over the wall, stepping into Los Amigos you feel as if you just entered a tropical forest in the middle of the city.
There's not much competition in terms of social youth hostels to stay in Flores, Guatemala so if you're looking for a social atmosphere this is definitely the place for you. 😊
It's no surprise that there's another Selina on the list. With probably more than a dozen high-quality hostels throughout Central America, it's almost like running into McDonald's when you get to a new city and release they have a Selina - you know what you're going to get.
With a jacuzzi and pool at just about every Selina, with a walkway leading to their own private beach with rope swings, with events and activities, Selina is the number one hostel in Puerto Viejo in my honest opinion.
If you're looking for a quieter and more laid-back hostel in Antigua, Guatemala then Matiox is your place. With a jacuzzi and very quiet communal area, it's a great place for you to hang out when you're taking Spanish lessons or just looking for some peace and quiet.
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