Frankly, a hostel can make or break your experience in a city. Some hostels are nothing more than a cheap place to stay and at others, the nights at the bar or the owners who go above and beyond will be your best memory of a place. I chose a mix of hostels with party atmospheres and others that feel like home. Let’s get down to it. Here are the best hostels in South America!
15 Best Hostels in South America
This is Peruvian hospitality at its finest, as the staff here is probably the best of any hostel I’ve stayed. The pod-style dorms make it feel like you’re in a private room, while the naturally illuminated common area is the perfect place to relax after a day of hiking. It’s located in the bohemian San Blas neighborhood, which is very peaceful compared to Cusco’s historic center.
One of my all-time favorite hostels is 100% worth the few extra dollars. It feels like a cabin while also having dorms and bathrooms that are top quality for a hostel. Throw on your alpaca sweater and sip on the coca tea after a day of hiking and you’ll never want to leave. Plus, you’ll sleep like a baby when you get under the blankets and hear the sound of the river flowing behind the hostel.
Banana’s is a fantastic modern hostel in the desert oasis of Huacachina with a lively atmosphere. The on-site restaurant serves amazing ceviche along with their famous pancake breakfast. You can relax at the pool with a few drinks during the day and get a good night of sleep as the party heads over to the Wild Rover. Also, the friendly staff will organize your sandboarding tours with experienced guides at fair prices. You’ll want to book in advance because the dorms fill up quickly.
This well-maintained budget hostel in the bohemian neighborhood of Lapa has a fantastic social atmosphere. Their cheap caipirinhas are the perfect way to start the night before heading to one of the many nearby samba bars. The value here might be the best of all the hostels I stayed in South America.
A party hostel with a great atmosphere and a staff that is welcoming and knowledgeable about the city. Ô do Casa is 100% worth the few extra bucks, and you will find an awesome mix of backpackers and Brazilian tourists here. It’s a lot cleaner than nearly any other party hostel I’ve stayed in, and you can still get a good night’s sleep because the bar closes at 11 pm and the party continues elsewhere.
Tucked away on a colorful street in the hip neighborhood of Palermo, this hostel is a gem. The amenities are modern and they have spacious, air-conditioned dorms. There’s a beautiful patio to enjoy your morning coffee and a very welcoming atmosphere all around.
Small hostels are often the best environment to make friends on the road. Grilling out and relaxing in a lawn chair by the lake is as homely as it gets. Taking in the stunning sunsets with new friends and a craft beer in hand at Red House was a highlight of Argentina for me.
The atmosphere at Aldea is awesome. There are large common areas and a rooftop to have a few drinks before a night out in the vibrant student city of Córdoba. Don’t worry, the modern dorms are blessed with quality air conditioning to protect you from the scorching summer heat.
Bogotá’s most popular hostel is located in the heart of La Candelaria, one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods. The staff is fantastic and they offer great tours and organized activities that are perfect for meeting other travelers. It has a buzzing social atmosphere and the amenities of a hotel but without the corporate feel.
La Brisa Loca – Santa Marta, Colombia
Santa Marta doesn’t have much to offer in terms of attractions, but it’s a popular place for a night out. The rooftop parties at this mansion-turned-hostel are legendary and make it well worth the visit to Santa Marta. After spending a few relaxing days in Minca or persevering through the Lost City Trek, a night at La Brisa Loca is exactly what you’ll need.
I’ll take a small hostel with personality over a big corporate hostel any day of the week. This hostel itself is a work in progress, but it’s easily one of the best I’ve ever stayed. Mallki only houses 15 guests, so by the end of your stay, it may feel like a family. The owner is incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about hiking in nearby Cajas National Park.
El Vaquero – Chugchilan, Ecuador
Chugchilan is a tiny village along the Quilotoa Loop which is one of my favorite hikes in South America. El Vaquero offers delicious home-cooked meals and large beds with plenty of comfy blankets. The basement has an antique fireplace to relax in front of after a long day of hiking in the Andes. The hosts don’t speak English, but happily initiate conversation and will even pack a lunch for you.
Llullu Llama Mountain Lodge – Isinlivi, Ecuador
Also located along the Quilotoa Loop, Llullu Llama has relaxed cabin vibes and incredible views. The family dinners are a great way to find a hiking buddy for the rest of the loop.
Getting turned away from another hostel I had a reservation at turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Cattleya is a mom-and-pop hostel attached to the owners’ house. The hosts couldn’t be any friendlier and they will often join the guests for a rooftop breakfast. After a day of snorkeling, you can chill out in a hammock with ocean views.
Colibrí Lodge – San Juan de Chuccho, Peru
Lastly, this family-run lodge in the Colca Canyon has very comfortable beds, hot water, and delicious alpaca steak dinners. The owner was a tour guide before returning home to open the lodge and has a lot of knowledge about local agriculture and animals found in the canyon.
Now that you’ve read about the best hostels, read about the best small towns in South America!