So you’re ready for an eco-friendly adventure? You’ve got your shampoo bar, bamboo toothbrush, Dr Bronner’s. Maybe you’re filling up your reusable water bottles as we speak…

Look at you go, you little eco-warrior! But there’s still more you can do…

You can think about where you’re staying. You can send even MORE good environmental karma your way by staying in an eco-friendly hostel.

Eco-friendly accommodation is not a new concept for sustainable tourism, but in the last few years, backpacker hostels around the globe have started embracing this label. As more travellers have started looking further into how to travel sustainably, the eco-hostel business has boomed.

But actually finding the perfect eco-hostel with the ideal comfort-to-cash ratio can be a serious hassle. While there are countless sustainable hostels to be found on the incredible interwebs, many of the hostels are wayyy over the budget for penny-pinched paddlers.

But that’s why I’ve dug high and low to bring you this list of the most affordable eco-friendly hostels around the world! Forget the pretence and forget the ‘weekend-vegan’ type. On this list, you’ll only find green hostels that have beds available for under 25 dollars.

This is sustainable tourism on a Broke Backpacker’s budget!

Female backpacker standing on a big hammock at an eco-friendly hostel
Pura vida!

What is an Eco-Friendly Hostel?

In short, an eco-hostel is a hostel (a budget-priced shared accommodation) that places emphasis on environmentally sustainable solutions. This could be from something as large-scale as harvesting rainwater and solar to something more low-key like an ongoing composting project. Some hostels may put a percentage of profits into local animal shelters while some may just outright adopt the animals themselves!

But as long as they’re making a concerted effort to reduce their environmental footprint and aid long-term sustainability, they’re an eco-friendly backpacker hostel. Being an awesome place to stay filled with kooky backpacker types revelling in all things hostel life is just an added bonus!

Sustainabe traveller plays with a cute cat at an eco backpackers hostel in Iran
Save the planet, gain the respect of the cutest critters | photo: @wayfarover

Honestly, there might already be a lot of green hostels living the eco-lifestyle without even realising it. Any rough-cut lodge in the middle of the jungle is already probably doing the most to save the planet by saving energy and cutting plastic use, engaging with the community and letting the wild greenery around assimilate with the hostel premises. They might just not call themselves an ‘eco-hostel’.

On the other hand, you have a lot of green-washed spots claiming to be environmentally friendly, but just because the hostel has the word “eco” in its name doesn’t necessarily mean it’s doing much for the planet. That’s why you need wicked roundups from well-informed and relatively well-adjusted travel writers to tell you which eco-friendly hostels are worth your cash!

Annnd segue!

The 15 BEST Eco-Friendly Hostels Around the World!

(For under $25. Cheap and easy: I know how you like it.)

Ecomama – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Using fair-trade materials
  • Natural stone heating
  • Waste recycling and environmentally-friendly water system
Eco-friendly hostel in Amsterdam - Ecomama
Chic, cheap, AND green. | source: Ecomama

Ecomama promises joyous and conscious living in the heart of Amsterdam. Labelling itself as a boutique hostel, this quirky and cozy offering of Amsterdam’s backpacker accommodation still doesn’t break the bank.

They emphasise connecting with your travelling community and encourage you to meet your fellow travellers in their awesome common spaces (that include a fairy light-lit indoor tent!). As one of the most popular eco-hostels in Europe, you’re sure to meet some cool peeps.

Ecomama’s stance on sustainability is that change comes from small conscious acts performed every day. On top of spreading the word for environmentalism, Ecomama also carries a social responsibility and donates 1 euro for every night a guest stays to an organisation providing education to children in Guatemala.

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City Backpackers Hostel – Stockholm, Sweden

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Energy-saving lightbulbs
  • Ceramic dishes – down with single-use items!
  • Use of renewable energy sources
best hostel for solo travellers in sweden
City Backpackers Hostel makes it easy to connect with fellow travellers.

The Nordic countries are well known for their environmentally conscious practices and City Backpackers Hostel takes those teaching to heart. Recycling and energy conservation are not only widely followed practices in Sweden but the cornerstone of this eco backpacker hostel’s activities.

City Backpackers Hostel is an awesome eco-friendly hostel for solo travellers since their movie nights, free games, and sauna evenings are sure to bring lonesome backpackers together. For eco-conscious explorers, they also offer bicycles for rent.

And the best part? They’re cheap! You’d be surprised to see just how affordable it is to stay at City Backpackers Hostel. (Trust me – a lot of Sweden’s backpacker hostels get mighty expensive!)

Alter Hostel – Lyon, France

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Environmentally-friendly dry toilets
  • Collection of rainwater and a communal compost
  • Ecological awareness events and monitoring their carbon footprint
eco-friendly accommodation at alter hostel
The awesome communal spaces in Alter Hostel. | source: Alter Hostel

Alter Hostel advertises “green vibes” and this shows in their many small environmental acts of kindness. The hostel’s philosophy revolves around two points: ecological impact and participation, meaning that the hostel aims to not only be environmentally conscious but also a socially responsible place to sleep.

The dorms in the hostel get a lot of praise for being spacious and getting a lot of light, and the beds are also comfy and equipped with a privacy curtain. For solo travellers, their community-oriented panel of activities is a dream come true: DIY workshops, bike and kayak rentals, volunteering opportunities… There are a lot of places to stay in Lyon, but you won’t find any others this cheap and eco-aware!

Urban Garden Hostel – Lisbon, Portugal

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • An extensive recycling program and use of recycled materials
  • Energy efficient light bulbs and appliances
  • Re-washable and reusable hand towels
Urban Garden Best Cheap Hostel in Lisbon
Share your best tips for sustainable travel with other backpackers at Urban Garden .

As one of Portugal’s best eco-friendly accommodations, Urban Garden takes its green ideas seriously: the mission statement is to create a greener planet one guest at a time. By having the most eco-friendly fixtures – like a dual-flush toilet and energy-conserving appliances – the hostel can reduce their environmental footprint in simple but effective ways.

On top of sustainability, the hostel also wants to make sure their guests are having fun, and Urban Garden is a great place to stay for backpackers looking to mingle and party. Free pancake breakfasts and free communal dinners in an environmentally responsible fashion ain’t too shabby!

Eco Hostel Republik – Uzice, Serbia

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Decoration of the hostel with recycled materials
  • Renewable energy usage
  • Organic garden
green hostel eco hostel republik - serbia
Unique decor and art. | source: Eco Hostel Republik

When you’re looking for a place that’s a green hostel in both meanings of the word, Eco Hostel Republic is a great choice for any responsible traveller. Located close to Western Serbia’s best biking and hiking trails, it’s the number one choice for all outdoor addicts in the area.

The hostel’s mission is to promote sustainable tourism, and they add new green initiatives to their list whenever they can. Right now guests can enjoy their organic vegetable garden and unbeatable social atmosphere, all set in a unique space where all the furniture is hand-made (talk about sustainable!) and quality is the top priority.

Mellow Hostel – Barcelona, Spain

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Solar panels used for water heating
  • Using biodegradable cleaning products
  • Recycling bins and energy-saving light bulbs
best hostel to meet backpackers in barcelona
Chill on the balcony at Mellow Hostel. | source: Mellow Hostel

This modern and bright eco-friendly hostel – smack-bang in one of Barcelona’s nicest areas – prides itself on being eco-conscious. From major renewable energy use to simple features like energy-efficient light bulbs, Mellow Hostel takes its carbon footprint seriously. Mellow Hostel is not the only eco-friendly hostel in Barcelona but it is the best bang for your buck if you’re travelling on a budget.

The “Mellow” in the hostel’s name might refer to its quiet location in the city but certainly not to its atmosphere! The hostel offers many epic communal spaces, including a rooftop with sweeping city views, where you can easily find friends to share some tapas and tinto de verano with.

Impact House – Lisbon, Portugal

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • 100% compensation of C02 emissions
  • Renewable energy
  • Recycling bins and composting waste
eco-friendly hostel impact house - lisbon
Dorm rooms full of light | source: Impact House

Another backpacker hostel in Lisbon and another all-around dope place to stay! Impact House lives up to its name: its efforts towards sustainability revolve around both environmental and social initiatives.

This eco-sustainable hostel is mindful of its food waste, and whatever doesn’t get eaten, gets donated (or composted). According to their sustainable procurement policy, they also favour local suppliers and aim to connect their guests with local non-profits.

The community that Impact House fosters is awesome! Travellers can mingle in their garden and kitchen, participate in free weekly yoga sessions, or just connect over daily homecooked lunches and dinners.

Looming Hostel – Tartu, Estonia

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Second-hand furniture
  • Recycling and minimal waste
  • Cage-free chicken eggs for breakfast and nature-friendly cleaning supplies
green hostel looming hostel - estonia
Sunshine for days! | source: Looming Hostel

Looming Hostel presents itself as one of the first eco-hostels in Estonia, and they put a lot of thought into responsible activities. On top of following re-using and recycling principles, they encourage their guests to be more environmentally friendly and also train their staff in the fine art of nature conservation.

The top values of Looming Hostel is having a small ecological footprint while giving creative souls the space to soar. The dorm rooms are decorated by different artists and the hostel is located close to art galleries. Even the name of the hostel means “creation” or “artwork” in Estonian!

The Yard Hostel – Bangkok, Thailand

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Rooms built from recycled materials and insulated with recycled paper
  • Reducing plastic use
  • Recycling point
best green hostels in asia the yard hostel - bangkok
Sustainability has never looked prettier | source: The Yard Hostel

The Yard took their environmental impact into account even with their hostel design. The rooms of the hostel are actually old shipping containers, AND they’ve been built out of recycled materials. The insulation with recycled paper also ensures energy savings, and for eco-friendly transportation, the hostel has free bicycles to borrow! They also arrange events focused on sustainability, such as clothes swapping events.

The hostel’s name is a play on words that perfectly describes its character: yard is a beautiful and green meeting place for travellers, but the Thai word “yard” means “family” which is exactly how you will feel about your new backpacker friends after a few days at The Yard Hostel. No wonder it’s one of the best hostels in Bangkok!

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Cuckoo Hostel – Bangalore, India

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Energy-efficient appliances
  • Composting
  • Furniture made from recycled materials
eco-friendly hostel cuckoo -bangalore
Green initiatives in India | source: The Cuckoo Hostel

A trailblazer for backpacker hostels in India, Cuckoo Hostel is committed to bringing environmental sustainability to backpackers in India. According to a local newspaper, it is the only hostel in the city that produces zero waste! Human-powered transportation methods are also available for rent – that is, bicycles (although Flintsone-styled tuk-tuks would be much appreciated).

Cuckoo Hostel is very highly rated thanks to its great location and friendly staff. The shared kitchen and tours organised by the hostel are also a great way to bring guests together.

Gili Meno Eco Hostel – Gili Meno, Indonesia

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Eco-friendly compost toilets
  • Bamboo showers and bamboo rooms
  • Dry cleaning services
eco hostel indonesia gili meno
A hostel made from bamboo – peak sustainability. | source: Gili Meno Eco Hostel

You mean I can have beachfront views WITHOUT without the moral anxiety of staying somewhere toxic to the environment? Sign me up!

Gili Meno Eco Hostel is designed to flow in harmony with the surrounding nature, so it’s no wonder they’ve taken strides to provide eco-friendly accommodation.  Staying in the Gili Islands is already an eco-friendly experience – no motor transportation is allowed on the islands!

The motto of the hostel is “Built by travellers, for travellers”. The hostel does a great job bringing its guests together through jam nights by the campfire, weekly pizza dinners, and early-morning snorkelling sessions.

Mundo Nuevo Eco Lodge – Minca, Colombia

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Vegetable gardens
  • Teaches travellers how to travel eco-friendly
  • Aims to become fully self-sustainable in terms of food, water supply, and energy
best green hostels in colombia mundo nuevo eco lodge
The adorable guests you’ll meet here… | source: Mundo Nuevo Eco Lodge

Mundo Nuevo Eco Lodge started as a sustainability project. This farm-hostel aims to teach its guests about organic farming, sustainability, and indigenous culture in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

But on top of their fierce dedication to sustainability and education, the eco backpackers hostel has taken concrete steps towards reducing their overall environmental impact. They build their furniture out of fallen trees in the area and have eco-friendly soap and septic compost tanks.

The hostel aims to become a kind of a sustainability museum that educates people from all over the world on how to reduce their environmental impact, but it is also an incredibly chilled-out, peaceful place to stay for a few nights. This is the perfect setting to save the planet: if the beautiful views of the surrounding nature and the many hikes it provides can’t convince you to care about nature, nothing will.

El Rio Hostel – Santa Marta, Colombia

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Multiple recycling points and no disposable plastics
  • No chemicals used for water treatment
  • Composting system
eco-friendly hostel el rio - colombia
Seriously, is this paradise? | source: El Rio Hostel

This eco-friendly hostel is involved with animal protection programmes and the battle against deforestation in the area. El Rio Hostel also aims to take care of the community around it, and they have provided recycling bins for the nearby schools. Plus their straw-roof huts are super cute! (Who said you can’t save the world AND get great Instagram shots at the same time?)

Located near the popular backpacker hub and other hostels in Santa Marta, this jungle-shaded hostel is still a great party place and offers tons of fun activities for their guests like ping pong, volleyball, surfboard rentals, yoga and tubing. No wonder so many guests dub it as the best hostel they’ve ever stayed at.

Utopia Tica Sustainable Lodge – Puerto Jiménez, Costa Rica

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • Reusing water, recycling, and composting
  • Using only bio-degradable products
  • Dry compost toilets
green accommodation utopia hostel - costa rica
Save the planet in the morning, chillax in the afternoon. | source: Utopia Tica Sustainable Lodge

Utopia Tica Sustainable Lodge is fully committed to providing an awesome sustainable travel experience. One of their most unique features is their sustainable food project: brekkies and dins are cooked with locally sourced ingredients. PLUS the hostel also offers bulk and package-free food for sale for people wanting to cook their own meals. By collaborating with local sustainable food projects, Utopia Tica supports small farmers.

Costa Rica supplies its electricity nearly entirely through renewable energy – so it makes sense that you might find some eco-friendly hostels there as well. Located in the middle of the Corcovado National Park, on top of green sustainability, actual greenery is right outside the door: from jungle treks to waterfalls, it’s the perfect environment to inspire sustainable mindsets.

Nomadas Ecohostel – Merida, Mexico

Top Eco-Friendly Features:

  • 50% of their energy is produced by solar panels
  • Modern AC units help conserve energy
  • Serving local produce from small farms and participating in local animal rescue
Nomadas - Merida best hostels in Mexico
Peaceful living at Nomadas Ecohostel

Nomadas Ecohostel knows that it’s the small acts that help create a real sustainable hostel: on top of using solar power, they are also involved with several animal protection and rescue initiatives. They support recycling and have made the hostel into a relaxing green space. Nomadas Ecohostel also has a water tank for its guests to help them avoid buying plastic bottles.

Many guests seem to think it’s one of the best hostels in Mexico, and it’s no wonder! The hostel is in the perfect location, has a relaxing pool, and enforces quiet hours. Sleep soundly, save the planet, and get up in time to see the sunrise to boot!

Ready, Set, Go Green – Adventure Awaits!

So there you have it – a collection of awesome hostels that are saving the planet one little act of environmental kindness at a time! Cheap eco-hostels might still be few and far between but you, my dear traveller, hold enormous power in your little paws.

By promoting and supporting eco-hostels, us backpackers can surely convince all hostels worldwide that it’s in the best interest for their business to add a recycling station to the common room and rescue a couple of mangy pups. So pack up your hostel essentials, strap on your sandals, and go seduce Mother Nature, one eco-friendly stay at a time.

The owner of a sustainable hostel in Sri Lanka enjoys a rainbow over breakfast
Mama knows best. | Photo: @themanwiththetinyguitar

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