Every traveler with even the most limited interest in scuba diving has heard of the legendary reefs off of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Perfect turquoise Caribbean waters and palm tree lined beaches? Sounds like a cliche, but that is exactly what Playa del Carmen looks like. Oh, and with a few mega resorts and dance clubs mixed in there.

Whilst Playa del Carmen is anything but the sleepy Mexican beach town it once was, for most backpackers traveling in the Yucatan Peninsula, it is a must visit.

Playa Del Carmen has grown so much over the last two decades that there are a seemingly endless number of hostels and accommodation options here.

That is exactly why I wrote this guide to the best hostels in Playa del Carmen for 2020.

The purpose of this guide is to separate the haves from the have-nots: I have organized each hostel on my list into categories, so you can easily book the right spot for yourself.

Navigating the deep dark ocean of hostels and hotels in Playa del Carmen is a bit like scrolling through tinder; there might be some attractive options but you never know really what you’re in for. That is until now…

This hotel guide answers all of the most important questions and sets the record straight about which places are clearly the best hostels in Playa del Carmen. Period.

Let’s get right to it…

Quick Answer: The Best Hostels in Playa del Carmen

Best Hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Welcome to my no-stress guide to the best hostels in Playa del Carmen

The 15 Best Hostels in Playa del Carmen

We’ve made it pretty clear that Playa del Carmen is an awesome place for backpackers. However, if you don’t plan your trip beforehand, you might get a bit overwhelmed with all the options.

Find out what you want to explore and decide where you want to stay in Playa del Carmen accordingly. Your feet will thank you, as well as your wallet – you don’t want to end up miles away from your preferred hotspots simply because you haven’t done your research.

Overall Best Hostel in Playa del Carmen – The Yak

The Yak best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
The Yak ticks all of the boxes I look for in a great hostel and is the clear winner for the best hostel in Playa del Carmen. Details below…
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Cafe & Bar
  • BBQ

Why ‘The Yak’? We don’t know. It’s a weird name, but despite that it’s P much the overall best hostel in Playa del Carmen. Combine a relaxed, social atmosphere with super helpful staff, then add a cool layout for the hostel, some hip decor and furnishings, plus a chill rooftop area, and then activities like mojito-making lessons and movie nights, and finally garnish with bright, airy dorms, self-contained private rooms and TWO communal kitchens – and in the end you have yourself a pretty sick place to stay in Playa del Carmen. The best hostel in Playa del Carmen 2020 also comes with a free breakfast OF COURSE. Cleanliness also a plus.

Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in Playa del Carmen – Sayab Hostel

Sayab Hostel best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
If you’re looking to make some friends, head to the pool and vibe out at Sayab Hostel : the best hostel for solo travelers in Playa del Carmen.
  • $$
  • BBQ
  • Bar
  • Swimming Pool

The common areas at Sayab Hostel – which look more like something from a luxury villa TBH – are great for meeting people and making friends and all that, plus there’s a pool which somehow is always like an icebreaker, know what we mean? Somehow it just always is. So we’d say it’s the best hostel for solo travellers in Playa del Carmen: it’s easy to make friends, it’s near the main strip, the staff are decent. It’s all good here if you’re on your own, we’d say. Plus the rooms and dorms are pretty stylish in that minimal-industrial sorta way, which always floats our boat.

Best Cheap Hostel in Playa del Carmen #1 – Kaban 44 Hostel

Kaban 44 Hostel best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
For how hip and stylish this place I am kind of amazed at their low prices: Kaban 44 Hostel is the best cheap hostel in Playa del Carmen. Take notice.
  • $
  • No Curfew
  • 24-Hour Reception
  • Hot Tub

The philosophy of the stylish Kaban 44 is one that we can get behind TBH: since Playa del Carmen has enough bars for you to party in, this isn’t a party hostel. Makes sense to us. As such you’ll find a chill hostel here, with super friendly staff to boot, which is a welcome break from the obligatory party atmosphere of hostels that happen to be located in a party-based town. You know? Aaanyway, its also the best cheap hostel in Playa del Carmen – this place wins price-wise. Like, really wins. It’s more than half the price of some other places, seriously.

Best Cheap Hostel in Playa del Carmen #2 – Hostel Rio Playa

HOSTEL RIO PLAYA best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
HOSTEL RIO PLAYA is cheap, clean, and well-located, making it another one of the best cheap hostels in Playa del Carmen.
  • $
  • Bar
  • Free Breakfast
  • Tour Desk

Another cheapie, and seemingly some problem with caps lock, HOSTEL RIO PLAYA is a decent option for a Playa del Carmen backpackers hostel. It’s a block away from the bars and clubs of 5th Avenue, and 2 blocks from the beach, so the location is good. On the downside, it’s basically above a cantina that doesn’t stop poppin till well past midnight. Win some, lose some. The staff, on the other hand, are friendly, funny and helpful, with info about what to do in town, the best spots for snorkelling, and things like that. Overall, a good pick for un-picky backpackers.

Best Cheap Hostel in Playa del Carmen #3 – Hot Spot Hostel

Hot Spot Hostel best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Maybe a bit basic, but Hot Spot Hostel is budget-friendly and one of the best cheap hostels in Playa del Carmen.
  • $
  • Late Check-Out
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bar & Cafe

A pretty solid option for a budget hostel in Playa del Carmen, Hot Spot Hostel has a very good location… for both bars and beach. So that’s perf really, we guess. Inside it’s… a little basic. Not the coolest hostel in Playa del Carmen, but definitely decent. The private rooms can be a little noisy here, but given the location, it makes sense really. As long as you don’t come here expecting luxury, you’ll be fine. Overall, this is a great option if you’re backpacking and fancy sticking around for a few days. Basic but functional and with nice enough staff.

Best Hostel for Couples in Playa del Carmen – Excel Sense

Excel Sense best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Want to party but not sleep IN the party? Excel Sense is a healthy distance away from the craziness, making it the best hostel for couples in Playa del Carmen.
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bicycle Hire
  • 24-Hour Reception

Given that this place is totally a party town full of bars and clubs, we’ve mercifully selected something away from the madness as the best hostel for couples in Playa del Carmen. And not only is it about a 15-20 min walk from the main street in town, it’s also in a gated community. So it’s pretty safe and we like that. Other than the location the private rooms at this chill Playa del Carmen backpackers hostel are clean and tidy, the WiFi signal is STRONG, and there’s a rooftop bar and a little pool as well. So as a couple you can party in town, then come back to your own slice of seclusion.

Best Party Hostel in Playa del Carmen – Hostal MX

Hostal MX best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Hostal MX is the best party hostel in Playa del Carmen. For those who love to get down, you will certainly get your money’s worth here…You’ve been warned.
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Hot Tub
  • 24-Hour Reception

For a place that’s almost (almost) solely about partying, where do you go for the best party hostel in Playa del Carmen? Answer: Hostal MX. Not only does it have a party vibe at the hostel itself (we’re talking loud music till the early hours, so BE PREPARED), but it’s also right in the thick of the action if you wanna experience that side of Playa del Carmen. With that said, it’s not like, completely mental, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it would be given its location. But it stays relatively chill in the daytime with a super nice jungle garden area to chill in. The decor’s all nice and rustic, things are generally clean. S’all good.

Best Hostel with a Private Room in Playa del Carmen – Selina Playa Del Carmen

Selina Playa Del Carmen best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Selina is an awesome little spot if your into privacy, beauty, and cleanliness: it has my vote for the best hostel with a private room in Playa del Carmen.
  • $$$
  • Swimming Pool
  • Air Conditioning
  • Bar

Oooo! V nice private rooms here. The beds, the art, the decor in general, all pretty cool and design-y and when it comes to the best hostel with a private room in Playa del Carmen, we’d expect these things. So we’re happy about that. The private rooms are also cleaned daily – this includes towels, also. And to add to the convenience and casual cool of the rooms there’s a good pool at this top hostel in Playa del Carmen, a pretty sick little bar (and bar area) – plus the location is pretty much where you wanna be: close to everything.

Things DO go missing sometimes…

lock iconPsst! Heading to a hostel? Don’t forget to pack a padlock! It’s well worth having one so you can secure your locker and protect your stuff!

More Best Hostels in Playa del Carmen

Not happy with the hostel options yet? Don’t worry, we’ve got even more of the best hostels in Playa del Carmen coming your way.

Tres Mundos Hostel

Tres Mundos Hostel best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Tres Mundos Hostel is another great budget backpackers option…
  • $
  • Cafe
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bicycle Hire

Cheap and basic – but at the end of the day packed with colour and character, and with friendly staff as an added bonus. That’s pretty much how we’d describe this recommended hostel in Playa del Carmen. It’s deffo on the cheaper end of things compared to other hostels in town, which is great if you’re watching what you spend. There’s no bar here, which is a plus or a minus depending on how you look at it (plenty of bars in town tho right), but at this budget hostel in Playa del Carmen they serve some amazing food. Seriously, that burrito…

Hostel 3B

Hostel 3B best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Hostel 3B has the reputation of being a wild place. If the previous party hostel was too mild for you, you better check this place out.
  • $$
  • 24-Hour Reception (And Music)
  • Bar
  • Free Breakfast

Dios mio… this place is pretty mental. We know people like to party but wow. It’s not the best party hostel because we think it’s, hmm, TOO much, maybe. Plus it has a no pop/commercial/reggaeton after 9:30pm policy, which just astounds us; ‘underground electronic’ only. What about Thriller? Jeez… But if you wanna go completely mad with a lot of other people who wanna go completely mad, you’ll find the opportunity to do so at Hostel 3B. And it’s a recommended hostel in Playa del Carmen for its infamous Sunday parties (where sort-of-known DJs play). Don’t expect much sleep though.

Lobo Del Mar Hostel

Lobo Del Mar Hostel best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Lobo Del Mar Hostel is another fine choice if you’re into social atmosphere, comfy beds, and the occasional rowdy crowd.
  • $$
  • Rooftop Bar
  • Swimming Pool
  • Free Breakfast

One hour of free drinks EVERY DAY from 8pm to 9pm. That’s just something we thought we’d throw out there at the start so you know what kinda place this youth hostel in Playa del Carmen is. It’s sociable and lively, as are many hostels around here, but it’s also possibly the coolest hostel in Playa del Carmen – looks like it’s been newly done and the dorm bunks are like, all metal-frame and concrete contraptions (plus the beds are doubles). It does look pretty cool, we must say. And on top of that, it’s pretty clean too. Couple with rooftop bar and pool – plus closeness to both beach and 5th Avenue Playa Del Carmen nightlife – for optimum fun.

Las Hijas Hostel

Las Hijas Hostel best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Las Hijas Hostel might be the best chill hostel in Playa del Carmen.
  • $$
  • Bar & Restaurant
  • Swimming Pool
  • Free Breakfast

If quiet is what you’re after, well, stay here. Some might complain that Las Hijas is too far out from where all the action is for them, but others might prefer this out-the-loop location and the chilled vibes it encourages. Because you won’t find anywhere this quiet in the centre of town, that’s for sure. So we’d say it’s definitely a recommended hostel in Playa del Carmen if you want a bit of peace and tranquillity while you’re passing through this party town. It has a rooftop bar for meetin ‘n’ greetin, which serves well-priced drinks and excellent seafood – and that free breakfast is definitely a plus, wow.

Hostel Che Playa

Hostel Che Playa best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Party animals take notice: Hostel Che Playa is another one of the best party hostels in Playa del Carmen.
  • $
  • Bicycle Hire
  • Nightly Activities
  • Bar & Cafe

Hey, it’s ANOTHER party hostel. But this one’s pretty good, definitely a top hostel in Playa del Carmen – aside from (or because of) its reputation as a place to party. The rooms are basic but bright and clean, plus it’s got a great atmosphere, friendly staff, and a ton of different activities going on every night, from sushi night and pizza nights, to BBQs and taco parties, as well as yoga and salsa classes – plus free tours. There’s a lot to do here. And whaddya know? It’s a bargain, too. So it’s a very solid choice for a budget hostel in Playa del Carmen.

Hostel La Isla Playa Del Carmen

Hostel La Isla Playa Del Carmen best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Beach front is always a plus. Hostel La Isla Playa del Carmen is a fine choice for location and comfort.
  • $$
  • Beach
  • 24-Hour Reception
  • Self Catering Facilities

This Playa del Carmen backpackers hostel is located right on the beach, so if beach living is your priority then Hostel La Isla Playa del Carmen would be a pretty good choice. But what else has it got apart from location? Well, it’s quiet, since it’s set away from the main strip and all of the top sights in town – this will suit some people, but if you’re after a party it ain’t here. There’s a huge terrace that looks out over the sea which is pretty much a perf view in our opinion. There are hammocks to chill in, too. The dorms are decent, the staff are friendly, good showers. Their breakfast ain’t all that though.

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Popul Vuh

Popul Vuh best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
Popul Vuh is one of the best hostels in Playa del Carmen on the beach that doesn’t regularly have crazy parties, so it is chill.
  • $$$
  • Beach
  • Tour Desk
  • Bar & Restauarant

Just a few steps from the beach and in walking distance of the bars and shops of Playa del Carmen’s centre, Popul Vuh is another peachy beachy recommended hostel in Playa del Carmen that’s ideal for anyone looking for an actual chill time and not a party time. There’s an outdoor kitchen for your cooking needs, hammocks for your chilling needs, beach for your beaching needs, clean but basic private rooms for your sleeping needs, friendly staff for your welcoming-vibes needs, and it’s near the bus stop for your travel needs. They say they do their best to keep this a quiet place and, well, it’s working – thankfully. Bit pricey though.

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What to Pack for your Playa Del Carmen Hostel

We don’t often travel without these essentials.

Active Roots Water Bottle

1. Active Roots Water Bottle: Hostels are increasingly meeting backpackers’ demands for potable (drinkable) water. Now is better than ever to start traveling with a reusable water bottle! Aside from cutting down single-use plastic, The Active Roots stainless steel water bottle will also keep your favorite beverage hot or cold all day long and it’s sized perfectly to fit an entire bottle of wine. ‘Nuff said.


2. Power Bank: Probably one of the most important travel accessories – a decent power bank. Charging your phone up to 5 times in a row, the Anker Power Bank is a true lifesaver on long adventures or bus rides. Slick looking, handy and not too big, it easily fits in even the smallest travel bag or your pocket. Charge 2 devices at the same time with the double USB port.

best toiletry bag for one bag travel

3. Active Roots Toiletry Bag: Keep your bath-and-beauty items organized and in the right place with this water-resistant bag. With large compartments, mesh and enclosed clear sections, you can fit everything you might need inside. Hang it up or let it stand on its own – this bag is a must-have for dorm-lifers.

Universal Adapter

4. Universal Travel Adapter: Not every country has the same electrical plug style, so carry along a universal travel adapter. You’ll want one that covers varying voltage levels, has protection from power surges, a fried laptop is not fun, and enough ports so you don’t have to spend all day individually charging your devices.

Luggage Travel Lock

5. Padlock: Theft happens in hostels, so keep a padlock to clip on your locker. This padlock can also double to keep your pack shut while in-transit. No need for keys (which can easily be lost or stolen too), you just have to remember a three-digit number to unlock your travel essentials.

Travel Pocket Soaps

6. Sea to Summit Travel Soap: When dirtbagging around the globe, hygiene sometimes comes a bit short. This Sea to Summit Travel Soap can wash your hands, clothes or anything else, wherever you are. The soap strips are dry and super thin but dissolve in contact with water, so you can even take it easily through security in a carry-on.

Why you should travel to Playa del Carmen

There you have it amigos: this is the end of the road for my best hostels in Playa del Carmen 2020 list.

Playa del Carmen can be a pretty wild place, especially with so many dang hostel options. You are now hip to all of the best hostels in Playa del Carmen! Hopefully, after reading this guide you are now feeling confident to book the spot that caught your eye.

Where you lay your head matters. The last things I wish for any traveler is to find themselves at a anything-but-awesome-hostel, especially when there are so many great ones on hand.

Remember, Playa del Carmen is a super popular spot for backpackers. If you know you’re coming to town for some diving or partying, you should always book ahead to ensure you can score your top hostel pick.

All of the best hostels in Playa del Carmen are now at your finger tips. The choice of where to book is now in your hands!

Still feeling unsure? Too many sick hostels to choose from? I get that…

When in doubt, I recommend just booking my top pick for the best hostel in Playa del Carmen: The Yak. Happy travels guys!

The Yak best hostels in Playa Del Carmen
As my top hostel pick in Playa del Carmen for 2020, The Yak is sure to be a win…

Travel Safety Tips for Playa del Carmen

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! Playa del Carmen is generally safe, but you’ll never know what could happen. We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

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More Epic Hostels in Mexico and Central America

Hopefully by now you’ve found the perfect hostel for your upcoming trip to Playa del Carmen.

Planning an epic trip all across Mexico or even Central America itself?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

For more cool hostel guides around Central America, check out:

Over to you

By now I hope our epic guide to the best hostels in Playa del Carmen has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure!

If you think we’ve missed anything or have any further thoughts, hit us up in the comments!

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