Puerto Viejo: What was once a sleepy fishing village is now one of the hippest beachfront escapes on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Think beaches, surf breaks and some pretty crazy nightlife if you want it!
It’s not just the coastline however, even though the golden beaches are beautiful and the snorkelling here is prime. Stroll just a few minutes from town and you’re practically in the jungle. How much more chill can you get?
Puerto Viejo is definitely on the backpackers’ radar by now and there are plenty of affordable hostels to choose from, but it’s sometimes difficult to tell the vibe of a hostel until it’s too late.
Don’t sweat it! We have it sorted with this epic guide to the very best backpackers hostels to stay in Puerto Viejo, making sure you find the place that suits you best!
Beaches, parties, and beach parties, this visit-now coast is yours for the taking!
Table of Contents
Quick answer: The Best Hostels in Puerto Viejo
- Best Overall Hostel in Puerto Viejo – Selina Puerto Viejo
- Best Party Hostel in Puerto Viejo – Lazy Loft
- Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Puerto Viejo – La Ruka Hostel
- Best Cheap Hostel in Puerto Viejo – Madre Selva
- Best Hostel for Couples in Puerto Viejo – Pagalu Hostel
- Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Puerto Viejo – Hostel Kinkaju
- Best Hostel with a Private Room in Puerto Viejo – Playa 506
Best Hostels in Puerto Viejo
Best Overall Hostel in Puerto Viejo – Selina Puerto Viejo
- Swimming Pool
- Shared Kitchen
Selina is a great spot to spend your time in Puerto Viejo. For a lot of reasons, too. It’s the amazingly helpful staff (always very attentive), the clean, bright and airy dorm rooms, and some pretty sleek private rooms on offer that make this the best hostel in Puerto Viejo.
There’s tons more of amenities besides that though. You’ll find a swimming pool with a big outdoor area to chill out in and get to know everyone else staying here, and it’s even got a coworking space for all you remote workers out there. The beach, just steps away, is a favourite of snorkellers, surfers and beach bums alike who love this slice of paradise.
Best Party Hostel in Puerto Viejo – Lazy Loft
- Beachfront Location
- Drinking Games
Set right on the beach itself, Lazy Loft is literally set right above one of the biggest, hard-partying bars in the area: the Lazy Mon Beach Bar. This means you’ll be basically in the action, with all the crazy drinks deals and dancing on the sand you could ever wish for.
This top party hostel in Puerto Viejo is the kind of place where you’re going to meet a ton of new people, get to sip on cocktails pretty much all night, and dance the night away to some awesome music (till 3am on the weekends). If you were thinking of getting any sleep… maybe consider booking somewhere else! This is for party people only.
Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Puerto Viejo – La Ruka Hostel
- Bike Rental
- Pool Table
- Shared Kitchen
Want to meet people in Puerto Viejo? Then this hostel is where it’s at. These guys have the motto of “Your home away from home” and it’s pretty much true – except with a beach and great weather. It’s an awesome place with great staff who go that extra mile to make you feel welcome at their hostel.
The social vibe here is strong, which is why it’s our top pick for the best hostel in Puerto Viejo for solo travellers. Location-wise, you’re close enough to town for it to be easy to get to, but there’s lots of space and nature on the doorstep – and a beaut of a garden. Basically this Puerto Viejo backpackers hostel is an amazing place to stay that attracts a decent group of people. You won’t feel homesick here.
Best Cheap Hostel in Puerto Viejo – Madre Selva
- Luggage Storage
- Laundry Facilities
Save up your dollars and bunk up at the best cheap hostel in Puerto Viejo: Madre Selva. But it isn’t just cheap. This awesome Puerto Viejo backpackers hostel is in an awesome location, surrounded by jungle, and has some super nice owners who create a relaxing atmosphere. This one’s a bit of a tranquil jungle paradise.
It comes complete with spacious dorms, with plenty of room for all your stuff, as well as good security lockers and a lush garden, where you can enjoy the dinners you’ve rustled up for yourself in the fully equipped kitchen. A place to lose yourself and chill the heck out, we say.
Best Hostel for Couples in Puerto Viejo – Pagalu Hostel
- Book Exchange
- Outdoor Terrace
- Shared Kitchen
With its warm and welcoming atmosphere, and in a great location in walking distance to the beach and all the excitement of the town, Pagalu is easily the best hostel for couples in Puerto Viejo. There’s the perfect balance of comfort and chill for lovebirds in this traditional style house, whilst there’s a world to explore just on the doorstep.
The house itself is pretty cool. There’s an open, indoors-outdoors style kitchen where you can cook meals together, a patio surrounded by trees, and the choice of a dorm or a private room. Away from the noise of the bars of the town, you’ll love your stay together here.
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Puerto Viejo – Hostel Kinkaju
- Bike Hire
- Outdoor Terrace
Staying at Hostel Kinkaju means you get somewhere super chill to get some work done; it’s got a low-key, welcoming atmosphere meaning you’ll be able to just slot right in. It may not have the most polished interiors, but what it does have is good feels and views of nature.
There’s nothing quite like being able to get in the zone with a bit of work to a jungle backdrop – or typing a few emails from the ultimate chill of a hammock. We’re definitely into this Puerto Viejo backpackers hostel. As a bonus, the owners are a mellow bunch you’ll inspire you to relax after some intense typing.
For inspiration on what to do after you finish work, check out this article on the best things to do in Puerto Viejo.
Best Hostel with a Private Room in Puerto Viejo – Playa 506
- Beachfront Location
If you’re looking for somewhere that is definitively polished, we reckon Playa 506 is the choice for you. The private rooms here are fresh, with natural wood floors and high ceilings for just a hint of traditional flavoured luxury. The dorms are pretty dang nice too, to be fair.
Location? Well, it couldn’t be better: this top hostel with a private room in Puerto Viejo is right on the beach. Being situated here calls for cocktail lunches on the beach, catching some rays, and then more drinks at sunset. There’s even a buffet breakfast served up every morning and we’re all about that.
More Best Hostels in Puerto Viejo
- Central Location
- Bike Hire
Set in the middle of town, staying at Bikini Hostel means you’ll be literally right next door to bars and shops – all these modern conveniences and amenities right at your fingertips is pretty handy. There’s also a communal kitchen at this Puerto Viejo backpackers hostel, as well as a garden and other chilled spots to hang out in.
If you feel like being amongst the best nightlife in Puerto Viejo, Bikini Hostel is the place for you. Even back at the hostel, there’s a pretty nice social buzz going on here that’ll suit chatty solo travellers. It may not be that polished, but it does what it does well.
- Outdoor Terrace
- Communal Kitchen
Another hostel located in the centre of town, this one is particularly good because it’s literally just 150 metres to the bus stop. Great for onward journeys – or for arriving. It’s never fun to traipse around a new town with your backpack, nope, not at all.
It’s not just about the location though. One of the best perks about this top hostel in Puerto Viejo is being able to wake up to a fresh cup of free coffee: a great wake up call. You can enjoy movie nights, rustle up a meal for yourself in the kitchen, or simply kick back in the garden and laze away your days. It’s a great spot for that kind of thing.
Oh, and it’s got a bar – which is always fun!
- Airport Transfers
- Communal Kitchen
As you might be able to tell from the name, this is a small hostel with a friendly vibe. Decorated with tons of bamboo and other natural fabrics, and with great music being played and nice people to chat to, it’s got to be one of the coolest hostels in Puerto Viejo. There’s even a cafe to chill in!
The location, just tucked away from the main street, gives you the best of both worlds: quiet, but close enough to all the madness you could desire. Everything here is very clean and well looked after, the owners are friendly, and the communal kitchen here is handy to cook up a few snacks to keep costs low.
What to Pack for your Puerto Viejo Hostel
Pants, socks, underwear… Here are some other items you might not have thought to pack.
1. Headphone Splitter: Being stuck on a bus or plane with only one phone that has good music or shows downloaded can be pretty annoying if your travel buddy wants to share headphones. With this Headphone Splitter, you won’t have to listen with only one ear anymore. Your friend can plug in their headphones at the same time, so both of you are entertained (on both ears!).
2. Sea to Summit Travel Soap: Soap can be very useful on long travels, but it’s hard to carry around. It might get taken off you at the airport or leak in your backpack. This Sea to Summit Travel Soap is the perfect solution for every backpacker with a thought for hygiene. The dry soap is super handy, and it definitely won’t leak (there’s nothing to leak). One box contains 50 leaves of soap, making sure that you’ll be clean, even on longer adventures.
3. Padlock: Unless the thief literally spends hours to figure out the code (he won’t), this three-digit padlock is going to keep your stuff safe. It’s great for keeping the zipper of your backpack secured or your locker properly closed. This basic and very flexible padlock saves you from having your essentials stolen. Definitely a must-have for every backpacker!
4. TRTL Travel Pillow: Long flights and bus rides are quite uncomfortable (most obvious statement of the day). Most travel pillows… Well, you know how they are. TRTL travel pillow is different. I mean, look at it! It’ll cuddle you to sleep every ride and it does a pretty damn good job of supporting your neck so you don’t get that stiffness or legendary popping when you stir.
5. Active Roots Microfiber Towel: Having your own towel on your travels is a game changer. The Active Roots Microfiber Towel is perfect for travellers who are looking for a lightweight, quick-drying and extremely soft option. The antibacterial material is super water-absorbent and resists odor buildup because of its antimicrobial material. Ain’t technology cool?
6. Active Roots Toiletry Bag: Your toothpaste is lost in the depths of your backpack again? You won’t have this problem with the Active Roots Toiletry bag. The bag is made from a durable, water-resistant material, which can be a lifesaver on long travels. Super cool bonus: for every purchase, the company donates to an environmentally-friendly charity – it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
You can’t get much better of a beach vacay spot than Puerto Viejo. With mass tourism not properly arrived yet, and still a destination with more backpacker vibes than tourist traps, it’s a super chill and relaxing spot… where you can party if you want.
There’s definitely nightlife going on at Puerto Viejo. But if you’re not a party animal, don’t worry about it. There’s some prime surfing to be done here, amazing marine life just off shore, and plenty to explore inland as well. Or just swing in a hammock in a jungle garden all day!
We totally get it if there’s still too much choice on offer for you, so we’ll make it easier and narrow it down for you. For the best overall hostel in Puerto Viejo, with a balance of location, vibe and everything else, Selina Puerto Viejo is number one in this town.
Now all you need to do is pack a swimsuit, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent: Puerto Viejo awaits!
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best 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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Need More Inspiration?
- Backpacking Costa Rica – Maps, Travel Tips, Itineraries, and Things to Do
- 19 AMAZING Hostels in Costa Rica
- Where to Stay in Costa Rica
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Noodle addict. City dweller. Aaron Radcliffe is the marketing ninja for The Broke Backpacker, founder of Nomads Nation and Co-Founder of Ditch Your Desk.