There are too many damn hostels around the world! After devouring an entire thesis worth of reviews, recommendations, listings, and photos of backpackers doing yoga, that’s the only logical conclusion I could reach. Well, that and this bangin’ list of the best hostels in the world!
Seriously—no stone was left unturned in the search for these worldwide hostel starlets. Online, offline, the TBB archives, the TBB team, and even my personal traveller network: I went deep.
Some of the entries on this list come from my own personal experience, of course, but plenty don’t. Let’s be honest—not even the most experienced backpacking vagabond could possibly stay at all of the world’s best hostels. If they said they did, they’re lying.
That’s why I’m presenting to you the most honest list of the top hostels in the world on the interweb. Party hostels, unique hostels, beach hostels, and hostels hiding at the furthest corners of the planet, it’s all here. From real travellers to real travellers via a real traveller (me), it’s time to go hostelling around the world!
- Defining the “Best” in “Best Hostels in the World”
- The Best Hostels in Europe
- The Best Hostels in Southeast Asia
- The Best Hostels in Asia
- The Best Hostels in Oceania
- Best Hostels in North America
- Best Hostels in Central America
- The Best Hostels in South America
- The Best Hostels in Africa
- Is it Time to Go Hostelling Around the World?
Defining the “Best” in “Best Hostels in the World”
A good hostel is a fond memory. It’s a place you refer a traveller to at the next nearby destination you arrive in. But a ‘best hostel’ is a place you refer travellers to even once you’ve well-and-truly moved on abroad.
“Oh, dude, you’re going to Sri Lanka? I just know the most amazing hostel—the best I’ve ever stayed at. You have to go!”
The best hostels in the world stick with you: they’re sticky places. You check-in for a couple of days, and then you find yourself extending. Travel plans (if you had any) go out the window, and you’ll have to recalibrate for this unexpected gem.
A ‘best hostel’ slows you down in the best possible way. Usually, it’s because you quickly found a crew of travel buddies; awesome hostels draw in awesome people. That’s the natural order of things.
But, ultimately, anything can make the best hostels… as long as you vibe with it. Insane throwdowns, unbeatable brews from the espresso machine, a comfy-ass bed, staff that make you feel like family, or even just the perfect sky to watch.
As long as it feels like home. As long as you don’t want to leave.
The Best Hostels in Europe
Europe has a mad hostelling scene! Long regarded as one of the two major regions in the world for baby’s first backpacking adventure, Europe’s backpacker pads are some of the nicest hostels in the world for the proverbial nomadic newbie.
Tight facilities, high bed turnover, and extra attention to safety and sanitary practices are just some of the standards to expect in Europe along with endless trimmings.
While there are also certainly independent and more family-style guesthouse-hostels, a lot of widespread hostel chains dominate Europe’s major destinations.
Of course, Europe is big, and the standard venture hostelling through the Western locales is always going to present a much different experience to the best hostels in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and beyond. Things get cheaper and cheekier, so you know I just gotta throw a tasty spread at you!
Best Hostel in Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Flying Pig Beach
- The best chain of party hostels in Amsterdam.
- Three different offerings; three different flavours.
- Beach chills between the parties!
The truly excellent Flying Pig hostel chain in Amsterdam is the premier place to stay in Europe’s hedonistic party capital. And, yes, they are most certainly party hostels!
The offerings are:
- Flying Pig Downtown Hostel as the biggest and, thus, most likely to go bonkers.
- Flying Pig Uptown Hostel is the smaller and homier choice.
- Flying Pig Beach Hostel is outta town and right by the beach! With shuttle service to and from the city centre, it’s the choice of hostel for keeping your sleeping and binge substance consumption separate.
They all cater to a different niche while still serving the overall purpose that most backpacker hostels in Amsterdam do—getting absolutely, royally, downright fucked. The standards are high and vibe always good at all three hostels meaning that the only real choice is which one appeals to you.
Personally, I’d book at Flying Pig Beach Hostel. I got the recommendation from a mate who got stuck there for a while, and she still considers it one of her favourite hostels around the world to date!
Best Hostel in Budapest, Hungary – Grandio Party Hostel
- Long live punk!
- There’s an “anal room”…
- Total anarchy.
Oh, man, this city is funkin’ insane and if every recommendation for hostels in Budapest that I’ve ever received is grounds to go by, then it’s sole purpose is to destroy the livers of backpackers worldwide!
Grandio Party Hostel is easily one of the craziest hostels in the world, and they don’t hide it. It’s a grunge palace—there are no other words for it. It’s seedy, it’s dirty, it’s a surefire downward spiral into alcoholism, and that’s why it’s so damn special!
Expect insanity of the finest degree: it’s a boutique squat where you sleep, where you land and there’s a halfway decent chance that when you wake up, someone will be having a root beside your head. Everyone is welcome.
Personally, I’d say that it’s one of the world’s best hostels simply for its wholehearted embrace of nihilistic anarchy. If none of this sounds like your jam, then check out Carpe Noctem instead; they’re a very solo-traveller-friendly hostel in Budapest with the grunge turned down several smidgens.
Best Hostel in Timisoara, Romania – Freeborn Hostel
- Family vibes through-and-through.
- Homemade pálinka is served.
- Car rental is available.
I have a dream of travelling to Romania, and part of that stems from my friend’s insistence that I one day stay at Freeborn Hostel. It’s neither a hippy haven, a grunge palace, nor a tightly-wound Western hostel chain: it’s a home.
Raul is the owner-in-question who dishes out shots of pálinka and wipes the floor with guests in Mario Kart (post-pálinka inebriation). He, his mother, and his family go above-and-beyond the call of duty to make this hostel a home (and to make their home a hostel). The additional bonus of being in Romania is that you’re getting about as cheap and off-beat as backpacking in Europe can be.
Something about this is way earthier and more authentic to me than a big fancy hostel could ever be. A man with a dream to create a space and home for travellers tucked away in a city in Western Romania where almost no one goes. You had me at Mario Kart.
Best Hostels in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina – War Hostel
- A truly unique experience.
- And more rewarding than a pub crawl.
- The owners are dedicated to the cause.
Here’s a recommendation from the Broke Backpacker team, and it may just be the most unique hostel in the world! Is it a comfortable stay for the night? Hell no!
For anyone that doesn’t know the sobering history of the Yugoslav Wars and the dissolution of Yugoslavia, this is one of the most poignant homages you will encounter.
It’s a real-life dedication constructed by survivors of the war for backpackers to experience the soundscape, lifestyle, and conditions people were subject to in one of the most barbaric conflicts in modern Western history.
There’s a two-night-minimum stay as it’s the owner’s belief that this is necessary to receive the full level of insight from the experience. Traveller reviews say that it’s neither overwhelmingly dark nor is it tacky. However, it is rewarding, and it is one of the best hostels in the world for what it seeks to (and does) accomplish.
The beds suck, the interior decor is depressing, there’s no WiFi… and that’s the whole point.
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The Best Hostels in Southeast Asia
Number two of the beginner backpacking regions, Southeast Asia also attracts travellers of the young, bright-eyed, and yet-to-be-jaded variety. Parties are endless and really the main focus for people, along with clearing their chakras.
Hostels in Southeast Asia tend to have somewhat more basic amenities and services than their European counterparts, although that largely depends on where you are (eg. Singapore vs. Thailand vs. Laos).
While you generally won’t find the cheapest hostels in the world there anymore (backpacking in Southeast Asia simply isn’t as low-cost as it used to be), you will find some of the best value ones.
You’re also going to find some of the world’s top party hostels complete with extremely low inhibitions. Southeast Asia is the land of the young, dumb, and full of cum.
Best Hostel in Pai, Thailand – The Famous Pai Circus Hostel
- Ample circus shenanigans!
- Learn some new tricks.
- Sweet, sticky Pai.
Mmm, I easily could have filled this list with Thailand’s insane hostels. I considered a party hostel in Koh Phanghan, but this is way cooler!
Pai is a sticky place through and through. People roll in, roll up a doob, and then they forget to roll back out. If you’re a fan of greenery, hippies, and backpacker bubbles, you’ll dig Pai.
And, if you stay at the Pai Circus Hostel, you’ll probably go straight into the mud. It’s a good hostel, albeit not sensational enough to be worthy of being in the top 10 hostels in the world.
BUT it is themed around the circus and flow arts: slackline, sticks, juggling balls, hoops, poi, etc. There are plenty of toys to play with around the pool and in the lush garden as well as heaps of hostel events keeping with the theme (eg. lessons and fire jams).
Maybe I’m biased as an avid flow-er/doofer myself, but it’s a hostel started by circus peeps, and I do know this:
Wherever there are flow-mies, there are…
- Bangin’ tunes
- Good vibes
Prepare to go down the Pai-hole.
Best Hostel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Mad Monkey Phnom Penh
- The most esteemed (and notorious) hostel chain in Southeast Asia.
- The grandaddy of Mad Monkey Hostels.
- Wild days and wilder nights.
If you haven’t heard of Mad Monkey Hostels, then you’ve definitely at least heard a backpacker retell a debauched tale that took place in a Mad Monkey hostel.
One of the best hostel chains in the world and a legend amongst Cambodia’s backpacker hostel scene and Southeast Asia as a whole, Mad Monkey Phnom Penh is the don that started the pehn-phnom-enal madness.
Is Phnom Penh the best Mad Monkey hostel? Na, probably not. There are more top-notch choices in…
…plus more options in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Laos, and even Australia!
However, the infamy all began right here Phnom Penh and, ultimately, you gotta respect your elders. Southeast Asia’s backpacking culture wouldn’t be nearly as notorious as it is if it wasn’t for the lunacy of Mad Monkey Hostels.
Best Hostels in Ninh Binh, Vietnam – Green Mountain Homestay
- Oh, my eyes, it’s too pretty!
- Exceptional hospitality.
- Kickass breakfast with even better coffee to accompany.
Holy hell this place is gobsmacking—easily one of the most beautiful hostels in the world! Just look at it!
Let’s list just exactly what here is the tits:
- Breakfast is on-point.
- Coffee is equally on-point.
- The beds are heavenly.
- The views! (I’ll take the world’s best mountain hostel over the world’s best beach hostel any day.)
- Again… that lushness!
Seriously, I don’t know how this place flew under my radar for so long. It’s been winning a lot of awards lately putting itself ahead of Vietnam’s other amazing hostels, so I suppose you should get your ass over there now before it blows up any more! It’s definitely in a very beautiful area of Vietnam to explore, but’s let be honest…
If you’re staying somewhere this pretty, why ever leave?
Best Hostel in Bali, Indonesia – Tribal Hostel
- Coming soon!
- From the mind of Will Hatton…
- The best fucking hostel the world has ever seen.
This is a plug for the big, bold, and beautiful boss-man himself Will Hatton, and this is also a plug for the oh-so-bright future. It’s not open yet, but when it is, it’s going to blow your (proverbial) balls right off!
What is Tribal Hostel (other than the brainchild and passion project of the world’s most renowned 21st-century swashbuckler)? It’s the up-and-coming world’s best hostel.
It’s the hostel he dreamed of staying at for all those long months on the road. A hostel that seamlessly integrated everything a good hostel should have into one gloriously impossible-to-leave bubble.
A workspace for the digital nomads, a playground for the backpackers, a den for the dirtbags, and a home for every vagrant and windswept traveller that floated in.
Get your golden ticket now (well, not now, but soon) because one day in the not-too-distant-future Tribal Hostel is going to be the most famous hostel in the world! Don’t you wanna say you stayed there before it was cool?
The Best Hostels in Asia
Well, Asia is big! It’s also hella expansive—there really ain’t that many cultural similarities between Japan and Lebanon.
Once you step outta Southeast Asia, the well-denoted backpacking trail kinda evaporates (except, arguably, in parts of South Asia). Some countries have a tight-knit Europe-inspired hostelling scene (eg. Israel), some have next-to-nothing (eg. all of Central Asia), and some places are so cheap that you may as well just haggle a private room (eg. India).
Similarly, the vibe and standards of hostels in Asia vary greatly depending on where you are. However, there are some true hidden gems out there. Asia pulls in some extremely intrepid backpackers of the strangest kind, and the best hostels in the world…?
They pull in the best people.
Best Hostels in Hunza, Pakistan – Rehman Backpackers
- It’s hard to get more off-the-beaten-path.
- True Pakistani hospitality awaits.
- Unreal adventure potential!
This is another sterling review that came in from the Duke Will of Hatton, and it’s something truly special: The House of Rehman Alikhan.
Far, far in the near-northernmost reaches of Pakistan is a hostel (that’s really more of a guesthouse). It’s a simple place with walls, beds, and, somehow, WiFi. If amenities were the deciding factor of the best hostels around the world, Rehman Backpackers wouldn’t get a write-up. However, they’re not.
The owner Rehman—the human-shaped tome of knowledge on all things northern Pakistan—is an old soul of the sincerest nature. Hospitality, warmth, and good spirits are the foundation of his hostel. Everyone who enters is fed so much Pakistani cuisine that leaving through the same teeny-tiny doorway seems an insurmountable task.
Rehman Backpackers is the ideal base for some of the most spectacular hikes in the world: the mountainous upper-reaches of the Karakoram. Truthfully, with his untold wealth of experience, Rehman has become an integral member of the Epic Backpacker Tours team and spearheads many EBT trekking excursions in Pakistan between bouts of opening his heart and home to soulful wanderers. If you’re a million-billion miles off any sense of any backpacking trail at the very top of Pakistan, pop in to say hallo.
Best Hostel in Kathmandu, Nepal – Alobar1000
- Guaranteed dope peeps.
- Guaranteed dope.
- Guaranteed good times.
Alobar1000 is another entry which shows that amenities don’t signify the top hostels worldwide. It certainly ain’t gonna let you down either though!
Things are clean, the showers are hot, and most importantly the staff are friendly. But I can also guarantee you that after a stay at Alobar1000, you’ll walk away with a crew.
Nepal is a country that’s almost magnetic to a certain type of solo traveller; generally, they’re the best kind of crazy. Some of the weirdest and most wonderful normal people that I’ve met on the Roof of the World stayed in Alobar1000 at one point or another.
Imagine it: you step off the plane in Kathmandu, take a taxi straight to Thamel, and check in to Alobar1000. Dump your bag, your shoes, sit down, and 60 seconds later, some scruffy South Asia backpacker is handing you a spliff of the silken Himalayan hash variety.
Oh yeah… you’ll also smoke a monstrous amount of joints at Alobar1000. Boom, Shiva!
Best Hostel in Tokyo, Japan – UNPLAN Shinjuku
- In the heart of Tokyo.
- With the classic Japanese attention to detail.
- Swanky and modern.
Look, pretty much all the hostels in Japan are going to be the nicest hostels in the world, so I wouldn’t stress too much. Counter to the previous two features, this one is all about the amenities!
It’s just a damn sexy hostel! It’s got all the modern trimmings you’d expect from a 21st-century backpacker accommodation smack-bang in the heart of metropolitan Tokyo. Pod-style dorm beds and swanky rooms in a ship run just as tight as any military maritime vessel.
The staff know what’s up, and they keep everything sparkling clean. Between the bar, common areas, and the constant stream of people coming, going, meeting, and greeting, you’ll struggle not to have a kickass time.
Truthfully, I just wanted to throw some of that Japanese finesse that the islands are so famous for at you. This is one of the world’s best youth hostels—modern in every sense—for all the reasons you would expect.
Best Hostel in Nazareth – Fauzi Azar
- That breakfast, man.
- The premises are gorgeous.
- Staff of the cheeky and lovable variety.
Ahh, there’s a whole story here. To summarise, I did a stint working on a review of the Abraham Hostel chain in Israel—one of the best hostel chains in the world and, definitely, in Israel.
Now, while their Tel Aviv and Jerusalem featurettes are certainly impressive, the real standout is the offshoot of their lineup, Fauzi Azar. An exquisite converted-Arab-mansion in the Old Town of Nazareth, you get something there you just can’t get in the hotel-like atmosphere of Tel Aviv’s hipster-and-hummus chaos—personality.
Every millimetre of this hostel’s limestone quarters is dripping in seduction. The staff? They’re equally as likely you charm your pants off with that cheeky Arabian sarcastic glint. Oh, and breakfast…?
The best fucking breakfast I have ever had in a hostel. Period.
If that’s not enough of a reason chalk this up as one of the best hostels in the world, I really dunno what is.
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The Best Hostels in Oceania
Relatively expensive, top-of-the-line, and usually located somewhere very pretty—that about sums ups the hostels in Oceania! The backpacker accommodation options in the Pacific Islands are more touch-and-go, however, the hostels in Australia and New Zealand follow the standard set by Europe. You get plenty of rocking communal facilities and events alongside a lot of structure.
Australia and New Zealand are dream of working holiday destinations for many backpackers worldwide. At their backpacker hostels, you’re going to meet a wide variety of travellers of all styles. If you’re keen on finding work in hostels around the world, the high wages in these countries are certainly delicious too.
Best Hostel in Byron Bay, Australia – Arts Factory Lodge
- Nearly 50 years strong!
- A true institution of hostels worldwide.
- Find your tribe.
Mmm, Byron Bay. Now, whatever quandaries I may have with my hometown, it’s hard to deny its crowning place in Australia’s backpacking scene. And of all the backpacker hostels in Byron Bay, none are more quintessential Byron than the Arts Factory.
This den of thieves and scoundrels has been an institution in both Byron’s and the world hostelling scene since the golden age of Byron’s true hippy era in the 70s. The Arts Factory has been a home for travellers for the truest of yonks, and while dorms and more luxury pads are on offer, the real treat is the community camping.
Van parking and tent camping are available, and the result is a true dirtbag tribe that keeps the feeling of Old Byron alive. Don’t underestimate the reach of this hostel worldwide. I generally meet a traveller who got stuck here at least once a fortnight and even met the ex-resident drug dealer in Nepal. And, yes, in true Arts Factory style, we smoked up together.
Best Hostel in Queenstown, New Zealand – Adventure Queenstown Hostel
- Pimped out kitchen!
- Quiet yet in the heart of everything.
- Perfect for the long-stayers.
This is another of the top-rated hostels in the world—winner of no short number of awards—and it’s certainly the best hostel in Queenstown! That’s why I’m sending you here: for Queenstown.
Queenstown is the biggest backpacker hub of New Zealand and its picturesque tourism and adventure capital. A snow-town in the winter months, an everything-else-town in the summer months, and a party-town all-year-round.
Adventure Queenstown Hostel is the best place to stay for the slow-travellers that like to spend a season here. Decked out with bicycle parking, ski/snowboard storage, and an absolutely insane kitchen decked for cooking all manner of banquets, it’s easy to feel at home here for however long suits. It’s also located away from Queenstown popping bars meaning sleep comes easy between the rad adventures and mad parties.
It’s one of the best hostels in the world located in one of the premier backpacker bubbles of the southern hemisphere. Failing that, I’d just drive an hour up the road to Wanaka. It’s way better.
Best Hostels in North America
Honestly, I thought North America’s hostel scene was kinda wack, and then I realised that I forgot that Mexico classifies as North America. Yay, Mexico!
Canada and the USA’s backpacker hostels are yet to truly embrace the budget accommodation concept of the world hostelling scene. Major cities tend to have more options, but it’s nothing compared to Europe, Oz, and NZ. They definitely still bring the facilities a budget backpacker needs, but they’re way overpriced and travelling by hostel is extremely limited.
However, you’ll still find some of the coolest hostels in the world in Mexico. As the gateway to Central and South America’s avid backpacking culture—and the most culturally vibrant country in North America—things get more adventurous there.
Best Hostel in Montreal, Canada – M Montreal
- Two hot tubs…
- On the roof.
- In the snow!
I realised that while I had plenty of the world’s best hostels featured on this list, I didn’t have a whole lot of large-scale hostels (probably due to my not-so-secret love affair with off-beat and intimate locales). Enter M Montreal.
How does 350+ beds sound? To me, existentially horrifying, but some people dig this scene! A huge rotation of new humans every day to converse and party with along with the supreme furnishings of a hostel of this size and popularity.
A hot tub… no… wait… two hot tubs! On the roof no less! Free computer access, free breakfast, and plenty of security, privacy, and quiet in the dorms. (Seriously, sound-blocking privacy curtains.)
Speaking of dorms, you’re loaded on options for rooms:
- Female-only dorms
- Mixed dorms
- Basic to deluxe private rooms
- Studio spaces
- Basic to deluxe apartments
So, yeah, it has to be said that in hostels of this size, you do lose the ‘find your tribe’ aspect. The trade-off is that you just don’t get it this good at the grunge-grottos. It’s easily one of the best luxury hostels in the world and a heavy-hitter amongst Canada’s backpacker accommodation offerings.
Best Hostel in Denver, Colorado – Ember Hostel
- Boutique as it comes.
- Full-power espresso machine.
- Warm your footsies by the fire.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Colorado because of weed, mountains, and weed. Plus, I’ve met good peeps from there.
So on that note, yup – they’re 420-friendly! I’d also say that they’re another of the best luxury hostels in the world, but that kinda comes with the territory when your premises are a historic mansion with the boutique trimmings to finish.
The hot tub, fireplace, or espresso machine is the spot meet fellow travellers. The dorms are the place to chill with plenty of privacy and comfort in your fancy semi-pod-style bunks. And, for those of us still with jobs and adult responsibilities, there are secluded working spaces too.
Relative to Denver, the location is tops, close to all the Boho stylings of the music and arts hub. It is crazy expensive, but this is honestly more-or-less a flashpackers boutique hostel. Besides, the States still really hasn’t grasped the concept of budget backpacking so much.
Best Hostel in de las Casas, Mexico – Hostal El Nagual
- Lots of volunteering available.
- Draws in a good crowd.
Thank you, Mexico, for being North America’s saving grace for the broke budgeteers of the backpacking arts! This is the type of hostel I love recommending: a basic and cheap pad that becomes a community for the bohemian souls and bleeding hearts that wander in. In case you’re wondering, yes, this was another recommendation from my dirtbag network.
It’s super basic; I really can’t admonish the amenities. That’s not the point though! It’s a brilliant hostel in Mexico that would rather draw in a special kind of traveller rather than Cancun/Tijuana crowd.
Músicas, artistas, y excéntricas gravitate to this place. They also take in a lot of volunteers making it a great option for those working in hostels around the world. And, as any backpacker can tell you, go where the volunteers are, and you’ll find the blessed long-term, solo, and open-hearted travellers.
This is another of the world’s top hostels for travellers who care more about people and the feeling of being a part of a community than they do about privacy curtains and hot tubs.
You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy.
Best Hostels in Central America
Falling somewhere between Southeast Asia’s insanity and Europe’s attention to detail is the remainder of the Americas. Again, it’s a very wide net, but there are a few standard things to expect amongst Central America’s hostels.
Plenty of surf, sun, and nature is the name of the game, and some of the world’s craziest hostels—a full-power party paradise—are to be found backpacking the Central America region. The drugs are also way better quality than in Asia, so you know how bananas that shit is gonna get!
Best Hostel in Boquete, Panama – Bambuda Castle
- It’s a castle!
- With private hobbit-style bungalows.
- And plenty of other royal trimmings.
Oh, snap! Shut it down, boys, it’s a fucking castle: this is the best hostel in the world, life won, list complete! (It’s not; please keep reading.)
Ok, so maybe I got overexcited, but can you blame me? There’s a goddamn rock climbing wall up the castle tower. There are also two hot tubs, which is cool, but still not as cool as Spiderman-ing up a castle wall!
It’s a bit outta town, but that’s alright since they offer a free shuttle service. It also just means you’re surrounded by nature with plenty of hiking and exploration potential.
The hospitality is excellent (as if you were staying in a castle). The facilities are excellent (as if you were staying in a castle). And the feasts are excellent (as if you were staying in a castle). You’ll feel like royalty rather than a smelly backpacker crashing in a hostel in Panama.
ANNND… if you round up enough guests, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you for recreating the Battle of Helm’s Deep!
Best Hostel in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua – Naked Tiger Hostel
- Engaging with the local culture…? What’s that?
- You’ll probably get very drunk.
- And very laid.
You’re looking at one of the best party hostels in the world. The theme? Pool parties and everything that entails! (Mainly booties and booze.)
The view from the pool is undoubtedly divine: a lush 180-degree hilltop panorama of the bay and sunsets (looking west). Happy hour is daily meaning the cheap booze just gets cheaper and the badonkadonk-bods just get more bootylicious!
PLUS, every Sunday is Sunday Funday Pool Crawl! What does that mean? I have no idea, but I know it’ll blow your grog-addled brain outta the goddamn water!
Oh, and the amenities are good, the staff are nice, and blah blah blah, but who cares? This is one of the world’s top party hostels, and the theme is pool parties!
And as everyone knows, a pool party is as close as you can get to a legitimate orgy without actually having to admit to your ‘rents that you attended an orgy.
The Best Hostels in South America
South America is extremely diverse, and the backpacker hostels across the continent reflect that. Much like Asia, “You can find anything you want here,” and that is 100% true, albeit generally at a higher cost (Peru and Bolivia notwithstanding).
There’s a well-carved backpacking scene across South America. From the shamanic practices of the Andes and Amazon to some of the best surf destinations in the world to the snowy powder of Colombia (heh), you’re going to find a hostel to meet every desire in South America.
Surfies, hippies, party people, culture vultures, historians, and adventure-seekers all travel to South America, and you’ll find them all at some of the most beautiful hostels in the world!
Best Hostel in Minca, Colombia – Casa Elemento
- Another long-standing backpacker hostel.
- With supreme hammock chills.
- Though perhaps isn’t as good as it used to be.
This is a tentative recommendation with an anecdote to accompany. The initial suggestion came from the TBB Godfather Will, however, he stayed there a long time ago. So I had to get to researching.
I dived into their online listings scouring the reviews before I stumbled on a 5-year-old review from none other than my cousin:
“Possibly the best hostel in the world. If you ever get the chance to visit and don’t, you don’t deserve the small piece of paradise this place truly is. 6 out of 5 stars—trust me!”
The dude is an old-school backpacker himself easily rivalling the exploits of Mr Hatton. He even filled up a passport once! If he says it was a sticky place, then by God it was a sticky place.
Of course, that was 5 years ago. While the reviews now are still positive, it’s apparent that the hostel has changed hands several times and reviews are no longer as glowing. There are even insinuations of a takeover by paramilitaries…?
So, while perhaps it’s no longer one of the top hostels in the world, it’s still a renowned hostel in Colombia that deserves a spot on the wall of fame. There aren’t many places in the world you can spend your days strung up in a hammock above the clouds overlooking the jungles of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta ranges… while possibly having beers served to you by paramilitaries. Oh, Colombia!
Best Hostel in Pisac, Peru – Wolf Totem Guesthouse
- About as boho-modern as they come.
- Designed with long-term travellers in mind.
- Divine location.
Truthfully, I wanted to find a Peruvian tripper’s den to recommend; you’re in the land of Ayhausca, baby! They generally don’t advertise on Hostelworld though, so here’s Wolf Totem Guesthouse. This place has been “designed as a holiday from the holiday for the long-term traveller”.
I feel that so hard.
Sometimes, as a traveller, you don’t want to keep moving. You just want to stop somewhere and… sit for a bit. That’s when you stay at Wolf Totem Guesthouse.
It’s a perfect stop for digital nomads to set-up shop with even more creature comforts than home can offer. (Afternoon breaks with espressos and sauna, Senor?) Long-term travellers who just need a month’s vacation from the road to detox their mind can collect themself here.
On the mountain, in the valley, and above the ancient remnants of the Incas sits this beautiful hostel in Peru that’s built for the long-stayers. The design is an ultra-modern boho-hipster-chic hybrid smashed with gorgeous touches, and while I feel it could do with a splash of Goa-infusion, it’s hard to deny what the owners are setting out to accomplish: a home for travellers.
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The Best Hostels in Africa
Africa—the last great backpacking frontier. Whereas near-untouched regions like Central Asia offer untold exploration for the pure-adventurists, many parts of Africa are more of a place for adventure-seeking tourists. You’d be hard-pressed to find a backpacker who isn’t piqued by Africa though is perhaps saving it for later in their career of vagrancy.
Backpacker hostels in Africa are few and far between. The major destinations—like Morocco, Egypt, and South Africa—have them in droves, as do many major cities. Outside of that, they aren’t the most common form of accommodation in Africa and a lot are still going to be working out the kinks.
All the same, they’re definitely going to be your best hub for meeting travel buddies in Africa to hit the road with!
Best Hostel in Agadir, Morocco – The Lunar Surf House
- A perfect surf hostel for the beginners and advanced alike.
- Heaps of stuff to do other than surfing.
- Get a massage and body scrub!
What’s the list missing so far? One of the best surf hostels in the world! Have you heard that Morocco has killer waves?
So if you’re looking to get your gills or test your mettle, travel to Morocco. Down on the southwest coast, you’ll find this darling specimen Morocco’s amazing hostels open to the grommets and veteran carvers alike.
To call it only a surf hostel would be unfair; the number of extras and hostel events on offer here is staggering! That said, it is called the Lunar Surf House, so you can expect a ride or two (heh). They’ll set you up with lessons, surfboard hire, and a free brekky to fuel you up for the swell.
Which is the other thing: between the family brekkies, dinners, morning yoga seshes, cooking lessons, and all the other shenanigans, every day feels like a gathering. Plus, ending a day in the surf with a toke of the Moroccan chocolate followed by a traditional hammam scrub and massage ain’t too shabby!
Best Hostel in Zanzibar, Tanzania – Drifter’s Backpackers
- Unreal location.
- A perfect spot for kitesurfing.
- Run by a hostel veteran.
Not of the surf variety, but certainly another of the world’s best beach hostels. Off the east coast of Africa and Tanzania is the jewel of Zanzibar Island (man, we really have been around the world)!
Zanzibar boasts some of the most stunning beaches and shoals in the world, and at Drifter’s Backpackers, you get a front-row seat. A few steps from the dorm and you’re already staring at the turquoise glimmers of the Indian Ocean.
The dorms are on the basic (and small) side, but they’re more than adequate considering you’ll be spending your days flaked out on the squeaky white sands of Zanzibar. Honestly, this isn’t one of the world’s absolute coolest hostels, but it is a damn beautiful one in a scrumptious location.
The owner is already a veteran himself in the world hostelling scene, so the crew knows how to run a tight ship. Plus… I just really wanted to write about Zanzibar. That doesn’t happen often!
Best Hostel in Hogsback, South Africa – Away with the Fairies
- Cliff bath!
- Surrounded by spectacular nature.
- Still a bit of a hidden gem.
I messaged another Broke Backpacker writer—and kinda my mentor (shh, don’t tell him)—for some dope recommendations of hostels in South Africa. He slammed me with a lot of wicked choices (South Africa’s hostelling scene is actually mad), but I just had to settle on Away with the Fairies. Why?
The cliff edge bath. Imagine taking a hot bath—bubbles and all (bubbles not included)—a drink in one hand and a rubber ducky in the other. Now, imagine that same bath, except that you’re staring out from a clifftop at the South African wilderness
Your smack-dab in the middle of the glorious nature at this hostel. When you’re not languishing in the bath, hiking trails and outdoor adventures are only a step away.
And, as with all the best hostels in the world, good souls float in. Camping is available (which you should definitely capitalise on), and they serve rocking pizza straight from the oven… Which you should definitely eat in the bath!
Boom—it’s the best hostel bathroom in the world.
Is it Time to Go Hostelling Around the World?
Almost very nearly. Very soon you’ll be indulging in the hostel life in all manner of crazy places. But first, the essentials!
What to Pack for All Hostels Worldwide
Generally, just your beautiful self and that dashing smile. Probably a spare pair of undies too. Past that, here are some other nifty gadgets that always makes staying in hostels that much more enjoyable.
1. 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. The 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 popping when you stir
2. Active Roots Water Bottle: Hostels are increasingly meeting backpackers’ demands for potable water. Now is better than ever to start travelling with a reusable water bottle! Aside from cutting down on single-use plastic, the Active Roots stainless steel water bottle will also keep your favourite beverage hot or cold all day long and it’s sized perfectly to fit an entire bottle of wine. Or hot mead…’nuff said.
3. 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.
4. Active Roots Toiletry Bag: The Active Roots Toiletry bag keeps all of your bathroom essential items organized instead of loose around your backpack. Having everything handy and accessible in one water-resistant bag is a bathroom lifesaver. This toiletry bag also helps you from being that embarrassed person walking back to the dorm room in a towel to grab their forgotten shampoo.
5. 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 with both ears!
6. Noise-Cancelling Earbuds: You’ll have some pretty annoying dormmates—it happens from time to time. These noise-cancelling earbuds help mitigate the damage. The comfortable and ergonomic design won’t hurt your ears while sleeping no matter how long you keep them in. Increase the quality of your sleep by listening to some relaxing music at night or just enjoy the silence instead.
Still struggling to pack your backpack? Then check out my essential list of hostel packing to speed things along!
Are Hostels Safe?
Truthfully, yes. Hostels are the safest places you will visit in your travels (except maybe Japan). The worst thing you’re possibly looking at having happen is getting something nicked, and even then, that’s very unlikely. Remember to hide your cash and valuables, and you’ll be fine.
People can be drunk and stupid in hostels. Hell, I’ve met some massive douche-canoes in hostels. But I’ve never met someone with genuinely ill intent.
Hostels are homes for travellers. We like to take care of our home and the people inside of it. 99.9999% of backpackers worldwide are staying in hostels because they want to meet like-minded travellers, feel the warmth, and have a safe place to rest their head so damn far from home.
So, no, don’t fear—hostels are safe. But also, on that note, be one of the cool hostellers. Remember to smile, drop your ego with your shoes at the door, and stay open to all the travellers you meet living in hostels around the world.
Don’t be a douche-canoe: everyone is there to have a good time. Good vibes only.
Getting Insured for the Hostel Life
The chances of harm are pretty low in a hostel, but things still happen! You could topple 60 feet out of a jungle hammock or right over the edge of a cliff bath.
Plus, if you’re staying at the world’s coolest hostels, then you’re probably travelling around the world. That just means you really need to consider some damn good travel insurance no matter what!
Members of The Broke Backpacker team have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re an easy to use and professional provider that the team swears by.
If there’s one insurance company The Broke Backpacker trusts to cover them while roaming the planet’s furthest reaches, it’s World Nomads. To find out why we recommend World Nomads, check out the World Nomads Insurance review.
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Time to Book, No?
Take it from me—the world’s top hostels don’t stay that way for long. Nothing lasts forever.
There was another hostel I wanted to put on this list; it was a glorious hippy palace on the mountain above the clouds. A place I stayed for months, made many treasured friendships, and really truly felt had a little spark of magic within its walls.
Alas, nothing lasts forever.
That hostel is gone now, or at least, the ownership changed. With that, the magic was gone, and on a very sad, sour, and insidious note.
So, yeah, it is bloody well high time you booked yourself into one of the best hostels in the world! Find your own damn beautiful bubble, and do it now! Time is fleeting, and these sparkling hubs for nomads, dirtbags, trippers, and hot-blooded and bright-eyed backpackers won’t be there forever.
Lastly (since you’re almost definitely going to have a favourite hostel that I missed), hit me up in the comments below! Lemme have a little look because maybe I did miss something special. Maybe your fave is just the kinda place I’d like to stay one day.
A sticky place.
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