THE 7 BEST BACKPACKER HOSTELS IN CUSCO, PERU

Cusco is a thriving city full of travellers bubbling with excitement in preparation for their once in a lifetime trip to Machu Picchu, their first climb to 5,000 metres above sea level at Rainbow Mountain or merely being in one of South America’s most popular backpacker cities.

 

This combination of travellers and adventurers makes Cusco a great place to meet likeminded people, and what better place to meet those people at one of the many hostels the city has to offer.

 

We’ve separated our list of favourite hostels into two zones, the party zone and the city zone. This doesn’t mean that the city zone is quiet by any stretch, but the party zone is always where the most fun is at.

BEST HOSTELS IN URB SAN CRISTOBAL (THE PARTY ZONE)

Wild Rover. Loki. If you’ve been to one of these hostels in Lima, Huacachina or Arequipa, then they won’t need any introduction from us. If you haven’t already been, then you’re in for an experience. I am reluctant to use the word treat as I don’t think it’s always the case!

 

The main thing you need to know about this area of Cusco is that it’s located up a steep hill when coming from the main square. At an altitude of 3400m, the hill climb becomes less and less appealing each time you do it.

 

The benefit of staying at the top of the hill is that this is where most travellers in the city come to start their nights out and you can bounce between Loki and Wild Rover with ease.

1. Wild Rover Hostel

  • Private rooms – £40
  • 4-20 bed dorms – £6-12
  • Breakfast not included.

The rooms are clean but basic. There aren’t any curtains or much privacy in the dorms. The prices are at the top end of what you’d expect to pay, especially without breakfast. The price you pay is primarily due to the Wild Rover name.

 

Unlike many of the other Wild Rover Hostels in Peru, the bar is separate from the rooms, which is ideal if you’re looking to get some sleep and not be kept up by reggaeton throughout the night. However, the influx of drunk people into your room in the middle of the night may keep you up. Not the best choice if you prefer a completely uninterrupted night’s sleep.

 

The seperate bar is accessible to people who aren’t staying in the hostel and it becomes a popular place to socialise in the evenings, for backpackers and locals. That’s why Wild Rover hostels regularly make it onto our nightlife guides as well.

 

Tip – If you wish to stay at Wild Rover book directly through their website as this gets you benefits such as free stays.

 

  • Pros – A great place to meet people, it’s very sociable and a lot of fun in the evening.
  • Cons – It’s expensive for what you get. You can also get caught up in the Wild Rover mentality, which can lead to having a few too many nights out and not doing a whole lot else. While the rooms are separate from the bar area, you may still be kept up by latecomers in your room.

2. Loki Hostel

  • Private rooms – £30-40
  • 4-14 bed dorms – £6-13
  • Breakfast not included.

In terms of the crazy rating, you could argue Loki is better (or worse depending on how you define it) than Wild Rover.

 

Themed parties such as the Playboy Party and Anything But Clothing Party give you an idea of what to expect.

 

Loki is located 50 metres lower down the hill on the same road as Wild Rover. The rooms are small and basic, more so than Wild Rover. This makes it even more expensive for what you get.

 

  • Pros – If you’re looking for somewhere completely wild, stay here. You’ll meet tonnes of people looking to have a great time.
  • Cons – The rooms aren’t great. Oh and there’s a party almost every night. Don’t plan on sleeping much.

BEST HOSTELS NEAR PLAZA DE ARMAS (THE CITY ZONE)

The other area to stay is close to Plaza de Armas. Staying here means you don’t have to walk up the big hill each day which is a big attraction in our eyes. And having stayed in both areas, this is what we’d choose. There’s still nightlife to be found in the following hostels, but the fun is less…forced.

1. Kokopelli Hostel

  • Private rooms – £40-50

  • 4-14 bed dorms – £10-27

  • Breakfast included.

Kokopelli is another chain found throughout Peru, and it’s our favourite. These guys have curated a great mix between comfort and party – the sweet-spot if you will.

 

There’s a bar separated from the dorms and a few chill-out areas with comfy sofas and bean bags, meaning you can choose how you spend your days or evenings. The bar staff run social events such as beer pong nights, or you can just as easily retire to one of the sofas and read a book.

 

The smaller dorm rooms have a pod-style bed with lockers, plug sockets and curtains giving you that extra bit of privacy. The hostel is clean, and the facilities are excellent.

 

The buffet breakfast is also substantial with pancakes, eggs, and fruit on offer.

 

  • Pros – The perfect mix of comfort and being social. Great breakfast. From 5-15% discounts with partner restaurants in the city.
  • Cons – It’s on the more expensive end of the spectrum.

2. Pariwana Hostel

  • Private rooms – £45-55
  • 4-14 bed dorms – £10-20
  • Breakfast included.

Yet another chain hostel. To be honest, all but one on this list are chain hostels, but what do you expect from the most visited place in Peru. Pariwana is a bit higher on the social scale compared to Kokopelli but still has lots of places to chill out.

 

The hostel hosts lots of activities from drinking games to salsa lessons, so again this is a great place to meet people. The outdoor courtyard is huge space, although the rooms back onto the courtyard so it can be a bit noisy when you’re trying to sleep if people are out late.

 

Disclaimer:  we’re not boring even though we’re talking about sleep a lot. Firstly, sleep is essential when travelling. But, secondly, both the Rainbow Mountain and the Salkantay trips require extremely early wake-ups at around 3-4 AM, so it’s worth thinking about.

 

  • Pros – The enormous outdoor courtyard with so much room for activities. Reasonable price and includes breakfast.
  • Cons – The rooms are basic and dated.

3. Puriwasi Hostel

  • No private rooms.
  • 4-18 bed dorms – £7-11
  • Breakfast included.

Yep, you guessed another chain. Puriwasi (meaning house of the traveller in Quechua) is a small hostel with a community feel to it.

 

It has a covered courtyard with hammocks and comfortable seats to chill-out, as well as having a pool and football table for socialising after a few drinks at the bar. It’s a very cosy hostel, and the beds are amazingly comfortable with lots of blankets to keep you warm.

 

  • Pros – Backpacker centric. The beds are comfortable.
  • Cons – No private rooms. It’s a small hostel so can feel quite cramped.

 

4. Selina

  • Private rooms – £45-65
  • 8-bed dorms – £12
  • Breakfast not included.

If you’ve not already been, we can tell you that Selina’s are hostels bordering on hotels. Located throughout Central and South America, these are targeted at digital nomads who want the hotel experience for a slightly lower price, although not always!

 

The hostel is bright and spacious with comfortable chill-out areas and places to get some work done if that’s what you’re after.

 

Selina is undoubtedly more of a place to relax and get some work done rather than a place to meet people.

 

  • Pros – Fantastic facilities, clean and the best comfort. Closest to the main square.
  • Cons – Limited dorm space. The price.

5. Nao Victoria Hostel

  • Private rooms – £60-70
  • 4-8 bed dorms – £15-25
  • Breakfast included.

Nao Victoria is a luxurious hostel on the same price level as Selina. This isn’t a place where you’re likely to meet a lot of people, but it’s one to get some much-needed rest.

 

The dorm room beds are our favourite style with a curtain and plug all enclosed in your little cubby hole.

 

  • Pros – A fantastically comfortable and homely experience. Great for resting.
  • Cons – The price. Not the right place to meet people.

WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO STAY IN CUSCO?

We stayed at Kokopelli and absolutely loved it. We met great people, had amazing, clean rooms with the pod-style beds we love, and breakfast was included.

 

Staying out of the party zone means you’re closer to the city and you don’t have to walk up the gigantic hill.

 

You can also choose when to party rather than just partying non-stop. Of course, if that’s what you want to do then definitely stay at either Wild Rover or Loki, but probably Wild Rover. We always prefer to go to Wild Rover for a night out rather than stay there, as guests are welcome the bar.

 

Looking for places to eat in Cusco?  Check out our top recommendations here.

 

Everything else you need to know about Cusco you can find here in our complete city guide.