Best Backpacker Hostels In South America

The 22 All-Round Best Backpacker Hostels In South America [2024]

Whilst the backpacker trail in South America isn’t as established as places like South-east Asia, it still has some of the best backpacker hostels in the world. Here’s a list of the 22 best backpacker hostels in South America to inspire your next trip!

Contents

What Makes A Great Backpacker Hostel In South America?

 In my opinion, a great backpacker hostel has these four things:

 

  • Clean, comfortable, spacious dorms with pod-style beds so you can have privacy, your own charging station, and a relatively uninterrupted night’s sleep.
  • A separate social area (usually a bar) that fosters interacting with other travellers, making it easy to meet people and make new friends: along with daily activities and friendly staff that get everyone involved, helping you meet others and creating a fun and lively atmosphere
  • Free or paid activities during the day to help you explore and immerse yourself in the culture
  • A unique feature like a rooftop bar, pool or incredible location that sets it out from the crowd. Not every hostel on this list has all these things but will mostly tick two or three boxes. Some on the list are on there simply for the jaw-dropping location and uniqueness of the hostel.

 

Here’s a list of my favourite backpacker hostels in South America that meet these criteria in one way or another:

Tayrona National Park Beach, Colombia

The Best Backpacker Hostels In Colombia

1. The Dreamer Hostel - Santa Marta

✓ Great pool, bar area and atmosphere

 

✓ Super friendly and helpful staff

 

✓ Lots of organised daily activities from hiking to salsa

 

✓ Delicious buffet breakfast and restaurant on site

The Dreamer Hostel is in the town of Santa Marta in the north of Colombia. It’s one of our favourite hostels we’ve stayed in whilst travelling South America and it ticks almost every box on our list above.

 

The dorms are built around a decent sized pool and bar area set in the middle of the hostel. During the day most people are relaxing by the pool or going on one of the trips organised by the hostel such as trekking in Tayrona National Park.

 

It’s this communal area set around the pool and bar where all the magic happens though with an activity going on almost every night from salsa lessons to pool competitions. Then, every Saturday a DJ sets up for an epic pool party.

 

It’s impossible not to meet people here and make new friends. They also have a great sister hostel up the road in Palomino which is just as good and worth checking out.  

Another great hostel in the town of Santa Marta is La Brisa Loca. It just misses out on this list as the dorms don’t have any aircon and aren’t as nice as The Dreamer.

 

It has a huge rooftop bar and dancefloor which is why it’s one of our top party hostels in South America though!

 

For more on the best party hostels in South America:

 

 

The Dreamer, Santa Marta (Colombia)
The pool at 'The Dreamer' Hostel in Santa Marta, Colombia

2. Casa En El Agua - San Bernado Islands

✓ Hostel in the middle of the sea

 

✓ Amazing location surrounded by beaches and islands

 

✓ Great party atmosphere

This is one of the hostels that makes it on to the list simply for its uniqueness. Casa en el Agua is only accessible by boat and the two-hour trip from Cartagena is well worth it.

 

Not many people can say they have stayed at a hostel in the middle of the Caribbean sea before.

 

The hostel is built on a concrete foundation under the water which has since grown a collection of coral and attracted some colourful sea life. You can find guests swimming and snorkelling around the hostel during the day looking at all the fish.

 

They also organise tours to the beaches close by such as trips to Tintipan or Mucura beach, or snorkel tours to one of the nine surrounding islands.

Staying at unique backpacker hostels like this one is one of the many reasons why backpacking South America is well worth it. For more great reasons, head to the post below:

 

 

Casa En El Agua - Colombia
Casa en el Agua - one of the best south american hostels for partying!

3. Los Patios Hostel - Medellin

✓ Rooftop bar with great views

 

✓ High quality dorms rooms with huge bunk beds

 

✓ Lots of activities

There are so many backpacker hostels in Colombia that could have made it onto this list, but Los Patios is the best!

 

Firstly, Los Patios has an amazing rooftop bar with fantastic views out over the rooftops of Medellin.

 

They will organise yoga, salsa, or Spanish classes every day to help you bond with your fellow travellers, and there’s even a gym too!

 

It’s the dorms here that take it to the next level though.

 

The bunks are huge and come with individual lights, charging points and privacy curtains. You’ll also have your own fan too to keep you cool in the intense Colombian heat.

For more on why Medellin is such a great city to visit, head to the post below:

 

 

Los Patios Rooftop, Medellin (Colombia)
Los Patios Dorm Room, Medellin (Colombia)

4. Rio Hostel, Santa Marta

✓ Unique jungle setting

 

✓ Private river beach

 

✓ Lots of nature activities

 

✓ Great volunteering opportunities 

It seems like Colombia is home to the most unique hostels in South America.

 

Rio Hostel can be found on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, built on the Buritaca river between the town of Palomino and Santa Marta.

 

There’s no town here so you really are staying in the middle of nowhere.

 

This is the type of hostel that’s perfect if you’re looking to escape the big cities and immerse yourself in nature.

 

The hostel has a private riverside beach, sundeck and garden. They regularly organise tubing down the river and encourage family-style dining so that everyone in the hostel comes together to socialise.

 

As well as paddle boarding, volleyball, pool and ping pong at the hostel, they also organise loads of activities in the area like trips to Tayrona National Park.

 

This is an incredibly unique hostel that is well worth a stay if you are exploring the Caribbean coast in Colombia.

For more information on this great beach town, head to the post below:

 

 

The Best Backpacker Hostels In Ecuador

5. Secret Garden Hostel - Quito

✓ Rooftop bar with great views

 

✓ Pod style beds

 

✓ Super cheap

 

✓ Lots of activities

Secret Garden Quito is the place to stay whilst in Ecuador’s capital.

 

They have a fantastic rooftop space with a bar, hammocks, and sofas, perfect for both socialising or just relaxing and enjoying the views.

 

They also run a busy schedule of activities with beer pong tournaments starting mid-week and a bar crawl on both Friday and Saturday night. Whilst you can have a good party here, the rooms are also comfortable, and each dorm has pod-style beds if you want a quiet night.

 

On top of all this, they run their own in-house tour service where you can get great deals on tours in Quito or to the Galapagos Islands.

 

They also have a sister hostel in Cotopaxi National Park and will run you down there for free if you book, and you should! It’s the next hostel on this list.

For more great backpacker hostels in Quito:

 

 

Secret Garden views (Quito)
Secret Garden (Quito)

6. Lulu Llama, Quilotoa Loop

✓ Luxury hostel in the middle of nowhere

 

✓ Resident Llamas

 

✓ Hot tub

Lulu Llama Mountain Lodge is a small eco-friendly lodge situated right on Ecuador’s most famous trekking route, the Quilotoa Loop.

 

The Quilotoa Loop is a 3-day, self-guided trek through the Andean countryside that takes you through three villages and ends at Ecuador’s most famous landmark – the Quilotoa Crater.

 

You wouldn’t expect to find such a luxury hostel in the middle of nowhere but its one of the the most popular choices along the Quilotoa Trek now due to the hot tub, morning yoga and resident llamas.

 

It’s the ideal hostel to rest and recuperate at after a long day of trekking.

For more on Ecuador’s epic 3-day trek known as the Quilotoa Loop, including how to plan for it, packing lists, and other great hostels along the way, head to the complete guide linked below:

 

 

7. Secret Garden Hostel - Cotopaxi

✓ Best hostel location ever, opposite a volcano!

 

✓ Incredible garden with benches and hammocks to sit and watch Cotopaxi volcano

 

✓ Cosy dorms and common room with wood-burning fires, sofas, and hostel dogs to keep you company

 

✓ Great value for money package deal with all food and tours included

Secret Garden Cotopaxi Hostel is one of my favourite hostel experiences in South America.

 

It’s one of the best ways of visiting Cotopaxi National Park in Ecuador, especially if you are a backpacker and want to experience an amazing hostel and meet other like-minded travellers.

 

The hostel is situated in the middle of the national park, directly opposite Cotopaxi Volcano: this is one of the best views from a hostel you will probably ever have.

 

Every day you will wake up to incredible views of the volcano and you get to see it at multiple points throughout the day from sunrise to sunset.

 

You can only book directly through their website.

Check out their YouTube video for a brief drone tour:

The standard three-day/two-night stay is offered as a package tour which costs $95. This deal includes all your food (three meals a day with snacks and drinks included) and two free guided treks. You can then book any other tours you want through the hostel.

 

Read our full review here if you aren’t convinced:

 

 

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Joe from Shall We Go Home Travel on the boardwalks behind Perito Moreno Glacier

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The Best Backpacker Hostels In Peru

8. Kokopelli Hostel Barranco - Lima

✓ Set inside a beautiful colonial mansion

 

✓ In the trendy bohemian district of Barranco

 

✓ Big, comfy pod beds

Barranco is the bohemian district of Lima and a great place for backpackers who want to escape the busy city centre.

 

The area is known for its laid-back vibe, artisan coffee shops and huge colonial-era mansions that have been renovated into bars and restaurants.

 

Kokopelli has transformed one of these architectural gems into top quality backpacker accommodation by turning the huge rooms into dorms or private rooms. 

 

They also have a coffee shop to relax in on the front patio, and a trendy bar and restaurant in the backyard. The location is ideal as well, two blocks away from Barranco’s main plaza and all the best bars & restaurants.

 

This is the place to stay whilst in Lima in my opinion. 

For more backpacker guides to Lima, head to the posts below:

 

 

Dorm Beds in Kokopelli Hostel, Lima (Peru)
Kokopelli Hostel, Lima (Peru)

9. Kokopelli Hostel - Paracas

✓ Only hostel with a pool in Paracas, ideal for escaping the desert heat

 

✓ Great sunset watching as it backs onto the sea

 

✓ Cheap tours into Paracas National Park

Most backpackers visit Paracas to visit Paracas National Reserve – a huge coastal desert filled with natural wonders.

 

There aren’t many hostels in Paracas as it’s such a small town, but Kokopelli Paracas is the only one with a pool making it the perfect place to escape the intense desert heat.

 

It also has a substantial outside bar area, and a mix of comfortable dorms and private rooms. The bar can get lively in the evenings and the hostel staff are great at getting everyone involved with drinking games and pool tournaments.

 

The hostel also backs out onto the beach and sea, so it’s a great place to sit and watch the sunset in the evening.

 

The staff will also organise tours into the national park as well, and these are some of the cheapest and best tours we have come across whilst visiting Paracas.

For more backpacking guides to Paracas including the best ways to visit the beautiful national park, head to the posts below:

 

 

Kokopelli Dorms, Paracas (Peru)
Kokopelli's Pool, Paracas (Peru)

10. Banana Adventure Hostel - Huacachina

✓ Great pool and outside bar area

 

✓ Free activity for every night you stay

 

✓ Clean and comfy dorms

Huacachina is the perfect town for backpackers who love adventure activities.

 

If you are looking catch some serious air in a dune buggy and sandboard down some of the tallest dunes in South America Peru then Huacachina is a must.

 

Banana Adventure Hostel is one of my favourite hostels In Peru. It has a much more laid-back vibe compared to the Wild Rover down the road but still has a great social atmosphere.

 

The best thing about this hostel is that you get a free activity every night you stay with them. This may include the dune buggy tour or the BBQ they have each night. Make sure to pick the buggy tour and sandboarding tour when you stay there as this is a great deal (they usually cost around $20-30). 

 

Banana Adventures has everything you want from a hostel – great atmosphere, nice rooms and lots of activities to make it feel social. It will always make it into my overall top list of hostels in South America.

If you are interested in visiting Huacachina when you visit Peru, check out our backpacker guide for everything you need to know:

 

 

driving dune buggies in Huacachina

11. Selina Hostel - Arequipa

✓ Huge pool and outside bar area

 

✓ Fantastic co-working spaces with great wi-fi

 

✓ Spacious gardens with lots of hang out spots

Selina hostels first started in Central America and quickly built a reputation as great places to relax, co-work and meet like-minded travellers.

 

They have since branched out into South America and are starting to establish the same reputation there as well.

 

One of their best hostels is in Arequipa, which is the city you visit the epic Colca Canyon from.

 

The hostel is set in the middle of a huge walled grounds, with a big pool and outside bar where they host events. The gardens are huge and are full of sofas, bean bags and treehouses so you will always have somewhere to escape to and relax.

Selina's pool, Arequipa (Peru)
cool hostel in Cotopaxi National Park

12. Wild Rover Hostel - Cusco

✓ Pool

 

✓ Big separate bar area and garden

 

✓ Best party around

No list of best hostels in South America is complete without a Wild Rover hostel.

 

Wild Rovers can be found in most major cities in South America but the one in Cusco is the best in my opinion.

 

This is the best place to meet people if you are looking to have a good time and party. Well known for its huge bar, lively bar staff, and general drink themed events, this is one of the best party hostels around.

 

The bar is separate from the rooms, set across the other side of the garden, which is ideal if you’re looking to get some sleep and not be kept up by reggaeton throughout the night.

For other great hostel choices in Cusco, check out the post below:

 

 

Wild Rover Hostel - Garden Area (Cusco)
Wild Rover Hostel, Cusco

13. Super Tramp Hostel - Aguas Calientes

✓ Perfect location for visiting Machu Picchu

 

✓ Friendly staff

 

✓ Cosy capsule beds

This hostel can be found in the charming town of Aguas Calientes, just a stone’s throw away from the majestic Machu Picchu.

 

Super Tramp Hostel offers comfort and convenience for travelers exploring one of Peru’s natural wonders.

 

This hostel is the perfect nights stay before your climb up with 1000+ steps to Machu Picchu.

 

From cozy dormitories to private rooms, each room is thoughtfully designed for comfort and relaxation.

 

Additionally, the hostel’s friendly and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to offer insider tips and assistance, ensuring that you’re fully ready for your adventures.

 

It’s also in a prime location, mere steps away from the train station and a short walk from the bus stop to Machu Picchu.

 

This makes Super Tramp Hostel the ideal base for adventurers embarking on their journey to the ancient Incan citadel.

Machu Picchu (Peru)

The Best Backpacker Hostels In Bolivia

14. Adventure Brew Hostel - La Paz

✓ Great BBQs hosted by the hostel

 

✓ Separate bar, terrace, and balcony area with great views of the city

 

✓ Great location close to the bus station and most tourist attractions

The Adventure Brew Hostel is housed in a huge 19th-century colonial-era mansion.

 

It’s in the perfect location just 5 minutes from the bus terminal in La Paz and close to the central historic district close to Plaza San Francisco. From here you will be able to get to most of the popular tourist attractions such as the Witches Market and the cable car.

 

They have on-site food services with a nice restaurant that serves affordable meals. They also have a grill area where they will host weekly BBQs.

 

The best part is the terrace attached to the bar where you get some incredible city views.

Bolivia isn’t as well travelled as the rest of South America so the backpacker hostels outside of La Paz, whilst still great, don’t make it on to the list of best hostels in South America.

 

For more backpacker hostels in La Paz, head to the post below:

 

 

Adventure Brew's Balcony, La Paz (Bolivia)
Adventure Brew Hostel, La Paz

15. El Curichal Hostel - Rurrenabaque (The Amazon)

✓ Perfect base for exploring the Amazon

 

✓ Outdoor pool perfect for escaping the heat

 

✓ Swings and hammocks for relaxing in the day

El Curichal Hostel is found in Rurrenabaque, a small town in Bolivia near the Amazon rainforest.

 

It’s the perfect base for backpackers who want to embark on the popular 3 day tour of the Amazon.

 

The outdoor pool is essential for escaping the heat during the day. And the hammocks around it are the perfect place to relax with a book. 

 

Make sure you get a room with a fan though as it’s just as hot at night!

 

If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Rurrenabaque, El Curichal Hostel is a fantastic choice. 

Bolivia isn’t as well travelled as the rest of South America so the backpacker hostels outside of La Paz, whilst still great, don’t make it on to the list of best hostels in South America.

 

For more backpacker hostels in La Paz, head to the post below:

 

 

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The Best Backpacker Hostels In Argentina

16. Milhouse Avenue Hostel - Buenos Aires

✓ Huge hostel guaranteed to have a lively atmosphere

 

✓ Argentinian BBQ and wine nights

 

✓ Best party in town

Milhouse is famous across Argentina and South America and is known as one of the best hostels in Buenos Aires.

 

They now have two venues (Avenue and Hipo), and the Avenue venue is the place to be for a livelier time. The Avenue building has enough beds for hundreds of guests, and they are always organising events to keep the huge crowd entertained.

 

They host in-house DJs, tonnes of themed party nights and they will get you a discount on selected nightclub events in Buenos Aires.

 

With a friendly and vibrant staff that also organise tango lessons and trips to football games, you won’t struggle to meet people and make new friends here.

 

The best nights will start with drinking on the rooftop as the staff work away on the classic Argentinian barbeque, whilst bringing round jugs of wine to keep your cup refilled. Then after everyone is full of meat and wine, everyone finally heads out to a club to carry on until the early hours of the morning.

 

The Argentinians know how to party, and you will experience it first hand when staying at Milhouse.

Partying at Milhouse is one of many great reasons to add Argentina to your South America trip. For more great reasons, head to the post below:

 

 

pictures of one of the best South American Party Hostel - Milhouse, Argentina
Plaza De Mayo from above (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

17. Gorilla Hostel - Mendoza, Argentina

✓ Comfy rooms and bed

 

✓ Nice garden area with pool

 

✓ Weekly BBQ nights

When I stayed in Mendoza, I spent a week at Gorilla Hostel and loved it.

 

Aside from the comfortable rooms, beautiful garden area and the pool (which is essential in the summer), they also created a fantastic social atmosphere.

 

The staff host weekly a weekly asado (barbeque) and the whole hostel will be sat around the tables in the garden enjoying barbequed meat whilst they socialise.

 

Stay at Gorillas if you are looking to make new friends and enjoy an authentic Argentinian night out.

Mendoza is another great place to visit in Argentina, especially if you like wine. It’s the countries top wine producing region and you can bike around visiting bodegas and vineyards all day. For more on this great city, head to the guide below:

 

 

Gorilla Hostel, Mendoza (Argentina)
The pool at Gorilla Hostel, Mendoza (Argentina)

18. Selina - Bariloche, Argentina

✓ Comfy rooms and bed

 

✓ Indoor heated pool

 

✓ Huge common area and co-working spaces

Selina hostels always deliver and the one in Bariloche is no exception. 

 

Bariloche is set in the middle of the lake district of Argentina – one of the most beautiful regions on the country. You can choose from hiking, skiing, kayaking, mountain biking and a whole other host of activities, all alongside pristine lakes, snow-capped mountains, and alpine forests.

 

Selina acts as perfect base before you embark on adventures amongst the lakes and mountains.

 

The rooms are spacious and comfortable. The common area is huge with sofas and chairs to relax in after a long day of hiking. And, the co-working spaces are always quality if you do need to do some work whilst here. 

Not sure how long you want or need to spend in Bariloche? Head to the post below to get 3 expertly curated itineraries for 3, 5 and 7 days:

 

 

Selina, Bariloche (Argentina)
reception of a hostel in Selina Bariloche

19. America Del Sur - El Calafate, Argentina

✓ Comfy rooms and beds, perfect after a day of trekking

 

✓ Good sized common area

 

✓ Huge terrace with lake views

El Calafate is the charming town known as the gateway to Patagonia. 

 

The town itself isn’t much and is built to cater to the tourists coming to see the epic Perito Moreno Glacier. One of the highlights though is this hostel!

 

America Del Sur Hostel is set up for adventurers visiting Patagonia. The rooms are always warm and the beds are so comfy – ideal after a long day of trekking. 

 

The common area is a decent size and it will always be busy in the evenings as people return from their adventures.

 

The best part however is the terrace. I loved sitting out here in the morning with a coffee and taking in the rugged beauty of Patagonia. 

Patagonia is often the reason why people come to Argentina. If you feel like you need more days here, have a look at some of the example itineraries in the post below:

 

 

America Del Sur Hostel, El Calafate
America Del Sur Hostel (Outside), El Calafate

Preparing for your first trip to South America? 

Here are 22 FAQ’s to help you prepare for the trip of a lifetime: 

The Best Backpacker Hostels In Chile

20. Chili Kiwi Hostel - Pucon

✓ Perfect lake-front location

 

✓ Incredible view of Villarrica volcano

 

✓ Helpful and friendly staff

 

✓ Great selection of activities

Pucón is the adventure capital of Chile, and there are so many great activities on offer in this city.

 

One of the best hostels here is Chili Kiwi Hostel which won HostelWorld’s Best Hostel in Latin America in both 2017 and 2018.

 

This hostel is in an unbeatable location on the shore of Villarrica lake, directly opposite the majestic Villarrica Volcano and only a short walk from downtown Pucón. The hostel has a nice garden with swings, hammocks, and treehouses where you can catch sunsets over the lake and volcano.

 

The dorms are clean and comfortable or for extra privacy, you can book one of their charming new treehouse rooms with lake views or a cosy hobbit house set in the garden. 

 

They also aim to keep you busy here and will fill your days with adventure. The staff are so helpful in organizing tours for you including horse riding, kayaking, volcano trekking and much more.

 

Chili Kiwi is another fantastic hostel in South America that takes the hostel experience to a new level.

For more guides on backpacking in Chile:

 

 

Rental canoes outside Chili Kiwi Hostel, Pucon (Chile)
Chili Kiwi Hostel, Pucon (Chile)

The Best Backpacker Hostels In Brazil

21. The Search House Beachfront Hostel - Florianopolis

✓ Perfect beach-front location

 

✓ 9km of private beach

 

✓ Great selection of activities from surfing to yoga

 

✓ Great atmosphere with regular party nights

Barra da Lagoa is a small fishing village on the island of Florianópolis, Brazil.

 

The island has several hostels but there’s none better than the Search House, set on the white sand beach of Barra Da Lagoa with its own private beach area!

 

The hostel itself is surrounded by lush green gardens. It has a poolside patio, yoga area, skate ramp, meditation space, hammocks, and you can walk straight onto the white sand of Barra Da Lagoa Beach.

 

The hostel staff are an active bunch, and they will encourage you to take advantage of all on offer in this incredible location including surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and skating.

 

If you prefer a slower pace, you can explore the wonders of this magical island by foot or take advantage of their dedicated yoga and meditation spaces. If that doesn’t take your fancy, then you can simply relax by the pool or take in the sun while reading a book on their private beach area. 

 

If you didn’t think this hostel could get any better, they also have a fully equipped outdoor bar with a great sound system, and they will host everything from pool parties to live concerts on a regular basis. 

 

This hostel really has it all!

The island of Florianopolis has 42 beaches and is an incredible party destination. Check out the post below for more on the best party beach destinations in South America: 

 

 

Private beach entrance from Search House Hostel, Florianopolis
Search House Hostel, Florianopolis (Brazil)

22. Pura Vida Hostel - Rio De Janeiro

✓ Walking distance to Copacabana beach

 

✓ Rooftop terrace and bar

 

✓ Great atmosphere with regular party nights

Rio is a huge city and there are so many great backpacker hostels that it’s hard to just choose one!

 

But if you want to be right next to Copacabana beach, then Pura Vida is the way to go!

 

With a rooftop terrace and bar, this hostel also has a reputation for getting lively.

 

You can spend the day drinking by the beach and then head up to the rooftop for caipirinhas or vice versa.

 

Either way you are going to have the time of your life in one of the greatest party cities in the world!

For more on Brazil, check out this popular 1-month itinerary:

 

 

 

best party hostels in south america - gondola in rio de Janeiro

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