Hostel life if one of the best parts about travelling – the vibe, the people, the atmosphere…it all becomes such a big part of the adventure and the bed you choose to stay in can have a huge impact on your impression of a new place.
I’ve spent pretty much the entire last 5 years living in various hostels across the globe and experienced the good, the bad and the bed bug ridden along the way!
I often get asked about hostel recommendations and I’ve reviewed many hostels along the journey to help you guys pick a good place to sleep.
But there are some hostels that are a cut above the rest, that I recommend over and over again.
So here are my personal favourite 20 hostels, scattered across the globe…
Montanita Cabanas – Montanita, Ecuador
I’ve lived and worked at Montanita Cabanas numerous times over my travels and I freaking love the place! It’s more like a backpacking family than a hostel and has a great vibe.
Plus there’s a pool and it’s walking distance to some pumping surf and awesome latino nightlife that Montanita provides.
It’s also the home base for some awesome Learn Spanish programmes so if you’re heading that way check them out.
Aquarius Hostel – Byron Bay, Australia
Another epic hostel that I’ve worked at a few times and in one of my favourite locations on the planet. The lively bar, spacious dorms and awesome location (a quick walk to town or the beach) mean this ticks all the boxes for an awesome base in Byron Bay.
In fact it’s my favourite hostel in Australia!
Mad Monkey Hostel – Siem Reap, Cambodia
Within minutes of walking into Mad Monkey Siem Reap I knew it was going to make my top hostels list! Poolside bar, spacious A/C rooms, walking distance to all the main spots in Siem Reap and an epic rooftop bar with a sand floor serving up amazing food al make this the perfect spot to stay at when exploring Angkor Wat.
Lub D Hostel – Bangkok, Thailand
Although the location is away from hubs like Khao San road the friendly staff, great vibe, clean dorms and choice of Siam Square or Silom as a location make this the perfect spot to crash when visiting Bangkok in Thailand.
I’d personally recommend the Silom location as it’s much larger and therefore there are heaps more travellers to mingle with.
Casa Oro – San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua (recommended by Erin)
If surfing and drinking your face off is something you crave then Casa Oro is the place for you! A laid back vibe that welcomes everyone, from their friendly staff to amazing location this is hostel should be your first priority in Nicaragua.
You can rent boards and hire transfers to catch some waves and book your spot for the Sunday Funday Pool Party every week at half cost which is well worth extending your stay for!
Generator Hostel – Dublin, Ireland
I crashed here when attending the TBEX blogging conference and was stoked with how friendly the place was! Good sized dorms and reasonable prices make this a great location for exploring Dublin.
Z Hostel – Manila, The Philippines
I stayed at Z Hostel in The Philippines just a few months after it first opened and even though it was new there was already an amazing vibe going on.
Situated close to the Manila nightlife and some amazing restaurants it also boast and awesome rooftop area which plays host to the legendary Sunday Sessions and live music events throughout the week.
Custom built dorms have all the little extras that set it above most hostels I’ve stayed at – from extra headroom on the bunks through to the massive lockers and vanity mirrors in the female dorms.
This place sets the bar in terms of facilities and layout!
Monkey Island – Koh Rong, Cambodia
A beachside hut just a stones throw from the ocean with a hammock on the porch and less that $15 per night for a 3 person room? Oh hell yes!
It’s quiet enough to soak up the island vibe but with enough backpackers to give the restaurant and bar the energy for a good time – plus Koh Rong is the perfect place to kick back and watch the world go by.
Loki Hostel – Mancora, Peru
If you want to party hard and an epic left hand point break then look no further than Loki in Mancora. It boasts a huge pool, pumping bar and huge dorms rooms but the real draw for me is the surf break less than 20m in front of the hostel – a reeling left hander perfect for longboarders that goes on forever!
Even if you don’t surf though it’s got an epic vibe and is a great spot to break up an overland crossing to/from Ecuador.
Loft Hostel – Rekyjavik, Iceland
Situated right in the centre of Reykjavik Loft was my base when exploring Iceland and I was stoked to have stayed there. The rooftop bar offers great views across the city and is also a favourite with the locals too you can mingle with some Icelanders which is always fun. The dorms offer plenty of space, personal power sockets and split bathroom and toilet for a comfortable stay.
Looking to book your next bed? Click here to secure it on HostelWorld
Yamba YHA – Yamba, Australia
Not only is Yamba YHA a clean and comfortable place to crash but it’s run by some of the best hostel owners I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and they’ll make you feel like family from the word go so take the time to chat to Shane and the crew! Get involved in Shanes famous tour to explore some more of the beauty of Yamba and for the surfers (both experienced and beginner) there are plenty of beaches to choose from.
And if your looking to learn to surf this is now also the base for their Yamba Surf Camp too!
Raglan Backpackers – Raglan, New Zealand
Hot tubs and even sauna make this the perfect place to relax after a hard day of surfing! Situated in the small but awesome town of Raglan it’s right on the water if you wanted to hire a SUP or kayak and explore the river.
It’s a short drive to the famous surf breaks of Raglan too – whether you’re learning on the beach or tackling the world famous left of Manu Bay.
Another small but family feel hostel that will make you extend your stay more than once!
Algarve Surf School – Sagres & Lagos, Portugal
This was my home base for my surf coaching season in Portugal in 2014 and I’ve kind of cheated because I think both the Sagres and Lagos base are equally epic! Lagos is clean, modern, has a pool and is walking distance to some awesome Portuguese nightlife whereas Sagres is a very homely surf camp with chilled vibes – so pick which suits your frame of mind!
There are plenty of hostels to choose from in Sydney but the Sydney Harbour YHA wins as my favourite simply because of the views! Million dollar views from the rooftop social area (complete with BBQ!) across the harbour and of course Sydney Opera House are worth the stay alone!
And of course those views also mean you’re close to the main bucket list ticks of the city too.
Hatters – Liverpool, UK (recommended by Erin)
An old fashion castle turned hostel in central Liverpool near shopping, pubs and the Beetles museum – perfect for a bit of UK exploring! The common room is large with pool tables and drinking games for you to mingle with others, as well as a backyard with full BBQ equipment to get the party going.
Cozy dorms and sound proof walls will help you sleep peacefully at night or skip the night rest and join the pub crawl downstairs!
Stoked Backpackers – Cape Town, South Africa
Hostel wise though an epic balcony with BBQ overlooking the beach, cafe filled with tasty treats, friendly staff and tour booking service make Stoked the perfect place to enjoy this area of Cape Town.
In fact I loved it there so much I teamed up with the owners to create some Cape Town Arrivals Packages for Epic Gap Year using Stoked as the base!
Pagonia – San Jose, Costa Rica (recommended by Erin)
This hostel is in prime location – a quick walk to the three major bus stations as well as the city centre where you can shop, eat, and drink! Or just have a laid back night in the air con rooms with either a late night pool party or an early morning swim!
Great wifi for all those bloggers and tech savvy travellers out there and friendly staff that welcome you with open arms.
Equity Point – Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech is a pretty hectic city but Equity point offers an oasis amongst the madness! It’s situated close to the main souk so you can enjoy the markets and a glass of mint tea before retreating to the calm of the pool. The friendly staff can help organise tours and onwards travel too which is always good if you’re trying to avoid getting ripped off!
Dalat Family Hostel – Dalat, Vietnam
When you’re welcomed into a new hostel with a huge hug and immediately lead into a huge family dinner and told to eat before you check in you know you’re in a good place!
Although the Dalat Family Hostel isn’t going to be everyones cup of tea with the communal 8 bed dorms (seriously it’s like sharing a long bed with 4 strangers!) it makes it onto the list for atmosphere and staff alone! I really did feel like part of a weird backpacker family here and spent my stay joking around with the staff, being hugged good morning and enjoying huge communal meals with all the other travellers staying there.
It really encompass what travelling is about.
Barefoot Manta & Kuata – The Yasawa Islands, Fiji
Ok s I’ve cheated slightly and grouped these two hostels together despite them being on separate islands! But that’s because I simply couldn’t pick between the two!
Spend your day snorkelling with the local reef sharks on Barefoot Kuata or swimming alongside manta rays on Barefoot Manta and laze under a palm tree overlooking the crystal clear ocean – island paradise with a backpacker price tag!
Have you stayed at any epic hostels?
Which ones would you add to the list and why?!