Best Hostels in South America for Backpackers [2023 Guide]

Beach view from Esperanto Hostel Montañita, Ecuador

Heading off for the trip of a lifetime around South America?  It is important to consider where you’ll stay. After all, accommodation can make or break your trip! Budget backpackers can breathe a sigh of relief – you’ll find plenty of amazing hostels in South America, both in tourist hotspots and off-the-beaten-track locations!

While the availability of hostels is great for those on a shoestring, some of these budget lodgings can be disappointing. Poor security, below-par cleanliness and thin walls can result in a less-than-stellar experience. To avoid any nasty surprises, researching the best hostels in South America is crucial. 

To get you started with planning your trip, we’ve shortlisted some of our favourite South American hostels, compiled using our firsthand experience and the recommendations from our intrepid Facebook community. Don’t just take our word for it though, experience them for yourself! 

Top Hostels in South America

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Best Hostels in South America – Quick Answers!

12 Amazing Hostels in South America

1. Secret Garden Cotopaxi – Ecuador

  • Location: Cotopaxi
  • Price range: $$$
  • Best feature: Jacuzzi

When you ask travellers about their favourite hostels in South America, you will hear Secret Garden Cotopaxi mentioned A LOT. With sweeping views out to the epic Cotopaxi Volcano, this wonderful hideaway has been voted in the top 1% of all hostels worldwide on TripAdvisor!   

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Offering a range of sleeping options from dorms to hobbit homes and birdhouses (couples won’t want to miss a stay in these!), there are plenty of choices. Each booking at Secret Garden Cotopaxi includes three meals a day, free tea, coffee and drinking water, access to the jacuzzi and sunroom plus a complimentary guided tour to the nearby waterfalls. 

If you’re looking for an opportunity to get off-grid in one of Ecuador’s most beautiful locations, Secret Garden is the place for you. The communal meals will get you making travel plans with your fellow backpackers in no time. Come for the food and stay for the newfound friends! 

2. Casa Loma – Colombia 

  • Location: Minca
  • Price range: $$
  • Best feature: Sunset views

You know what they say… the best views come after the hardest climb. Nowhere has that been more true than Casa Loma (except maybe Everest… 🤔)! Located in the Colombian backpacker capital of Minca, Casa Loma is a steep walk out of town. 

Casa Loma (casa luna)
Casa Luna – the ultimate romantic hideaway.

While the exertion is guaranteed to make you sweat, what awaits is a wonderful hippie hideaway! A range of yoga classes run daily and there are also spiritual events such as cacao ceremonies. 

An on-site veggie restaurant will fuel your adventures and you can party off your excess energy at the bar. This is the best place in town to catch the pastel hues of sunset. Live music events take place here regularly and showcase a range of musical genres. They offer a great way to meet your fellow backpackers. 

As well as budget-friendly hammock sleeping options, they also offer a range of bungalows, including the epic Casa Luna, an open-fronted cabaña with a private al fresco shower, overlooking the jungle. 

Also read: Best Hostels in Minca for Backpackers 

3. Wild Rover La Paz – Bolivia

  • Location: La Paz
  • Price range: $
  • Best feature: Nightly parties

Compare prices of Wild Rover La Paz 💰: | Hostelworld 

If you close your eyes and listen hard, you can probably hear the chants of “3,2,1 Wild F**king Rover!” coming out of this hostel in La Paz. A legendary spot on the South American party circuit, Wild Rover has long been a favourite with hostelgoers who flock here for its pumping nightlife.

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Its La Paz offering is particularly popular with guests who love the nightly events and the clean and comfortable dorms, set away from the bar. Backpackers rave about the like-minded community and the opportunities to make memories (depending on how many beers you sink 😅) with new friends.   

The staff make this place feel like home, with team members like Alba and Tara making a stay here really special. When you arrive, don’t forget to check out what is on offer that day, they host a range of activities from walking tours, to karaoke nights and cocktail-making classes!

4. Gorilla Hostel Mendoza – Argentina

  • Location: Mendoza
  • Price range: $$
  • Best feature: Great vibe

Compare prices of Gorilla Hostel Mendoza 💰: | Hostelworld 

Situated in Argentina’s wine country, Gorilla Mendoza is one of the best hostels in South America. Boasting incredible facilities like a swimming pool and ping pong table, the whole place is well set up to meet other backpackers.

It is the staff that make this place and they’ll do whatever they can to make sure your stay is great. Activities are run in the hostel weekly and include pizza parties, barbecue nights and Argentinian empanada making! You’ll definitely get a taste of the real Argentina here!

There are a range of dorms including options for women only. On-site, there is a foosball table, coworking space (ideal for all you digital nomads), tour desk and communal guitars so you can serenade your new friends with música folklórica.

5. Bananas Adventure Hostel – Peru

  • Location: Huacachina
  • Price range: $$
  • Best feature: Tiki bar and restaurant

Compare prices of Bananas Adventure Hostel 💰: | Hostelworld 

Nestled in the heart of the Huacachina oasis, Bananas Adventure is all about Peruvian hospitality. Known for their friendly staff, all the guys working at Bananas can offer great advice about the area and the activities on offer. Did somebody say sandboarding?!

Swimming pool at Banana's Adventure Hostel
Is there a more inviting sight than this pool at Banana’s Adventure Hostel?!

All the action centres around the refreshing pool which is a favourite backpacker hangout. Sitting in the centre of the hostel, it benefits from being next to the tiki bar – refreshing pisco sours are just minutes away!

The restaurant is well-loved among travellers who flock here for traditional Peruvian fare and a range of veggie and vegan options. Enjoy your food on one of the rooftop terraces or time your visit with an outdoor film screening for the ultimate cinema experience. 

A variety of rooms are on offer here, from 6-bed dorm rooms with privacy curtains to double ensuite rooms. No matter whether you are tramping on a shoestring or flashpacking your way around the continent, you will find something that suits you here. 

6. Chili Kiwi Lakefront Backpackers – Chile 

  • Location: Pucón
  • Price range: $
  • Best feature: Communal vibe 

Compare prices of Chili Kiwi Lakefront Backpackers💰: | Hostelworld 

Sitting in the heart of Chile’s adventure capital, Chili Kiwi Lakefront has long been an established bolthole along the country’s backpacking trail. Repeatedly voted the best hostel in Chile and one of the best in Latin America, this award-winning hostel is known for its welcoming vibe and quirky accommodation options. 

Offering a range of dorms and more novel stays, such as their hobbit huts and VW kombi glamping experience, there are options to suit all here. While activities are regularly hosted, there is a quiet after 11 p.m. policy to ensure that all guests get a good night’s sleep. Trust us, when you’re getting up early to go kayaking, you’ll be grateful for the extra zzz!

Everyone knows that the kitchen is the heart of any building and it’s no different at Chili Kiwi! There are two shared kitchens here, both of which are very clean and ideal for rustling up a cheap meal to fuel your explorations. 

Solo backpackers adore the welcoming and homely vibe at Chili Kiwi. The staff are incredibly accommodating and make booking trips a breeze. Get chatting to your fellow travellers to embark on some adventure activities together. Skydiving, volcano trekking and horseback riding are all on offer locally. 

7. Selina Copacabana – Brazil

  • Location: Rio de Janeiro
  • Price range: $$$
  • Best feature: Rooftop views

Compare prices of Selina Copacabana 💰: | Hostelworld 

In a round-up of South American hostels, you will inevitably see a branch of Selina creep in somewhere. This offering, located in the Copacabana area of Rio de Janeiro, is a stellar example of everything that this flashpacker chain is trying to be. 

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Boasting a breathtaking location next to the beach, you are in the thick of the action here. To get the most out of the views, head to the rooftop cocktail bar for sunset. A cheeky caipirinha and good vibes never hurt anyone!

As you’d expect from Selina, there is a coworking space catering to digital nomads on site. However, it isn’t as big as some of the others that Selina offers in different branches. A range of rooms are available, including dorms (plus female-only options) and family rooms.

The downside of staying at Selina is the price – it is always one of the most expensive accommodations. Despite this, everything along Copacabana Beach is pricey so it’s the compromise of staying in such a great location. 

8. Community Hostel Quito – Ecuador

  • Location: Quito
  • Price range: $
  • Best feature: Communal dinners

Compare prices of Community Hostel Quito 💰: | Hostelworld 

Community Hostel is the spiritual home of many backpackers in South America. Providing a warm welcome for travellers, this hostel, located in Quito’s Historic Centre, has been hosting backpackers since 2012.

Yoga classes on the roof at Community Hostel
Yoga classes on the roof at Community Hostel.

At Community, they know that sometimes people need a little encouragement to socialise. Their nightly communal dinners are a great way to break the ice and get to know other travellers, making it a perfect destination for solo backpackers.

Further cement your friendship with your new pals by joining in on bar crawls, free walking tours, salsa classes and pasta night! There is never a dull moment! Most of the rooms come in the form of dorms, however, there are limited privates available too. 

9. Casa en el Agua – Colombia

  • Location: San Bernardo Islands
  • Price range: $$
  • Best feature: Location

Floating somewhere in Colombia’s San Bernardo Islands, you’d need to travel a pretty long way to stay at a more novel hostel than this! This epic floating casa has been hosting backpackers for over 25 years and has made its mark on the Latin American travel scene. 

Casa en el Agua, Colombia.
Casa en el Agua has undergone a few changes since this photo!

There are a range of sleeping accommodations available from hammocks to private rooms. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, bottomless coffee and drinking water are all included in the price. As a result, you should expect to pay more than you would for similar accommodation on the mainland. 

While Casa en el Agua does not market itself explicitly as a party hostel, it does tend to attract a younger crowd. Loads of activities are available from the hostel, including swimming with plankton, kayaking, snorkelling and even subwing

10. Hostel Running Chaski – Bolivia

  • Location: Cochabamba
  • Price range: $
  • Best feature: Communal areas

Compare prices of Hostel Running Chaski 💰: | Hostelworld 

Located in Cochabamba, Hostel Running Chaski is a cute and colourful place to stay in the middle of the city. Dorms (not all of them bunks) and privates are available and offer a cost-effective stay for those travelling on a budget. 

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The staff will do everything that they can to help make your stay memorable – ask them for their recommendations of local places to eat to try some traditional Bolivian dishes! Running Chaski are used to travellers arriving before check-in time and will often let backpackers hang in their communal spaces until their room is ready. This is much appreciated when you have been stuck on a night bus for the last 10 hours!

The hostel is very sociable but without a party vibe, making it ideal for those who want to meet other people on the road without having to contend with a hangover the next day. There are loads of places to hang out, from the generous garden complete with hammocks, to the cinema room. 

11. Nomads Hostel – Brazil 

  • Location: Salvador
  • Price range: $
  • Best feature: Coworking space

Compare prices of Nomads Hostel 💰: | Hostelworld 

If you’re looking for somewhere sweet to set up for a few weeks, look no further than Nomads Hostel in Salvador. Perfect for remote workers on a budget, the WiFi is reliable and there is a dedicated area for those clocking up the hours at their virtual desks. 

This wallet-friendly hostel prides itself on its sense of camaraderie, making it easy to meet like-minded travellers, many of whom stay at the hostel for at least a few days. It’s a very sociable hostel which makes it a great place to base yourself, especially if you’re flying solo. 

There are clean and comfortable rooms and dorms, plus some especially for women. A hostel-run Whatsapp group keeps everyone in the loop about activities, including yoga classes and bar hopping. And the best thing? It’s just a stone’s throw to Barra Beach! 

12. Che Juan Hostel – Argentina

  • Location: Buenos Aires
  • Price range: $$
  • Best feature: Chic decor

Compare prices of Che Juan Hostel 💰: | Hostelworld 

Che Juan Hostel is the ultimate hipster hangout. Dark wood panels with warm lighting elevate this backpacker hostel, giving it chic hotel vibes. Choose between the private rooms which sleep up to four or opt to bunk down in one of the dorm rooms. 

This hostel is an ideal choice for solo female travellers who are concerned about safety. Located in a safe area of BA, there are female-only dorms and each bed comes with its own locker, ideal for keeping your valuables secure. The hostel is being constantly cleaned throughout the day and it shows! 

While the aesthetic is what draws you in, it is the people that keep you there. The staff at Che Juan Hostel go above and beyond to ensure that you get the most out of your time in Argentina’s capital. 

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, the above South American hostels are sure to offer a stay you’ll never forget. From pumping party hostels to digital nomad digs, travellers of all stripes will find something on our list! 

Have we missed your favourite hostel in South America? Share it with us in the comments below!

Sheree Hooker Bio Pic
Sheree Hooker | Editor @ South America Backpacker + Winging The World

Sheree is the awkward British wanderluster behind, a travel blog designed to show that even the most useless of us can travel. Follow Sheree’s adventures as she blunders around the globe, falling into squat toilets, getting into cars with machete men and running away from angry peacocks.

Find her on: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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