You’re off to famous surf spot, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca? You lucky thing. It’s one of my favorite places in Costa Rica. With glorious beaches skirting the Caribbean Sea, sloths climbing the trees and a distinctly Caribbean vibe, Puerto Viejo is a place you might end up staying longer than planned. But that’s no bad thing? Not when there are plenty of excellent hostels to choose from. Here is my list of the best hostels in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. At the end, I’ve included a map so you can compare hostel locations.
Guide prices are average prices to give you an idea of the cost. Check before you book.
1. Pagalu Hostel
Pagalu Hostel is my go-to in Puerto Viejo. They have a choice of private and dorm rooms. The dorms are beautifully done with solid dark wood bunk beds. The shared bathrooms are outside the rooms and are extremely clean. There’s a well-equipped communal kitchen (with a huge supermarket opposite), and a shared lounge area with hammocks. Pagalu has a nice calm vibe that is family-friendly and great for couples. I was traveling alone and found it sociable enough for my needs. Downside: there is no a/c in the dorms. However, Pagalu is one of the nicest, cheapest dorms in Puerto Viejo. The staff helped me with tips for visiting the Jaguar Rescue Center (one of the best things to do in Puerto Viejo).
Guide price: $15 dorm / $38 private.
2. La Tribu
La Tribu has pitched itself as a hostel for women. And by that, I mean only female travelers are allowed to book. All dorms are 8-bed and female only, which can be nice if you’re a solo female traveler looking for a break from mixed hostels. There’s a lovely indoor jungle feel with lots of plants but the hostel is modern too with a large shared kitchen and excellent facilities. Each room has a private bathroom and the rooms have a/c. Many of the bunks have a privacy curtain, and there is a jacuzzi outside. There is also a make-up station though I personally wasn’t interested in sitting to apply make-up. It’s not even on my packing list for hot countries. There are no private rooms. If you can’t get enough of Costa Rica’s jungle feel and wildlife, put Monteverde, La Fortuna, and Tortuguero National Park on your itinerary.
Guide price: $20 dorm only.
3. Kalunai Hostel
Kalunai Hostel had the same safe, secure family feel as the hostel I stayed at in nearby Cahuita. It’s a great place if you’re looking for a communal dinner vibe. There’s a good kitchen which people use a lot. The rooms are spread around the common area with two room types – small dorms with only 4 beds (2 bunks) or small, basic private rooms. Although the rooms are small and only have fans (no a/c), the bright colors are nice.
Guide price: $19 dorm / $40 private.
4. Roots Family Hostel
The friendly staff is what makes Roots Family Hostel one of the best. Regularly going above and beyond (they’re one of the few to offer airport transfers for a fee), it’s a cozy hostel with a family vibe. The decor is rustic bamboo but is very clean and well-kept. The dorms are quirky with large wooden beds with proper ladders. The privates are bright and en-suite. Location-wise, Roots is a couple of blocks straight to Parquecitos Beach (not a brilliant beach but still a beach!). It’s also very close to Bread and Chocolate, one of my favorite cafes in Puerto Viejo.
Guide price: $20 dorm / $37 private.
5. La Ruka Hostel
Located a tiny bit out of the center of Puerto Viejo center, La Ruka has a more chilled location. Still, it’s within easy walking distance, just over 10 minutes into town, and you go via my absolute favorite bakery, De Gustibus. The inside is bright and brings Caribbean vibes. While some of the bunks are packed in tightly, the beds are solid and come with privacy curtains. Bathrooms are inside the dorms but there are only fans to cool the rooms, no a/c. I LOVE this description from La Ruka: “Welcome all sexes, colors, religions, languages, shapes, sizes and lovers”.
Guide price: $21 dorm / $42 private.
6. Casa Wolaba
There is air conditioning in the rooms at Casa Wolaba. The dorm beds, which are pod-style, remind me of Japanese capsules. Your feet are at the entrance and your head all the way along to the end. You also get a privacy curtain. Outside the rooms, the hostel has a sociable area with hammocks and organises free activities like dance classes. One potential downside: the hostel is run by volunteers. If you’ve stayed in this kind of hostel before, it’s a lottery in terms of staff. Often it works well – the volunteers encourage the solo travelers to socialize. But sometimes you get uninterested staff who just want a free bed, or you a group of volunteers who stick together and treat the place like home, with little space for guests (especially in the kitchen!). I had this in a hostel in Hawaii. Check the latest reviews before you book.
Guide price: $25 dorm / $60 private.
7. Selina Puerto Viejo
Selina hostels are in a class of their own. Aimed at the many digital nomads wandering the globe, Selina has grown into a global brand. They offer a combination of co-working spaces, dorms, private rooms and social areas. I’ve come across Selina from nearby Bocas del Toro in Panama to Mexico’s Yucatan Pensinsula to Colombia. Sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re a bit expensive for what you get. The Selina in Puerto Viejo is cute with a nice outdoor pool, yoga shala, modern decor and look at those teepees! Plus, you can’t beat the location for the beach (Playa Cocles). On the downside, the prices are high, the dorm beds are creaky metal and you’re about 15 minutes out of town. Typically, Selina is synonymous with party hostel yet the one in Puerto Viejo has a much more chilled vibe.
Guide price: $33 dorm / $112 private.
8. Playa 506 Beachfront Hostel
The first thing to mention about Playa 506 Beachfront Hostel is the location – yes, you’re at the beach but you’re about a 35-minute walk into downtown Puerto Viejo. However, if you’re in Puerto Viejo for the blend of beach and jungle, it’s a great spot. Directly on Cocles beach, you can go for a sunrise walk on the beach. The dorms are well-sized with solid wooden beds and privacy curtains. If you’re considering a private room, I’d check prices elsewhere as a hotel in town might be cheaper or similarly priced. The cheaper private rooms have a shared bathroom! There’s an on-site restaurant and bar as well as a few eateries nearby but this is a quiet hostel with little social scene at night. Beware: not all dorms have a/c. And, like all beach hostels, expect sandy floors in the common areas and dorms. If you’re in Costa Rica for the beaches, check out my guides to Santa Teresa and Manuel Antonio.
Guide price: $24 dorm / $81 private.
9. Hotel Puerto Viejo
Hotel Puerto Viejo has one of the best locations in the center of town. It also has a huge kitchen and excellent prices. The decor is cute but is running a little down at heel. Some of the rooms can get hot as there is no a/c. Some are better ventilated with open windows and a sea breeze. But this can let mosquitos in. But, at that price, you can just slap on some mosquito repellent. The hostel vibe is friendly and the hostel is great if you’re on a budget. Plus, they offer a good range of tours including a sloth tour.
Guide price: $13 dorm / $19 private.
Check reviews and book at: HostelWorld
10. Rockin J’s Hostel
Rockin J’s holds a special place in my heart since it’s the hostel I stayed at during my first visit to Puerto Viejo, all the way back in 2010, when there were as many sloths in Puerto Viejo as backpackers. I had a good time there. However, it has a bit of a 1960s commune feel. So, you should make sure it’s your vibe before you book. Think:of fire dancing, live music, bongos, bonfires, body painting, and boozing on the beach. You’re probably not at Rockin J’s for the quality of the beds. When I stayed all those years ago, I booked a $5-a-night hammock but that is no longer on offer. Instead, you have a choice of tents, dorms, and privates. Some privates have a/c. The tents are super hot and noisy. The dorms vary depending on the room. If this is your scene, you’ll love it. If not, best book elsewhere. It’s located at one end of town but has an on-site bar and restaurant.
Guide price: $16 dorm / $63 private.
Tasty Dayz Hostel is another option in Puerto Viejo but I struggle to recommend it as a first choice. It’s a 30-minute walk into town and is a bit run down. It’s not especially cheap either (around $18 for a dorm). However, it’s in a good spot near the beach and is one to consider if you find yourself without a room for the night. You can read review on HostelWorld.
Map of hostels in Puerto Viejo
Here are the hostels on Google maps.
Tips for staying in a hostel in Puerto Viejo
- Hostels in Puerto Viejo are more expensive than other places in Costa Rica, like San Jose so budget for it. I’ve got more cost tips in my Costa Rica Travel Guide.
- If you are on a strict budget, consider staying in Cahuita a short bus ride away. It’s home to the beautiful Cahuita National Park.
- Breakfast is rarely included but most hostels in Puerto Viejo have good kitchens.
- There are some great supermarkets and fresh fruit stands to keep costs lower.
- Not all hostels have air-conditioned accommodation in Puerto Viejo. Check if this is important to you.
- Most of the hostels include free private parking.
- You can usually pay in US dollars or Costa Rican colones – Colones will usually give a better exchange rate.
- Pay attention to whether you can pay by card on arrival. Some hostels want cash and some charge a credit card fee.
- Hostel facilities can vary. Some offer a laundry service and bike rental.
- For hostels a bit further out, you can rent a bicycle. Most hostels have bike parking.
- Like most hostels, towels aren’t included in dorm rooms. Best to pack a small travel towel. Don’t worry, bed linen is included. I have a more detailed list of What To Pack For Costa Rica.
- Also, note if there is a latest check-in time. Some hostels are family-run and need to arrange for later check-in.
- Newbie? Check out my guide to your first-time stay in a hostel.