The Coolest Hostels in Costa Rica

The cool beach huts of Selina Puerto Viejo, which also has a swimming pool, restaurant and live music
The cool beach huts of Selina Puerto Viejo, which also has a swimming pool, restaurant and live music | Courtesy of Selina Puerto Viejo / Expedia
Photo of Jenn Parker
20 April 2021

Costa Rica has some really cool hostels – on the beach, in the rainforest, near volcanoes and in the Central Valley cities – offering budget travelers a clean, safe, comfortable place to lay your head, but that also possess a cool and friendly vibe. Here’s our pick – bookable on Culture Trip.

Osa Jungle Hostel

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Osa Jungle Hostel
Courtesy of Osa Jungle Hostel / Expedia
This off-grid rainforest hostel is set in a glade on the southern tip of Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula, where there’s wildlife all around. Squirrel monkeys and toucans loiter in the trees, ocelots pad along jungle paths and giant anteaters nose around for food. There’s plenty of organised adventure on offer into Corcovado National Park – which covers roughly half the peninsula – including jungle hikes, ocean kayaking and beachside horseback rides. Rooms are simple dorms, with metal-frame bunks, draped in mosquito nets, a colorful communal kitchen and shaded hammocks for afternoon lounging.

Hostel Cattleya

Hostel
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Hostel Cattleya
Courtesy of Hostel Cattleya / Expedia
The cloud forest covering Costa Rica’s high central sierra is like a bonsai jungle – elfin trees drip with moss and orchids, the air is misty and cool, and handkerchief-sized butterflies and electric-green hummingbirds flit through the air. The Cattleya’s doubles and dorms are basic, but they’re right on the edge of the wild Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve and staff can organise guided wildlife trips.

Nativus Art-Hostel

Hostel
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Nativus Art-Hostel
Courtesy of Nativus Art-Hostel / Expedia
Need a cheap place in the capital for a night before that early international flight? Set in a brightly-painted converted townhouse, decorated with Henri Rousseau-style jungle prints, Nativus is a 20-minute cab ride from Juan Santamaría International Airport on the edge of San José’s bar-filled city centre. Dorms (some of which are single sex) have plenty of privacy thanks to curtained beds and the bus station is on the doorstep, too.

Lost in Costa Rica

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Lost In Costa Rica
Courtesy of Lost In Costa Rica / Expedia
Spacious doubles with four-poster beds draped in wispy mosquito nets; dorms with parquet floors and wall-high windows; a breezy barbecue deck and pool-table-topped bar – this San José hostel goes a step beyond the city’s usual basic beds. Outside space also includes a hammock-strung chill-out courtyard and an alfresco yoga deck which rises above the streets of surrounding Los Yoses suburb.

Hostel La Suerte

Hostel
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Hostel La Suerte
Courtesy of Hostel La Suerte / Expedia
On the edge of the misty, wildlife-filled Monteverde Cloud Forest, La Suerte has large wooden dorms and double rooms, plus a yoga deck with beautiful sunset views – out over the mountains (and on a clear day), all the way to the distant Pacific Ocean. Vivid paintings of the rainforest cover the main building, surrounded by large private gardens and a grassy central courtyard, and murals of Costa’s Rica creatures also grace some of the rooms.

Selina Jaco

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Selina Jaco
Courtesy of Selina Jaco / Expedia
Selina Jaco sits right on the beach in the centre of the Pacific Coast village of Jaco – known for its surf beaches and bars. A flashpacker hostel, rooms are bright, well kept and stylish, painted in whitewash, pistachio green and bubblegum pink; lounge areas double as co-working spaces; dorms are “community” rooms; and activities run from tours and surf classes to treatments in the wellness space.

Tamarindo Backpackers Hostel

Hostel
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Tamarindo Backpackers Hostel
Courtesy of Tamarindo Backpackers Hostel / Booking.com

Tamarindo Backpackers is one of the best hostels in Tamarindo. This quaint hostel is just a short walk from the beach and the amenities of town, but far enough away that you can rest peacefully at night (and with AC) without hearing the nightlife in Tamarindo. There is a great social atmosphere and an inviting energy at this hostel. The owner Anne and her staff are fabulous and will be able to help you book tours or offer you nightlife, dining, and activity recommendations.

La Oveja Negra Hostel

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La Oveja Negra Hostel
Courtesy of La Oveja Negra Hostel / Expedia

La Oveja Negra Hostel is located right in the middle of all the action of Tamarindo. If you are looking for a lively and happening place to stay with other likeminded party-goers, this is your hostel. This place is so cool that even the locals party at the bar here. La Oveja Negra Hostel has it all: a bar, a great Mexican restaurant, a cozy place to hang out and play pool or ping pong, live music nights, a free tattoo night, a surf shop, surf tours and lesson options, and clean rooms.

Hostel Plinio

Hostel
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Hostel Plinio
Courtesy of Hostel Plinio / Booking.com

Hostel Plinio is a fabulous hostel for those looking for a peaceful place to stay while exploring all the wonders of Quepos and Manuel Antonio. This isn’t a party-central type of place. Hostel Plinio is a full-service hostel complete with a tour desk, a pool, wifi, a restaurant, multiple accommodation options, and beautiful ocean views. This is the perfect place to come back to after a long day exploring the Manuel Antonio National Park or one of the many adventure and nature tours offered in the Central Pacific part of Costa Rica.

Wave Trotter Surf Hostel

Hostel
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Wave Trotter Surf Hostel
Courtesy of Wave Trotter Surf Hostel / Hostelworld

Wave Trotter Surf Hostel is appropriately located in the surf town of Santa Teresa. This is the perfect place to stay if you are looking to surf all day and hang out with likeminded backpackers from around the world at night. This two-story hostel has several accommodation options, a big functional kitchen, an awesome social area, plenty of hammocks, and a lush garden, and is just steps away from the beach. While the hostel may appear simple in design, it offers guests first-class service and amenities to make sure your stay is nothing short of exceptional. Wave Trotters also specializes in surf trips and can help you score the best waves during your trip.

Selina Puerto Viejo

Hostel
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Selina Puerto Viejo
Courtesy of Selina Puerto Viejo / Expedia

Selina Puerto Viejo is a super-fun hostel on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica in the happening beach town of Puerto Viejo. Selina has a coworking space, swimming pool, volleyball court, football field, restaurant, weekly live music, and private and shared room options. This is the perfect location for those interested in surfing and exploring all that the Caribbean has to offer. Selina is a comfortable, safe, and clean home base with a great and inviting energy.

About this place:

Adventure, Beach, Budget, Cosy, Eco friendly, Pet Friendly

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  • Room2Board Hostel and Surf School

    Hostel
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    Room2Board Hostel and Surf School
    Courtesy of Room2Board Hostel and Surf School / Expedia

    Room2Board Hostel and Surf School was awarded the 2017 Hoscar Award for the best hostel in Costa Rica. This boutique hostel, just 50m (165ft) from the beach, has an on-site bar and restaurant, swimming pool, outdoor movie screen, hammocks, a great social area, and ocean views. There are dorms and private rooms available. Room2Board offers surf lessons, yoga, and stand-up paddle boarding tours. This hostel is super-clean and comfortable, and will make your time in Jaco quite comfortable and very memorable. It will become immediately apparent upon arrival why this hostel received the best hostel award.

    Bolita Rainforest Hostel

    Hostel
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    Bolita Rainforest Hostel
    Courtesy of Bolita Rainforest Hostel / Booking.com

    Bolita Rainforest Hostel is located right on the border of one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula. This is a nature-loving budget traveler’s paradise accommodation. The main part of the hostel is a charming old farmhouse that has been renovated. There are private cabins available, too. There are 15km (9mi) of marked trails and several waterfalls in the area. There are also several pristine beaches nearby and multiple nature and adventure tours available. This comfortable hostel is your ticket to a nature-filled and budget-friendly vacation.

    About this place:

    Adventure, Budget, Eco friendly, Outdoors, Remote

    Arenal Backpackers Resort

    Resort
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    Arenal Backpackers Resort
    Courtesy of Arenal Backpackers Resort / Expedia

    Arenal Backpackers’ Resort is a five-star resort conveniently located in La Fortuna, the gateway to the Arenal Volcano National Park. There are shared dorms, private rooms, and even glamp-worthy tents available on the well-manicured, secure, and inviting property. There’s a big pool, a restaurant, and bar on the property, as well. Arenal Backpackers’ Resort is one high-end hostel! It is within walking distance to all the restaurants, bars, and shops in La Fortuna and the perfect home base for all the adventure and nature tours that you will want to embark on while in this magical part of Costa Rica.

    Castle Tam Hostel

    Hostel
    Map View

    Castle Tam Hostel is located in the center of the happening neighbor of San Pedro in the Central Valley. Located close to the University of Costa Rica, staying here puts you right in the action of student life, which includes some great nightlife options. The hostel is close to several malls, supermarkets, and affordable restaurants. If you are looking for fun times in the city, Castle Tam Hostel is an excellent home base. It is likely that you will find other likeminded backpackers to party with and perhaps continue to travel around with while staying here.

    Hostel Pangea

    Hostel
    Map View
    Hostel Pangea
    Courtesy of Hostel Pangea / Booking.com

    Hostel Pangea is one of the most popular hostels in San Jose. It is especially popular among twentysomething backpackers who are looking to have a good time. Located in the heart of San Jose, this hostel has it all. There is a rooftop restaurant, bar, pool, movie theater, wifi, shared and private rooms, and a full kitchen. This is a party spot and the parties are bumping every night. There is even a late-night snack menu here where you can order quesadillas, burritos, and burgers to help soak up the booze at the end of the night.

    Alex Robinson contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on April 20, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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