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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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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.