Mainland Ecuador is home to three distinct geographic regions, the Pacific Coast, the Andean High Sierra and the Amazon Basin, each with a huge variety of tourist destinations. Fortunately, hostels are not just limited to the big cities of Quito and Guayaquil but can also be found in several off-the-beaten-path locations. Here are 10 of the coolest options.
Tucked away on a back road between the popular Quilotoa Lagoon and the Andean town of Sigchos lies the tiny community of Chugchilán and the Cloud Forest Hostel. Offering family-style dinners, a good breakfast, a variety of room sizes and an extremely helpful owner, this destination has become a favorite with adventurers of all ages and nationalities.
Explore the Imbabura Province from the Real Dream Guesthouse and Hostel located on the oldest street in the White City, Ibarra. The remodeled colonial home is walking distance from the historic city center and is readily accessible to local transportation. The price for a room includes access to the fully equipped kitchen as well as free wifi with the addition of free laundry for long-term guests.
A modern hostel located across the street from the most ancient site in Cuenca, the Incan Ruins at the Pumapungo Museum. They offer a selection of dormitory-style rooms as well as affordable private twin and double rooms with shared bathrooms. Hot showers, towels, breakfast, free wifi, and onsite computers are included with your stay.
The Great Hostels Backpackers is an easy walk to the local public baths at the Cascada de la Virgen in Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador. With many affordable dormitory options and an area for pitching tents, this hostel welcomes adventure travelers on a budget. Free breakfast, a guest kitchen and plenty of hot water for showers just might seal the deal.
Stay off the beaten path on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador in the small town of Bahía de Caráquez. Coco Bongo offers the best of both worlds with proximity to plenty of restaurants, cafes and public transportation. There’s also easy access to the natural, undeveloped beaches of the Manabí province and the unique birding habitat along the Río Chone and the Isla Corazón.
Walking distance from the restaurants and bars in downtown Puerto Lopez, the Punta Piedrero Ecolodge is a quiet yet well-situated hostel for this popular coastal destination. Rooms are ample and clean, and although there are no dormitory-style offerings, a communal kitchen is available. Camping is by far the cheapest option.
Stay in the secondary jungles surrounding Tena, Ecuador in the Hostal Pakay, an eco-friendly hostel situated on a working farm. The guest house has been built with local materials and features eco-friendly equipment like dry toilets. Dormitory-style lodging as well as private rooms, all included with a big breakfast and affordable add-on dinners, make this a great choice for the budget-conscious traveler.
High above the Tandayapa Valley, the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve offers a few beds in a dormitory setting on the upper floors of the main lodge. While not a traditional hostel, this inexpensive option makes an otherwise expensive birding lodge affordable. If you have a choice, go for the fourth-floor lodging for its direct view into the surrounding tree canopy.
Strategically located only a few steps from the historic neighborhood Las Peñas and the waterfront boardwalk, the Malecon 2000, Nazu City Hostel makes an excellent base for touring Guayaquil. This new and modern hostel offers 3-bed, 5-bed, and 9-bed dorms with shared bathrooms or private rooms with attached bathroom and up-to-date air conditioning units – a must-have in the tropical heat of Ecuador’s largest city.