Since I’ve stayed in many hostels in my 2012 Travels, 51 to be precise, I like to think I know what I am looking for in a hostel. What makes a good hostel or a bad hostel. I even listed the best hostels in SE Asia a while ago.
So when I went to go to South America recently, my standards were pretty high. So what were the best 3 hostels of my time in South America?
3. Independencia Hostel, Mendoza, Argentina
Charming, social and free wine! As I was with TwoBadTourists, the free wine definitely swung it for us. From 6-7pm, the hostel owner has a free wine tasting hour (i.e. glug as much as you can) as Mendoza is Argentina’s wine capital. With friendly staff, great wi-fi, and free wine in our hands, we were pretty happy as everything was catered for us travel bloggers. What about the beds? Our 6 bed dorm was quiet, comfy and spacious. Enough room to swing a cat with a 60L Backpack on. The bathroom facilities could be better but I know they are addressing that by redecorating and improving the facilities. One of the best features of the hostel that it has its own private courtyard that doubles up as a huge social area. We met so many backpackers there and had a good time with them even in the communal kitchen that works. Another great feature is that the hostel is slam-bang in the middle of Mendoza, close to the Independencia Square where night markets are hosted and also across the square from some streets where amazing and cheap restaurants are located. The hostel does offer a wine tour of Mendoza’s vineyards but as it was too expensive for us, we opted to tour the vineyards outsides by catching the local bus and hiring some bikes. Check out how to do that here. But other than that, I would definitely stay here again!
2. Tango Hostel, Cordoba, Argentina
Cosy, bright and educational. This is probably the hostel that got away from us. Seeing as we needed a place to crash to break up our journey from Mendoza to Iguazu Falls, we opted to stop over in Cordoba and have a day and a night there. And we were bitterly disappointed that we could only stay one night as we had an AMAZING time in Cordoba. Granted the hostel is ‘cosy’ but I didn’t complain as it contained absolutely everything you needed. WiFi, drinks bar, courtyard, air-con, etc. The lockers could have been made to be more secure but that was my only gripe about the hostel. The hostel was like a pleasant assault on the eyes, everywhere the walls were painted in vivid colours and you always felt like you were in the mood to party, which we did that night! The best feature about the hostel is that it offers a walking tour of Cordoba. The staff took us and he was very, very knowledgeable about the architecture surrounding us, injecting humorous, historical and cultural tales about each corner of Cordoba. Definitely worth the money. Tango Hostel is very close to transport links, good food streets and definitely bars as Cordoba is renowned for being the student city. We would have loved to stay there longer but sadly, we already booked our transport out.
1. Hercus Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Central, Secure and Friendly. This new hostel opened very recently and it was the perfect place to base ourselves for Carnaval. Situated next to the main road, the Lapa Steps, and the White Arches, where the Lapa Street Parties take place, is perfect to see the sights and to party. The subway is also close by after a 10 min walk that will take you quickly to Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach. The main road also had a bus service that takes you to Cosme, where Cristo Redenter is based at. The best thing about this hostel is its security. I was pretty worried before I came to Rio as I heard many valuables being stolen from hostels over Rio but with a secure gate service controlled by reception, it was so relaxing not to have to worry about my valuables. So much so, that I even left my iPad on charge in full view of everyone. The wi-fi was brilliant and if you needed to use a PC, there are 3 in the very sleek reception area. The staff was extremely friendly and always wanting to talk to you, which gave a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere over the hostel. Be warned, they love to party! Also, look out for their friendly resident dog, Teresa, you can even walk her if you want to. The dorms were satisfactory, once you get over the shock of having 3 bunk bed columns but they were fine. Great locker spaces. The bathrooms were good although for boys, you have to walk past reception to get to the boys’ bathroom but I suspect so the female receptionists can have a good look haha. Breakfast was included and put on a great spread that we could help ourselves to. The only thing I could find fault was the kitchen as the 2 nights we stayed in to cook, we couldn’t find the necessary cooking utensils and the cooker looked like it was about to explode. However, I am aware that it’s a new hostel and they are improving and adding features as they did so over the week I was there. There are plenty of great restaurants nearby anyway. The week I spent there, I had a great time and I would love to come back here again 🙂