8 Reasons why you should stay in a Hostel: San Juan Puerto Rico

Palm Tree on Beach in Loiza Puerto Rico

What is a Hostel?

Maybe you have seen the movie Hostel or you don’t like the idea of sharing a room. Check out this post to dispel myths about why you should stay in a hostel.

A hostel is a budget-friendly accommodation that you may share with others. Each hostel is very different but they can share some basic amenities. A hostel reminds me of slumber parties with your best friends.

Why should you stay in a hostel?

  • Inexpensive: Many people often say, ” they would never stay in a hostel”. I personally can not afford to travel for 2 weeks, if I stayed in a hotel every night. A hotel can cost anywhere between $100-300 per night. Lets do some basic math calculations: 100 X 14 = $1400. Hostels can cost anywhere from $15-85 depending on the type of room you get. I can save the money that I would spend on lodging and book more tours to explore the city.
  • Make Friends: If you are a solo traveler, staying in a hostel is a great way to meet people from all over the world. I have made friends that went with me to salsa dance in the streets of Colombia or accompanied me to eat popular Cuban dishes.
  • Great Location: Hostels are usually located in the heart of the city. They may be near beaches, restaurants, and historical landmarks.
  • Breakfast: Sometimes free breakfast food such as toast, fruit, or boiled eggs are offered to the guests. It’s not anything fancy but if you are a budget traveler this will keep money in your pockets.
  • Kitchen: A kitchen with a stove and refrigerator is provided. Guest can utilize the fridge as long as they label their food. Cooking at the hostel can help save money on eating out.
  • Wifi: Able to connect to the internet while on the property. Some may even offer access to computer stations.
  • Security: Lockers are provided for your most valuable items. I usually lock up my purse, passport, and cash inside the locker. I do not lock up my luggage and have not had any issues with theft.
  • Fun Events: They usually have a bulletin of planned activities that are usually organized or fun things that may be happening in the city.

How to choose a Hostel.

Check out Hostel World, an online website where you can find over 35,000 properties in 170 countries around the world.

  • Read Reviews: If a hostel has great reviews and ratings regarding cleanliness, location, security, staff etc then I would recommend booking.
  • Location: Is the room close to public transportation or is it within walking distance of popular attractions? Staying close to restaurants and tourist sites will help you save money on transportation.
  • Type of dorm: Some people prefer privacy when traveling. Check to see if the hostel offers private accommodations. Are you comfortable staying in a mixed dorm or would you prefer to stay in a gender-specific room? I have stayed in both female and mixed dorms and felt safe.
  • Pricing: How much are you willing to pay? For example, a private room may cost $60 and a dorm room may cost $25 per night. The more people in a room, the cheaper the cost will be. I typically stay in a 4-6 dorm room because I prefer a smaller crowd. In my opinion, more people equal more problems.

Hostels in Puerto Rico

Posing in from of Puerto Rico Art in San Juan Airport

Mango Mansion

Front View of Mango Mansion

I stayed at Mango Mansion for only $25 a night. After flying all day from Los Angeles, I was grateful for a comfortable mattress. Ever get excited when you get a whole airplane row to yourself? Imagine my excitement when I discovered that despite paying for a 4 bedroom dorm I had the entire room to myself.

Bunk Bed at Mango MansionBreakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I was happy to know they provided a light breakfast.  I had waffles, boiled eggs, pineapples, watermelon, and coffee.

Waffles, boiled eggs and pineapple at Mango Mansion

If you stay at Mango Mansion during the weekend, walk to La Placita. It is a popular place in town that is known for its vibrant nightlife.

If you are hungry, check out Bebo’s cafe. I ordered a popular Puerto Rican dish called mofongo.

Shredded beef on top of Mofongo at Bebo's Cafe in Puerto RicoCheesecake at Bebo's Cafe

I met up with my friend LaRhonda, with whom I met in a travel group. I encourage you all to seek out new friends when you travel. Great friendships can turn into life long travel buddies!

Friends posing in front of art at Bebo's Cafe

Nomada Urban Beach Hostel

Front desk at Nomada Urban Beach Hostel

I absolutely loved Nomada Urban Beach Hostel. It is located on Calle Loiza near Ocean Park Beach. It had a very modern vibe that appeals to millennials. They have a rooftop complete with bar and grill area, cool looking seats, swing chair and even the option to sleep in a private tent. On the second floor, they have a full kitchen and private rooms. The third floor is complete with dorm rooms, showers, computers, and an entertainment system.

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I stayed in a mixed 6 bedroom dorm. Due to the low tourist season, I only had one male roommate. Some women are uncomfortable with the thought of males sleeping in the same room. Fortunately, my roommate was super nice and even gave me a ride to the airport the following morning.

Dorm Room at Nomada Urban Beach Hostel

If you want to check out the nightlife, there are lots of bars and restaurants within walking distance.  I wanted to eat seafood and the front desk staff recommended La Cueva Del Mar. I had the fried catfish and it was delicious. Don’t forget to check out a food tour for more delicious Puerto Rican cuisine.

Catfish at La Cueva del Mar in Puerto Rico

What are your thoughts about staying in a hostel? If you have stayed in a hostel what was your experience? If you have not, why haven’t you? If you are still not convinced that you should stay in a hostel, check out booking.com for other rental properties.

 

30 Comments

  1. Great article! I never even considered staying in one until now. I’ve just never really new much about them. I’ll be looking into one on my next vacation. Thanks !

    • Thanks so much for reading! I discovered them when I begin to think about streching my dollar while traveling. Can’t wait to hear about your first experience! Let me know if you have other questions.

    • It is expensive, I didnt realize the last time I went because I was with family and we only stayed for a day. But I didnt realize they have a tax on everyrthing including tours, I was shocked.

  2. I don’t think I’ll ever be brave enough to stay at a hostel, but I have experimented with AirBnBs in Italy. I would definitely do that again as long as I’m traveling with my husband or in a big group.

  3. I would have never thought to stay in a hostel but this sounds really great and inexpensive! I love that there are so many new options to travel on a budget! Glad you enjoyed your stay.

    • Yes im not sure how I found out about hostels but the cheap price had me sold. So many options for budget travelers. Staying in a hostel allows my budget to strech a bit further,.

  4. I don’t know if I can stay in one with strangers. I’m skeptical on that but I think it’s neat if you are a trusting person and you don’t mind sharing and it’s a great option to have

    • Kita, try a private room, most have that as an option. Yeah Im pretty trusting, actually more trusting when I travel abroad.

  5. As much as I travel I have never stayed in an hostel. I always wanted to but I have been afraid to. You can thank the scary movie hostel for that lol. I definitely want to try one one day. I love Puerto Rico.

    • Hey Monique, please dont let that movie scare you. I promise you its just a movie! Just try it at lease once with friends. Some offer private rooms as well. I like PR as well

  6. It’s been a while since I’ve stayed in a hostel. But with the exception of one, my experience was greatly positive. A major plus is meeting other people!

    • Glad to hear you didn’t let that one bad experience deter you from staying a hostel again. Not all hostels are created equally. I agree its a great way to meet people.

  7. Hostels definitely get a bad rap from the movies, lol. But I have seen a lot of people I know do them, and they all seem pretty nice and inexpensive. Your experience falls in line with their good experiences with them.

    • Glad to know that others have postive expernces like mines! Now im made that made that movie! Scaring everybody away for no good reason. Its just a movie people not real life..

  8. I used to stay in hostels a lot when I was younger…but I have to be honest, I am way less likely to now when I travel with my husband…we don’t have many holidays, so we are always keen to have an en suite bathroom(!)

    Still, I did used to love hostels for making friends. 🙂

    • I dont see many couples in hostels but I suppose you could get a private room, but I understand if you are on vacation that you may want to travel in luxary. I agree it is a great way to make friends

  9. Hi,

    Do agree with you that the best way to getting closer to the community is using a hostel ( almost nestled in the heart of city, making friends with local and other guests,…).

    I really appreciate that travel’s concept. Thanks!!

    Best wishes,

    Nandih

  10. It looks like you enjoyed your visit to San Juan. I’ve always been leery of hostels, but I may have to reconsider. Thank you for sharing your experience and how budget-friendly this trip was. I always like trips that don’t break the bank, but you leave with a ton of memories.

    • This was my second time in PR and I was happy to explore new parts that I have never seen. I always say try everything once, you never know you just might like it. Memories are somethingI cherish as I can pass down to my kids one day.

  11. this is very interesting. I’ve never considered staying at a hostel because of safety concerns. How safe did you feel? It is a great alternative to expensive hotels.

    • I have always felt safe in all the hostels I stayed, even got to know the front desk staff and the my bunk mates were cool as well. What safety concerns do you have?

    • The great things about hostels is they are cheap and all ages occupy them although you do see a large percantage who are younger.

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