Here are my top 10 places to stay while travelling through South America, all based on my own experience at the time of my stay during 2017.
Casa Viejas – Minca – Colombia
£9 a night
Minca is a small village inhabited by 800 people at an elevation of 650m in the Sierra Nevada above Santa Marta.
Casa Viejas goes into my top 3 favourite places is stayed during my 6 months in South America. The incredible views out across the valley where on a clear night you can see the twinkling lights of Santa Marta, the pure tranquility of just hearing the birds and the buzz of the jungle below. Waking up to this view every morning was such a treat.
Run by a French couple and their volunteers, Casa Viejas has the best breakfast in Colombia, served with fresh coffee straight from the La Victoria Minca that surrounds the hostel. Freshly filtered water is available, and with no wifi and evening meals served together it is great for socialising and getting to know your fellow guests each evening.
I recommend making the most of the tours available and visit the La Victoria finca via the water falls, and take in the unspoilt beauty.
Recommended – Accessible only by motorbike (with your backpack on your back is fun) or 4×4 this is perfect for travellers who who want to relax and enjoy nature and get away from buzz of the world for a few days
My Rating 10/10
Dreamer Hostel – Santa Marta, Colombia
£7 a night
Dreamers is like being in an all inclusive resort, where you never have to leave.
Comfy dorms and beds, great shared bathroom with enough showers and toilets so you never have to queue (but avoid using the hand towel) there was a spate of pink eye going round when I was there.
There is Swimming pool to cool off from the days heat or just chill and recover from your latest trek. There is tasty and well priced food available all day.
The location is perfect for visiting Parque Tayrona for either the day or you can leave your bags in the lock up and go off and explore further along the coast. Anyone doing the Lost City trek will find this a good base to start and finish. One of the best places to meet other travellers from all over the world with each evenings activities and organised day tours – really friendly staff that just makes the whole experience wonderful.
Recommended – Best place to start if you are a hostel virgin or just starting your trip and want to meet people and have some fun. Not for those wanting a quiet night.
My Rating 8/10
Lulú lama – Isinlivi, Ecuador
Price on request.
Isinlivi is a small village high up in the Andean mountains of Ecuador, it one of the town you stay in when doing the four day Quilotoa Loop.
Lulu Lama is one of those hostels you walk into and think – is this really a hostel – it looks more like a ski chalet you would find in the Swiss Alps, with the wooden interior and burning fire keeping the place toasty warm.
The perfect place to spend a cosy night after a long days hiking . Super cosy dorms and private rooms, or splash out for the cottages that over look the valley.
There is a spa area where you will find a jacuzzi to relax those weary feet with a cold beer. Re count the days hiking with your fellow travellers over some home cooked food, laughing with those that got lost, followed by a game of cards by the fire .
Recommended – Single travellers and couples.
My rating 9/10
Hostería Izhcayluma – Vilcabamba Ecuador
£7.80 a night
The perfect last stop in Ecuador before heading into Peru, this hostel definitely makes my top 3. This is a hotel that offer dorms at hostel prices and the facilities are the best you can find at any hostel in South America.
A beautiful restaurant with an extensive menu freshly cooked for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a separate bar with pool table to unwind after a long days trek, and a swimming pool to soak up the days rays. The highlight and added bonus for all you yogis, is the free yoga each morning and afternoon.
The cabin style private rooms each with a private balcony are perfect for couples or families. The dorms each with 6 singles beds (not a bunk bed in sight) – each with a mezzanine floor and an incredibly large bathroom.
There are self orientating treks of differing difficulty that surround the hotel and well worth trying out while there.
Recommended – Yogis, couples, families and travellers that need some time out from the usual backpacking and hostel life.
My rating 10/10
Eco lodge – Mancora – Peru
From £53 a night
The perfect treat for a traveller who has been on the road a few months and needs some luxury and comfort at a good price.
My final top 3 of my stays in South America, a small and boutique hotel with only 5 rooms, set around a beautiful garden and swimming pool. The bright pink flowers against the natural wood and bright blue sky are so inviting, I could have stayed here for days.
Off the beaten track away from the hustle and bustle of the Main Street in Mancora – you have real peace and quiet to take stock, write your blog or catch up on life.
Freshly baked breakfast and a super french host to look after you, even Tofu the dog is there to give you comfort.
The rooms are simple and chic, with wood slated walls, grey slate floor and white linens. The enormous king size bed and luxury cotton linens make you just want to cosy up with Netflix or someone else and never leave.
The luxury of having, shampoo , conditioner and soap and freshly washed soft towels all makes this worth it for at least one night for any traveller in the need of some me time .
Recommended – Travellers in the need for some me time
My Rating 10/10
Loki del mar, Mancora , Peru
£7 a night
Loki is more like walking into an apartment complex in the Costa del Sol , than a hostel that only costs £7 a night.
Promoted as a party hostel, the Loki group have hostels in all the major cities in Peru and in La Paz, Bolivia.
After my luxury 2 night stay in Eco Lodge I was in the mood to party for a few days and Loki did not disappoint.
Full of young 20 something travellers, the day I arrived there was water sliding and gladiator drinking games going on. The music starts at 10am and eventually finishes when the bar closes, which can be anytime the staff deem it no longer full enough to stay open.
The rooms are a good size, mixture of single beds and bunks each with on suite shower room and separate toilets. The Pool is a real bonus and ideal for cooling down in the 30 degree heat or jumping in and joining the many games that are played. The evenings come alive with themed nights, with the day guests from the rest of the resort that come and enjoy the fun.
Happy hour is 6pm to 9pm everyday and if you get beer cap in the bucket you get a free shot. This never happened from want I could see!! The menu is pretty good too and not expensive, with a mixture of local and western food.
Recommended – If you want to sleep then Loki is not for you.
My rating 8/10
Wild Olive Guesthouse , Huacachina, Peru
£10 a night
This was a little gem of a find, very clean with plenty of space to relax and unwind and catch up on Netflix. The main living area had 2 great big sofas and large tv, it felt like being at home.
The rooms were possibly a little small for 6/8 bunks, but still very comfy and clean, with great showers and hot water – Which is all you need after a day of sand surfing in the desert.
There is a cute restaurant attached to the back that over looks the oasis and does great breakfast and food.
Recommended – all types of travellers
My rating 8/10
£6 a night
Magicpacker Hostel – Cusco , Peru
Cusco s a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region and of the Cusco Province. This is the main base for all travellers wanting to trek to Machu Picchu.
The magic packer was my base for a few days before and after my Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. The rooms were all really big, with larger than usual really comfy bunk beds.
The rooms are all situated around large courtyard, that is perfect for chilling in the sun on bean bags, breakfast is included in the price and isn’t bad for Peru. Its situated just out of the main busy part of Cusco, which makes it much quieter without having to walk-up a hill to get away from it all.
The showers were the best I have had in all my travels in Peru, powerful hot water and plenty of them. There is a lock up for you to leave your large backpack when going on a trek for a few days.
Recommended – For all travellers
My rating 8/10
Hostel Wara Uta, sla del Sol, Yumani
£22 a night includes breakfast and Wifi
Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun) is an island in the southern part of Lake Titicaca.
At the top of the hill nestled amongst a few other hostels and homes, this little hostel of no more than 4/5 rooms is so idyllic set in a beautifully well maintained garden. The rooms are clean and most of the time has hot water. Its a good walk from the boat with a few hundred steps and steep accent to get to, but so worth it for the views and the friendly greeting from the owner.
The hostel is perfectly located for exploring the island and trying the best restaurant for miles. Las Velas is a cute little restaurant snuggled amongst eucalyptus trees at the top of the village, a great place to unwind with a glass of red and watch the sunset.
Las Velas is a one man band owned by Pablo, a gourmet chef who use to work in posh restaurant in Lima.
It runs without electricity, meaning each table is lit by candle light and set inside the front part of Pablo’s house. The kitchen is to the rear where Pablo cooks and prepares delicious dishes like steamed fresh trout in white wine or homemade lasagne, with his head torch as the only form of light.
Recommended – for couples or groups of 3/4
My rating 8/10
Valle Mistrel – La Serena, Chile
£12 a night
Valle Mistrel is more like a hotel than a hostel, sometimes it make sense to pay a little extra to be in nice surroundings. From the front it looks just like any other small hostel that you stumble across, brightly painted and with sign posts with all the major cities with their distance.
Behind the glass door, is large long and beautifully cultivated space. The reception area, what looks like use to be the living room to the original house, but now houses the new fleet of bikes for hire. I arrived in the middle of the night and made use of the sofa to kip until the reception was open. The night porter was a bit clueless.
This backs onto a large garden – come patio that follows the length of the building, where you will find most of the double rooms.
Plenty of seats too chill, and listen to the music that is piped from above, the trickle of water from the water feature and the Avery of birds all makes for a pleasant relaxing environment.
Each double room is clean and spacious, comes with complimentary soft white towels. Each with an ensuite and all the essentials you find in a hotel. The breakfast terrace over looks the Garden from the rear.
However, the new addition and the jewel in the crown is the incredible roof terrace, with bespoke furniture made of old furniture and the panoramic views of the whole city.
Just below are the new dorms, with the most comfortable bunk beds I have slept in yet. The only downside is no mirror in the ensuite .
Recommended – For all Travellers that like nice surroundings
My rating 9/10