As one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the world, Costa Rica is full of amazing hostels. In fact, there are so many world-class budget accommodations all over this beautiful and biodiverse country that it can be difficult to find the right hostel for you.
During my time spent backpacking around Costa Rice, I came across many great places to stay (and some not so great!), which is why I’ve created this guide to the best hostels in Costa Rica. So, whether you’re hanging out in the rainforests of Monteverde, or surfing up a storm in Santa Teresa, there’s bound to be the perfect hostel on this list for you to call home for a short while!
Let’s jump straight to it.
Need a hand finding the best hostels in Costa Rica at a glance? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with this TL:DR guide.
- 🙋♀️ Best Hostel for Solo Travelers — Planet B Hostel, Manuel Antonio
- 💻 Best Hostel for Digital Nomads — Selina Manuel Antonio
- 🛌🏻 Best Hotel for Chilled out Travelers — Santafe, La Fortuna
- 🌳 Best Hostel for Eco-travelers — Pipe House Playa Grande, Tamarindo
- 🚴♂️ Best Hostel for Outdoorsy Travelers — Casajungle Hostel, Jaco
13 Best Hostels in Costa Rica
Ready to find out the 13 best hostels in Costa Rica? We’ve spread our search all over the country, so you’re sure to find a place that works with your Central American itinerary.
Laid back capital city hostel near the major bus stations
If you’re thinking about spending some time in Costa Rica’s bustling capital city, Sura is a chilled-out place where you can relax and recoup after a long flight. As it’s super close to one of the city’s major bus terminals, it’s the perfect location if you need to get an early morning bus out of the city and don’t want to haul your rucksack all around San Jose.
The most highly-rated hostel in San Jose!
Located in the Barrio Escalante neighborhood of San Jose, Chillout Escalante is surrounded by amazing bars, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a hive of activity and is definitely a popular area with travelers, digital nomads, and younger locals. If you want to be in the heart of the action, but still have a comfortable hostel to come back to with a really cute courtyard area, Chillout Escalante is for you.
Chilled out vibes in the heart of waterfall country
La Fortuna is just a couple of hours north of San Jose, but it’s known for its amazing waterfalls and hot springs. So, it’s a pretty relaxing place! Sanatafe takes that laidback approach to heart and describes itself as a quiet place to relax. If you’re looking to avoid the party hostels or just value sitting with a good book or chatting with other travelers, this place is a great shout.
Luxury shared spaces and a great restaurant attached
If you’re a traveler who is a big fan of spending time in the shared social areas of a hostel, OutBox Inn in Monteverde is going to blow you away. It’s stunning. With high ceilings, open floor plans, and even being attached to a super high quality and affordable cafe/restaurant, you have everything you need all in one beautifully-designed spot.
Great breakfasts in the heart of Santa Elena
If you’re visiting Monteverde for the Cloud Forest – which, let’s be honest, is one of the biggest attractions in the whole of Costa Rica – staying in the center of Santa Elena is the perfect location. Monteverde Backpackers is right next to the bus station and a decent supermarket, so you can make food in the hostel or visit one of the many restaurants right on your doorstep.
Amazing eco-hostel with a unique design aesthetic
Located near the beach in gorgeous Tamarindo, the stunning Pipe House Playa Grande hostel gets its name from the huge pipe-shaped private rooms that dominate the site. They’re super cozy, so perfect for eco-conscious couples. Elsewhere, there is plenty of space and resources for yoga practice, cooking your own meals, and – of course – hammocks for those lazy beach days.
Boutique surf hostel with an in-house instructor
One of the major reasons why travelers head across to Tamarindo is for the world-class surfing. Tamarindo Backpackers is a beautiful surf hostel that’s only five minutes away from one of the best surf breaks in the area. They even have their own surf instructor on-site, bikes for hire, and a poolside bar for those post-session hangs.
Neverland-themed creative hostel with artistic murals.
For many travelers, Santa Teresa is the laidback surfing area of Costa Rica, compared to the party-centric Tamarindo. Lost Boyz, as the name suggests, is a Peter Pan-themed hostel where age is no limit. Travelers come together to surf, hang out, relax, and enjoy a wood-fired pizza or two. One of the best things about this hostel is the beautiful murals that cover every corner of the accommodation. If you’re a creative and love being surrounded by color and fun, then this is the spot for you.
A good vibes hostel right on the beach
If you’re heading to Santa Teresa and want to be located right on the beach, you need to book a stay at the Zeneidas Surf Garden hostel, as it’s actually the only hostel in the area that’s right on the beachfront. Add on a surf lesson or two, enjoy a yoga lesson or meditation, and hire all your gear on-site. If you’re looking for a little bit of luxury, you can opt to stay in the converted campervan which is beautifully decked out in its own private corner of the hostel.
Creative hostel with tons of free excursions
We love Planet B Hostel in the Manuel Antonio area for a couple of reasons. With free vegan breakfasts every morning, colorful murals with a full terrace, and even a fitness and workout zone, it’s got everything you need for an amazing day exploring this part of Costa Rica. If you’re a solo traveler, you need to check out this hostel for their free excursions. Each week, the hostel runs trips to waterfalls, local cookery classes, turtle-hatching trips, and more. It’s an amazing extra that keeps your excursion and transport costs down!
Jungle living with panoramic ocean views
If you want to head up into the jungle vibes above the main town of Manuel Antonio, Hostel Plinio is one of the best places that you can stay. You’ll be surrounded by stunning nature and wildlife, as you’re right by the amazing Manuel Antonio National Park, but still benefit from gorgeous Pacific Ocean views. Even though the town and main beach are just a short 10 minutes away, if you want to relax, why not take a plunge in their tranquil swimming pool?
Bustling modern hostel with co-working spaces
So, there are Selina hostels all over the world and you’ll find one in most major cities in Costa Rica. They tend to be a little more expensive, but the quality, amenities, and locations often make it worth the slightly higher price tag. The Selina in Manuel Antonio is located just across the street from the iconic El Avion bar and restaurant which has some of the best sunset views in the area.
The hostel itself has a huge pool, bar, and terrace area, and the private rooms are more like luxury villas. What sets the Selina apart, however, is the huge computer room with views across the area. If you’re a digital nomad, you’re definitely well-equipped to live, work, and play at the Selina Manuel Antonio.
Perfect for outdoorsy travelers who love hiking and surfing
Located in the beautiful Pacific Ocean town of Jaco, Casajungla Hostel is an outdoor adventurer’s dream hostel. You can be on the stunning sandy surf beaches in a matter of steps from your hostel, and there are gorgeous mountainous nature hiking trailheads located just 500m from the property. After a long day of adventuring and exploring, return to Casajungla, try and spot the macaws in the trees around you, and chill out in a comfortable hammock. Sounds like paradise, right?
FAQs About Hostels in Costa Rica
What are the best hostels in Costa Rica for solo travelers?
Honestly, there are a ton of great hostels in Costa Rica for solo travelers. We’d recommend Planet B in Manuel Antonio as they offer a ton of free excursions which can often get expensive if you’re trying to organize them on your own.
Finding hostels that are close to public transport systems, have decent common areas, and offer extra perks like free or affordable excursions or nights out can be really great for solo travelers. This way you can meet like-minded people and enjoy your time exploring beautiful Costa Rica!
How much are hostels in Costa Rica?
So, this definitely varies from place to place. In tourist hotspots like San Jose and Monteverde, prices tend to be higher with dorm rooms coming in at around $20-25 per night and privates costing $50-70 per night. Again, this depends on location and the time of year.
Elsewhere in Costa Rica, like in La Fortuna, Jaco, Manuel Antonio, Uvita, Tamarindo, and beyond, you can find dorm rooms for as low as $6 a night. In many places, it’s splashing out to spend more than $18 on a dorm room for the night. If you’re in a private, you can normally get one for around $40 per night.
On the whole, hostels in Costa Rica are very affordable. Personally, I spend two weeks traveling around Costa Rica and my accommodation cost was around $250, and that included some private rooms.
What’s the best area to stay in when visiting San Jose?
This all depends on what you’re in the Costa Rican capital for. If you’re just there to stay after a long flight and head out to another city or location – which is what a lot of people do – you’re going to want to stay relatively near to the bus stations. They’re not the nicest areas of the city, but it means you don’t have to spend a ton of time wandering around for a 6am bus.
If you’re staying a couple of days, I’d recommend staying in the Barrio Escalante area of the city. It’s around a 30-minute walk to the bus station or a quick cab, so it’s a bit further out, but you have all the independent restaurants, cafes, and bars. It’s a lot more creative and definitely has a younger vibe.
Where should I stay in Costa Rica for the first time?
Booking your first trip to Costa Rica can be overwhelming – there’s so much to see and do that many people make the mistake of trying to pack it all into one two or three-week trip. Don’t do this. From experience, you just get super tired of being on coaches and never settling in one place.
For first-timers, Monteverde is a must for the Cloud Forest experience. If you’re going to Costa Rica for the surfing and want a party vibe, head out to the Peninsula and stay in Tamarindo. It takes a while to get there from San Jose, but once you’re there you’ve got everything on your doorstep.
If you’re thinking of hitting up a couple of places, a common backpacking route is San Jose to La Fortuna, then onto Monteverde, and then down to Manuel Antonio and Jaco, before heading back to the capital.