Guatemala Hostel Life

HOSTAL LAS LAGOS, Guatemala City

20170215_082226.jpgQuite literally a hop, skip and a jump from the airport which is -really- handy when you are flying into a country you know nothing about after a long non non-stop flight (that’s right, I use double negatives!). Did I mention it’s dark out? And as every backpacker knows, the exact place you googled prior to traveling is coincidentally the most dangerous and every passerby is secretly a master pick-pocketer. And don’t wear any nice rings, because lurking around the next corner is a finger-cutter-off-er!

Las Lagos is in a gated community — Sounds fancy to yo western self, huh? — it’s not. But I didn’t come to Guatemala for, or with an expectation of, fancy. That being said, Las Lagos has a very cozy, ‘staying with Grandma’ feel. But as much as I like ol’ grandmama, this hostel is a bit over-priced.  Coming it at around 22 USD$ pp/pn for a dorm, it’s one of the most expensive hostels I stayed at. It’s clean enough and offers free breakfast which you can enjoy in the small courtyard with the greenest of grass (I think it’s fake but I didn’t step on it to find out because it was so perfectly manicured). The beds are average and do the trick, the room I was in had 2 bunk beds and 3 singles.

HOT WATER: 1/10
FREE BREAKFAST: YES
CLEANLINESS: 6.5/10
LOCKERS: NO
PRICE FOR QUALITY: 2.5/10

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JUNGLE PARTY HOSTEL, Antigua, Guatemala

IMG_0031I WANT TO LIVE HERE, briefly. From the swinging chairs and hammocks to the rooftop tiki bar and mini pool, this place is one heck of a badass hostel. AND, BIG-BONUS-DRUM-ROLL PLEASE — it’s cheap!  Coming in at around 11 USD pp/pn, it is truly the best bang for your buck. Great atmosphere (firepit in the middle of the floor with the lights down low anyone?), knowledgable, uber friendly staff, clean facility and the beds (in the 6p dorm we had anyway) are awesomely spacious! P.s. THERE’S HOT WATER, music to a weary backpacker’s ears.

I’m sure it could live up to its name, but for the most part I experienced a pretty chill vibe. This place brings all the right kinda backpackers in. If you’re in Antigua, I hiiighhhllyyy recommend staying at this spot. Its central location puts you at a leisurely stroll to everything, including the market (put yo hagglin’ pants on).

Side note: if you’re an early riser, take the 20-minute stroll up to The Cross to catch a wicked stunning sunrise and panorama of Antigua!

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HOT WATER: 10/10
FREE BREAKFAST: No
CLEANLINESS: 9.5/10
LOCKERS: YUP
PRICE FOR QUALITY: 10/10

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ZEN HOUSE, Xela, Guatemala

Cool name right?! Wrongo:

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That about sums it up.

If you’re a stoned out hippy that doesn’t care much for clean anything, this is the place for you! I got a pretty deep hippdydippy vein in this here bod, but this place was ridiculous. The owner is nice enough but looks like he’s been on a bender for, oh, his entire life. The floors are dirty, the tiles are broken, it reeks of pot, it’s loud, it’s cold, it’s the kind of place you double check the [smelly] sheets for bugs. Also, by the middle of the night when all the beds and dirty couches were occupado by drugged out drunks, it was time to rent out the kitchen and the bathroom! Ah, hostel life. Gotta laugh at it!

This place should pay YOU to stay there, but it runs at about 7 USD pp/pn. And That’s about all I have to say about the least zen Zen House I’ve ever been in.

HOT WATER: 2.5/10
FREE BREAKFAST: Nope
CLEANLINESS: NopeNopeNope 1/10
LOCKERS: Yes
PRICE FOR QUALITY: 1/10

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BLACK CAT HOSTEL, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

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(Treasure hunt! Send me this view when you find it on your travels!)

I stumbled into the Black Cat after the challenging two-day Tajumulco summit so by the time I crawled up to these hostel doors in the early evening, I would have settled for anywhere with a shower even, *GASP*,  Zen House! Black Cat is clean and comfy enough from what I could tell in the 12 hours I spent there. The walls are on the paper thin side and my bed was on the floor, but thanks to exhaustion, I didn’t care and I splurged on a private room with a shared bathroom (had three stalls with showers and toilets in them) for 40 USD pp/pr (20$ pp). There was no hot water but they did offer to serve our 6 man party with 6a.m breakfast so we could make our 13-hour bus ride with a full belly of some pretty damn delicious pancakes. Not bad, I even bought their hostel T-Shirt.

Side Note: Monte Verde Tours are affiliated with this hostel, I recommend them for the overnight Tajumulco trek which cost us 625 Q pp. You can also have a ride arranged from Black Cat all the way to Semuc for 300-350 Q pp.

HOT WATER: 3/10
FREE BREAKFAST: YES
CLEANLINESS: 7.5/10
LOCKERS: Not sure
PRICE FOR QUALITY: 6.5/10

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GREENGO’S HOTEL, Semuc Champey

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I wouldn’t come back to Guatemala for anything but this jungle refuge. Greengo’s was simultaneously the best hostel and best part of my trip (okay, minus Tajumulo).  Also, this was the most expensive part. Golan, the owner of this tranquil treehouse, knows how to clearcut the hell out of the greenery in your pockets, especially when there is very little of it. However, the rich wood smell of the hand-crafted hotel, gazing over the sunlight cornfields with a coffee in the morning after a HOT shower, sleeping in a big bed, swinging in the hammocks, eating the most delicious homemade food, partying with people from all around the globe and really interacting with them due to the NO WIFI (I see what ya did there Golan)… the experience outweighs the cost (70 USD pn, private room), in my opinion.

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We did see a couple cockroaches.
There was a giant spider on my aunt’s bed.
But you’re in the fucking jungle, and there is literally not a better place to experience it than here. Do yourself a favor and GO to Greengo’s!

Also, there’s a giant volleyball court, ping pong,  and I hear he’s putting in a swimming pool! $.$ !
(Treasure hunt! Find this guy, and snap a snuggle!)

HOT WATER: 10/10
FREE BREAKFAST: Nothing is free here, not even the water
CLEANLINESS: 9.5/10
LOCKERS: In some rooms
PRICE FOR QUALITY: 8.9/10

Side note: Purchase a day adventuring in Semuc through the hostel. You get a guide who will not only keep you safe, but all your valuables. Waterfall jumping, caving by candlelight, bridge jumping, tubing down the river and swimming in the famed emerald pools. WORTH IT.

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PATRICIAS BED AND BREAKFAST, Guatemala City,
It was a day of travel to get out of the jungle, and quite unexpectedly, every bed in Guatemala City seemed to be booked. Around 10:30 p.m after scouring the internet for hours,  Patricia’s had a room available for me to die in as long as I was up and out early enough for the next people to check in. This place has a run-down Canadian motel feel to it. Not the exact vibe I was ready for but certainly not the worst vibe I’d experienced in Guatemala, it was actually kinda comforting! For 6 USD, a place to shower, rest my head and get a free breakfast topped my life-o-meter up just fine.

HOT WATER: 5/10
FREE BREAKFAST: Yes
CLEANLINESS: 7/10
LOCKERS: Not sure
PRICE FOR QUALITY: 8/10

🎒

THEATRE INTERNATIONAL HOSTEL, Guatemala City

I didn’t take a single photo here. This place was one of the very few available and meant to be a stopover. For 24ish USD pp/pn for a dorm you get: warmish water if you set it so it barely dribbles out of the showerhead, dirty bathrooms, cockroaches, shaky bunk beds, and people constantly smoking so, pretty much, second-hand cancer. Also the airport is far and you have to pay 65 Q to get there, and they will also try to scam you for more. Be cautious.

Plus things: it had a kitchen for DIY meals, AND free pancake and coffee breakfast.

Here’s a photo from Antigua to make up for the shittiness of this hostel review:

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HOT WATER: 2/10
FREE BREAKFAST: Yes
CLEANLINESS: 4.5/10
LOCKERS: Yes
PRICE FOR QUALITY: 3/10

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BANANA AZUL HOSTEL, Antigua Guatemala
And back to Antigua to live off the last couple Quetzals in my pocket! Incredibly, there was next to no availabilities here too. I walked from place to place until coming across the welcoming staff at Banana Azul who offered me a private room for 3 nights for about 75 USD total. And cheap 10Q beer!  Two beds, lukewarmish water and a little kitchen upstairs to do your own cooking if you don’t want the food they have available for purchase. It was a liveable space I needed to wrap up the last days in Guatemala, and that’s exactly what I did. Oh! And they do a fantastic FREE breakfast!

HOT WATER: 3/10
FREE BREAKFAST: Yes
CLEANLINESS: 5/10
LOCKERS: Yes
PRICE FOR QUALITY: 6/10

And on that note:

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Post Script: If you’ve stayed at any of these hostels, I’d love to hear your opinion on them. This kind-o-lifestuff is always subjective and it’s interesting to see how perceptions differ from one backpacker to another.

Happy Wandering~
March 28th, 2017

Hostels stayed at between Feb 14th-28th, 2017

 

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