my boyfriend and i are visiting south america (rio, sao paulo, iguazzu falls - both sides of border, buenos aires, lima, cusco, la paz, iquique, santiago) in november for 6 weeks and looking for some recommendations of safe hostels to stay in - preferably in a private room. any help from previous travellers would be much appreciated.
I got one, in puerto iguazu. It's called tierra colorada, and it's all-rightish.
Puerto Iguazu - stayed in El Gembre Hostel, it was ok.
Buenos Aires - Sandanzas Hostel in San Telmo, this was really nice.
La Paz - Artiz Guesthouse - this is probably the best place we stayed in South America. Rueben the owner is very nice and extremely helpful.
We didn't go to the other places you mention so can't help.
Hope you have a great time, we certainly did.
If you like quiet hostels away from the crowds of fellow backpackers then you can try Giramondo hostel in Buenos Aires. In a good location in Palermo it is 1 block from the main road and the buses and subway system and plenty of entertainment nearby.
I stayed in 3 hostels in Cusco last year - all in the San Blas area. All were clean & safe and included breakfast. Each one is about a 5 minute walk to the Plaza de Armas.
Hostal Cristal (Carmen Alto - all the way to the end, walking away from Plaza de San Blas, on the right side) was the cheapest (Don't remember the exact price - I only stayed there one night). Rooms were nice, but the bathroom was pretty small and they had electric shower-head heaters. Courtyard was very nice and the staff was friendly.
Hostal Marani was my favorite (Carmen Alto 194). The rooms were very nice & comfortable - by far the best quality furnishings of the three places. The staff was very attentive & helpful and they had free luggage storage which I utilized when I was travelling outside of Cusco. Rate was US$18 for single w/ private bath. Tienke (one of the owners) was helpful with information regarding the city and offered to confirm my flight for me the day before I left. Another bonus of staying here is that Walter & Tienke work with the HoPe Foundation - some of their projects include building & improving schools in the highlands, providing training for teachers, working with street children in Cusco and funding a burn-care ward in the regional Hospital in Cusco.
The 3rd place I stayed was Hostal Amaru at a rate of US$20 for single w/ private bath. The furnishings in the room were a little rundown and the quality of the rooms varies quite a bit. There was quite a bit of traffic through the building and I found it difficult to sleep - the wooden stairs & floors are gorgeous, but noisy. The room that I was in was on the 2nd floor between the 2 courtyards - when I returned from dinner with some friends I discovered that there was a couch used as a smoking lounge right outside my window. They had no other rooms available, so I was stuck with that one for the night. They also seem to be a bit disorganized at the front desk. According to their website, transfer from the arrival station is included in the room price, but when I declined to book a tour with the person who picked me up, he left the taxi and I was forced to pay for it. I talked to the people at the front desk and they said they would reimburse me in the morning. The next morning, the people at the front desk(of course diffent ones)said they had no knowledge what happened the night before and wouldn't reimburse me. It wasn't much money, but the whole situation left a bad impression of the quality of guest service that they provide. Amaru is a great looking place from the outside and the courtyards are beautiful, but I wouldn't stay there again.
Have a great trip!
There's a brilliant website called hostelworld. It's run by backpackers for backpackers and it lists most hostels in mosts countries. It has reviews for each hostel from people who have stayed there. I have used the site and can definitely recommend it.
Have a brilliant time!!
hum... hostelworld is as much a commercial business as any other booking agency, Lisa...
not that they're not good; they provide rather accurate information. I only find them quite expensive. Also, you don't really need to book in SA, with a few exceptions (Iguazu, maybe also Cuzco).