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How do Hostels in South America work??

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean How do Hostels in South America work??

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1. Posted by kiki85 (Budding Member 12 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

hey guys!

I have a couple questions about the hostel situation in S.A. I'm going to be going to Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and I have never stayed in hostels before anywhere and i'm not exactly sure how they work.

1. How safe are the Hostels in these areas?
2. How much it TOO much to pay for these Hostels?
3. When looking online for prices and I see prices for BEDS... do you pay for the bed or the room?
4. Do you share rooms with random people?
5. How many beds per room?
6. I'm travelling with my boyfriend, would we be able to find a room just for us?

I'm sure i'll be able to get the answers here you guys rock!
Thanks for your time guys
K :)

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

1. Very safe for you personally, but prone to theft like all other hostels in this world. Just don't carry around anything you'd have a hard time parting with and you should be fine
2. No general answer possible. Just to give you an idea; a not-so-uncool hostel in downtown BsAs set me back some AR$25 a night for a 2-person room in 2006, which was real bargain. A comparable hostel in Iguazu was only 15, but the north is much cheaper in general. My knowledge about the other countries you mention is too outdated to be useful
3. It depends. For dorms most websites quote prices per person, not per room. But it's really not necessary to make advance bookings, plus it usually cheaper not to
4. Yes. Not always a pleasure, but definitely the cheapest way to go
5. Depends. Can be 4, 6, 8, once even had 24. Prices go down as dorms get larger
6. Yes, but it would be (much) more expensive, plus it will be more difficult to get in contact with other people if you lock yourselves in your separate room each night

3. Posted by CasablancaChile (Inactive 43 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi Kiki,

When are you coming to Peru?

In hostel, usually have prices per bed, in shared rooms (random). Some of them have male/female dorms, and not mixed. Prices in Peru could vary between US$8 to 25 depending on "where" and with How many people you will share the bedroom (and bathroom). Cities like Cusco, Arequipa, Puno and Iquitos are very turistics, so these places are mostly filled by foreigns. Lima is a huge city, and is divided in several distrites as you can see in the map link( safest and developed areas are Miraflores and San Isidro. Lima centro is nice to visit but dangerous to stay in.

Are you stopping in Lima?

A little bit about me: I'm a 33 years old Chemical & Environmental Engineer. I'm Chilean, currently living in Lima, but I have been living in many countries during the last 8 years... few months in Berlin, more than 2 years in Austria, few months in Spain, almost 2 years in Australia, and now 1 and a half year here (probably, moving again next year!)

Feel free to contact me if you need advice!



4. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Paid last year in Lima/Miraflores for a double ensuite incl. breakfast $ 25
Iquitos/Peru for the same $ 20
this year Ushuaia/Argentina $ 25
Buenos Aires Hostel right in the center $ 25 breakfast not incl.(only good location)
Buenos Aires/Hotel same street $ 48 incl.breakfast
Iguazu/Argentina appartment full equipt for 4 persons $ 28
this are prices for double occupation with privat bath rooms.

5. Posted by loubylou (Respected Member 664 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I'd echo the prices that Marlis quoted.

When we were in Argentina we never paid more than AR$60 (around US$20) for a private room with double bed, bathroom and TV. The standard of accommodation was very high and included breakfast in most places. In Peru it was slightly cheaper at amybe US$15 per room, apart from Lima where we paid US$25. Bolivia was cheaper at maybe US$10 but the standard of accommodation wasn't quite as good. In Buenos Aires we got an apartment with kitchen, cable tv and balcony in San Telmo for US16 a night.

We only stayed in private double rooms and had no problems meeting and talking to other travellers. We would always make sure we went into the common area and chatted and when you have breakfast there are always plenty of people around to talk to.

We only booked ahead once in the whole of SA, usually we just turned up (we were there between September and mid-December) and we had no problems in getting a room...also by just turning up we could negotiate a discount if we were staying a few nights. Most hostels had no problem dropping the price by a few $. We only booked ahead for Cusco as the hostel offered us a free pick up from the airport or bus station and Cusco gets pretty busy with the Inca Trailers!

As to paying by the bed or by the room...usually dorms are priced by the bed and private rooms are priced by the room and what is too much to pay? well that depends on your budget...we made a rule that we wouldn't pay over US$20 a room unless we were very desperate. We only had to go over this budget once. I would say have a look at the accommodation section here at the standard of the rooms and decide, based on the pictures you see, what you would be happy paying for that standard of room. It's always difficult for someone else to tell you how much you should be paying because everyone is different and it depends on what standard of living you would like! After your first few hostel stays you will get a feel for what is overpriced and what is about right!

The hostels we stayed at felt very safe, there was always a member of staff on duty to look after the hostel and some even had a number code electronic entry system!

SA is a great place, I'm sure you will enjoy it...have a great time!

6. Posted by dbloom (Travel Guru 586 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

If I were you I would join the "hospitality" associations, non profit, thousands of Latin American members, mostly locals or long term residents to find out more information and register you can "Ask Mr. Google" about them and register for free,


Hospitality Club

Be Welcome

Hostals and cheap lodgings often offer little or no security for your valuables and often attract the worst type of traveller.

Buena suerte y buen viaje.

7. Posted by Emmaquin (Budding Member 7 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hello...I'm currently planning a trip to south america and have been using this website for booking/price guides etc and most places are featured happy planning x

8. Posted by El Boot (Full Member 106 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I havent read the rest of the replies so excuse me if I repeat any point in the thread..

1. I thought they were relatively safe. Most hostels will have lockers either in the rooms or at a lobby area. (a good investment is a padlock btw).
2. I wouldnt pay over 20 bucks for a double room. In cheaper countries lie Bolivia/Peru you may be able to get rooms for half this. Check out hotel if you want private rooms. Alot of the time they are cheaper than private rooms in hostels (eg I stayed in a private room with my GF in Santa Cruz and it cost 70Bs which is around 6 euros between us, it had a tele with US channels, a large double bed, large ensuite bathroom and huge wall mounted fan...whereas a hostel down the road had a double room of lesser quality and it cost 190Bs.
3. You pay for a bed in a shared dorm. They will usually say "private" or "shared". Shared being in a dorm.
4. You sure do, but sharing with randomers is a great laugh most of the time
5. from 4 - infinity. Price depends on amount of beds usually. 6 beds (usually in the form of 3 double bunks) is usually comfortable enough.
6. Yes, I travelled with my girlfriend for most of my holiday and we used private rooms a lot. However, we tried to stay in hostels instead of hotels because its easier to meet people and have more craic ..

9. Posted by worldwalk (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

In Buenos Aires I got to stay in the Garden House Hostel in a dorm room. I just send them an e mail and that's it. I got to share with cool people and luckily the dorms are not that big and the tourist turned out to be trustable. But, if you go with your BF, you definitely need a double room. The difference in prices is not that big and you have more privacy, of course.
Nothing bad happened during my stay, cause in the hostel there was security 24/7, so...

Good luck!

10. Posted by juanka (Inactive 48 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

In Buenos Aires there are more than 100 hostels...
but if you think to stay at least 1 week (you will need time to know this amazing city) you can also choose a guesthouse.
Prices are similar to hostels, but with more privacy, and it's normal th e landlord help you to better know the city.
See my profile for any extra info or to email me.

saludos / regards
Juan Carlos
a travehelper in BA