1 – Casa De Olas, San Juan Del Sur – Nicaragua
You’re travelling to a beachy town in Central America – you would think the ideal location was across from the beach right? Wrong! Sitting high on the hill, there’s no better place to be than at Casa de Olas. Owned and run by a couple from Australia, Casa is one of those places where strangers become friends, and friends become family within hours (or even minutes) of arriving. The dorms are always clean, a nice big breaky is included with your stay and you can even pay a little extra to have home cooked meals each night. There’s a huge pool that runs through the middle and with a bar at one end and a ridiculous sunset at the other, what more could you ask for?!
The sun is always shining, the drinks are always flowing and the vibe is always spot on, the only down side to Gilligan’s, is that you may not actually leave to explore all of the other sights Cairns has to offer. Located in the heart of town, this place is what you would call a ‘flashpackers.’ There are two nightclubs, outdoor beer garden and bistro all on-site .. way too many reasons why I can’t stop going back every year.
3 – Far Out Beach Club, Ios – Greece
If you’ve travelled to Ios – you have to be ready to party and Far Out is the best place to start! When everyone has eventually dragged their butts out of bed after a massive night before, this place comes alive. You’ve got the hungover, the still drunk and the getting drunk, all pumped to have a good time. I opted for a private room here and didn’t leave for 3 weeks. Buses run regularly into town, but if you’re starting to pack on the travel weight .. the walk up will definitely help haha!
As an Aussie I couldn’t go past staying at this place and it was a very pleasant surprise. The dorms are spacious and clean, and there are plenty of hammocks for that hungover siesta. The pool is massive and the food was great too but my FAVOURITE part was definitely the TV room haha! Lame I know, but it’s huge, there’s plenty of options of what to watch and it’s the perfect place to chill and re-group before another big night out.
At only 5ft tall. I’ve always been told ‘good things come in small packages’ .. well this place is one of those good things. It’s not a huge hostel and there’s no wi-fi, so you’ll be surprised how quickly the bond with your fellow Treehouse travellers develops. Every night is different and every day is spent listening to music, relaxing and taking in the gorgeous forest surroundings. If you’re travelling with a huge bag – leave it locked up at a hostel in Granada .. you don’t want to be dragging that shit up the stairs!
6 – Nomads, Byron Bay – Australia
Byron is definitely one of those spots that’s a must for anyone road tripping the east coast of Australia, and Nomads is the place to stay. It’s located right in town only a short walk to the beach, pubs, bars, food and shopping. The rooms and bathrooms are really modern, so it’s great option for people who may not have stayed in a hostel before. Out the back is the prime pre-drinking area with hammocks and jacuzzis .. and the best part is it’s BYO.
7 – Zephyr Lodge, Lanquin – Guatemala
People don’t generally go to Lanquin unless it’s to go to Semuc Champey, which is exactly what I did. Zephyr organise daily tours, it’s super easy to sign up, and it’s also a great way to meet people. The lodge itself is so open and makes you feel at one with nature .. this may mean seeing a spider or two in the showers (or if you’re as lucky as me, in your bed) but hey, it’s all part of the experience. The views are to die for and no photo I took could do it justice. I would definitely recommend chucking this place on your itinerary.
Oh I miss Medellin, actually all of Colombia – it’s a country that just took my breath away and totally squashed any pre-conceived ideas I had. Happy Buddha is on a beautiful little street surrounded by a load of modern restaurants and trendy bars – their on-site bar being the best one! One of my biggest hostel fears is gross bathrooms, but there’s no need to worry about that here. The staff were super friendly and there were smaller dorms available – the only downside is they don’t have a chill area, so stay here if you’re keen to party.
9 – Aqua Lounge, Bocas Del Toro – Panama
Before I came to this place I had seen so many photos online that just sucked me in – and it didn’t disappoint. Their outdoor ‘play’ area is sooooo COOOOOL, with a trampoline, decks to jump off and swings into the water! It’s literally been built over the water and you can grab a boat back and forth to the main island for $1 each way.
Now I feel like with this place it’s necessary to tell you what you have to endure before you arrive .. a 45 minute motorbike ride up a bumpy mountain track is the only way to get there. Was it scary as shit? Yes. Did I scream in my drivers ear the whole way? Yes. Did I possibly break the poor mans ribs from holding on so tight? Yes. Was the view worth it? Definitely. Standing in the main courtyard, looking over the mountains and lying in the giant hammocks made me feel on top of the world and it’s a feeling I’ll never forget.