Many of you reading this are over the age of 27. Why is this important you ask, well of late Gaila and I have been trying hostels to save money. I think the average age is about 22 to 25 but who knows. Haven’t really asked, just observing. But safe to say I have definitely been one of the more “seasoned” guests at all the ones we have stayed at. You know what? Who cares! Truth is we have had very nice stays. Just like we have couchsurfing, camping and cheap hotels. I must admit, some of the hotel stays have been less than pleasant. Some down right disgusting to be perfectly honest. Part of The Bad, if you will.
While writing this I am curled up in a hammock on the Pacific Ocean hugging the Nicaraguan coast just west of Leon. We are doing a weekend stay here at Quartzal Playa Hostel http://playa.quetzaltrekkers.org/ after two awesome nights at Lazybones Hostel http://www.lazyboneshostelnicaragua.com/?lg=En in Leon. I really am liking the vibe. Not only do we have clean and functional rooms, but we are getting for well under $30 for private rooms. If you are willing to do the dorm thing, most are in the $7 to $15 dollars a night range. Best of all however are the locations and the facilities. In Leon it was all about location, patio and pool. Here it is the garden, hammocks and ocean waves. Yes, we change the age curve, but who cares! Most of you are young at heart too and can get a dose of youthful enthusiasm from the 20 something guests. We are.
We did a couple in the US and they were fine, but I think our expectations were wrong. Now that we are south of the border these relaxed accommodations seem to fit right in. Now, before you think everyone is wet behind the ears, that is simply not true. Last night we shared the Lazybones with a few German couples that were definitely in their late 50′s or 60′s. Even a family with a small 1 1/2 year old baby were there with us. They, like us were in the private rooms. Our motorcycle friends Mark from Idaho on KLR, Marco from Canada on F650GS single and Pedro from Redmond https://www.facebook.com/pages/Redmond-to-Rio/523014447726275 with his Vstrom DL1000 all elected to do the dorms and save even more money. Since you can’t sleep together those are not the best options for us.
Four things impress me about the hostel experience:
1. Better than expected rooms
2. Super friendly people excited to have interesting conversations (not to mention Gringos)
3. Cheap food and beverages
4. They are well connected with the locals and can set you up with good tours, adventures & etc.
OK, 5 things…just a general sense of happiness and well being. Yes it is true most are backpacking, but even the older folks we met in Honduras and here too all seem to have the same zest for life and inquisitive souls.
As such, my advice is this: If you are young hurry up and get out there as the world is waiting for you. If you are middle aged and strapped for cash at the moment and who isn’t, then just go this budget route you will be happy you did. Indeed, at the moment I am sitting between a 30 something couple from North Carolina, 20 somethings from Germany and some 50ish ladies from somewhere TBD. If you are perhaps retired, use this as a way to stretch your financial resources and get a shot of youthful enthusiasm at the same time. All of the hostel hosts have been super gracious and very helpful. Telling us about hidden gems like Canyon Somoto and others. Today is yet another day in paradise and I sure am looking forward to our tree house hostel near Granada. After that, we will be looking for our next deal on Isla de Ometepe (a two volcano island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua) then Costa Rica and Panama! Oooooops, almost forgot to mention hostel in Honduras which is sort of a hotel/hostel/brewery. Seriously, if you get a chance go to D&D Brewery. What a unique place and Bobbie the guy that owns and runs is really excellent.
Here are some that we have stayed at so far and can fully endorse & recommend:
Lastly, Lonely Planet is full of good suggestions that have been pretty spot on as far as we are concerned. Travel well, with or without lots of money.