Peru sets the gold standard for backpackers. This country is brimming with incredible adventures, ranging from the Amazon to the Pacific Ocean, and vast deserts to the Andes Mountains. It is a paradise for travelers of all types, especially my fellow backpackers on a budget. The hostel game in Peru is world-class, with some jaw-dropping properties at unbelievably affordable prices. I could spend forever in Peru, and a huge thanks to that is because I could actually afford to.
Throughout the many months that I’ve spent backpacking through Peru, these are the best hostels that I’ve stayed at. Believe it or not, none of these will run you more than $20 a night.
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Where do I even begin with Wolf Totem? Pisac is a quiet town that needs about two or three days to cross off all of the attractions. Then why did I feel the need to stay for over a week? The answer is probably Wolf Totem and all of their cute dogs. This hostel feels like luxury at backpacker prices. Double beds, privacy curtains, and one of the most beautiful aesthetics you’ll encounter in South America, Wolf Totem knows how to treat its guests. The views are the cherry on top, and each time you trudge up the hill, you just know the reward will be worth it.
Cusco is one of my favorite cities in the world. A good home base is necessary for a city like Cusco, where the abundance of adventures can easily exhaust you. I’ve stayed at close to a dozen different hostels in Cusco and Kokopelli is far and away my favorite. It is the most well-balanced hostel there is, offering a great social scene but without the griminess that most party hostels have to deal with. Throw in the gorgeous aesthetic, chilled out common areas, and affordable prices and Kokopelli gives you by far the best bang for your buck. Dorms can be cheaper than $10 a night, which is an unbelievable value for a great hostel just minutes away from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas.
I told myself I wouldn’t stay at Wild Rover, hoping to keep a clean streak going and avoiding party hostels at all costs. But eventually, I remembered who I was. No Mufasa appearing in the sky necessary. Although I managed to stay relatively party-free during my five weeks in Huaraz, eventually, the call of the party was too strong to resist. My weeks of wholesomeness and trekking in Huaraz was quickly followed by a bender in Lima and Huacachina. Huacachina’s Wild Rover is arguably the best of South America’s best party hostel chain. It can feel more like a luxury resort than a backpacker hostel, until night rolls around of course and dozens and dozens of young travelers are packed into the bar looking for love and a good time.
I called this hostel home for over two weeks, alternating between challenging hikes in Huascaran National Park and cozy movie nights in Selina’s movie room. If you have stayed at a Selina before, you know their dedication to aesthetic, comfort, and modernity. If not, oh boy, you are in for a treat. Every person that I brought over to hang out could not believe that this was a hostel, or that they were paying similar prices for accommodation far below Selina’s quality.
The rooms are cozy, with each bed having curtains for privacy as well as charging ports, a shelf, and a lamp. Of course, you’ll also get hot showers, good Wi-Fi, and more amenities than you can imagine. Boasting a co-working space, bar, restaurant, common kitchen, fitness studio, yoga room, cinema room, and beautifully decorated common areas, Selina is a hostel that truly has it all.
Two words. Hot tub. Six more words. The size of a swimming pool. This hostel was the only one that showed up in Cajamarca and despite it being 15 minutes outside of the city, I decided to give it a go. The one sol colectivo ride to and from the city is not an issue at all when you know there is a massive hot tub waiting for you back home. You can spend all day adventuring through the lesser-visited city of Cajamarca and its absolute plethora of otherworldly things to do. Then, come back here and lounge in the hot tub.
Huanchaco was meant to be a quick stop for me before heading back into the mountains to take on some of Peru’s most stunning and challenging treks. Despite Huanchaco not having too much to do, I stayed much longer than planned thanks to the great vibes of ATMA and its $2 yoga classes. Oh yeah, did I mention the bunnies and tortoise that roam freely around the hostel garden? Most of my days were spent surfing and then lazily cuddling up with a bunny in one of the hammocks. Huanchaco is a great town to chill out in and ATMA is a great home base for just that.
Loki will always hold a special place in my heart. Loki was the first ever hostel I stayed at in Cusco those many years ago when I was beginning my journey as a backpacker. A lot of fond memories happened here, although I don’t remember most of them. Loki gets wild. As a backpacker, Loki is one of the holiest establishments in Cusco. You can’t come to Cusco without at least having one of their trademark blood bombs.
This was my favorite hostel my first time in Peru all those years ago. I mean, it just didn’t make sense to me. This amazing beachfront hostel with a pool, free buffet breakfast, and the most poppin’ bar in Paracas was only $10 a night? Paracas is a small town, and you don’t really need more than two days here to bust out the main attractions. A trip to Islas Ballestas and to Paracas Natural Reserve and you’ve basically done all there is to do in this little village. However, Kokopelli can suck you in for much longer. Lazy beach days followed by fiery sunsets and an even fierier night out can do that to you.
There are very few places that I would willingly walk up a monstrous hill for. Wild Rover is one of those places. Situated on Cerro Santa Ana, Wild Rover boasts unbelievable views of Cusco city and the surrounding mountains. Their newly-opened terrace bar and restaurant gives you a view that no other hostel in Cusco will. Along with being one of Cusco’s most affordable hostels, it is widely regarded as the best party hostel in the city. Cheap drinks, nightly parties, and a generous amount of free shots make it a great choice for those looking for something a little more social.
La Bo’m Backpackers and Creperia chose two very specific niches, and it somehow excels at both of them. This budget-friendly hostel in the San Blas neighborhood of Cusco offers phenomenal views and mouth-watering crepes. While I haven’t actually stayed at La Bo’m, I’ve stopped by for a work sesh every now and then. Great wifi, views, and food in a very chilled out setting makes it a perfect spot to work or meet people. They don’t have a page on Hostelworld, but you can book them directly through their website.
Whewww. This hostel is a straight up palace. Kokopelli Cusco was hosting me back in 2020, but after a couple of weeks, they told me that the Kokopelli Barranco was sucking up all their budget. Two years later in 2022, I finally got to see why I got laid off. And dang, I totally get it. This hostel is a work of art. It’s location right in the heart of Barranco is perfect for a balance of local living and vibrant nightlife. Free breakfast, fast wifi, and a bar/restaurant round out Kokopelli as the best hostel in Barranco by far.
After staying in Huaraz’s Selina for several weeks, I hostel hopped in Lima before relenting and accepting that Lima’s Selina was likely going to be the best hostel in Lima. You’ve got plenty of options in Lima, but none as luxurious and backpacker budget-friendly as Selina. With a great location in Miraflores, it is close to some of Lima’s best attractions. It also boasts a common kitchen, bar, restaurant, cafe, cinema room, and library. With all of its incredible amenities, Selina always proves to be an incredible value.
For how cheap Selina Arequipa is, you would think you were staying in a trashy hostel. Instead, it is one of the most luxurious hostels you could imagine. Of course, it has everything the other Selinas have, from gorgeous aesthetic to amenities beyond what a $6 hostel should have. But wait, there’s more. Selina also has a pool for those hot Arequipa days. The weather in Arequipa has always stood out to me as consistently pleasant, which makes having a pool absolutely perfect. Located about five blocks from the city center and nightlife district, the location is amazing, as well.
The central location of MB Hostel is rivaled only by its beautiful terrace overlooking the city. MB’s already affordable price also includes breakfast, where you can start your day off with a coffee on their awesome rooftop. Chilling on a hammock here around sunset was one of my favorite things to do while in Arequipa. On a clear day, the view of the mountains and of the city is unbeatable. Oh, and make sure to say hi to Happy the kitty for me if you decide to stop by.
Constantly ranked among Cusco’s best hostels is Pariwana. It’s not hard to see why. The spacious hostel boasts a cinema room, large outdoor plaza, and a big bar and restaurant. Their breakfast buffet is arguably the best as far as Cusco hostels go. Located just two blocks away from the Plaza de Armas and Cusco’s nightlife district, Pariwana also boasts about as good of a location as you could ask for.
Believe it or not, Huacachina used to be a hidden gem. It was a legend told only between us backpackers, and Banana’s Adventure used to be the only hostel in town. HUACAFUCKINGCHINA was the only nightclub, because let’s face it, why would a small oasis with a population of 100 even need a nightclub in the first place? Oh, and that dune buggy parking lot situated above the oasis? Nonexistent. The few travelers that made their way to Huacachina would stay at Banana’s, lounging by the pool together and surfing the dunes together. Huacachina has changed a lot and has increased exponentially in popularity. Thankfully, Banana’s is still around and better than ever, no matter how many other hostels try to steal its thunder.
Located in the heart of Miraflores’ nightlife district is Black Llama Hostel. I’ve stayed at this hostel several times, including my first ever night in Peru back on my first backpacking trip all those years ago. It was a Kokopelli back then, although Kokopelli has since moved into a mansion of a hostel in Barranco. The location of Black Llama Hostelis great and the rooftop bar and terrace makes for a great spot before a wild night out in Lima. It is also only like a 53 second walk from my favorite nightclub in Lima, Bizarro. I remember drunkenly walking out of the club wondering how I was going to make it home that night and then literally a block later I was at the hostel. They also have breakfast included, which I never got to take advantage of considering I could never wake up before noon after a night out in Lima.
Like ATMA, surf and yoga are the name of the game at Moksha. Located a bit more centrally than ATMA, Moksha is right in the heart of Huanchaco. They offer yoga classes and surf lessons during the day and often is a serviceable nightlife venue once the sun goes down. Huanchaco isn’t particularly known for its nightlife but Moksha is always hosting some sort of event where you can have a few drinks at and enjoy.
Mancora is widely regarded as one of the party capitals of Peru. However, most of that partying is restricted to the slew of party hostels that stake claim to Mancora’s beachfront. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you’re staying at the wildest party hostel in Mancora. Loki del Mar is a strong contender, as anyone who has stayed at a Loki in Peru would be quick tell you.
Located right next to bustling Kennedy Park, Pariwana has one of the best locations you could ask for in Lima. It is only a couple of blocks away from the public bus station that can take you anywhere within the city should you feel like experiencing something a little more local. Pariwana hostels always go above and beyond, and the one in Lima is no different. For a hostel located right in the heart of Lima, it is surprisingly large and spacious. It even has a big bar and restaurant that hosts fun nightly events so you can socialize and meet others. Lima is often the start and end of most people’s Peruvian adventures, and Pariwana is a great place to kick things off or close things out with a bang.
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More on Peru:
The Backpacker’s Guide to…
The Best Things To Do In…
Attraction and Destination Guides
- Cordillera Huayhuash
- Salkantay Trek
- Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain
- Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain
- Laguna 69
- Colca Canyon
- Floating Islands of Puno
- Pisac Archaeological Site