Coming from Peru and Bolivia, arriving to Ecuador can be a bit of a shock. A lot of things are more expensive, and finding cheap places to stay is sometimes a challenge. Since we wanted to go to the Galapagos islands, we knew we would have to save as much money as we could along the way. So, here is the second instalment of ‘List of (cheap) hostels we stayed at’!
In our List of cheap hostels in Peru we wrote down some general tips on how to find an affordable place to sleep. Those same recommendations apply to Ecuador, except we found that we used our Ecuadorian phone number much less than its Peruvian counterpart. In general, we found that budget-friendly rooms were less easy to find in Ecuador compared to Peru, but it’s possible!
(Alphabetical order. Prices are per person, sometimes for a 2-person private room and sometimes for a dorm. We’ve listed prices for different rooms if we knew them)
Nicky Lodge ($280 for 4d/3n including all meals, activities, transport to-and-from Lago Agrio, and one-way transport from Quito).
We chose this lodge because of the good reviews, and because they offered to include the transport from Quito to Lago Agrio (one way) in the price when we asked for a discount. The only negative point that I can name is that they are too good, which means that too many people choose them and the groups are slightly too big (+- 9 people in a group). Other than that, it was amazing. Good meals, amazing activities and guides, and an overall great experience. No hot water or wifi (you’re in the middle of the jungle!), but towels and mosquito nets are provided. Private rooms with private bathrooms.
Baños de Agua Santa
Hostal Israel ($7.50 per person for a matrimonial with private bath).
Address: Luis A. Martinez y Oscar E. Reyes
Telephone: +593 98 782 0041
We got approached by a guy (actually, 8 guys) when we got off the bus. Since it was 1 in the morning we accepted to walk half a block with one of them to this hostel. It looked clean and it wasn’t too expensive so we accepted. There was pretty good wifi, a kitchen (no fridge), a nice view, hot water, towels included and free drinking water downstairs. You can probably get an even better price if you mention you’re staying multiple days. Do ask for a room that is not on the top floor though, since you’ll be right next to the kitchen and one night we were kept up by a group of rude guests who were cooking and talking until 1:30 in the morning (yes, we did ask them nicely to leave). Seriously though, there are so many hostels in Baños – you will have no trouble finding one that suits your needs.
Secret Garden Cotopaxi ($38 per person for a dorm bed including all meals and snacks, or the $125 deal for 3 nights).
Everyone seemed to be super enthusiastic about this place. We… were a bit unlucky. However, it is a chill place to hang out, drink some tea, eat some cake, and watch the nice views. We were there for the 4d/3n deal, which is pretty good value considering several tours are included, but if you go there without being part of a deal I’m not sure if it’s worth it. Be prepared for unpredictable showers as well!
Hostal Santa Fe ($7 per person for a matrimonial with extra bed and shared bath).
Address: Antonio Borrero 5-57, between Juan Jaramillo and Honorato Vasquez.
Very nice owner and close to the center. Many restaurants in the neigbourhood. Not the cleanest place, but the extra sheets we got were clean. We were in the back next to the laundry room, but the only noise that bothered us came from other guests. Kitchen, wifi, and hot water available; towels were included as well. You can also do laundry here for $1 per kg and get breakfast for $2.50. The owner will gladly tell you about an awesome breakfast place nearby though (Moritas, from $2).
Hotel Berlin ($5.50 per person for a matrimonial with private bath and fan).
Address: Rumichaca 1503 (near corner with Sucre).
Telephone: +593 4-252-4648
Although it was a bit weird that we initially only got 1 sheet (covering the matress), 1 towel and 1 pillow, this was quickly resolved. At this price, it was good: not too far from the center, clean, with wifi. Only cold water. We were VERY happy to have taken a room away from the street, since there was a lot of noise outside. For $1 more per person you get airconditioning.
Ibarra / La Esperanza
Casa Aida ($18 per person for a matrimonial with extra bed including breakfast and dinner, or $8 per person for a bed).
Address: From Ibarra take the bus to La Esperanza. Ask to be let off at Casa Aida.
This is a really quiet hostel run by lovely old lady Aida. Many years back, this place was a go-to for hippies and famous artists (Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd) because psychedelic mushrooms grow nearby. There were no tripping people when we were there, just some people looking to climb the Imbabura volcano. The dinner was nice and the breakfast was very nice, there is hot water, towels are included and there’s also wifi (but only in the wifi-chair).
Hotel El Alamo ($9 per person for a matrimonial, an extra bed, and private bath).
Address: Dos de Mayo 801 (near the corner with Juan Abel Echeverría).
Telephone: 2812043 or 2810656
Everyone we talked to wanted to send us to Hostal Tiana, but we think $8-10 for a dorm bed is too much. After some walking we found this place, and after some haggling the lady agreed to $18 for the room. Hot water, towels included and (not very good) wifi. There is a cafeteria with the same name close by where you can get breakfast for $2-3.
La Tranquilidad ($6 per person for a matrimonial with shared bath).
Address: Standing on the main street with Dragonfly Inn on the right take the street on the left. Walk for a couple of minutes and take a right when you see the sign (or just ask!).
Telephone: 2 170 036 / 099 476 512 / 097 472 231
A pretty chill and cheap place not too far from the action in Mindo (then again, Mindo is super small). Very tranquil, except for the neigbours’ roosters that start to make noise early in the morning. Includes towels, has good wifi and a kitchen available, and has consistent hot water.
Hostal Aly ($5 per person for a matrimonial with shared bath).
Address: Atahualpa street (between Salinas and Morales).
Telephone: 09 39 122 807 / (06) 2 928 558
Asked the nice lady at the reception for their cheapest room and she offered us this one, which was so cheap because it lacked a TV. We found out the window couldn’t be locked, but then fixed that with a piece of wood that we sawed. Towels, wifi, and hot water included. Within walking distance of the bus station and the center.
Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz, Galapagos)
Hostal Gardner ($12.50 per person for a matrimonial with extra bed, a private bath and a fan).
Address: Thomas de Berlanga (ask around).
Telephone: +593 5-301-3894
The only place we could find for less than $30 for a room (after haggling). The hostel is very nice, with a cool kitchen/roof terrace and free drinking water. Very good shower (hot water also) with towels included and wifi is also available (not in the room).
Puerto Villamil (Isabela, Galapagos)
Posada del Caminante ($16 per person for a huge room with a matrimonial, 2 extra beds, private bath, fan, and own kitchen).
Address: Stand on the left side of the main square with your back to the restaurants and take street in front of you. Turn left when you see the sign (or just ask).
Telephone: +593 5-252-9407
The only place we could find for less than $20 per person that wasn’t full. They asked $18, but we mentioned that we were staying 4 nights and asked for a discount. It turned out to be a good deal, since they had free drinking water (water is super expensive on Isabela) and we could do our laundry here for free as well. Chill place, clean, hot water available and towels included. There was (very bad) wifi. A bit far from the beach compared to other places, but the town is super small so not really far at all.
Backpackers Inn ($8 per person for a matrimonial with shared bath, $7.50 for a bed in a 6-bed dorm).
Address: Juan Rodriguez E7-48 (near the corner with Reina Victoria).
Telephone: +593 (2) 250 9669 or mobile +593 (0)98 023 946
We initially contacted this hostel because their website said the dorms were $6,50. Unfortunately, this didn’t turn out to be the case, but the location was good and the people were friendly, so we stuck around. The first night we stayed in a three-bed dorm for $8 per person (we were the only ones there), and the subsequent nights they offered us a private room for the same price. There are some water issues (showering is a bit of a rollercoaster in terms of hot/cold water), but the sheets were clean and the wifi was good. There is also a pretty good kitchen and it’s not right next to any bars or clubs, so it’s relatively quiet.
We hope you can get some use out of this! To get an idea of some of the places, enjoy the photos below.
View from the rooftop terrace at our hostel in Baños.
The cabins at Nicky Lodge in the Amazon.
View as we stepped out of the dorms at Cotopaxi.
Panorama of the mountains and house at Casa Aida (the orange-blue house is where Bob Dylan stayed).