Are you scared of hostels? Do you fear pre-booking a budget hotel, only to walk into the bedroom and find stains on the sheets and cockroaches in the corner? Fear not, there are tons of great budget hotels and hostels in Central America, South America and Mexico.
I’ve traveled through this region for years, staying in every type of accommodation - hostels, guesthouses, airbnbs, as well as budget and boutique hotels. So I want to share my best tips for finding great, comfy and clean budget hotels and hostels in Central America, South America, and Mexico.
Find Flight Deals to Latin America:
Follow these few simple steps I use when researching and booking budget hotels and hostels in Central America, South America, and Mexico.
1. Get Started Searching
Depending on what your travel style is - you can start browsing accommodation on an aggregate site or platform.
My favorite overall booking platform:
It includes everything from hostels, budget hotels, mid-range hotels, boutique hotels, vacation rentals and more at competitive pricing.
For Hostels try:
For Hostels, Guesthouses, Budget and Midrange Hotels try:
- Lonely Planet
- Wikitravel (Editable by anyone so often includes opinions, but can give a good overview, with lists of accommodation by budget)
For Apartments or Rooms in a House:
2. Cross Check With Tripadvisor Reviews
I’ll gather up a few accommodations I am interested in and then search them in Tripadvisor. I follow these reviews religiously because they are the most up-to-date info on any hotel/hostel/guesthouse. If there was a recent change in management, cleanliness issue, or staff problem, you will immediately be able to tell!
Keep in mind that there will sometimes be a high-maintainance, difficult to please, or downright crazy person leaving a review. Take the reviews as a whole, and listen to the majority. If there is one bad review in a sea of 100 fantastic reviews, you know that the place is a safe bet.
This obviously doesn’t work for Airbnb listings, but their internal review system serves the same purpose. I very rarely will book an airbnb that doesn’t have any reviews yet.
*My number one rule is that any accommodation I choose must have 4+ stars (out of 5) in their overall rating.
If for some reason I’m desperate, I may choose one with 3.5 stars, but usually there is no reason to do that. There are plenty of budget hotels and hostels in Central America, South America and Mexico that keep a high rating.
If you stick to places with a 4+ star rating, you won't go wrong
3. Cross Reference with Booking.com
- The best thing about Booking.com is that almost every listing has tons of photos. Usually anywhere from 10-20+. This is a great way to get to know accommodation. You can get a good feel for the grounds, common areas, room options, etc. by flipping through these.
4. Never Book Accommodation that Doesn't Include Bedroom Photos
- The surest way to be sure that you’ll feel safe and comfortable sleeping in a hostel or hotel’s bed is to make sure you see photos first. Look at their listing on their site, Booking.com or Tripadvisor to make sure you like the look of the bed and room.
- Booking.com usually has so many photos, including room/bed photos.
- Tripadvisor has sections for both “Management Photos” and “Traveler Photos”. If the hotel has anything to hide (such as unsavory beds) you’ll almost always find traveler’s posting photos there to warn other guests.
5. Search Travel Blogs for Recommendations
- One of my favorite ways to find the best budget accommodation is to see what other travel bloggers recommend. They are usually seasoned and expert travelers, so they know how to pick a good place and evaluate it reasonably. Google search for keywords like “travel blog hostel in Central America” or “travel blogger budget hotel in Mexico” or even simply “travel blog Guatemala”
- Many travel bloggers are longterm travelers, so they tend to stick to budget accommodations.
- I find I can trust their opinions because they have an online presence and personality, rather than the random Tripadvisor reviewer who sounds disgruntled and possibly a little crazy.
- Travel Bloggers will often post lots of photos of the place they stayed and give you any other tips like which room to choose, or if the on-site restaurant serves good food.
Find Flight Deals to Latin America:
Most of all, don’t be nervous to try out budget hotels and hostels in Central America, South America, Mexico and beyond. There are some really well decorated, beautiful, clean and fun options out there. It just takes a little research to find them.
Traveling in Latin America can be so affordable! Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can experience the gorgeous beaches, lush jungles, ancient ruins, colonial architecture, vibrant culture, and delicious food that can be found all over Mexico, Central and South America. Go!
More Latin America Travel Planning Posts:
All Mexico posts
All Central America posts
All South America posts
Budget travel tips and destinations
What methods do you use to find budget hotels or hostels in Central America, South America or Mexico? Comment below!