Best Surf Hostels: Plan Your Next Trip

Ahhh, the surf hostel. A budget surf traveler’s best mate, Surf hostels have made surf travel all the more possible, and if your bank balance is less than favorable, sharing a room at a hostel means you can still score waves on a shoestring. And don’t stress, “Hostel” no longer means a flea-ridden beach shack for US$2 a night (I mean, they still exist if you’re going feral), but just by sharing a room, you can tap into wifi, on-site restaurants, co-workspaces, meet wicked people, have a kitchen, and all the creature comforts of home, a stone’s throw from the world’s best surf spots. Pretty sick, right? 

In this article, we dive into the world of surf hostels! We’ll discover how to choose the right hostel that aligns with your ability, wave preferences, and vibe. We’ll also check out the world’s best surf hostels and establish the difference between surf camps and surf hostels, so after reading this, you’ll be clued up on where to stay for your next budget surf trip. We have a lot to get through, so let’s dive in! 

How to Choose the Right Surf Hostel (& What to Consider)?

When choosing the best surf hostel, your needs vs. what the hostel has to offer determines what you would consider the best. One hostel could be perfect for one person, while not so good for another, so it depends on what you’re looking for. Factors include the waves you like to surf, the vibe you chase and where the hostel is, and the non-surfing activities you want to do. For me, the most critical surf hostel factors include the following: 


The location is huge, as you want to put yourself close to the waves. Duh! But you also want to put yourself close to the waves you want to surf is vital. For instance, let’s say you’re a beginner staying at a hostel close to the perfect reef break at Uluwatu, a great spot for advanced surfers but not fantastic for beginners. Stay somewhere you can easily access the waves suited to your preferences and ability. This might be making sure the hostel can offer transportation or choosing a location where you can walk to different waves.  


Cost is a significant factor when deciding on a hostel. Surf hostels are budget surf travelers’ best friends, making surf trips possible. So look for a hostel in your price range. Look for a balance of location and amenities for the least amount of money per night. This is the magic recipe for choosing an affordable surf hostel. While you don’t always want to stay in a dilapidated beach shack for $US5 per night, plenty of super comfortable, modern hostels now have rooms for $15 or less! 


Amenities are all the things, no matter how big or small, that make your trip easier. This could be an on-site restaurant, co-workspace, pool, common area, and kitchen. Always look at the amenities and envision how they will make things easier on your trip. The more added niceties, the better. When choosing a hostel, I like to choose dorms with private curtains (booths) to add privacy! Although this may seem trivial, it makes a big difference. 


The vibe is also essential when it comes to choosing a surf hostel. What kind of vibe do you want? Do you want a lively, bustling party vibe? Or do you want somewhere more tranquil? A dedicated co-working digital nomad hostel? Or just a simple surf and nothing else type vibe? Whatever vibe you’re looking for, your hostel must align with your personality, so you surround yourself with like-minded people–a massive contributor to surf trip enjoyment. 

Best Surf Hostels from Around the World 

The Farm (Canggu, Bali) 

Boasting 110 beads, dorms, privates, 2 x pools, and common areas, all in the heart of Canggu. The Farm Hostel in Bali is among the world’s best surf hostels. Whether you’re looking to surf, party, work or combine all three, The Farm is a wicked place to do it. Canggu is a thriving backpacker hub, with many choosing it as a base to live, work and surf in Bali. While the town is somewhat chaotic, the waves are super fun for all abilities; from the beginner-friendly rollers at Old Mans to the punchy peaks of Echo Beach, Canggu has it all. The Farm puts your mere minutes from all the best breaks. 

Dreamsea (Tamarindo, Costa Rica) 

Tamarindo, in Costa Rica’s Northwest, is one of the best beginner surf towns in the world. A relaxed town with a beginner-friendly bay in the tropics; what more could you ask for? Dreamsea combines surf, yoga, and glamping for an authentic “Pura Vida” surf experience. Comprised of villas, and glamping tents, Dreamsea is a self-sustained, eco-friendly surf hostel nestled in the jungle. 

Selina Boavista (Ericeira, Portugal) 

Ericeira is one of Portugal’s (and the world’s) best surf towns. With dozens of breaks for all abilities, a thriving digital nomad surf town, and warm(ish) weather year-round, it’s a hard place to beat—the perfect combo of waves and quality of living. Oh, and it’s pretty affordable. Ericeira is a globally renowned chain of hostels perfect for surfers and digital nomads. Selina Boavista Ericeira is a small property with everything you need to surf and stay in Ericeira. Small workspace, call booth, surf school, restaurant, and kitchen combine all the amenities you could ever want from one of the best surf hostels. The surf school, as part of Selina, will take you to the best beginner breaks, while just a short drive away, you’ll have access to the long walls of Ribeira D’llhas and the freight train tubes of Coxos. 

Hangtime Hostel (Weligama, Sri Lanka) 

Weligama, in Sri Lanka’s Southwest, is one of the best beginner surf spots on earth. Hangtime Hostel puts you right there, amongst it! With dorms and privates, this beachfront property also offers board hire/lessons and yoga classes to limber up between shred sessions. Close by, you have waves for all preferences; ten mins down the road is Marissa, a paradisical bay with a fun beachie and forgiving right point. Ten mins in the other direction, you have Midigama, a collection of surf spots; from the punchy barrels at Rams Right to the mellow peaks of Coconuts, there’s something for everyone. 

Aloha Surf Hostel (Maui, Hawaii) 

Located on Mauai’s wave-rich north shore, the Aloha Surf Hostel puts you within minutes of countless world-class surf spots. True surf paradise! Here you can learn to surf or score world-class waves on your schedule. Ho’okipa takes the cake for the top break close by, with other breaks just a short drive down the coast.  

Lay Day Surf Hostel (Canggu, Bali) 

Another hostel is located in Canggu, Bali’s thriving surf/backpacker hotspot. If you’re looking to party, surf, and relax simultaneously, Lay Day is your perfect surf hostel. Situated on Batu Balong, the town’s main street, you’ll be able to enjoy somewhere to work, sleep and socialize with access to heaps of restaurants, bars, and the best breaks in Canggu. 

Sirine Insolente Hostel (Pichilemu, Chile) 

While not as warm as other destinations on this list, Pichilemu is an awesome surf town and the capital of surfing in Chile. If you don’t mind the cold, there are endless world-class left points here with minimal crowds. A true surf adventure destination where you’ll spend hours on the road, driving through beautiful scenery and scoring waves. The Sirine Insolente hostel puts you a 5-minute walk from Punta De Lobos, one of the best (and biggest) waves in the area. The hostel has dorms, private rooms, a kitchen, communal areas, co-workspace, and an on-site surf school. This is where I stayed for most of my two-week trip to southern Chile and was perfect for scoring waves and getting work done between sessions. 

Selina Floripa (Florianopolis, Brazil) 

Florianopolis is one of Brazil’s surfing meccas. An island paradise in the south of Brazil with more surf spots you could hope to surf in dozens of trips, let alone one, if you’re looking for a beautiful hostel right on the beach, look no further than Selina Floripa. Situated just across the road from Praia Mole (one of Floripa’s most consistent surf breaks), Selina Foripa is one of the best surf hostels I have ever stayed in, and trust me, I’ve stayed in my fair share in 10 years of budget surf travel. Selina Floripa is a lovely hostel with a pool area, co-working, dorms/privates, a surf school, and a shop on site. Epic! 

Surf Camps Vs. Surf Hostels (What’s The Difference)? 

While often used interchangeably, surf hostels and surf camps are very different. On the one hand, you’ve got the surf camp. A surf camp is a dedicated surf accommodation that rolls everything you need on a surf trip into one. Surf Camps typically offer packages that include everything from your room, airport transfer, meals, equipment, surf coaching, and excursions. 

On the other hand, you have the surf hostel, which is more of a budget option giving you more freedom and flexibility. Surf hostels allow you to explore the surf and area on your schedule. A hostel may only include your bed (shared dorm room) and is super affordable, so you’ll be close to the best surf spots! Usually, you’ll cook your food, eat at other places and essentially, do whatever the hell you want. I prefer surf hostels as I love being able to eat, surf, and sleep, but on my own time. Whereas a camp still gets you epic waves, you must run on the camp’s time. 


Nowadays, there are so many epic surf hostels scattered around the world’s best surf destinations that you can head there and enjoy a comfortable palace to stay on a budget. The best surf hostel includes all the comforts of home and comes complete with somewhere to work, relax, drink swim, and is within minutes of the best surf sports in the world. The most important things to consider for choosing a surf hostel include the following: 

  • The location 
  • The vibe of the hostel 
  • The surf breaks close by, and the proximity 
  • Amenities 

These are all crucial considerations for any hostel. I hope this breakdown has helped shed some light on what to look for in the best surf hostels and given you some idea of what to expect. Surf hostel no longer means a flea-ridden beachside shack but a wicked, comfortable, clean palace to meet cool people, score waves, and be comfortable and relaxed while you do it! Happy hostel hunting. 

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