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Best Hostels in Cuenca: Where to Stay in 2019

A church in Cuenca

A church in Cuenca

Take a dip in this city full of colonial charm and stay at one of the best hostels in Cuenca while you explore.

Cuenca’s Old Town (dating back to the 16th century), is an impressive feat of domes and high steeples. 

You will notice a culture very focused on religion. There are traditions and customs which have held like glue for centuries in Cuenca.

Here we've put together a guide featuring the best hostels in Cuenca, so you can quickly pick a place to base yourself. Take a look below to find a hostel which suits your needs.

Quick Recommendations

What to Look For

At an elevation of over 8,500 feet in the Andes mountains, you are bound to fall in love with its mountainside charm. Even the climate is to die for.

But that is not all Cuenca is known for. Its architecture and the kind-hearted people of Cuenca make it one of Ecuador’s most popular cities for tourists and expats alike. You only need to know what areas to stay in to capture it all.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when deciding where to stay.

Best Neighborhoods

First, it must be noted that Cuenca has an overall safer feel than the bigger, busier cities in Ecuador, such as Quito and Guayaquil. There are no neighborhoods around the central part of the city which you must avoid for safety.

With that being said, petty theft does still occur, so take care of your belongings when on the streets.

El Centro is the area to stay if you are a first-time visitor. It is where the historic Old Town — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is, and, generally, where a lot of the action in Cuenca takes place.

There are plenty of hostel options around here, and food and shopping is easy to find because it is a high-toured place.

Barrio Santa Anita is another nearby neighborhood which has all the amenities a traveler needs. However, it is a bit further from some of the main attractions.

You will find that these are the two neighborhoods which backpackers stay, with a large majority focused in El Centro.

Both are safe neighborhoods with most things in walking distance.

Cost of Hostels

Most of Ecuador is pretty consistent in the costs of travel. With a few exceptions, you pretty much get what you pay for. Cuenca is no different.

Expect to pay anywhere from $5-12 per night for a bed in a hostel. Some hostels are better than others, however, so read on to see which ones you will not regret staying in!

See also: Cost of Travel in Ecuador

La Catedral in the heart of Cuenca's historic city center

La Catedral in the heart of Cuenca's historic city center

Best Hostels in Cuenca

It is time to get down to business. Below, we have highlighted some of the best hostels in Cuenca based on what you may be looking for.

Best Hostel for a Quiet Night — Pepe’s House

From $10 for a dorm (6 beds)

Pepe’s House is the perfect place for a quiet night of rest.

Located strategically within walking distance to some of Cuenca’s most popular attractions such as Calderón Park, you will also find it is not far from many shops, restaurants, historic churches, and markets.

Inside the hostel, there is a bar and cafe which fixes up delicious breakfast (not included) and the area is great for socializing. Please note, the bar does close at 9 PM, which enables guests to get a full night’s sleep.

It is also a great place to stay the night before a flight as it is only seven minutes from the airport.

Check availability: Hostelworld

Best Hostel for Social Atmosphere — El Cafecito Cuenca

From $10 for a dorm (6 beds)

El Cafecito Cuenca is a wonderful place to link up with fellow backpackers for day adventures and nighttime shenanigans.

Its rooftop bar with lovely city views and mountainous vistas bring ambiance on-par with Cuenca itself.

Join the nightly family dinner — a 5-course vegetarian meal — prepared with produce straight from the fresh market across the street daily. It is delicious and the conversations after eating, the “sobremesas”, are worth staying for.

Tony, the owner, knows so much about the city and can give you the best recommendations for Cuenca and even the rest of your trip around South America.

Check availability: Hostelworld

Best Hostel for Party-Goers — AlterNative Hostels

From $8 for a dorm (5 beds)

Located within walking distance to Cuenca’s city center and just steps away from Museo Pumapungo, AlterNative Hostel is a great place to stay within the city.

Its location at the corner of Calle Larga and Avenida Huayna Capac puts it at the heart of the party in Cuenca. Avenida Huayna Capac is the city’s main spot for bars and nightclubs.

Though the hostel does not serve food, there is a delicious cafeteria next door and a fresh market a few blocks away. Feel free to cook your own food in the well-equipped hostel kitchen.

If you don’t mind a little bit of noise, this is the perfect place to stay and experience Cuenca’s nightlife!

Check availability: Hostelworld

See also: Ecuador Nightlife – Bars, Clubs, and Dating Tips

Best Hostel for Amenities — Selina Cuenca

From $6 for a dorm (10 beds)

If you are traveling in Ecuador, you may recognize Selina hostels in neighboring cities. Selina Cuenca is to the same excellent standard as other Salina hostels in Ecuador.

With a co-working space, a swimming pool, a bar, pool table, foosball, Wii, board games, and a big kitchen, it is hard to imagine other hostels in Cuenca with just as much to offer.

That is why we have designated Selina Cuenca as having the best amenities in the city.

It is in a central location so one should not worry about how to get to the main attractions around town.

Check availability: Hostelworld

Best Hostel for City Entertainment — Posada del Rio in Cuenca

From $8 for a dorm (5 beds)

Posada del Rio in Cuenca is the perfect place to see everything in a short amount of time.

This is, perhaps, the best-situated hostel in all of Cuenca. You can walk almost anywhere in the city in a secure neighborhood where there will always be other people on the streets with you.

Not only that, but Posada del Rio offers a great backyard with BBQ equipment available and a well-suited kitchen for those who like to cook while backpacking.

The inside is old (but clean). Therefore, floorboards creak and can be kind of bothersome at night if you are a light sleeper.

Check availability: Hostelworld

Best Cheap Hostel — Mallki Hostel

From $6 for a dorm (8 beds)

For a budget hostel, one can’t go wrong with Mallki Hostel.

Only a few blocks from the historical center, riverfront, and nightlife of Cuenca, it is in the perfect location to suit time-limited travelers.

Animal lovers will enjoy the fact that the hostel is pet-friendly. Other guests will love the free daily activities ranging from family dinners to bicycle tours.

Mallki has a great garden with a BBQ area and also a balcony bar. It is one of our favorite places to stay in Cuenca.

With free breakfast included, there is no room for complaining although we do wish the electrical outlets were near the beds.

Check availability: Hostelworld


Being just thirty minutes from Guayaquil and an hour from Quito by plane, Cuenca is a charming city you won't want to miss.

It is easy to add on to your backpacking itinerary and witness the colonial town which many people regard as their favorite in Ecuador.

If anything, you can spend your time walking around its cobblestone streets, underneath its centuries-old architecture, sharing sidewalks with nuns and catholic school children dressed up in uniform, enjoying the spring climate.

More Ecuador Hostels

Last Updated on August 30, 2019 by Dave Lee