Peru really is a backpacker’s paradise and I honestly can’t believe it took me over 10 years of budget travel to finally get here!
But finally get here I did, and then, of course, I couldn’t leave!
Yes more than 2 months in this country and you basically had to tear me away because Peru is incredible!
And to be fair, it’s also massive, which is why 2+ months really isn’t long if you want to see as much of this country as you can.
Seriously, the physical distances involved are quite astonishing and took me back to my days in Australia, where a few hundred km is a mere walk in the park!
But I knew I wanted to soak in as much of Peru as I could and I definitely gave it a good run.
From north to south, west to west, I covered huge swaths of the country (all by land I hasten to add!) and now I’m bringing you my list of the best backpackers across the country.
So if you want to travel Peru on a budget too and don’t want to spend hours researching where to stay in each location, I’ve got you sorted with this handy and complete guide that lists the best Peru hostels in each place you’re likely to visit.
It’s all you gonna need!
- 55 Best Things To Do in South America
- The Best Time to Visit Peru
- How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Peru?
This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.
My stays at La Unsha, Le Foyer Arequipa & Colca and Wolf Totem were kindly sponsored but, as always, all views are my own.
Best Hostels in Lima & The North
#1 Misfit Hostel, Mancora
The surf capital of Peru, Mancora, is right in the north of the country and is likely to be one of the first spots if you’re coming over the border from Ecuador.
It’s a mecca for those who love the water and the waves and, as such, tends to be quite different to many other tourist hotspots in Peru which more often centre around history, mountains and hiking.
Fitting with the beachy vibes, Mancora is also a great place to let your hair down with beaches, bars and feelgood vibes lining the sandy coastline here.
And in keeping with this, Misfit Hostel lies right on the edge of the beach with views of the ocean straight out the thatched cabanas.
With its eco vibes and the ability to enjoy a stunning Pacific sunset from your dorm bed, this is an epic spot to take in the best of Mancora.
Known for its relaxing vibes, welcoming atmosphere, nightly bonfires, top breakfasts and great guest kitchen, this is definitely the best Peru hostel on the beach!
BOOK YOUR STAY AT MISFIT HOSTEL HERE!
#2 Akilpo, Huaraz
And now for something totally different, from the coastal sea level up to the clouds, we venture inland in the north of Peru to Huaraz, a town situated high in the Cordillera Blanca.
The main access town for the spellbinding Huascaran National Park, Huaraz is not such an attraction itself, but for those who want to experience some of this country’s best hiking, with fewer crowds, this is the place to head for day hikes, as well as longer multi-day affairs in some the most stunning Andean landscape.
Learn more about my time hiking around Huaraz here.
And the place to stay when you do this is definitely Akilpo.
Absolutely one of Peru’s best hostels, Akilpo is situated in the heart of Huaraz, an easy walk from the city’s bus station and the best place to find hiking partners, learn about the treks on offer, join tours or just kick back and relax after a day (or several) out in the mountains.
With wonderful helpful staff, loads of info about walking, an amazing kitchen and terrace area, plus spotlessly clean dorm beds and private rooms, this is the only spot to stay at in Huaraz!
BOOK YOUR STAY AT AKILPO HERE!
#3 My Friend Hostel, Trujillo
And back on the coast now, if you want to surf in Peru, but don’t want to head as far north as Mancora, then why not opt for Trujillo instead?
Or, to be more specific, the nearby coastal town of Huanchaco?
And if surfing is what you want to do (including learning) then there’s few better places to stay in this area than My Friend Hostel in Huanchaco.
With a dedicated surf school attached, as well as a top terrace, tons of hammocks and a stone’s throw from the beach, this place is all about the “salty hair, don’t care” vibes.
Very chilled, with helpful staff help to boot, this place sits above the rest, with hot water, good wifi and an onsite restaurant all helping to seal the deal.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT MY FRIEND HOSTEL HERE!
#4 Ruta Alterna Backpacker, Cajamarca
Hopping and skipping our way around the north of Peru, we now move inland to the city of Cajamarca, which lies at over 2,500m above sea level high in the Andes.
An important trading and commercial centre for this region of the country, many travellers use Cajamarca as a jumping point for access to other, more remote destinations, or as a base from which to enjoy some excellent hiking.
Again, being located in the north of the country, the international tourist numbers tend to be thinner around here and it’s only the long term or more intrepid who seem to get out this way and who are rewarded with beautiful landscapes, colonial architecture and hot springs!
And the best place to stay in Cajamarca for budget travellers is definitely Ruta Alterna Backpackers.
With its homely feel, lovely garden and great wifi, this is a lovely spot to base yourself for a couple of days.
Bicycle rental is available and the hosts can advise about hiking and tours in the area.
With only a small number of rooms, this place feels really welcoming and provides some great opportunities for interactions with locals.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT RUTE ALTERNA BACKPACKERS HERE!
#5 Chachapoyas Backpackers Hotel, Chachapoyas
And moving inland from Cajamarca, we get to the more remote and even smaller destination of Chachapoyas.
This is actually located within the Amazonas region, even though it’s still at an elevation of over 2,500m, meaning it straddles the zones of rainforest and Andes perfectly.
Nestled in a cloud forest, Chachapoyas is home to some amazing natural and architectural wonders, including the famous ruins of Kuelap and the 771m tall Gocta Waterfall.
Way off the usual tourist trail in Peru, hostels here are thinner on the ground, but the excellent Chachapoyas Backpackers easily sticks out as one of the best hostels in Peru.
With some of the most helpful staff around, this gem also stands out thanks to its cleanliness, organisation and comfort.
Hot showers, a great guest kitchen and tour options are welcome additions!
BOOK YOUR STAY AT CHACHAPOYAS BACKPACKERS HERE!
#6 The Amazon Within, Iquitos
And now we move deep into the Amazon and the city of Iquitos – the capital of the jungle.
Impossible to reach by road, this is the largest city in the world that’s only accessible by river or air.
A popular hopping-off spot for adventures into the Amazon, Iquitos is popular with travellers thanks to the access it provides to one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
And the place I recommend staying when you are here is The Amazon Within – the best hostel in this city thanks to its great staff and top location.
The pool, garden and hammocks only add to the great vibes in this comfortable spot which also boasts a super guest kitchen and great value dorms as well as private rooms.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT THE AMAZON WITHIN HERE!
#7 La Unsha, Lima
And finally we move south to the nation’s capital, Lima.
A huge, bustling metropolis, there’s many different suburbs in this city, with both the historic centre and the coastal area of Miraflores being the most popular places for travellers to base themselves.
But honestly, it’s the bohemian enclave of Barranca that I recommend the most.
With its great street art feels, cafes, restaurants and historic vibes, this place holds some of prettiest streets in the city and is one of the best places to stay and sightsee in Lima.
Check out my list of the top things to do across the capital here to learn more.
And when it comes to accommodation, it’s handy to know one of the best hostels in Peru is located here in Barranca too.
La Unsha is brilliantly situated in the centre of Barranca – an easy walking distance from all the main attractions.
Large and spacious, there’s a garden out the back where you can also camp here, which is ideal for those on a super tight budget too.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT LA UNSHA HERE!
Best Hostels in Arequipa & the Pacific Coast
#8 Paracas Backpackers House, Paracas
Famous as the launching point for tours to Las Ballestas Islands, Paracas is a cute little beach town a few hours down the road from Lima.
The weather here is much better and the vibe much more chilled, so if you just want to hang somewhere relaxed for a few days and maybe visit the “poor (wo)man’s Galapagos” too, Paracas is the spot.
And there’s no better place to stay here than the Paracas Backpackers House.
Spotlessly clean, super affordable, centrally located and with some great terraces to chill and sunbathe on, this is a lovely little oasis of calm, right on the main street.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT PARACAS BACKPACKERS HOUSE HERE!
#9 Banana’s Adventures, Huacachina
The opposite of calm, Huacachina is a mad oasis in the heart of the Arequipa desert where people go to do 2 things.
One is sandboarding down the dunes at sunset and the other is party!
This is a tiny little resort, that really only exists for travellers, and therefore 1-2 nights here should be enough as there’s not a heap to do.
However, if you do want to let your hair down, this is the place to do just that.
Wild Rover is the “party hostel”, but just down the one-street, Bananas Hostel with its poolside setting and slightly more chilled vibes seemed like the much better option in my book.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT BANANA’S ADVENTURES HERE!
#10 Le Foyer, Arequipa
My favourite city in Peru, volcano-surrounded Arequipa is a feast for history, food and nature lovers alike, check out why I loved it so much in this article.
A pretty colonial history with lots of museums and monasteries to discover, there’s also a heap of amazing markets, restaurants and cafes to explore here, as well as a ton of adventures in the Andes around.
I spent almost a week in Arequipa (like most, I got sucked in by the city charm) and there’s no place I’d rather have been than the fabulous Le Foyer.
Set very near the central square – which means walking to everything is easy and safe – this hostel is set in a lovely historic building where the rooftop terrace provides epic volcano views.
The owner, Hendry, is super helpful and both the dorms and private rooms here are extremely comfortable and impeccably clean.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT LE FOYER AREQUIPA HERE!
#11 Le Foyer, Colca Canyon
And right by Arequipa (meaning many travellers combine the two) is the epic Colca Canyon.
Providing some incredible hiking trails, chances to stay in local villages, explore Inca ruins, bathe in hot springs and spot condors, the Colca Canyon is definitely worth a few days of your Peru Itinerary.
Learn more about the area in this post I wrote.
The village I recommend you stay in is called Yanque and here the Peruvian-owned Le Foyer Hostel (the sister of the one in Arequipa) is the best place to lay your head.
A wonderfully intimate and cosy guesthouse, these guys have rooms with epic views and can help you arrange all manner of excursions in and around the mighty canyon.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT LE FOYER COLCA HERE!
#12 Cozy Hostel, Puno
Nestled on the edge of Lake Titicaca, right in the south of Peru, Puno is one of the highest cities in the country and the best place from which to explore this massive body of water.
After this it’s just a hop, skip and a jump across to Bolivia, making Puno one of the last stops on many a Peru itinerary.
You can take day trips or overnight trips from Puno to the floating islands, but either side of a tour I recommend staying at Cozy Hostel in the city.
From single to twin, double and triple rooms, these guys are very flexible and very centrally located in the city.
The hot water here is definitely needed in the freezing nighttime temperatures and the full HD Netflix availability provides a welcome chance to curl up under a blanket!
BOOK YOUR STAY AT COZY HOSTEL HERE!
Best Hostels in Cusco & The East
#13 La Bo’M, Cusco
You basically can’t come to Peru and not visit Cusco… well you could but you’d be mad too.
So there’s no question that staying somewhere in this former capital of the Inca kingdom is a must during your time in Peru.
The good news is there’s no shortage of top Peru hostels in Cusco, but the hard thing is choosing between them!
So I’ll make life super easy and cut straight to the chase – my favourite hostel in Cusco is La Bo’M.
Situated up behind the main Cathedral, in the San Blas area, La Bo’M is a unique and homely hostel with a great feel and oodles of soul.
I really like the San Blas area too with its trendy, veggie-friendly cafes and La Bo’M fits right in here.
To learn about the other hostels I recommend in Cusco, check out this list I wrote.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT La Bo’M HERE!
#14 Wolf Totem, Pisac
And now we come to my perhaps the place I’m going to vote the best hostel in Peru, full stop!
I know, big claim right!
But that’s how good this place!
Yet another spot in Peru where I got stuck, Wolf Totem is located in the wonderful village of Pisac, which is nestled in the Sacred Valley just outside of Cusco.
Built and designed by the amazing owner, this hilltop place boasts epic valley views, a yoga deck, pizza oven, well-equipped kitchen, hammocks and even a sauna!
From modern-designed dorm rooms to incredible private villas with stone baths, this place is dreamy and then some!
Trust me, you’re going to love it!
BOOK YOUR STAY AT WOLF TOTEM HERE!
#15 Mama Simona, Ollantaytambo
And sticking with the Sacred Valley, another lovely town here is Ollantaytambo, where I definitely recommend spending at least 1 night.
And that’s because there’s so much to do here.
From checking out the fantastic ruins to seeing the Maras salt mines, as well as hiking in the beautiful countryside, most people rush Ollantaytambo as part of a day trip from Cusco, but I recommend stopping a night in the great Mama Simona hostel instead.
With a lovely garden, which has a pretty stream running through it, to a large communal area and guest kitchen, this place is huge, clean and incredibly comfy.
Showers are hot and the location is great, making this definitely one of the best hostels in Peru.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT MAMA SIMONA HERE!
#16 Supertramp, Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu)
I’m going to be honest here, I almost spent 2+ months in Peru and almost missed Machu Picchu!
It was only thanks to my Instagram followers who voted that I should brave the crowds and visit this spot, that I actually did find myself there!
And thank goodness for that!
Because Machu Picchu is absolutely amazing and should not be missed, no matter how big you worry the crowds might be!
Trust me, it’s worth it.
There’s a lot of different ways to get to Machu Picchu, which will definitely affect how many nights you spend in and around the area, but almost all of them involve at least one night in the town at the foot of the ruins – Aguas Calientes.
And if you’re backpacking Peru, then there’s no question the place you want to stay in Aguas Calientes is Supertramp.
This top hostel is ideally set up for those visiting ruins, with breakfast even starting at 4:30am for those with 6am tickets!
Beds are comfy, staff are brilliant, the hostel is eco-conscious and there’s a great bar here where you can decompress from your time in this Inca highlight too.
BOOK YOUR STAY AT SUPERTRAMP AGUAS CALIENTES HERE!
#17 Wasai Puerto Maldonado Hostel, Puerto Maldonado
And now we head back to the Amazon for this final entry on this list of my top-rated Peru hostels.
Puerto Maldonado is best accessed from Cusco, which is why I’ve included it in this section and is close to the Bolivian border.
The starting point for many jungle trips, you may have to spend a night in the town at either the start or end of your tour and, if so, then I highly recommend laying your head at Wasai Puerto Maldonado Hostel.
Set on the river with lots of animals roaming around to get you in the mood, the jungle vibes here are strong and make this a great place to stay!
It’s also close to the centre of town, which is very handy for booking jungle excursions and the comfy beds and pool here seal the deal!
BOOK YOUR STAY AT WASAI PUERTO MALDONADO HOSTEL HERE!
Mini Travel Guide to Peru
The best time to visit Peru, in my opinion, is during the dry season in the Andes aka winter in this country – a season which runs largely from the months of June through to October.
Learn more in this article I wrote all about Peru’s climate, weather and the best time to go.
How to Get to Peru?
You can cross land borders with Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil to reach Peru.
Otherwise, arrive into the international airport in Lima.
As always, I recommend Skyscanner for finding the best deals.
How Long to Spend There?
I’d allow at least 2 weeks to visit Peru if you want to see the highlights of Lima and Cusco.
If you want to add in the Arequipa, the Colca Canyon, Huaraz and the Sacred Valley allow 3-6 weeks.
Wellbeing & Safety in Peru
As a solo female traveller, safety when travelling alone (especially in remote areas) is also big on my radar.
Although I have heard and read reports about female travellers being harassed in Peru, I haven’t experienced any of that myself and can only say that I felt incredibly safe here the whole time.
That said, there’s a lot of common sense involved in safety too.
My advice is to stick with other travellers, don’t wander out alone at night and always be clear about your boundaries in all situations.
You’ll also want to ensure you drink enough water as dehydration can be a problem here.
Travelling with a LifeStraw Go Water Bottle, which you can use to purify water from any fresh water source, is a top option to help you do this.
I bought one for my trip to South America – as it then allowed me to drink the tap water safely – and now wouldn’t be anywhere without it!
Sun protection is another thing to factor in for this country and packing clothes (like a cap or hat) and lotion that will protect you from the strong UV rays at that elevation is definitely recommended.
You’ll also want to make sure you pack plenty of warm clothes for the Andes – it gets freezing here at night – including a good coat, gloves, scarf and a hat is a must, we can’t have you catching a cold now!
And finally, when it comes to travel safety in Peru, it’s important to be aware of altitude sickness.
This can be a real danger, sometimes leading to hospitalisation, for travellers whose bodies aren’t used to the lower amounts of oxygen in the air over 2,500m.
Learn more about the symptoms, as well as how to prevent and treat altitude sickness, here.
Travel Insurance for Peru
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
Recommended Peru Tours
If you’re not totally comfortable with travelling this country independently, then a small group or guided tour is a great option that will have you seeing the best of Peru safely, securely and easily.
Check out these top picks for some super ideas and prices.
Want to Volunteer in Peru?
If you want to combine your time travelling in this South American country with giving something back, then why not consider volunteering in Peru?
It could even help you save money and travel for longer!
You can access loads of great volunteer opportunities in this country when you sign up to Worldpackers. Learn more here.
Travel Money in Peru
The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, no markups and no sneaky transaction fees, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in this country, and it links easily with Google and Apple pay. Grab yours here.
5 Peru Packing Essentials
#1 Good Camera – I would never even think of travelling to Peru without a camera good enough to capture the amazing landscape and people of this country. Both my Sony A6000 and GoPro Hero have been perfect for the job!
#2 Waterproof / Windproof Jackets – With so much of this country situated high in the Andes, taking a waterproof and windproof jacket is essential if you’re going to be hiking or sightseeing in the mountains. I highly recommend the North Face Venture 2.
#3 Hiking Boots – You can’t come to Peru and not do some trekking, so make sure you come prepared with some good, supportive hiking boots… I’ve never worn mine so much in my life! These Keen Targhee II’s are the ideal solution.
#4 Day Pack – Also for the hiking and sightseeing, a good daypack to carry water, snacks, camera, hat, gloves and other clothing layers is key in Peru! This one from Osprey is my pick.
#5 Travel Scarf – And finally, I’ve just discovered the amazing travel wraps from Sholdit and am so happy I took mine to Peru. Acting both as a scarf to keep you warm and a place to store your valuables while you’re out and about, this great invention is perfect for travel in South America.
To learn more about what to pack for a Peru trip in general, check out my ultimate Peru packing list.
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And there you have it, my list of the 17 best Peru hostels!
Ideal for backpackers and those travelling this South America giant on a budget, I hope this list will help you find the best places to stay, and book, without having to trawl through tons of research!
Which hostel in Peru would you vote as your favourite?
Please join the debate by dropping your top pick in the comments box below…