The Best Backpacker Hostels in Goa
Tropical Goa is famous for it’s beaches, markets, parties and laid back lifestyle and is India’s most popular holiday destination. Goa is the best place to party in India and there’s a saying that “A journey is often better measured in friends than miles.” Often the people that you are with can make or break your experience, especially if you came to Goa to party, and the new backpacker hostels in Goa are great places to meet new friends.
Backpacker hostels are still a relatively recent trend in India but over the last few years new, modern backpacker hostels have been opening up in popular traveller spots all over the country. As Goa is one of the most popular destinations in India there are many hostels in Goa to choose from which have a lively and sociable atmosphere great for solo travelers and people who want to meet new people, make friends and make memories.
Make sure to check out my Ultimate Insiders Guide to Goa before you visit!
Beach shack on Anjuna Beach
Here are the 10 best backpacker hostels in Goa (and a couple of the best cheap guesthouses)
Backpacker Hostels in North Goa
The beaches of North Goa are generally busier and the place to go for parties, markets and all the action. Take your pick from some of the best hostels in Goa to meet other travellers and make friends for an epic time in Goa.
If you’re planning to visit Goa for New Year’s accommodation can be really expensive then so staying at a hostel is a good idea to have a budget friendly trip and meet loads of people to party with at the same time! See more of my Tips for New Year in Goa here.
Anjuna is one of the original hippie beaches, famous for it’s Wednesday flea market and all night trance parties on the beaches. Anjuna has the most backpacker hostels in Goa and is a great place to come to meet people and party.
Wonderland Hostel – Located behind popular shacks like Janet and Johns and Lilliput, Wonderland Hostel is the closest hostel to the beach in Anjuna, the flea market and the beach parties. The dorms are located in cute beach huts and private rooms are also available. There is plenty of outside spaces to sit and meet other travellers, a community kitchen and hammocks to chill in.
Red Door Hostel – In the center of Anjuna the red door hostel has a spacious lounge area, garden and a communal kitchen it’s a good place to meet new people with a balance between being a party hostel and a laid back sociable traveller scene within walking distance of all the attractions of Anjuna.
Roadhouse Hostel – A bright and colourful hostel with friendly, helpful staff situated near the popular German Bakery in Anjuna and close to South Anjuna Beach where popular party places – Shiva Valley and Curlies. Roadhouse also have a super useful helpline for the guests to call and ask any questions about traveling in Goa and the rest of India.
The Yuppi Hippy Female Hostel – is a cosy and colourful old Portuguese house with garden located just steps away from Curlies and with views over South Anjuna Beach. The hostel is only for ladies so it’s a great choice for solo female travellers and each bed in the dorm room has it’s own fan, light, plugs and privacy curtains.
Views over rocky and charismatic Vagator Beach
Vagator is another beach with a unique hippie vibe and charismatic rocky beach, (look out for the face of Shiva that was carved into a rock on the beach by a hippy)
Jungle Hostel – Jungle Hostel is run by The Hostel Crowd who also run the Prison Hostel in Anjuna and is probably the most popular and best hostel in Goa. Jungle hostel is situated in a serene, jungley spot off the main road to Vagator Beach but still within easy walking distance. There is a nice chill out area and sociable scene here you can easily have a chilled out evening or find some cool people to party with.
Pappi Chulo – Pappi Chulos is located on the cliffs within walking distance to Little Vagator Beach, 9 Bar, Thalassa and most of the action in Vagator. The funky pictures and murals on the walls give the place a cool vibe. The hostel has comfy dorms and funky communal areas including a living room, kitchen area and a nice, sociable garden area with a bar which means it is easy to make friends with other travellers.
Baga, Calangute and Candolim
The busy stretch of Baga, Calangute and Candolim are the most popular in Goa, and this is the place to be if you want to be in the heart of all the action in North Goa.
Zostel Hostel, Calangute – Zostel is India’s first chain of branded backpacker’s hostels. Their hostel in Goa is situated in a heritage home which has been converted into artsy and spacious hostel in the heart of all the action in Calangute.
Backpacker Panda, Candolim – Backpacker Panda are another new chain of hostels that are expanding quickly all over India and their first property was this clean and spacious hostel located just 100 meters from Candolim Beach and close to all the action on the Calangute/Candolim main road. The hostel has large outside common areas for socialising and is really popular so book ahead.
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Heading further North in Goa the beaches of Morjim, Ashwem and Mandrem offer chilled out stretches of long, quiet beaches popular with the yoga crowd, long staying Russians and those who want a bit of a break from the other busier beaches.
Wanderer’s Hostel, Morjim – is the only hostel in Goa with a swimming pool! If you want to experience the chilled out vibe of this area of North Goa and meet like minded people then Wanderers Hostel in Morjim is the place to be. Choose from cute tents or dorms clustered around the pool and many games and social activities to break the ice.
Arambol is now one of the most popular beaches fr backpackers in North Goa but still retains an easy going, alternative hippie traveller vibe. There are not so many hostel options here and many travellers choose to stay on the beach in budget beach huts and most nights there is a chilled out scene where a hippy sunset market and drumming circles take place on the beach where you can meet new people and make friends. If you’re on a tight budget try the guesthouses a bit further back from the beach.
Happy Panda Hostel has a homely feel, it’s situated in an old Portuguese house on the main road coming into Arambol and has a spacious, vibrant and fun common area with a shared kitchen
Roadhouse Hostel – the popular Anjuna hostel has recently opened up a new place right near the beach in Arambol
Noname Guesthouse is the most popular and top ranked in Arambol, it has clean, modern rooms with private balconies to chill out on just steps from the beach
Swati Guesthouse is not far from the beach either and the balconies have nice views over the sea – it’s a steal at this price.
Check out The Love Temple to really feel the spirit of Arambol, and of Goa. This place offers all kinds of yoga, meditation, workshops and events including dance, tantra and massage course plus a vegetarian restaurant and cute, bamboo huts right on the beach.
Best Backpacker Hostels in Panjim
Panjim (Panaji) is Goa’s capital city. Panjim is a lot less hectic than other Indian cities and you can spend a pleasant day or 2 soaking up the Portuguese churches, architecture, culture and food scene here. As it is the center of Goa it also makes a good base for those not so fussed about staying close to the beach who want to explore the rest of Goa but beach bums may prefer to stay closer to the beach.
Old Quarter is another hostel by the Hostel Crowd. As the name suggests this colourful hostel is situated in Fontainhas, the old latin quarter of Panjim and has a cute coffee shop.
Backpacker Hostels and Cheap Guesthouses in South Goa
South Goa is generally quieter than the North with long, fine, sandy stretches of quiet beaches and luxury resorts. In the far South Agonda, Patnem and Palolem beaches are still popular with backpackers and offer a good range of budget accommodation, beach shacks and guesthouses but so far there are not so many backpacker hostels in Goa here.
Palolem is the most popular of these South Goa beaches and is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa. Palolem is the only beach with a hostel in South Goa as a new hostel has recently opened called Summer by The Hostel Crowd. It’s not on the beach but has nice paddy field views and clean dorms.
When in Palolem, most people here stay in colourful beach huts around the cresent bay, the best thing to do is arrive early in the day, inspect a couple, take your pick and just relax and soak up the views. If you want to book online check out Palolem Tree House or Camp San Francisco for colourful and cute basic beach accommodation.
Agonda has soared in popularity in recent years but still offers a wide, uncrowded beach. Try Cupid’s heaven Guest House if your after a bargain on the main street just steps from the beach or Wave on Waves for comfortable beachfront cottages.
So there you have lots of fun option for staying in hostels in Goa. However, unlike the rest of the world, where staying in a backpacker hostel is usually the cheapest accommodation option, hostels in Goa aren’t actually that cheap.
As hostels are a relatively new concept in India often the price of a bed in a dormitory is the same as a budget guesthouse so if you are travelling as a pair it’s cheaper to stay in a budget guesthouse than 2 beds in a hostel in Goa.
Goa is also one of the most expensive states in India, so whereas you can get a private room in a guesthouse for 300 rupees or so in Rajasthan be prepared to push up your budget in Goa. In peak season most budget guesthouse rooms or beds in a hostel dormitory will be about 500 rupees each meaning that if you are traveling as a couple or group already then staying in a private room in a guesthouse would probably be cheaper, but if you are looking to have fun and meet other like minded travelers then you can’t beat staying in a hostel in Goa.
If you want to save money on accommodation then why not try volunteering in Goa! Many hostels offer the chance to help out in exchange for a free bed and meals. There are also many communities and charities that could really do with some help and instead of paying 1000’s to volunteer you can volunteer for free with Worldpackers and exchange your skills and time for free accommodation, food and other benefits. When I’ve volunteered I’ve got so much more immersed in the local culture, got off the tourist trail, made friends with the locals and learned new languages and new skills all while helping other people and saving money.
There are so many different and exciting projects you can get involved in including volunteering with NGOs, communities and ecological projects, teaching English, animal conversation projects, helping out in local family homes and even helping out in backpacker hostels. Worldpackers beats the other volunteering platforms as they offer great customer service and support, all the hosts are verified to ensure they offer a safe and rewarding experience and if anything should go wrong the Worldpackers insurance will put you up for 3 nights at a nearby hostel and help you to find another project. Yearly membership costs $49 but if you use the code GLOBALGALLIVANTING you can get $20 off the membership fee! Bargain! Check out the opportunities with Worldpackers and join here.