The Best Backpacker Hostels in Kerala

12 of the Best Backpacker Hostels in Kerala

Tropical, luscious Kerala is one of the most popular destinations in India due to its languid backwaters, spice plantations, stunning nature and wildlife sanctuaries, cool hill stations and tropical beaches. If you’re looking for a cheap and sociable stay then you’ll be pleased that there and now many backpacker hostels in Kerala.

Whilst all the colour and exoticness of India is found here, in many ways the state of Kerala, also known as ‘God’s own Country,’ differs to the rest of India and traveling in Kerala is a cleaner, less hassled, and laid back affair which makes Kerala a great place to start an Indian adventure, and the newly opening backpacker hostels in Kerala make traveling here even easier and more fun.

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The best backpacker hostels in Kerala, South India

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. Often the people that you are with can make or break your experience, especially if you are traveling alone, so the new backpacker hostels in Kerala are great places to meet new travel buddies, even though often the price of a bed in a dormitory is the same as a budget guesthouse.

Make sure to check out my Guide to Kerala before you visit!

Here are 12 of the best backpacker hostels in Kerala plus a couple of cheap guesthouses and homestays.

While the Zostel Hostel chain is taking over the rest of India, Vedanta Wake Up are taking over Kerala and now have 10 backpacker hostels in Kerala all across ‘God’s own country” and they also offer sightseeing and accommodation packages to make your trip easier.

I’ve traveled round Kerala 3 times now so I know it well.  Here’s my pick of the best backpacker hostels in Kerala – if you want to book I’ve included links to or where you pay no extra but I get a small commission which helps me to keep the site running so thank you so much! 🙂

Chinese fishing nets in Fort Cochin
Chinese fishing nets in Fort Cochin

Backpacker Hostels in Fort Cochin (Kochi)

Fort Cochin (Kochi) is one of the most popular places to visit in Kerala and where many travellers start their adventure through Kerala. Fort Cochin has a lot to explore around the historic and colourful streets of Jew Town and don’t miss watching the sunset at the iconic Chinese fishing nets.

Fort Cochin has the largest selection of backpacker hostels in Kerala as it’s one of the most popular destinations and it also makes a good base from which to explore other parts of Kerala from as the backwaters, hill station of Munnar and beaches are not far away.

For more on things to do in Fort Cochi check out my full guide.

Maritime by The Hostel Crowd – is a large, bright and funky hostel situated in a renovated old colonial Dutch building close to the old town and the Chinese fishing nets. There are large common rooms on the ground floor and a sociable atmosphere.

The Happy Camper Hostel is a cute boutique backpackers hostel close to the historic heart of Fort Cochin with bright comfy rooms and friendly staff.

There is also a Vedanta Wake Up Hostel in Cochin which has loads of facilities and good common areas in a good location not far from the Chinese fishing nets

Budget Tip: There are also more budget guesthouses and homestays clustered around the Princess Street area in Fort Cochin where you can find cheap rooms from about 500 rupees and you’ll often find it’s cheaper the split the cost of a room in a guest house than pay for 2 dorm beds in the backpacker hostels in Kerala.

There are also more budget guesthouses and homestays clustered around Princess Street where you can find cheap rooms from about 500 rupees – try Jojies Homestay, great because it also has a shared kitchen and lounge where you can met other guests, Tom’s Old Mansion in a nice old colonial building or Dream Catcher Homestay situated in an old Portuguese house with a sociable atmosphere and yoga and meditation classes.

Cruising the backwaters in Kerala
Cruising the backwaters in Kerala

Backpacker Hostels in Alleppey

Alleppey or Alappuzha is the jumping off point for the famous Kerala Backwaters, which are the highlight of a visit to Kerala that you simply can’t miss.

Stay in the backwaters at Bamboostix is one of the coolest backpacker hostels in Kerala. It’s an eco-friendly, rustic chic, backpacker-resort situated right on the waterfront of an island in the Kerala backwaters ( lake Vembanad near Alleppey ) with a restaurant, Free boat pick up and drop off (3 times daily) upto 6 pm as well as loads of hammocks and chill out places. They also sometimes organise parties and events.

Or stay in town at Vedanta Wake Up along the dreamy Backwaters   – is one of Vedanta’s flagship hostels close to town but set in nice lush green lawns with air conditioned dorms and private rooms and they help you organise backwater tours and boat trips.

Budget Tip: One of the most popular things to do is cruise the Kerala Backwaters in a houseboat – it’s an amazing experience and worth the money (as long as you go with a reputable company – not all houseboats are created equal!) but if you’re on a budget then you can still enjoy the backwaters for about 650 rupees (about £6/ $10 including lunch!) Here’s how I did the Kerala Backwaters on a budget

Looking down over the cliffs to stunning Varkala Beach
Looking down over the cliffs to stunning Varkala Beach

Backpacker Hostels in Varkala

The beach town of Varkala is the best backpacker hangout in Kerala where you can an enjoy surfing, yoga and other activities or just soak up the stunning views from the dramatic cliffs and enjoy the lively traveller scene. See my guide for more things to do in Varkala.

The only hostel in Varkala is the Vedanta Wake Up on the sunny cliffs is situated only 5 minutes walk from the cliff top and has dorms, private rooms in the main building and also in bamboo eco huts in the gardens and a sociable scene.

You can also search around further back from the cliffside and find cheap rooms for around 400 Rupees. The Mango House opposite the Vedanta Hostel is a cheap, nice and pretty popular option or check out the Heavenly Breeze Beach Resort which is only 5 mins from the beach and has large, clean and great value rooms situated in a nice garden area. Royal Pine Huts also has bright and cheerful rooms between the cliff and the temple part of Varkala.

Stunning views over the tea plantations of Munnar
Stunning views over the tea plantations of Munnar

Backpacker Hostels in Munnar

Munnar is a popular hill station famous for it’s fresh, cool air and the gorgeous views over the green tea plantations.

The only hostel in Munnar is Vedanta Wake Up in Munnar. It’s located in a serene space 7km from Munnar town amidst the gorgeous green tea plantations. They also have a restaurant and arrange activities and tours.

There are also many homestays and cheap guesthouses in Munnar. The town center of Munnar itself doesn;t have all that much to offer – its nicer to stay out in the tea plantations.

Backpacker Hostels at Periyar

South India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary is Periyar, if you’re headed here you’ll probably want to stay in the closest town Kumily, which confusingly is also referred to as Thekkady and sometimes Periyar but they all mean the same place.

Vedanta Wake Up is a modern hostel located right in the middle of the town close to all the shops and restaurants and the hostel can provide easy access to all the activities available in the wildlife sanctuary.

The golden Shri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum
The golden Shri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum

Backpacker Hostels in Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram)

Trivandrum is Kerala’s capital city, it’s a pretty laid back place as far as Indian cities go and it’s home to the golden Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple thought to be the richest temple in the world as well as some interesting museums and bazaars.

Trivandrum makes a nice day trip from the beaches of Kovalam or if you want to stay in town check out Vendata Wake Up Trivandrum a brand new, plush hostel in the centre of the city close to the train station.

Backpacker Hostels in Kovalam

Kovalam is Kerala’s most popular beach resort, a short distance away from Kerala’s capital city Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) with many different beach areas to choose from and scenic lighthouse.

Vedanta Wake Up by the lighthouse is a new and modern hostel with an ayurvedic spa, a restaurant, good common areas and lots of sociable activities located just a few minute’s walk to beautiful Lighthouse Beach in Kovalam.

Spotting an elephant in the wild at Wayanad
Spotting an elephant in the wild at Wayanad

Backpacker Hostels in Wayanad

Wayanad nestled amidst the mountains of the Western Ghats in the far north corner of Kerala is one of the most beautiful parts with gorgeous wild nature, waterfalls, wildlife sanctuaries and tribes.

Devaki’s Kitchen Village Guesthouse is a simple but charming family homestay run by an NGO with dormitory accommodation nestled in a luscious spice plantation. Activites like local village walks, plantation tours, cooking classes. yoga, ayurvedic massage and volunteering are also available.

Vedanta Wake Up  also has a large hostel at Wayanad located near to the Edakkal Caves and Muthanga Wildlife sanctuary.

Don’t forget to read my Kerala Guide for more tips and all the best things to do in Kerala and if your heading to Goa too then check out my list of the best backpacker hostels in Goa and Guide to Goa

Do you have any other recommendations for places to stay in Kerala? Comment below and help another traveler out 🙂 

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The best backpacker hostels in Kerala, South India

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Edward Martin October 6, 2016 at 3:55 pm

thanks love river boats cruzing also

Global Gallivanting October 9, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Yes cruising the backwaters is one of the best things to do in Kerala ????

Piyush Rai October 9, 2016 at 9:32 am

This is awesome, I have been looking for an article like this for budget travellers like me , sharing this on my Facebook page so other interested folks can go through this. Keep Writing !!

Anna October 14, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Hi Piyush! Thanks so much for sharing! I’m really glad that you found it useful. Happy Travels 🙂


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