Feb 10, 2012

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All Aboard: 7 Boat Hostels for Stretching your Sea Legs

Aye aye captain, you could take your chance on land. But how about feeling a salty sea spray on your cheeks or listening to the crashing Pacific Ocean as you sleep? Here are seven nautical but nice boat hostels, perfect for making new ship mates…

1. Eastern Comfort Hostelboat

Berlin, Germany

The flowing river Spree at starboard and the crumbling Berlin Wall at port. Snuggle up to the crackling stove fires in winter with the ship’s first mate, a cat, curled up on your lap or enjoy a drink at the bar on the roof terrace.

2. Surf Hostal Backpackers

Pichilemu, Chile

This beached boat was transformed by the founder of Pichilemu in 1900. The best accommodation is the 8-bed top floor dorm where guests can wake up to views of both La Puntilla and Infiernillo beach. The area is something of a surfer’s paradise and the hostel can arrange surfing lessons and horseback riding along the beach. Alternatively, try a relaxing thalassotherapy session under the stars.

3. ArkaBarka Floating Belgrade Hostel

Belgrade, Serbia

After a night of partying at Belgrade’s floating clubs on the river Danube, you will feel right at home lodging at ArkaBarka. The free hostel bikes are ideal for exploring the city and both dorms and private rooms have views of either the Kalemegdan fortress or Ratno Ostrvo island. The onsite bar and café with alfresco seating make this a popular local hangout.

 4. Hosteria La Barquita

Puerto Rico, Ecuador

Run with Swiss efficiency, sunsets at this old tub-inspired hostel are best enjoyed on the deck bar with a colourful cocktail in hand. Dorms and private rooms are equipped with exotic garden or sea view and hammocks – perfect for that afternoon snooze.

5. The Red Boat Mälaren

Stockholm, Sweden

What better way to experience Stockholm’s waterways than by dropping anchor in Lake Mälaren. There are a couple of boat hostels in Stockholm but The Red Boat Mälaren has the loveliest cabin interiors and nautical touches. It is just five minutes’ from the city’s historic old town of Gamla Stan and guests are also just downhill from the trendy Södermälm nightlife scene.

6. Camiri Floating Hostel and Lounge Bar

Iquitos, Peru

Electricity, running water, hammocks and a riverside bar; everything you need to experience the Amazonian jungle and river basin in comfort. The hostel arranges canoe trips but if you visit between August and October when the river has receded, there are fantastic bird watching opportunities.

7. HI Point Montara Lighthouse

Montara, USA

Another nice nautical-themed hostel comes by way of a working lighthouse. It is located 25 miles south of San Francisco on the glorious Pacific Coast Highway. Glimpse the grey whale migration, giant elephant seals lolloping on the rocks below and clamber among the tide pools.


Madeleine Wilson is a travel writer and currently the editor of the HostelBookers blog. Her articles have been featured on Lonely Planet and The Huffington Post.

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