With more and more people on Roatan having to do visa runs, finding affordable options to get off the island for a few days is a hot topic of conversation these days on my rock. Just getting out of here takes either a lot of time (by boat and bus) or a lot of money (by plane), so the idea is to go as close as possible to places that can be enjoyed cheaply for a few days. I’ve taken two trips so far this year that could work well for visa runs – you can read full rundowns of my Miami Beach, Florida and Ambergris Caye, Belize trips – and being a poor dive instructor (as most of us are), keeping an eye on the budget is always on my mind.
So on my most recent trip to Ambergris Caye, an island off the east coast of Belize, I followed the recommendation of a friend to reach out to Hostel La Vista [Facebook / Instagram / Twitter] in the main town of San Pedro for accommodation. After a few emails back and forth with Maria, who runs the hostel, I was all set with a reservation at the hostel.
The hostel is situated in the perfect part of town – right in the main square, and right across the street from the beautiful Belizean beach:
When I walked up, I was pleasantly surprised to see the building was painted my favorite color – PURPLE!
Upon arriving, Maria ushered me into my room. I had the opportunity to check out a few of the rooms during my stay – there are two dorms (a 6-bed dorm and an 8-bed dorm) each with kitchenette and ensuite bathroom, plus several private rooms with ensuite bathrooms. I loved the colorful paint and bright rooms with lots of windows!
The rooms were all comfortable with comfy beds + linens, air-conditioning (!!!) that was ice-cold and the fastest to cool down out of anywhere I went in San Pedro, and bathrooms in good shape. The rooms are cleaned well daily and each of them have places to lock up your stuff (though some rooms don’t have lockable compartments big enough for a backpack – but definitely room for your valuables). There is fast wifi that works in all the rooms and the common area.
I looooooved the lounge area at the front of the hostel and spent most of my time out there in a hammock or on the couch, working on my computer or just working on a rum punch and visiting with Maria and other guests. The massive yard has enough room to kick around a soccer ball, or chill out in the hammocks which are all over the yard or in the outdoor seating area. When I left, an outdoor kitchen was being built as well!
The hostel also has kayaks and bikes that guests can rent! (Adorable puppy not included.)
A nice touch staying at this hostel is a discount at the local restaurant that sits just at the front of the property, Island Torch. The lady who runs it, Letty, is an riot and also has one of the cleanest kitchens I’ve ever seen on an island (I ended up in the kitchen at a pizza-making party with Maria and boyfriend one night… still not sure how that happened!), not to mention great food and strong drinks. I hit up the breakfast here a few days in a row!
Bonus: the resident hostel cat, Kitten Mittens (AKA Fireball… for reasons I cannot disclose publicly on the internet… those who were there will know!) provides cat entertainment for FREE:
But above all, the name should give you an idea of the best part of this hostel. If you don’t speak Spanish, it translates to “The View”. If you head on up to the rooftop (rooftop bar is in the works – I can’t wait to check it out next time), you’ll see why:
All in all, I had a fabulous time at Hostel La Vista, and even continued to spend most of my free time here after I moved on to another hotel. I loved the character and history of the building – ask Maria about her family’s Belizean roots and her grandfather running the hotel! – and most of my days were spent roaming the San Pedro streets and beach, so I couldn’t have been in a more central location. Everything was literally steps away, yet the hostel was quiet at night and I had no troubles sleeping with just the hum of the A/C going.
Maria is a fabulous hostess, and really goes out of her way to welcome her guests and ensure they’re having a great time. She took me to restaurants, a BBQ at her friend’s house, a day trip up to a beach at the north end of the island, a family dinner, and more. She had excellent recommendations about where to go and what to do. We had so much fun and I can’t wait to go back and hang out with her again! I didn’t really feel like doing anything while I was there (though you can read my entertainment rundown in my full trip post), but Maria can arrange anything from snorkel trips to laundry service to trips to mainland Belize to see ruins or go cave tubing. I mostly just hammock-ed on this trip.
With prices starting at $15/person for a dorm room and $50/room for privates, you can’t beat the price for the amenities and location of Hostel La Vista. I highly recommend staying here if you’re looking for affordable and fun accommodation in San Pedro. Iguanas included.
Disclaimer: I received a media discount at Hostel La Vista so that I could review it. Maria also kept me heavily into her rum punch, though I think everyone gets to do that! No matter who is paying the tab, rest assured you’ll always get an honest review here. You guys know I say what I want 🙂