Probably the best known of all the hostels in Jamaica is Reggae Hostel In fact there are now two of them! The better known is the one located in the heart of Kingston, appropriately close to the Bob Marley Museum and with ready access to public transportation and all the highlights of the capital city as it is located next to a main road. Known for the very communal nature, this is hosteling the way it’s meant to be experienced, meeting new friends and evenings of chatting, laughter and music.
The other Reggae Hostel sits right on Main Street in Ocho Rios. The centrally located hostel is easily reached by jumping on the Knutsford Express Bus from Montego Bay or Kingston within a couple of hours as it is a short walk from the drop off point in the town on the North Coast. The hostel gives visitors access to shopping, the beach and the vibrant nightlife while just a short way away from the major attractions like Dolphin Cove, Dunns River Falls and Mystic Mountain as well as Kokono Falls and off the beaten path days out like Blue Hole.
The Backpackers Hostel in Kingston is like an oasis on the other side of the city from Reggae Hostel. It shares a garden with a gallery and many local art and music events are hosted on the property. Wifi and a great restaurant are also on offer.
Head to the east of the island to the quaint Germaican Hostel where you can bunk in dormitories with your own group of friends or new ones, or take advantage of the private cottage on property to explore all that the Port Antonio area has to offer. It’s child friendly and, with free Wifi and breakfast included, it almost feels like a visit to a friend’s home. Porty Hostel in the same region, actually sits in the residential area, guaranteeing a truly authentic experience with the local community. With bunk beds dormitory style or a private room and the host willing to help you discover everything in the area depending on your tastes, you’ll definitely feel like you got to spend your time with friends.
The hub of all tourism, Montego Bay isn’t just for all-inclusive hotel goers, hostels are also easily found in the island’s second city. Stay in the beautiful residential neighbourhood of Ironshore in the hills above the city at Togetherness Guesthouse, with private bathrooms, double rooms or dorm accommodations as well as a pool, and boasting stunning views from every point. MoBay Kotch has to one of the most unique hosteling experiences in Jamaica. You’ll stay in dorms in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the city with full access to the beautiful beaches. But best of all, the building you’ll be sleeping in every night is a red brick historic landmark known as ‘The Townhouse’ originally built in the 1790s. The Birds Nest is specifically geared towards kitesurfers and sports enthusiasts with access to a beautiful private beach, known for the excellent conditions for kitesurfing. The small house above the hills offers a private pool and a feeling of staying in a villa while offering affordable double room and dorm room style accommodations. The Retreat at Paradise also feels a little like a hilltop villa stay except that the space sleeps four dorm style. The rolling lawns, private pool and on property chef easily makes you forget that this is technically a hostel. Another lovely hostel to stay in is Five Gables which always receives rave reviews for its relaxed vibe. This little yellow house above the hills in Ironshore offers a private pool and great views, along with an exceptional host, making this a hostel the destination of many return guests.
The heart of the island is a great opportunity for hostelers and backpackers who love to hike and embrace a rural experience. In the Port Royal Mountains, as well as the UNESCO site of the Blue Mountains and John Crow Mountains, hostels and lodge type accommodations abound. Stay at one of the ‘bud & breakfasts’ on the island, Blue Mountain Hostel, on the Portland side of the mountains, which also offers cabins. Or stay at one of the more family oriented spots like Jay’s Guest House in Hagley Gap just beyond the Yallahs River with warm, friendly hosts, free wifi and great food. For those seeking to check off a bucket list item, head to Whitfield Hall Hostel , a 17th century former plantation property and working coffee farm as part of the infamous hike up Blue Mountain Peak. Step back in time in this wooden building and savour authentic Blue Mountain coffee by the light of traditional Tilley lamps and a crackling fire, before heading off to sleep in one of the dorm rooms or one of the two private rooms and then waking well before dawn to trek up the mountain.
Negril is still the most bohemian part of Jamaica which is already appealing to most backpackers. The very popular yoga retreat of Negril Yoga Centre is more than a hostel but is truly a way for those seeking a simple getaway to get the best of all worlds, affordable scenic accommodations on the cliff end of Negril with amazing meals and yoga sessions. At the back of the property known as Judy House nestled on a mountain road 10 minutes from the beach , is a hostelers secret gem, the Negril Backpacker Hostel . The main property offers self-catering cottages with air conditioning, but also offers dorm and tent accommodations in this garden like setting with glimpses of the sea. They also own a sister property in Brighton, Westmoreland, the Brighton Backpacker Hostel, about 30 minutes away, close to one of the island’s famous Blue Holes.
Overall, it is fairly easy to explore Jamaica and have a rich and varied vacation experience by choosing to make your holiday a hosteling journey around the island. It will be a vacation to remember and you will most likely leave not just with memories of a great time, but with many new friends including Jamaicans and others from all over the world.