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San Diego's Ocean Beach International Hostel

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Description & Photos
Beautiful Art Deco
Peace Sign above the hostel
Kids helped paint it!

Hostelz.com's Review
San Diego's Ocean Beach International Hostel is located in the trendy, funky, hippy-dippy neighborhood known as the "OB."

The Location

Within the OB, you will find trendy shops, greats restaurants, plenty of bars, and many convenience and liquor stores for your immediate needs. Keep in mind, this is San Diego, so the weather is pretty much always good. The beach itself is right down the street. Just exit the hostel's front door, take a left down Newport Avenue and it's two blocks -- boom, you are there. Other beaches, as well as Sea World, are easy bus trips or very short bike rides away. It's pretty far away from the trolley, but you can use the bus to the trolley system to get to the Gaslamp or the Mexican border.

Parking will be a problem if you are traveling by car, as the only parking in the area around the hostel is for two hours at a time from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays excepted, if you can find a spot. We were forced to park farther away, but we had our bicycle and made two trips. If you are traveling by plane or train, you will need to take the bus or the hostel's shuttle to the OB, and then use the city bus to get to other places in San Diego, if you want to see some of the city while you are there.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The rooms are of average size -- we have stayed in hostels all over the world, and can judge them as being neither big nor small. They have four to six beds in most rooms, with lockers and additional storage areas. The beds themselves are somewhat spartan; they aren't rock hard, but they are also nothing like soft or comfortable. There is no AC in the rooms, but there is a window and the nearby ocean to cool the rooms. There are two fans in the room, but only one working outlet. Bathrooms and showers are down the hall, and though more would have been better, it is enough.

Common Spaces

There are very small desk areas in the halls with outlets so you can work on your laptop, as well as computer stations. There is a small kitchen area, which has a wee bit of refrigerator and pantry space for your food, but not much, as well as two small tables where you can sit down. This is the only indoor community area.

There is a porch in front and a semi-covered patio in back; smoking is allowed in these areas and they are always crowded with smokers, so if you don't like smoking, this is not the hostel for you. Not everyone is smoking tobacco, either, if you get our meaning. There is a sign strictly forbidding this, easily visible to all, but it is ignored and not enforced. Drinking is allowed on the back patio. Many hostel-goers prefer to buy their own beer at the local stores and drink it on the patio, rather than buy pricey drinks at the local watering holes. At night, drinking games are played on the patio. This is definitely a party hostel and nothing but. Some signs even encourage this, such as the one that says if it gets too noisy, let the staff know, and they will provide you with earplugs.

There is a free breakfast buffet, for which we weren't around. There are surfboard, boogie board, skate and bike rentals, as well as surfing lessons, available in the immediate neighborhood for a reasonable fee.


You will need to show certain items at check-in. According to the hostel's own website and all but one of the hostel booking sites, they have a long list of acceptable forms of ID. We brought our HI card, as that was listed as an acceptable ID for an American. Upon check-in, they told us that this would no longer do. We needed a passport, or a student or teacher ID card, neither of which we had. This is fine, as it is their house and their rules, but the hostel's website shouldn't be giving conflicting info.

This is, in spirit, often used at hostels as a policy to keep out the local transients and give the place an international flavor. The manager was present on this particular afternoon, so she waived the policy and allowed us to check in. We shared our room with two foreigners and a local, who seemed to be otherwise homeless. He had anger management issues, and his presence (as well as that of two other seemingly transient locals) made the trouble we had at check-in seem rather pointless.

There are areas in the hostel with are a complete mess, such as the patio, large portions of which are used to store what seems to be junk. The location is good, and those of you who love to party will enjoy it, but many will be off put be the inconsistent management policies and the general attitude of a staff that just doesn't care.

by Ggreg Snyder
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
July 2013
How is San Diego's Ocean Beach International Hostel rated on other websites?
Not listed on HostelsClub.
San Diego's Ocean Beach International Hostel Reviews from the Web
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
1   Sexual harrasment, inequality, horrible service, lied about pricing sexual harassment, inequality, horrible service, and lied about pricing.
Response from the accommodation: Norbert, it looks like you've given a review of the pier or the beach - - hard for us to tell which one! We always like a good joke so keep it up and be sure inform us when you've change "countries". I guess someday, Hostelz's might require a traveler to actually stay in a hostel before they're allowed to write their "lost soul" rendition of life.  , age 29, DOWN NEWPORT ON DA PIER BE SMOKIN N SHIT PEACE N LOVE ()
2   Not so great! Me and my friend who are young backpackers did not enjoy this hostel! We were made to feel welcome by only the receptionists but the other residents who had clearly been there a few days before us had already made cliquey type groups and were not really willing to talk to us "outsiders". The cleanliness of the hostel was not great either as rooms were small, crowded and smelt and the toilets were disgusting as we even found certain things on the floor! Yes the hostel is cool for a surf crowd but the cliques have already been made so be warned!
Response from the accommodation: Hi Nic and thanks for the review. I'm a little unclear on how with over 70 travelers staying in the hostel during your stay, that you felt the other "residents" were "cliquey type groups" and that you and your friend felt like "outsiders"? We never want anyone to feel like what you felt and that is one of the main reasons we don't charge for our free breakfasts, movie night, or our free dinners because we don't want anyone to have an excuse for not coming together with everyone else and having a good time. Give us specifics that we can change and we'll gladly do so but to say that because all 70 travelers arrived a "few days before us" and that is why you felt like "outsiders" isn't really too fair to us because we really do care and work hard at not making that happen. FYI The hostel is thoroughly cleaned daily and "cleanliness" has nothing to do with room size and rooms don't "smelt" because we have hard surfaced floors which don't contain odor. We have over 17 bathrooms in the hostel and they are cleaned daily and after that, on "as needed" basis. I'm not sure what was "found" on the floor of one of the bathrooms, but that's not really a fair judgement to say that because you found "certain things on the floor" that that one bathroom wouldn't have been cleaned as soon as it was reported to the office. Did you report it and it not get cleaned?  , age 22, England ()
5   Lots of rules but great staff and great location Great place.  ()
4   Great customer service, great location, average room quality Great customer service, great location, cool travelers from around the world, average room quality.  , US ()
5   The best hostel in San Diego! OB Hostel is far better than any other hostel I've ever been to! Everyone is very personable and friendly and they keep the place really clean! It's a very fun, relaxed environment and I felt comfortable and safe for the whole week I was there. Awesome place, amazing staff, great food, wonderful activities. No complaints! PERFECT HOSTEL!  , USA ()
5   Can't wait to go back I could not have asked for a better stay at OBI this last summer. The staff at the hostel were very friendly, very welcoming people and it only took a couple days before I felt as though I was a member of the OBI family. I had never stayed at a hostel before so I was weary about what the environment and maintenance would be like, but I was overall very impressed. My room could hold up to six people, but crowding was never a problem because there were never more than three of us booked in the room at the same time. Each room is thoroughly cleaned every day, the bathrooms are always maintained, and it always smelled clean inside because of how thorough the staff was. I loved how the staff encouraged everybody staying there to get to know each other, and had bonfires, barbeques, and other activities to get everybody involved. The hostel is just a short walk away from the beach and seconds away from great restaurants and shopping. My experience at the Ocean Beach International hostel was one that I will never forget. I made friends from all over the world that I still keep in contact with today. I bawled my eyes out when it was time to leave, and once I got to the airport,my friend and I decided that one more day in Ocean Beach wouldn't hurt. It really is so much more than just a place to stay while you're on vacation. I have every intention of going back to visit my family and friends at OBI as soon as possible.  , US ()
5   THE place in San Diego Really an awsome time here. the staff were good but really jason made everything fun all the time and matt boss new everything about everything. best hostel breakfast and so many other bonus things.  , Australia ()
4   Great mixture of SoCA friendliness and professionalism I stayed at OBI for two nights, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in living the character of Southern California. In addition to a great location (street is known by locals for having a few top fish taco places, plus the pier is close by), the staff is definitely committed to its guests. I lost my keys while in the area, and they did everything possible to help send them back home. You can't find a more genuine place for SoCA hospitality.  , US ()

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