Surfing Donkey Hostel




The Review

Surfing Donkey is a well-set-up, economical, and lively hostel in a good location in San Juan Del Sur.

The Location

San Juan Del Sur is a relatively small town on the southern part of the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. To get there, you will probably find yourself changing buses in the town of Rivas, about an hour-and-a-half away. Surfing Donkey is about a five-minute walk away from where the bus leave you. Given the size of San Juan Del Sur you can walk to most places within ten to fifteen minutes. The outdoor market, mini markets, restaurants, bars, and the beach are within a short walking distance, while a supermarket can be found only in the town’s outskirts, a short taxi ride away. The less cosmopolitan but impressive beaches of Maderas and Marsella are about a twenty-minute drive away.

Rooms and Bathrooms

There are large and smaller dormitories (twelve to fourteen and four beds respectively -- bunks). Most mattresses are in very good condition, however, the plastic cover in which most of them are wrapped can prove to be really hot while sleeping. Ceiling fans are provided, though, which do help a lot. There are sufficient lockers in the room to cover all beds and sockets are even included within the lockers. Locks can be borrowed from reception by leaving a small deposit. Same goes for towels. Although the bathrooms are not the newest, they are kept in a really good condition and most importantly they are very clean (rooms are also cleaned regularly). The hostel can get quite busy but there are quite a few bathrooms and showers so that is rarely a problem.

Common Spaces

There are plenty of spaces where you can hang out and socialize with fellow travelers. Following reception, there is a big, nicely carved, wooden table with plenty of chairs and benches around it. After that there’s a small garden with a few sofas and rocking chairs and an impressive swimming pool follows. Just behind the swimming pool there is a bar area. The hostel can be quite loud while the bar is open (10 a.m. to 10 p.m.) but it should be easy to get a good night’s sleep outside those hours. The common kitchen is fully equipped and includes a large dining area. Drinking water is provided for a small voluntary fee.


San Juan Del Sur is considerably pricier than most of Nicaragua and Surfing Donkey is one of the most economical options you can find in town. With that in mind, the services you get, and especially the swimming pool and bar, definitely make this hostel an option that's worth a look.
by Voodoo Child Staff Reviewer
Photos taken by the reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Common Area 2
Common Area 1
Swimming Pool


(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "Surfing Donkey Hostel" at 1 Block South of the Church.)


1 Block South of the Church, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
11.251628, -85.869125 (accuracy not guaranteed)
+50 576 652 190/ 50525524678
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(319 ratings)
(5 ratings)
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79% Guest Reviews

Watch your valuables! Security is terrible.
I got a significant amount of money stole from my private room while I was at the beach. The staff didn't really do much to help me. In fact they give the impression that I was not robbed at all and was mistaken, this I am certain was not the case as I had only just been to the ATM, therfore there is no other explanation as to where my money went. I would advice them to keep spare keys in a more secure location. Otherwise the hostel was ok, not much happening in the way of activities. For a bit more excitement and things to do while in the hostel I would recommend looking elsewhere.
Age 29, English
Friendly, fun, mattresses are terrible!
This place was friendly, fun but overpriced for what you got. Our mattresses were terrible and uncomfortable. The staff are great and really helpful. It is quite a big place so you will meet lots of people. Good size kitchen, social bar, small tool. Don't bother paying extra for "Garden View" room like we did. There is not really a garden and all the rooms open onto the "Garden." Not too close to the beach but about a 10 minute walk. Definitely get the meal from the place next door -- by far this is the best food deal in all of San Juan!!!
The Best Place in SJDS
Seriously, the Donkey was the best place I have ever stayed. I was able to visit most of the other hostels of comparable price in SJDS and none of them equaled the Surfing Donkey. It was ridiculously cheap considering the facilities, as well as clean and it is run by some proper legends who make the Surfing Donkey the best place!
X & E Moore
Great Place to stay!
My friend and I really enjoyed our stay at the Surfing Donkey. The staff were really nice, the facility was very clean, and it was great value for our money. The cozy common areas also made great spaces to meet new people. I recommend it highly.

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