When I travel solo, I often consider staying at hostels for at least part of my stay. Sometimes it’s for huge cost savings, but often it’s for the social atmosphere. Throw a dozen travelers into a single room and you’re bound to make friends with at least one of them. Staying at hostels is a quick way to meet people from all over the world, bond over travel stories and beers in the common room(s), and sometimes find travel companions for activities or meals. In Nicaragua, I stayed at three different hostels: Hostal el Momento in Granada (fine but nothing special), Barca de Oro in Las Peñitas (a hot and stuffy room I’d never recommend), and Lazybones in León (which I absolutely loved).
Location is my #1 criteria in choosing accomodation and Lazybones is perfect in that regard. Lazybones has a really convenient location, about a five minute walk from the central park and cathedral in León. It’s also just around the corner from some great tour agencies (such as Quetzal Trekkers, Nic Así, and Tierra Tours), about five minutes from the banks/ATMs, and really close to some tasty restaurants (don’t miss El Desayunazo for breakfast and try the comedor heading south toward Parque de los Poetas for cheap roast chicken). You can walk just about anywhere, and as a solo female, I’ll vouch that I felt safe in the area walking on my own!
The hostel itself is much larger than I expected, with two dorm rooms (10 people per room), a large number of private rooms, several shared bathrooms, and common areas including hammocks for lounging, a pool table, a swimming pool, and a few computers for shared use.
What really made this hostel a stand-out was the people who stayed there. I met lots of travelers during my stay who really added to my experience. The hostel is the perfect starting place to find others to join for a meal out or a group activity. Hiking a volcano with your hostel buddies is a blast! By far, most of the other guests were European (The Netherlands and Germany well-represented in particular), though I met a few fellow Americans, Canadians, and even a few South American travelers. Overall, most guests were in their mid-to-late 20s, but a few were younger and there were even some middle-aged travelers, so don’t be put off if you’re not in the main demographic! What everyone had in common was a love for travel.
I surprised myself by staying in the dorm rooms. Normally, I’m not a fan of sharing a room, but Lazybones makes it a comfortable stay. Their wooden bunk beds are solid and have real mattresses (not the flimsy ones some hostels use) so there’s no creaking and squeaking every time your bunkmate rolls over. They also impose quiet hours starting at 11pm, so anyone who still wants to socialize can do so in the common areas but not in the dorms themselves. It’s a great solution that seemed to keep everyone happy. Moreover, the other guests were incredibly respectful, doing their best to leave quietly in the morning if they had an early tour and returned quietly at night as well if they had been out for the evening.
While my dorm bed was $8, private rooms were available around $20/night. If you want the social environment but with your own room to retreat to, that can be a great option. More and more hostels are offering private rooms, which is awesome for solo travelers who may also be introverts like me! These prices are very affordable for most travelers, though admittedly several other hostels in Nicaragua are cheaper if you’re on a tighter budget.
The staff members, particularly Claudia and Javier, were incredibly friendly and helpful. They always had a great answer for any question you could dream up and Javier quite sweetly helped me with my Spanish every time I accidentally made a mistake speaking. If you don’t speak Spanish, don’t worry: they spoke perfect English.
Lazybones also offered help booking tours through their own agency. I didn’t take any tours with them, though their prices were competitive. They also will book you on the daily shuttle to the airport (which continues onward to Granada, the ferry for Ometepe, and San Juan del Sur) or northbound to El Salvador, Honduras, or Guatemala. If that’s not convenient for you, you’ll also find hundreds of flyers for other tours, hotels, and transport services.
Clearly, I enjoyed my time at Lazybones — five nights to be specific — and if I’m ever fortunate enough to return to León, I’ll specifically plan on staying at Lazybones. With a comfortable stay, new friends, and a great price, why would you go anywhere else?
Note: I was not compensated in any way for this review. When I have a great travel experience, I like to share it!