Hotels and hostels in South America: readers' tips

From jungle to Caribbean island, mountains to busy city, readers suggest good-value places to stay across South America

WINNING TIP: San Ignacio Adventure Hostel, Argentina

On a searingly hot summer day we staggered into this hostel in the town of San Ignacio. Rooms are simple but clean, with aircon. It does a great breakfast, with homemade potato cake, but the main draw is outside: games, play area, hammocks, barbecue pits and pool. It's a great place for chilling, watching wildlife, or exploring ruins. +54 376 4470955,, doubles from $25 crowsnest75


Secret Garden B&B, Puerto Iguazu
This hospitable B&B offers excellent local information and exotic surroundings. It will arrange airport pick-ups and taxi tours to both sides of the Iguazu Falls and to the bird park on the Brazilian side.
Los Lapachos 623,+54 3757 423099,, from $105

Tesorito B&B, Buenos Aires
Tesorito is an oasis in a busy city. It only has two guest rooms, so you need to book. Guests can also use a living room, dining room and patio. Breakfast comes with freshly squeezed orange juice. The young hosts (fluent in four languages) are discreet and welcoming. The location is great, a block from Santa Fe Street, with shops, metro station and buses, and a $5 taxi ride from the restaurants of Palermo Viejo.
+54 11 5778 1039,, doubles $105


Voluntarios de Occidente
Voluntarios de Occidente Photograph: PR

Voluntarios de Occidente, Ambato
This voluntary organisation runs projects in Ecuador and Colombia to help poor children to break the poverty circle and find real opportunities in life. It also offers low-cost ($5 a night) accommodation to non-volunteers. But I'd recommend you find a few weeks in your schedule to stop and get to know the place properly. I spent just six weeks there over 10 years ago and I remember it just like yesterday. Plus you've got Baños thermal baths, Tungurahua volcano and Riobamba market all nearby.

cuyabeno lodge
cuyabeno lodge Photograph: PR

Cuyabeno Eco Lodge
This lodge is on a lagoon in Cuyabeno nature reserve. From Quito, it's an eight-hour drive, then three hours in a motorised canoe. But you see anacondas, monkeys, alligators and butterflies along the way. Activities include day and night walks, piranha fishing, a visit to a village to make cassava bread and swimming with fresh water dolphins. Cabins are comfortable and food simple but fresh.
+593 2 252 1212,, four-day breaks from $310pp, including all meals, tours, transport and guiding


Hotel de la Opera, Bogotá
For the more mature backpacker, this hotel, once the opera house, is now a tranquil haven in a cobbled street, with stylish bedrooms and a leafy quadrangle for dining.
+57 1 336 2066,, doubles $150

Hotel Sirius, Providencia Island
The small Hotel Sirius is on a long, white sandy beach on this small island, a Unesco biosphere reserve with a 20km coral barrier. We had the hotel's four sunbeds to ourselves and our lazy days involved reading, watching the fishing and diving boats and having dips in the warm sea. Saturday brought horse racing along the beach: we stood in the "sea stand" as the horses galloped past. There was one nearby restaurant, no internet, mobile access or TV: just total relaxation.
+57 8 514 8213,, doubles from $140

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