$25 per night, double with shared bathroom, 30th November - 8th December 2014
Situated away from the main drag of Playa Gigante, this 'rustic' hostel, perched over the ocean is a tranquil spot to relax over a few beers after a day spent surfing below.
About a 10 - 15 minute walk from the main cross-roads, Monkey House is easily accessed via a short walk across the beach, and along a dirt track - follow the signs for Buena Vista Restaurant - but note the final section of this route is up a VERY steep hill.
The location and view. Hammocks sway in the gentle wind with almost panoramic views of the ocean - a truly impressive sunset, everyday! You are also right at the top of the access to the best beach in town, so walking with your surfboard time is reduced by at least 15 minutes.
This is hands-down the best location in town - Oliver made a wise decision to build atop this cliff.
A single grotty open shower with no curtain or door, a toilet with no door, no wifi, a kitchen that was constantly occupied with cooking staff and family, an unreliable salty water supply which we were advised not to cook with (even after boiling and with no alternative supplied) and a small, very basic room. We are not fussy backpackers, we have stayed in more than our fair share of less than luxurious accommodation - the difference is, at these other establishments, we paid what they were worth.
We spent three weeks in Zipolite, a similar beach town in southern Mexico, in a hostel of a very similar tree-house type standard - we paid around $7/night, loved it and stayed for three weeks.
Value for money
Unfortunately, the mentality of those that have businesses in Gigante is to rip-off the gringos, and that is exactly what is going on at Monkey House. As hinted at above - this hostel is terrible value, but ironically, still the best value in town.
When $20 elsewhere in Playa Gigante only gets you a room with no natural light round the back of a restaurant, then $25 for this stunning view and use of a kitchen seems like a good deal. This was however also the most expensive double room we have had to pay for in our 9 months in Central America, which was just crazy given what you received in return. And the owner was completely dismissive to the idea of any discount for longer-term stays. The dorms are a little more reasonable at $10 but are packed-in tight with poor security provisions.
Backpackers not adverse to a little roughing it, surfers who want to check the swell from the deck, be closer than anyone else to the waves, and those looking to save a little money by cooking for themselves.
If security is a concern, stay in one of the privates - the dorms had no lockers and were never locked - not ideal in a property where public beach access is through the hostel's outdoor space.
Kitchen, hammock area, pets, surfboard and paddle-board rental, English spoken (by the owner, not staff)
If Monkey House had charged what it was worth, this hostel would almost certainly have been one of our favourites in Central America as it's in a brilliant location. We looked at every budget accommodation option in Gigante, and this is still probably the one we'd recommend to you, but this would be through very gritted teeth as we just felt like we were being taken for a ride.