hostel review: backpacker's paradise, sarteneja

Private double w/ shared bathroom, $22 USD for the room, 4th – 7th April 2014

Vibe: Tranquil, well-run and nature-centric.

Location: About a 15 minute walk from the boat terminal, just follow the signs (or the dog).

Best thing: The peaceful location and beautiful jungle-like surroundings. Animal lovers will rejoice at the cacophony of domesticated animals on-site. Natalie, the owner is a great host and cook – if you can afford it, try one of the massive breakfasts. The french toast is especially good!

Worst thing: The kitchen is minimal at best, with no fridge. If you're used to camping this will feel like home but for those used to clean worktops and nice appliances this may be one step too far.

Value for money: A tough one. You are not likely to stay anywhere like BP again with small garden-shed sized 'pods' providing accommodation which makes one feel part of, rather than separated, from the ecosystem.

Yet, charging $22 USD for the experience feels a little contrary to the whole ethos. In Belize, we have paid similar rates for a more gentrified accommodation in popular destinations.

This, alongside the necessity to rent bikes to navigate Sarteneja and the sparse cooking facilities, makes Backpackers a little overpriced. Charging for cooking essentials such as 'doses' of oil or salt and pepper is a practice which should be stopped.

Recommended for: If creepy crawlies, minimalism and 'roughing it' aren't your thing, then give this a miss. Nature lovers with time to spare will however fall in love with this eco-friendly gem.

Top tip: If you spot the happiest dog in the world (below) when disembarking at the port, just follow him. His name's Maurice, he stays at BP and will lead the way.  

Rating: 7

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