Nomadas Hostel is a colourful, charming and simple hostel with a laid-back, relaxed, social and friendly vibe, located in the cultural and historical centre of Merida in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. This was easily one of my all-time favourite hostels that I have stayed at so far in Mexico’s Yucatan and there are so many reasons to love this incredible place!
After previously spending four days in Valladolid (my favourite colonial city in the Yucatan), I made my way to Merida for a five night stay at this incredible hostel in the city during my second solo trip to the Yucatan in November 2015.
If you are an independent traveler heading to the Yucatan and are looking for a budget-friendly, simple, and charming hostel (with incredible amenities like a large outdoor swimming pool and a delicious complimentary breakfast), then I would highly recommend staying at Nomadas!
This is my detailed review of Nomadas Hostel. If you are in the research and planning stages of your Yucatan trip, I hope you enjoy reading this review and that you find it helpful for your planning! Enjoy!
- 1 Trip Details
- 2 Introduction
- 3 Location
- 4 Getting to the Hostel, Arrival and First Impressions
- 5 Amenities
- 6 The Dorm
- 7 Hostel Property, Grounds & Appearance
- 8 Common Areas
- 9 Atmosphere and Vibe
- 10 Cleanliness and Comfort
- 11 Washrooms
- 12 Hostel Kitchen and Breakfast
- 13 Internet/Wi-Fi
- 14 Staff
- 15 Safety and Security
- 16 Recommended For
- 17 Overall
- 18 Practical Details – Nomadas Hostel
- 19 Ready to Book?
- 20 Pin It!
Dates: November 18 to November 23, 2015 (five nights).
Room: I stayed in the 14-bed female dorm.
Travel Style: Budget, Backpacker, Solo Female.
Nomadas is colourful, charming and comfortable hostel with a friendly, relaxed and social atmosphere and lots of amazing amenities, located just north of the historic centre in Merida, Mexico. It is a large and popular hostel in Merida that has won numerous hostel awards. The hostel was busy during my stay but it never felt crowded at all and it still retained a laid-back, relaxed and peaceful vibe, despite the large number of travelers staying there, which I loved.
The hostel is located a few blocks north of Merida’s central square and plaza, where you will find lots of restaurants, shopping, banks, museums, local transportation, pharmacies, local markets, and fantastic musical and dance performances in the evenings and on weekends.
Merida is a beautiful and bustling city in the centre of the Yucatan Peninsula with colourful, historic and incredibly detailed colonial architecture and buildings, vibrant local culture and fascinating history. The city is a popular destination for independent travelers and backpackers. Merida makes a great base for exploring the surrounding Mayan Ruins, cenotes, and traditional Mayan villages and towns.
Some of my favourite Mayan Ruins in the area included Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, Labna and Xlapak (along the Ruta Puuc), Mayapan and Acanceh. Other ruins in the area include Dzibilchaltun, Oxkintok and Ake and probably many more. I also loved swimming in three off the beaten path cenotes near the villages of Chunkanan and Cuzama and spending a day exploring the charming and pleasant yellow-painted colonial town of Izamal. Merida itself is also a fantastic and bustling city with lots of unique and interesting things to do including: browsing the huge and vibrant local market; going for a leisurely stroll or jog along the lovely, peaceful and beautiful Paseo de Montejo street; eating authentic Mexican and Yucatecan foods and meals; relaxing in the gorgeous treed Plaza Grande during the day; watching the lively and traditional music and dance performances at the Plaza Grande and other nearby plazas/squares/parks during the evening and nighttime; wandering the streets and admiring the beautiful colonial architecture everywhere; and much more!
Nomadas Hostel is centrally located and only a few blocks north of Merida’s Plaza Grande – in the heart of the lively, vibrant and bustling part of Merida. Even though Nomadas was situated close to the bustling central area with lots of people around and constant vehicle traffic on the streets, it was so peaceful and quiet inside the hostel and it felt like an oasis in the middle of the city!
The hostel was situated within short walking distance (5-10 minutes) to banks, shopping, local markets, beautiful cathedrals, pharmacies, transportation, authentic local restaurants and pretty treed parks/squares. The first-class ADO bus terminal was located a bit of a longer walk from the hostel (about 15 minutes), but the walk was easy and scenic through the city streets, passing by lots of historic and interesting buildings along the way. There were also lots of taxis waiting outside of the bus terminal and they charged 40 pesos for a one-way ride to the central area and hostel. The Noreste (second-class) bus terminal and local colectivos to Cuzama, Izamal and other popular areas outside of the city were all located within a few blocks of each other and about a 15-20 minute walk from the hostel.
Merida is a perfect city to base yourself while exploring the many things to do inside and outside of the city – like museums, bustling and vibrant markets, pretty and relaxing parks, off the beaten path/lesser-known and popular Mayan Ruins, beautiful cenotes deep within the jungle, the yellow-painted town of Izamal and more.
Getting to the Hostel, Arrival and First Impressions
I arrived at Merida’s first-class ADO bus terminal from Valladolid, which was about two hours east of Merida and was where I had been staying for the previous three nights during my second solo trip to Mexico’s Yucatan. The hostel would have been about a 15 minute walk from the bus terminal, but I chose to take a taxi there instead because my bags were heavy and it was sweltering hot outside! There were lots of taxis lined up on the street in front of the bus terminal and I paid 40 pesos for the quick journey. I was dropped off directly in front of the hostel.
The hostel was located along a narrow and cobblestone street close to Merida’s historic central area, and was situated inside a pretty blue painted historic colonial building. The street was lined with historic buildings and architecture and there were so many great places to walk around in the area around the hostel.
Upon my arrival, I walked inside the lobby and checked in. I was provided with bed linens, and was given a tour of the hostel and explained the rules by a friendly staff member. I was also provided with a detailed map of Merida’s central area with restaurants, banks, attractions and transportation marked on it, in addition to a sheet of paper with lots of information about all of the nearby attractions and day trips to places surrounding Merida, with details on how to get there. The walls on the buildings bordering the interior courtyard were all painted in bright colours and I loved the appearance of the hostel.
Nomadas Hostel went above and beyond the basics and offered lots of fantastic amenities that exceeded my expectations for a hostel!
- Outdoor Swimming Pool – The best part about this hostel is the large and beautiful outdoor swimming pool which is surrounded by lush palm trees and even has a few hammocks strung across the shallow area – a perfect and lovely area for relaxing. It feels like an oasis and since Merida is a very hot city, this is the perfect place to go for a refreshing swim after exploring all day.
- Free Breakfast – The hostel offers a delicious breakfast with lots of selection. There were a variety of cold cereals, milk, toast with jam and butter, bread, a selection of freshly sliced and sweet tropical fruits to choose from, and eggs.
- Communal Kitchen – There is a fully-equipped guest kitchen at Nomadas that has a stove for cooking, fridge for storing food, cooking and eating utensils, mugs and glasses, and plates and bowls.
- Outdoor Lounge/Terrace/Patio – The hostel has an outdoor lounge area featuring a variety of patio tables and chairs (with umbrellas in case of rain) and it is surrounded by lush plants and trees. It is the perfect place for relaxing and meeting other travelers.
- Organized Evening Activities – The hostel organizes fun social activities in the outdoor common area and they have something going on during almost every evening of the week. Participating in these activities is a great way to meet other travelers staying at the hostel and make friends from around the world.
- Free Wi-Fi – The hostel has free Wi-Fi with a strong connection that works well throughout the common areas (outdoor lounge/terrace, reception area and swimming pool) and inside the female dorm. There are different networks to connect to and each one is specific to a certain area.
I stayed in the 14-bed female dorm which was situated just off of the outdoor courtyard/terrace common area, behind some potted plants and trees. The door and entrance consisted of a large screened area, that had blinds on the inside of the dorm for privacy. The floor was a blue-coloured tile and the walls were painted white, with some colourful stripes along one wall.
I was a bit nervous about staying in a 14-bed dorm prior to arriving, as I definitely prefer smaller dorms. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived to Nomadas as the dorm did not feel too large at all and it was very spacious. The dorm was separated by walls into three sections with four bunk beds in each section (a total of eight people), which made the dorm feel much smaller than it actually was.
In the middle section of the dorm, was an open area with a rack to hang-dry wet clothing and laundry, a mirror and large table, two shower stalls with doors and two separate washroom stalls with a toilet. There were two sinks situated just outside of the washroom stalls in the open area. It was super convenient to have washrooms inside the dorm!
My bunk was in the far corner of the first section in the dorm, situated right beside the door to the washroom area and it was a great location. I had heard from other girls in the dorm whose bunks were at the farthest section next to the busy street in front of the hostel, that the traffic was very noisy in the nighttime, so I would recommend staying in the first or second sections of the dorm, if possible.
There were two long hammocks strung across the centre of each dorm section, from one wall to the other side for relaxing. On either side of the hammocks, were two bunk beds. Beside each bunk and along one of the walls, were medium sized wooden lockers with a heavy duty locked provided (a key to the lock was provided upon check-in). The locker was large enough to fit my smaller daypack with my valuables, while I decided to leave my larger backpack with clothing and toiletries beside my bunk at all times. The bottom bunks were all larger double beds and the top bunks were single mattresses only, and I lucked out with scoring a bottom bunk! Bed linens were provided upon check-in and you had to make your own bed.
There were some power outlets situated throughout the dorm, but they definitely weren’t abundant. I ended up having an outlet right beside my bunk bed, but not all bunks had this. I shared the one outlet with the girl sleeping on the bed above mine and we took turns charging our electronics. It definitely helped that I had an portable external battery for charging my phone when I didn’t have access to an outlet.
Although there was no air conditioning inside the dorm, it did not get overly hot in the nighttime. The ceilings were very high and there was a fan above each bunk bed. The entrance to the dorm consisted of a large screened section that was covered with blinds so nobody from the outside could peek inside, but the screens also allowed for some good airflow in the night. The mattresses and pillows were quite comfortable and I experienced a really good sleep there.
It was also really great that the Wi-Fi connection worked well inside the dorm. The hostel had a variety of Wi-Fi networks to choose from which were labelled with numbers from 1-4. If I remember correctly, the network #1 worked the fastest inside the female dorm. It was nice to be able to use my phone in the dorm and not have to go outside to the common areas if I didn’t feel like it.
The women staying in my dorm were friendly and respectful and I didn’t wake up in the night from anybody coming in late or being noisy. I met some really great friends in my section of the hostel as well!
Hostel Property, Grounds & Appearance
After walking inside the hostel from the street, there was a large and spacious reception area with a reception desk at the far end of the room, and a sitting area in the front portion of the room with a few padded chairs, couches and benches. The furniture appeared older but the decor inside the hostel was unique and had character. A few private rooms stemmed off of the reception area as well. It was a cozy and comfortable area for sitting in the evenings and using the Wi-Fi.
After exiting the reception area, I walked outside into the patio-like outdoor terrace and common area. There were patio tables and chairs and the walls of the building that bordered this area were painted in a variety of bright and vibrant colours which were beautiful. There were lots of lush green plants and trees in pots around the courtyard. A variety of private rooms and washrooms stemmed off from the courtyard.
At the far left side of the courtyard, were two red coloured arches which led into a smaller open area. From there, was a passageway which led to an area with a sink for washing laundry and then a gravel area surrounded by a stone wall and containing a couple of hammocks attached to a tree and the wall, a table and chairs. From this area, there was a blue painted doorway leading to the beautiful outdoor swimming pool area.
Back at the courtyard, there was another passageway directly across from the reception area door which led to the narrow guest kitchen under a roof. After walking through the kitchen, you ended up at the other side of the swimming pool area. The female and mixed dorms stemmed off from the courtyard as well.
The outdoor swimming pool was large and the water was a gorgeous turquoise colour. At the far end of the pool in a shallower area, were a set of wooden poles with three hammocks strung across them. A stone wall bordered the pool on one side and there were lots of plastic tables and chairs and lounge chairs on the other side of the pool. Beside the tow of tables and chairs were a cluster of colourfully painted small buildings where there were more private rooms.
Behind the swimming pool, there was a white two-storey building which contained more private rooms on both levels. Directly in front of this building, was a lush treed nook with hammocks strung between the trees – a quiet little place for relaxing!
The hostel had a few common areas – the outdoor terrace/courtyard, the swimming pool area, and the treed nook with hammocks behind the pool.
The outdoor courtyard was situated directly outside of the door from the reception area. The walls on the bordering buildings were painted in vibrant and eye-catching colours and the courtyard had lots of potted lush green plants and trees. There were a few patio tables with umbrellas and chairs. I enjoyed spending time relaxing in the courtyard in the evenings while participating in some of the organized activities and meeting other travelers there. The atmosphere was welcoming, social and friendly. This was also where breakfast was served and eaten in the mornings.
The hostel organized a variety of fun activities for guests that took place in the outdoor courtyard area.
During my stay, they had yoga lessons at 8 AM on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings; Mexican Cooking Lessons on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5 PM; Salsa Lessons from Monday to Friday at 7:30 PM; and Trova Music from Monday to Friday at 9 PM. I wished I could have participated in the cooking lessons as they looked really fun and interesting, but unfortunately I had a bit of a stomach sickness during my stay at Nomadas and the food they were cooking did not appeal to me at all.
I did participate in one of the salsa lessons in the evening with another girl who, like me, was a self-proclaimed terrible dancer. I wasn’t expecting it to be that fun but once I loosened up a bit and got more comfortable, I ended up having such a blast! The lesson lasted for about an hour and a half and I was exhausted by the end of it, but it was an amazing workout and I learned a few salsa moves in the process. I also loved relaxing in the evenings in the courtyard while listening to the beautiful trova music from a local musician. It was absolutely lovely.
The hostel’s outdoor swimming pool was definitely a huge highlight! Since Merida was such a hot and humid city with temperatures climbing to around 35 degrees Celsius every day, I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated lounging by the poolside and going for a refreshing swim after long days of exploring. The pool was surrounded by a cement area with lounge chairs and lots of plastic tables and chairs. At the far end of the pool, there was a shallow section with a platform just beneath the water’s surface, and three colourful hammocks strung across wooden poles above the water. It was a lovely place to relax and read or have a nap, while dangling your feet in the cool water.
Directly behind the swimming pool and beside a white building, was a collection of three more hammocks situated in a small and private area surrounded by trees. It was a great place to relax for when I wanted to spend some quiet time alone.
Atmosphere and Vibe
Although this hostel was large and there were quite a few other people staying at this hostel during my time there, the common areas and dorm never felt crowded and I definitely felt like there was a sense of community among the travelers there.
Nomadas was not a party hostel (which I loved), but it did have a very social, welcoming and friendly vibe along with a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere. Participating in the evening activities was a great way for me to meet and connect with some of the other travelers while doing something fun. Everyone was friendly and welcoming and I found it easy to make friends and approach other people at this hostel, even as a socially awkward introvert at times! I enjoyed the communal breakfasts in the outdoor courtyard and listening to the trova music in the evenings, while socializing with other travelers as well.
I also loved the relaxed, chill and peaceful atmosphere at the hostel. There were always people lounging by the pool and relaxing in the hammocks. “Quiet time” began at 11 PM which was great and allowed me to get a fantastic sleep every night. Everyone was respectful of the quiet time and I didn’t experience any noisiness after that time.
Cleanliness and Comfort
Nomadas was a fairly clean hostel, although there were some things that could be improved upon. They had a daily housekeeping crew who would clean the common areas and dorms between 2 PM and 4 PM. However, there were a few times when it appeared like the washrooms inside the female dorm had not been cleaned in at least a day (or more). There were hairs stuck to the shower walls and around the water drain and all of the toilets were completely clogged, but thankfully someone in our dorm informed the staff and then they were cleaned promptly.
The mattresses and pillows at the hostel were very comfortable and I got a great sleep every night. I enjoyed my spacious double bed on the bottom bunk as well!
There were plenty of washrooms situated throughout the hostel and I never had to wait in line to use the washroom or have a shower. Inside the female dorm, there were two toilets and two separate showers located in the middle section of the dorm, which were very convenient especially when using the washroom in the nighttime. Outside of the dorm, there were mixed gender, female-only and male-only washrooms and shower facilities in various building around the hostel grounds. I used the washrooms and showers inside our dorm the majority of the time, so I can’t comment about the condition of the other facilities.
As I mentioned in the previous section, the washrooms inside the dorm did not appear to be cleaned consistently on a daily basis, as the rest of the hostel was, and they were kind of gross at times.
The water pressure in the shower was not super strong and was more on the weak side. This is common in Mexico though. The water temperature in the shower was usually pretty decent and I was able to get hot water most of the time, though sometimes I had to let the water run a little longer in order to get the hot water and sometimes the water temperature was on the colder side.
The one thing I disliked about the showers was their poor design. The showers inside the female dorm were located in a small room with lockable door but there was no shelf or hook to hang clean clothes or store shampoo/conditioner/soap while using the shower. I had to hang my clothes over the top of the door and change inside the wet shower when I was finished. It was a little bit awkward.
Hostel Kitchen and Breakfast
The hostel had a small but fully equipped guest kitchen located down a narrow passageway leading from the outdoor courtyard to the swimming pool area. The kitchen was equipped with appliances like a fridge and stove and was stocked with cooking and eating utensils, bowls, plates, and mugs. It contained everything you would need to cook a good meal, although I chose to eat out at local restaurants instead. If I had been staying at this hostel long-term, I would definitely have utilized the kitchen for cooking.
The hostel served a complimentary breakfast to guests every morning which consisted of a selection of fresh and tropical fruits to choose from, a variety of cold cereals and milk, bread with jam or butter, coffee and tea, and eggs. The breakfast was served in the outdoor courtyard. I always ate the fruit and a bowl of cold cereal and I was satisfied with that. The breakfast was tasty and I liked the fact that there were a good variety of options to choose from.
The hostel provided free Wi-Fi to all guests and the connection was generally pretty strong and fast.
When choosing a Wi-Fi network at the hostel, you will notice that there are four different ones, labelled from numbers 1 through 4. It took me about a day to figure out that each Wi-Fi network corresponded to a different area of the hostel. If you chose a network that wasn’t the correct one for a certain area, it would still work but it was much slower than if you used the network that corresponded correctly with the area. After some trial and error, I discovered that network number 1 worked the best inside the female dorm and network number 4 was the fastest in the swimming pool area. I don’t remember which areas the other networks matched well with, but it takes a little bit of time to figure it out.
I used the Wi-Fi in the early morning and evenings and I can definitely say that the connection was faster in the early morning, when few other people were using it. In the morning, I was able to make Skype phone calls to my family in Canada without any delays or dropped calls. In the evenings, Skype rarely worked, but I was always able to load, browse and update social media as well as send texts home.
The hostel also had four or five computer terminals set up in the reception area, which were connected to the internet. Although I never used them, this would be perfect for those who don’t have laptops, phones or tablets along with them for keeping in touch with family and researching and planning their future travels.
The staff at Nomadas were friendly, pleasant and helpful and I felt welcomed when I arrived at the hostel. A couple of the staff members assisted me in organizing a car rental for a two-day road trip that I took to the Ruta Puuc, and I was so grateful for their huge amount of help with that!
The staff were also helpful and provided accurate information when I asked them questions about transportation to and from places. There was always a staff member available at the front desk to answer questions.
Safety and Security
Merida is known to be one of the safest cities in all of Mexico, and I felt completely comfortable walking the streets on my own as a female during both the daytime and evenings. Aside from the occasional local man honking their horn as they drove past me in their vehicle, I did not experience any street harassment. It only dawned on me that the horn honking was because local men were trying to get my attention, about half way through my stay in Merida! Prior to that realization, I just assumed that Meridians were impatient drivers and had some road rage. After I made the realization, I felt offended every time someone honked their horn when they drove past me.
Nomadas was located very close to the central area of Merida, which was always bustling with people – both locals and other travelers alike during the day and night, and it felt very safe. I also felt very comfortable and safe staying at Nomadas and the other travelers were friendly, respectful and mature.
The entrance doors to the hostel were locked after 11 PM and a key was needed to enter (which you are provided with upon check-in) and there was always someone manning the reception desk 24 hours a day, which made me feel secure. I didn’t feel unsafe at all about leaving my main backpack (containing my clothing and toiletries) unlocked and sitting on the floor beside my bed during the days and nights but I did keep my valuables locked up at all times inside the secure locker provided by the hostel.
Nomadas Hostel is a simple hostel that offers a lot and it would be the perfect hostel for those seeking to stay somewhere with a friendly, social and welcoming atmosphere and a laid-back, relaxed and chill vibe. The hostel is large and can facilitate a lot of people so it would also be great for those looking to meet other travelers and make new friends, especially for solo travelers.
In general, Merida is an amazing cultural and historic colonial city to base yourself if you plan on exploring some of the many things to do in the surrounding area, like the town of Izamal, the Ruta Puuc, the Loltun Caves, the Mayapan Ruins, the Cuzama/Chunkanan Cenotes, and much more.
I thoroughly enjoyed my five night stay at Nomadas Hostel and had an amazing time! I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a budget-friendly place to stay in Merida and I would absolutely book a room/bed here again the next time I travel to Merida.
My favourite things about it were: the amazing outdoor swimming pool and hammock area; the tasty and free breakfasts; the generally fast Wi-Fi; central location; fun evening activities and free classes; the beautifully landscaped and treed common areas with lots of plant life making it feel like an oasis in the middle of the busy city; the relaxed and laid back atmosphere; the 11 PM quiet time rule for getting a good night’s sleep; the spacious female dorm; the comfortable mattresses and pillows; the fact that the hostel provided heavy duty locks for the individual lockers inside the dorms; the helpful and friendly staff; the colourful and charming appearance and decor; and the ensuite bathrooms inside the dorm.
My least favourite things about the hostel would be: the mandatory wristband that guests had to wear while staying there (I felt like it made me stand out as a tourist when wandering the streets of Merida and exploring elsewhere and placed a target on me for potential scammers); the lack of cleanliness in the dorm bathrooms; the lack of enough electrical outlets inside the dorms; and the lack of a place to put your clean clothing and shampoo/conditioner while using the showers. These were all minor things though and they were definitely not deal breakers. I would recommend this hostel regardless of these things!
Merida is the perfect base city for exploring the many interesting things to do in the surrounding area and within the city as well. I would definitely recommend this hostel to anyone traveling to Merida who is looking for an inexpensive place to stay that provides a fantastic value.
Practical Details – Nomadas Hostel
Location – Calle 62 #433 at Calle 51, Merida, Mexico
Phone Number – +52 (999) 924-5223
Languages Spoken – English and Spanish
Social Media – Facebook
Website – Nomadas Travel
TripAdvisor Reviews – Click here
Rates – 410 pesos per night (basic twin private room with shared bathroom); 490 pesos per night (basic twin private room with ensuite bathroom); 360 pesos per night (double bed private room with shared bathroom); 490 pesos per night (double bed private room with ensuite); 179 pesos per night (14 bed mixed and female dorms); 199 pesos per night (4 bed mixed dorm with ensuite bathroom).
Disclaimer – I was not compensated in any way by Nomadas Hostel for writing this review and I paid for my own stay in full. I have written this review because I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at this hostel and would like to recommend it to others. I hope you found the information here to be helpful and informative for your trip planning!
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