Banos, Ecuador is a pretty popular tourist city so there are quite a few options for for accommodations. I did a rough search and found both inexpensive, basic options as well as more expensive, more luxurious options. Once I had narrowed it down, I let Andy make the final decision.
Since our hostel in Quito was quite basic, Andy decided to stay in one of the nicer hostels. There were 2 nice hostel choices, but the deciding factor on selecting Hostal Monte Carmelo over the other was the fact that breakfast and all taxes were included in the pricing.
I tried to book directly through the hostel so they wouldn’t have to pay any commissions to a third party booking site, but they did not have a website so I booked through Hostelworld.
The entire time that we have been traveling, I have always been surprised at the number of times that hostels don’t make you pay until you check out. It is the exact opposite of back in the US where you need a credit card before you are handed a room key.
Hostal Monte Carmelo was similar to the US in that you had to pay before you got your room key. I was very excited that they accepted Visa since I get double points on my credit card for travel expenses.
The owner was very friendly when we arrived and seemed extremely knowledgeable about the area. He spoke perfect English and answered all of the questions that we had and gave us a nice map of the city.
We were assigned to room #4 which is on the second floor, directly looking out onto the driveway.
When we first opened the doors, my first thought was “wow this room is massive”. There were 2 double size beds, a plethora of closets, a sitting area and a bathroom the size of most bedrooms that we have stayed in.
The bed was really squeaky to the point that when you rolled over the entire bed would make a terrible noise. I’m not sure if the second bed was also loud as that was our storage for all of our gear during our stay. I was actually looking forward to putting all of our gear into one of the large closets, but all of them smelled a little musty, probably because they never have any airflow.
The bathroom was a little dated with a very 80’s pink sink and toilet. While everything functioned fine, it was the difference in the room being adequate vs. luxurious. That being said, we had hot water with good water pressure and received fresh towels every day – something that more than made up for any shortcomings.
Whenever possible, we always try and book rooms with breakfast included. Even if the breakfast isn’t the best, we still save ourselves the headache of deciding where to eat as well as the cost.
The breakfast here the first day was just juice, coffee, tea, a small dish of bananas, and croissant rolls with butter, jam and cheese. It left a little something to be desired but filled us up. The rest of our stay, the breakfast was juice, coffee, tea, a small dish of fruit, eggs and croissant rolls with butter and jam.
We always left quite full which was great since we could do activities all day, not needing to eat lunch until mid to late afternoon.
The internet was the same speed that we have experienced throughout South American. While that is quite a bit slower than home, it was nice to have wi-fi that worked well in our room.
Our only hiccup was that the internet didn’t work on our last day due to a provider issue. While there is nothing that the hostel could do about this, it was a bit of a bummer since we weren’t able to look up hostels in Cuenca, our next destination.
The location was a little removed from town. I always struggle with the battle between staying outside of the city center in a nicer room or a less nice room in a better location. In this case, it was a non-issue to be a 10 minute walk from town.
We often walked to town and opted to take a taxi home after dinner. While we never felt unsafe walking at night, we never minded splurging $1.50 to not have to walk uphill the whole way back.
On a clear day while standing in the courtyard of the hostel you can see Tungurahua volcano. There was only one morning that we were in Banos where we were able to clearly see the volcano.
Hostal Monte Carmelo reminded me more of a BandB than it did a hostel. The guests that were staying there ranged from their 30’s all the way up to retiree age.
If you’re looking for a inexpensive, quiet hostel a little removed from the hustle and bustle of town, Hostal Monte Carmelo is perfect for you. As an added bonus, you get breakfast included in your room price as well as great service from a friendly, caring owner.