The best Worldpackers hosts of 2020
The best Worldpackers hosts to volunteer with are those who make a positive impact on their volunteers' lives, our community and the planet. Meet our best hosts for 2020!
The Worldpackers team created the Best Places to Collaborate award to publicly thank and appreciate hosts who share our mission of transformation and personal development through collaborative experiences.
The best Worldpackers hosts to volunteer with are those who make a positive impact on their volunteers' lives and the planet, offering enriching experiences and helping their local communities as well as the people who spend time at their hostels, ecovillages, farms, holistic centers, and many other kinds of hosts who are a part of Worldpackers.
In this unusual year, we changed our habits, reconsidered our priorities, and rethought our plans. For many of us, life was turned upside-down. The 50 hosts we chose for this sixth annual award overcame these difficulties and carried on with their projects, observing these three foundational pillars for Worldpackers and the world:
- Community development: social impact and consciousness;
- Cultural exchange: immersion in the local culture, language practice, connections between international travelers and locals;
- Restore our planet: environmental consciousness, sustainability, and connection with nature.
Everyone spent at least a few months without traveling in 2020. Among our more than 8,000 hosts in over 170 countries, not everyone was able to host volunteers. That’s why, for our award this year, we also considered reviews left by members of our community in 2020, not only the number of travel experiences offered by each host.
The best Worldpackers hosts: South America
In our list of the best Worldpackers hosts in South America, there’s something for everyone: the beach, mountains, an ecovillage in the middle of the woods, a holistic center, an animal shelter, a family home, and more. Here’s our list:
1. Green Haven Hostel - Ubatuba, Brazil
Green Haven Hostel is located in Ubatuba, surrounded by the Atlantic Forest. It’s great for people who like to surf, hike, enjoy nature, and of course, meet people from all over Brazil!
Green Haven’s host wrote an article for Worldpackers about how a volunteer can help a host having a positive attitude, always thinking about the worldpacker as a guest, not an employee.
This outlook of treating everyone the same way, with respect above all else, is a great example of the Worldpackers spirit! Green Haven won all three of our award categories: Community development, Cultural exchange, and Restore our planet.
2. Pura Vida Hostel - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Pura Vida Hostel is the only hostel in Rio with the charm of a castle. Built at the beginning of last century as the Polish embassy in Brazil, Pura Vida Hostel’s building has preserved its original architecture.
They have a huge space, with a yard, barbeque, and generously sized rooms. The hosts Felipe and Dalton got a lot of praise from travelers who stayed there for making volunteers feel like a part of their family.
That’s why we’re giving Pura Vida Hostel the Community development award.
3. La Gloria House - Ilhabela, Brazil
This very special space was created by Amauri's family, who traded the concrete jungle of São Paulo for the Atlantic Forest of Ilhabela. La Gloria House won all of our award categories this year, and is really worth a visit. It sits just 200 meters from the beach, and it’s a great launching point for the island’s hiking trails and waterfalls.
4. Sítio da Família Catarina - Urubici, Brazil
Sítio da Família is located in Urubici (Santa Catarina), a city famous for its cold winters and spectacular landscapes, featuring mountains, canyons, and waterfalls. You can enjoy the colder climate helping Thayse and Lucas to pick fruits like blackberries and raspberries, and find out just why they won all 3 of our award categories: Community development, Cultural exchange, and Restore our planet.
5. Bamboo Búzios Hostel - Búzios, Brazil
After 12 years in Copacabana, the Bamboo Búzios Hostel moved to Búzios to enjoy the beaches and high-energy nightlife, and taste the wide variety of foods in the area.
The Bamboo team works towards community development, cultural exchange and also restoring our planet, so they won the three awards this year!
6. Bamboo Rio Hostel - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Bamboo Rio Hostel boasts a decade of experience on the road, with an international team that’s always ready to welcome new members and volunteers from all over the world!
The hostel is in Copacabana, only 3 blocks from the most famous beach in Rio de Janeiro, surrounded by bars, restaurants, and other sites of interest for backpackers. Just like its partner hostel of the same name in Búzios, this host gets awards in all three of our categories.
7. Mandala Hostel - Bogotá, Colombia
The Mandala Hostel is a great option if you have a stopover in Bogotá, or if you want to spend some time getting to know Colombia in a top-rated hostel that has been selected for contributing to community development, helping to preserve the planet, and also fostering cultural exchange.
Their small entrance on the street makes it a surprise when you walk up the stairs and are faced with brand new rooms and bathrooms, right after receiving a warm welcome at the reception.
The hostel has two living rooms, one that’s very spacious with a window that takes up the whole wall, where you can do yoga, enjoy some music with other volunteers and guests, or just have a nice breakfast. The second room is more laid-back, full of beanbags and comfy seats. The hostel even has one more floor with a balcony and a little garden, a hammock, and a view of the area.
8. Meu Hostel - Maceió, Brazil
Meu Hostel Maceió has gotten a ton of praise from our travelers for being beautiful, organized, clean, and welcoming, and won all three categories this year.
It’s perfect for solo female travelers, those who like to explore new places by bike, and anyone who wants to enjoy beaches with some of the bluest waters in Brazil.
9. Casa da Floresta - Paraty, Brazil
Casa da Floresta is a place that’s been called enchanting and unforgettable by volunteers who’ve spent time there. It’s a beautiful house surrounded by the Atlantic Forest, and we’re awarding them the categories of Cultural exchange and Restore our planet.
There are transportation options for Paraty close to the house, and you can take plenty of walks in the surrounding area, but you’ll also have a lot to do inside – learning about yoga, meditation, healthy eating , and much more.
10. Don Preguiça Hostel - Santarém, Brazil
The host, Marlene, came from São Paulo to stay in Alter do Chão for a month and ended up buying Don Preguiça Hostel!
Today, she lives at the Hostel and relies on many volunteers to keep the large space functioning properly. It’s wonderful that Marlene decided to go on an adventure, because she became a part of the journeys of many members of our community in 2020, earning all three award categories.
11. Zili Pernambuco - Recife, Brazil
This creative collective at the heart of Recife is the perfect place for you to learn about Brazilian culture, enjoy the coworking space, or learn about the little plants that they also sell in their shop.
Thanks to their unique collection of traits, Zili Pernambuco was awarded the categories Community development and Cultural exchange.
12. Vila das Borboletas - Piedade, Brazil
The hosts of Vila das Borboletas base their work on principles such as self-responsibility and self-management, hosting group activities and meals in their space, always trying to enjoy each moment to the max with their guests and volunteers.
In addition to the great vibe, they’re farmers who work with eco-building and other permaculture techniques. That’s why they were chosen for awards in all categories: Community development, Cultural exchange, and Restore our planet.
13. Piratas da Praia Hostel - Recife, Brazil
Piratas da Praia is super close to the famous beach Praia de Boa Viagem, in Recife.
They love to host guests with artistic abilities like painting, juggling, and acting. That’s why they earned the Cultural exchange award!
14. Ecovila Pau-Brasil - Nísia Floresta, Brazil
At the Ecovila Pau-Brasil, you’ll learn about Permaculture, Agroforestry, and Vegan food from hosts with over 10 years of experience. About 70% of the food that volunteers, guests, and their team eat comes from their own eco-village, totally organic and free from pesticides!
Because of their efforts to preserve the spectacular landscapes of Rio Grande do Norte, not to mention being great hosts to their volunteers, Larissa and Pedro were selected for all three of our 2020 awards: Community development, Cultural exchange, and Restore our planet.
15. Vila do Didi - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Vila do Didi hostel also got all of our awards this year. The host lives a simple life and is very open to talking with volunteers about his travels around Brazil, which are quite extensive!
Volunteering at Didi can be an opportunity to take a good look inside yourself, as well as to learn how to plant, harvest, and live in harmony with the world around us.
That’s why this host deserves to be recognized for contributing to Community development, Cultural exchange, and helping to Restore our planet.
16. The Search House Búzios - Búzios, Brazil
The Search House Búzios wins our awards for both Cultural exchange and Restore our planet. It’s located very close to the beach, where you can enjoy the ocean and relax.
More specifically, the Search House Búzios is right by the Praia de Manguinhos beach. It’s perfect for those who like to kite surf, wind surf, or stand-up paddleboard.
The host promises the most beautiful sunset on the peninsula, but it’s worth a look to make sure.
17. Pousada Vayú - Icaraí, Ceará, Brazil
A volunteer from Pousada Vayú perfectly explained what the experience is like here:
"Little Icaraí is a place where time passes more slowly, but allows us to create very intense connections with the people around us.".
The Vayú team has said that they love to host worldpackers, and according to the feedback from travelers, the feeling is mutual! They won awards for Cultural exchange and helping Restore our planet.
18. Roca Hostel - São Paulo, Brazil
Roca Hostel is super close to some of the main happening places in São Paulo, like Ibirapuera park and the Avenida Paulista. Your experience there will be full of energy, just like the capital!
This host won the Cultural exchange award for fostering interactions between volunteers and guests and always thinking of their volunteers’ well-being.
19. Graja Hostel - Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Graja Hostel won all three awards this year! They were praised for their flexibility with volunteers and their ease of work.
Aside from that, they have a nice garden where you can put your gardening skills to use.
20. Brazil Backpackers - Caraguá, Brazil
The Brazil Backpackers hostel has at its foundation community spirit, art in all of its varied dimensions, and the quest for physical and spiritual well-being.
If you want to volunteer in the calmest of environments, this is the place. They won the Cultural exchange and Restore our planet awards.
21. Remo Hostel - Paraty, Brazil
Want somewhere to relax and get away from everything? The Remo Hostel is just the place. You’ll be in full contact with nature, staying at the tops of trees and enjoying the view of the Atlantic Forest.
As you’ve probably already guessed, they won the Restore our planet award. And based on the great reviews they received from travelers, they also won our award for Community development.
22. Chácara Santa Clara - Morena, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
At this big family’s place, you’ll learn about agroecology in practice. The team at Chácara Santa Clara won the Community development award for always being so kind to their volunteers.
They also earned themselves the Restore our planet award for their incredible agroecology work!
23. Pousada Cantos e Encantos - Urubici, Brazil
The Pousada Cantos e Encantos was chosen by volunteers for the lush natural features that surround it, their fair work hours and the delicious food.
Additionally, Urubici is a great city for hiking and nature tours, and the hosts take very good care of their natural areas. So the Pousada won awards for Community development and Restore our planet.
24. Calle 11 Hostel - Santa Marta, Colombia
Calle 11 Hostel has a very unusual location: a mansion that used to belong to a cartel. Just knowing that piece of history is enough to make you curious, right?
The hostel is small, with 35 beds and a focus on the community and on creating an agreeable setting for people from anywhere in the world. The combination of all this is what earned them the award for Cultural exchange this year.
25. Romã Ashram - Piracicaba, Brazil
Romã Ashram’s mission is to be a healing space, acting through education and self-knowledge to promote health, healthy eating, and a true connection with the Earth.
This family community in a holistic and therapeutic space won our award for Restore our planet for their meaningful mission, seeking to act through each volunteer and in the greater society at large. Travel changes people, people change the world.
26. Projeto Fruta Fina Orgânicos - Urubici, Brazil
The Projeto Fruta Fina farm is surrounded by perfect places to go hiking, camping, biking, canoeing, horseback riding, or just to contemplate the natural world. For their work on an organic garden for their packers, they won our Community development and Restore our planet awards.
27. Hostel Social - Curitiba, Brazil
Like to travel with your pet? At Hostel Social you can easily do so, as they open their doors to our 4-pawed friends.
Their team hosts guests and packers from all over the world, so if you want to practice your English without leaving Brazil, it’s a great place!
They won the Community development and Cultural exchange awards, because their volunteers said it’s a really beautiful and organized place with a great location.
28. Blue Guarapari - Espírito Santo, Brazil
Blue Guarapari is a really striking hostel, surrounded by spectacular scenery on the coast of Espírito Santo.
They won our Community development and Cultural exchange awards thanks to the great reviews left by volunteers in 2020.
29. Hostel Iguabella - Iguaba Grande, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hostel Iguabella was recognized for fostering Cultural exchange and having an understanding, upbeat host who’s a great person -in our travelers’ words.
The hostel has cats, dogs, a pool, and a light and laid-back feeling, led by Marisa, who makes herself available to show people the city and go on tours with her team of volunteers.
30. 186 Lapa Central Hostel - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Because of its location right in the heart of Lapa, 186 Lapa Central is for people who like to go out at night, checking out the bars and cultural attractions of Rio de Janeiro.
This hostel earned our Cultural exchange award because they were great hosts to our volunteers from all around the world who came to see if Rio de Janeiro’s still got it.
31. Cabanas Hostel
Cabanas Hostel won the Cultural exchange award thanks to their positive reviews from volunteers who mentioned their warm reception and the comfortable, safe atmosphere they provide to travelers.
32. Lo del Colo - Esteban Echeverría, Argentina
A family home surrounded by trees, Lo del Colo hosts tourists from around the world.
It’s very different from a typical hostel, as they only have 3 openings for volunteers and offer personalized service to each guest.
It’s also a great place to practice your Spanish while you learn about a more environmentally friendly life, for which they earned the Restore our planet award.
33. Catuama Camping e Casa Rural Canto Alegre - Recife, Brazil
Catuama Camping and Casa Rural Canto Alegre are places that host volunteers to do a little bit of everything. The project includes a hostel, a campground, a hammock area, a cultural club, a holistic space, a coworking place, and a coliving area, some of which are still in progress.
Their team won the Restore our planet award and is currently looking for volunteers to renovate a house in the rural area of Pernambuco, 70km from the capital, while still running their project in Recife.
Best Worldpackers hosts: North America
This list of the best Worldpackers hosts in North America doesn’t just include the colder states up north – the Mexican hosts surprised us this year.
34. Mayan Monkey Hostel - Cancún, Mexico
Calling themselves “a center for all the barefoot travelers”, the team at Mayan Monkey Hostel runs the perfect place for digital nomads and backpackers.
It’s right in the heart of the hotel district in Cancún, next to a lake, a public beach, and the best nightclubs around. They won the Cultural exchange award for their warm reception of travelers and the great Mexican food they serve.
35. Auberge Saint-Paul - Montreal, Canada
The Auberge Saint-Paul won our Cultural exchange award for the diverse environment fostered by the hosts between their volunteers, guests, and staff.
It’s a great place to learn new languages and meet new people while learning all about hospitality.
36. Hotchtel Glamping - Tecolutla, Mexico
Hotchtel Glamping is a family hostel near the beach and right in the Tecolutla river delta, perfect for those who like to swim, go boating, and laze in the sun.
This host won awards for Cultural exchange and Restore our planet for their work caring for the hostel’s surroundings, and earned praise from volunteers for their warm welcome and the relaxing environment.
37. Horse Feathers Equine Center - Guthrie, Logan County, United States
If you’d like to take care of horses while learning English, this place is perfect. Horse Feathers Equine Center is a peaceful place where you’ll feel right at home, anyone who wants to help in a natural place and give a second chance to mistreated animals.
They earned the Cultural exchange award, hosting volunteers from Brazil and Colombia in their program.
Best Worldpackers hosts: Asia
38. OEH Osaka English House - Osaka, Japan
If you already speak English and want to learn Japanese, you can volunteer at the Osaka English House and stay in a private room in exchange for teaching English to Japanese children.
Osaka is a university city, which makes it very easy to find a Japanese course that’s accessible for backpackers.
They won two awards this year: Community development and Cultural exchange, based on the positive reviews from travelers who talked about the inclusive environment and flexible work hours.
Best Worldpackers hosts: Europe
39. Michaelshof Sammatz - Neu Darchau, Germany
The first host on our list of the best Worldpackers hosts in Europe is an eco-community near Hamburg, founded by a group of friends and collaborators who take care of their space with the help of dozens of volunteers.
Michaelshof Sammatz won all three categories of our Best Hosts 2020 and also features a café where you can learn some tricks with other volunteer baristas. If that’s not your vibe, you can take care of the plants or help to plan parties for the guests.
40. Faro Beach Life Hostel - Faro, Portugal
Faro Beach Life got a lot of praise from travelers for their environment of good vibes that’s full of things to learn. It’s a small hostel facing the beach, perfect if you love watching the sunset while listening to good music.
A great launching-off point for trips to Algarve to visit the beaches and cliffs in the area, this hostel won all three categories of our Best Hosts 2020 awards for offering cultural exchange opportunities to volunteers, guests, and locals alike.
41. El Granado Hostel - Granada, Spain
El Granado hosts all kinds of guests, from backpackers to families with pets. It earned the Community development and Cultural exchange awards for its eclectic energy and the excellent reviews left by travelers.
42. Funk Lounge Hostel - Zagreb, Croatia
Zagreb is a simply incredible city that too often gets left out of backpacking guides for Europe. Funk Lounge Hostel really radiates the welcoming energy present in this area.
They earned serious acclaim from the Worldpackers volunteers who stayed there – including being a great first experience for some of them – which won them the Community development and Cultural exchange awards this year.
43. Coconat - Bad Belzig, Germany
Everyone feels together at Coconat – literally. Lunch and dinner are served for everyone at a huge table every day, presenting an opportunity to talk with any other guest or volunteer.
Activities for volunteers are varied, and conversation in multiple languages is easy because there are people from all over the world.
They were chosen to receive all three categories of our Best Hosts 2020 award, and also earned positive feedback from those who went to practice their English there.
44. Mahakaruna Buddhist Center - Barcelona, Spain
The Mahakaruna Buddhist Center stood out in all three Best Hosts categories this year, developing their community, fostering cultural exchange, and helping in the restoration of our planet.
They got reviews from travelers who were fascinated by the mountains and woods in the area. They’re located one hour from Barcelona, and it’s the perfect place to relax and take some time just for yourself.
45. Alexanders Strawhotel - Baden-Württemberg, Germany
With their family location in South Germany, this German host got excellent reviews from the more than 200 volunteers who’ve visited them during their 4 years of experience, and for this we award them the categories of Cultural exchange and Restore our planet in the Best Hosts of 2020.
It’s a great place for anyone learning German who wants to improve their command of the language while enjoying nature.
46. Raspberry Cottage - Espagnac, France
Hosts Fran and Craig bought themselves some land and opened the Raspberry Cottage, which hosts volunteers who’d like to learn about permaculture or help to take care of their daughter.
The local landscape is perfect for biking, walking, and running – and the hosts can come with you, as they’re triathletes.
Volunteers praised the excellent vegetarian food and the opportunity to practice languages. In their home they speak English, Japanese, French, and a little bit of Spanish!
47. A Room In The City - San Sebastian, Spain
Highly rated by volunteers, the hostel A Room in the City is located in Euskadi or Basque Country, the autonomous region in the north of Spain with strong cultural traditions, famous cuisine, and their own unique language.
For these reasons and more, they receive our Cultural exchange award.
48. Prime Backpackers Angel - London, United Kingdom
Prime Backpackers is the perfect place to practice English and meet people from different countries.
They won the Cultural exchange award, in addition to getting plenty of compliments about their huge kitchen and the super comfy couches where you can have a good conversation, listen to music, and have a good time.
49. Barrial Cultural Center - Barcelona, Spain
The Barrial Cultural Center is a project which offers the means and opportunities to create a closer and more proactive community in your area and the world.
For their work promoting integration and diversities, and based on the positive reviews they received from volunteers, the Cultural Center was given the Cultural exchange award in our Best Hosts 2020.
50. Babila Hostel & Bistrot - Milan, Italy
The last hostel on our list was chosen for their welcoming staff, the environment conducive to learning new languages, and their excellent communication with volunteers.
For these reasons, Babila Hostel and Bistrot received the Cultural exchange award in the list of best Worldpackers hosts.
So that’s our list of the best places to volunteer in 2020. I hope it helped you to get better acquainted with the Worldpackers community.
Are any hosts missing? Tell us in the comments!