Frequently asked questions

Is your hostel closed during the day?

No, registered guests have access all day.

Is there a "lock-out"?

NO! Registered guests have access to the hostel all day, there is NO lockout time. We ask that guests be back to the hostel by midnight as a courtesy to our neighbors and your fellow guests.

How do I check in?

Check in is between 4-10PM daily. We do not check in guests later than 10PM unless prearranged in advance. To check in everyone over 18 will need to sign in and show proof of ID and address to stay at the hostel. For U.S. Citizens this means a driver’s license or a state ID. A passport is only an acceptable form of ID for out of country residents.

Do I have to be a member to stay at an HI hostel?

In a manner of speaking, yes. If you are not a member of a Hostelling Organization you can either purchase a Hostelling International membership here at the hostel or online. The price for annual membership is only $18 and must be purchased at HIUSA.ORG. Anyone under 18 is an automatic member! If you don’t want to buy the annual membership, we will add a temporary membership fee to your bill, which is $3 per adult per night.

I keep calling the hostel and no one answers. When is a good time to call?

Due to Covid, the office hours are reduced, however, you can leave a message and we will call you back as soon as we can.

Can I make a reservation for someone else and/or pay for their reservation?

No. We require all guests to be self-sufficient. This means they will have to make their own reservations and use their own credit cards to hold their reservations. They must also pay for themselves to stay upon check in.

Where do I keep my belongings?

Backpacks containing non-valuable items such as clothes and toiletries are usually left in dorms. Valuables such as cameras, passports and money should always be safeguarded and ideally kept with you at all times. There are small lockers in all dorms, you may use your own lock or you can buy or rent one from the front desk. Theft is uncommon in our hostel but it would be nice to keep it that way. Either keep valuables with you or in a locker. If you do have something stolen, report it to hostel staff immediately. While our hostel (like most other public facilities) is not responsible for lost or stolen items, you will be helping in the effort to catch thieves.

Does your hostel have a kitchen?

Due to Covid 19, we can only allow one group to rent the communal kitchen. This is another way that hostels can save you money. We have basic cooking utensils including pots, pans, and dishes. Hostel kitchens are also a great meeting place where you can sit around and talk with fellow guests.

Can I make group reservations at HI Santa Cruz?

Yes, based on availability, we accommodate groups. However, we know from experience that each group is unique and therefore a little extra care and attention may be required when it comes to arranging accommodations and itinerary planning. Contact staff directly via email at to ensure that we have all your needs covered.

Can I stay at HI-Santa Cruz if I’m from Santa Cruz?

No. Only people who live outside of Santa Cruz County can stay at the Santa Cruz Hostel. This is because hostels are intended as an affordable way for travelers to experience someplace new. We are not cheap temporary housing. For this reason we check ID’s very carefully at check in, so you must have an ID that shows your current address if you are a U.S. Citizen. If you want the hostel experience but are from Santa Cruz, check out HI-Montara or HI-Pigeon Point!

Do hostels have chores?

We do not require you to do chores at our hostel. However, at all hostels you are asked to pick up after yourself. This occurs in the common areas, like the kitchen and living area. We have a professional cleaning staff.

What does it cost to stay at your hostel?

Our rates start at less than $40, and will vary according to holidays, weekends and season.

Do I have to make a reservation to stay at HI-Santa Cruz?

Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are recommended. Without a reservation, we recommend that you arrive early (before 5PM) to obtain a bed.

Can I bring my own bedding?

For public health reasons we do not allow sleeping bags or outside linens. Because sleeping bags have lots of tufts and seams, it’s easy for bugs like ticks to get inside the sleeping bag.

Is there an age limit to stay at the hostel?

All ages are welcome to stay here! Families traveling with children under 6 years old must stay in a private room, and all minors must be accompanied by an adult. Minors under 18 travelling without a guardian will need a notarized letter from their guardian for the exact dates of their stay. Please contact us directly and we can e-mail you a copy of the guardian consent form. We do not discriminate against elderly travelers, although all guests must be self-sufficient to stay.

Do you have WiFi?

We do have free Wi-Fi and it is available all over the hostel, although some locations are better than others.

How do I access the Internet or make phone calls while I'm at your hostel?

We have a guest phone at the front desk, but it cannot make international calls. We also have a guest computer in one of our common areas that are free to use.

Do you have laundry facilities?

Yes. We have coin-operated laundry machines. We ask that you do your laundry in the evening.

Does the hostel serve breakfast or sell food?

We do not serve any food at the hostel. The hostel does offer organic coffee in the mornings. We do sell non-perishable food like top ramen and mac n cheese at the front desk for a low fee.

Is there public transportation to the hostel?

There are a few local buses that have stops near the hostel, but the main bus depot is just a 10 minute walk away.

Is there free parking?

It depends on the time of year you arrive. October-April there is free street parking in front of the hostel on Main st, as well as on Third st. If you are arriving May-September you will need to obtain a daily parking pass that works only at metered spaces a few blocks down the street from us. We offer passes for one vehicle for groups of 4 or less and for two vehicles for groups of more than 4. This is the only unfortunate side effect of being so close to the beach!

How far is the hostel from the beach?

The beach is a 2 minute walk down the hill.

Are hostels just for young people?

Hostelling International USA welcomes visitors of all ages. While the majority of our hostel guests are between 18 and 30 years of age, seniors, families and groups also enjoy using our hostels across the United States and around the world.

Where are hostels and how many are there?

Hostelling International has nearly 4,000 hostels in over 80 countries worldwide, including nearly 60 hostels here in the United States. Our hostels are in major cities like New York, London, Paris, Beijing, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and Nairobi, but you will also find hostels in smaller centers, rural areas, points of interest, national parks, along with mountainous regions and coastal shores. The closest hostels to Santa Cruz are HI-Montara and HI-Pigeon Point to the North.