Nothing adds to a backpacking trip like some down right dirty nightlife!
You know, one of those parties where the stars align and it’s just f*ckig awesome to be alive. It’s moments like those that put a smile on your pretty face when backpacking is not all hunky-dory and there’s a snorer in your dorm or you miss your mum. In other words: you should always know where to find the best nightlife in town!
Luckily, we’ve taken one for the team and found the best places to party in Central America for you. We won’t lie – the hangovers were severe and the paracetamols many. But all that doesn’t matter, because when it comes to scientific research, we are 100 % committed to finding you the best party hostels in Central America!
1. Luna’s Castle (Panama City, Panama)
Panama City has a real big, modern city feel to it which is pretty rare in Central America. Those guys have skyscrapers, fancy malls, and whatnot. It’s Central America’s gringo heaven and, as we all know, gringos like to party. So, where’s Panama City’s best nightlife?
Best party hostel in Panama City: Luna’s Castle
On the Central American gringo trail, Luna’s Castle is a bit of an institution. It’s been around for years and it’s the classic party spot in town. To make sure you’re never far away from a drink, there are no less than three bars at the hostel. Any backpacker who’s been to Panama City will say the same: Luna’s is one of the best places to party in Central America!
I’ve spent a lot of time at Luna’s and can honestly say it’s a very good time. It’s in the heart of the Casco Viejo district and right next door to some of the best nightlife in Central America. Make sure you go for a drink at Tantalo – the rooftop view of the skyline is just ridiculous.
PS. Luna’s is also the main place to sign up for going to the paradisiacal San Blas Islands. If you’re going backpacking in Central America, that’s a little piece of heaven you don’t want to miss out on!
2. Zephyr Lodge (Lanquin, Guatemala)
Most backpackers come to Lanquin for two reasons: to visit the natural pools at Semuc Champey and to get absolutely shitfaced. The vibe is laid-back, and there’s heaps of backpacker hangouts and unpretentious bars in town. It’s the perfect place to uncap a beer and kick back in beautiful natural surroundings. Oh, and by the way: most places in Lanquin turn off their wi-fi at night, so you may have to talk to your friends (or, worse yet, make new ones).
This is all very lovely, but there’s a different reason why Lanquin takes the prize as the best place to party in Guatemala. And that reason is…
Best party hostel in Lanquin: Zephyr Lodge
This awesome little hostel has all the ingredients of a rad Central American party hostel: pool tables, no wi-fi (we warned you), huge bar, and plenty of happy little backpackers. On top of that, it has the most ridiculous infinity pool in Central America. Not a shabby place to cure those hangovers, eh?
It’s an easy 20-minute walk out of town, and the bar is massive. You can get anything from the local Gallo beer to your favorite bourbon. It’s the only place in Lanquin where the party goes on all night, so make sure you head here for one of the best party hostels in Central America.
3. Bigfoot Hostel (Leon, Nicaragua)
The main thing to do in Leon is to go volcano boarding on Cerro Negro. That’s a fancy way of saying “let’s sit on a tiny piece of wood while we slide down a volcano at 95 km/h”. Safety first, as they say.
Anywho, Leon is a typical Central American colonial city with charming cobblestone streets and colorful houses. There’s a pretty good selection of bars, but if you’ve gone volcano boarding, you probably just want to know where the best place to party is to celebrate that you’re still alive!
Best party hostel in Leon: Bigfoot Hostel Leon
Bigfoot is one of the best party hostels in Central America if you follow the gringo trail. Every backpacker in Nicaragua knows about it, and you’re guaranteed to get shitfaced if you stay there. They’ve always got a lot going on at the hostel and there’s a great party hostel vibe.
One of their famous drinking challenges is the “lava shot challenge”: take 3 shots of rum infused with ghost chili, hold it down for 30 seconds, and bam – you’ve won yourself a shirt that will make your mum extremely proud.
4. Dirty McNasty (Caye Caulker, Belize)
If you prefer your party with a bit of beach, Caye Caulker is your spot. It’s a tiny island off the coast of Belize and it is an unbelizably awesome party spot (pity laughs accepted). You get dreamy beaches, reggae tunes, small bars, and island bliss. If that doesn’t float your boat, you’re doing something wrong, amigo.
The number one thing to do in Caye Caulker is to go for sunset beers at The Split. The Split is literally a channel that splits the island in two, and you’ll spend the day jumping off the jetty and smoking like a true rasta man. Get your Belikin beers at the Lazy Lizard bar, kick back, and enjoy life – this is one of the best bars in Central America!
Best party hostel in Caye Caulker: Dirty McNasty
Don’t let the name scare you off! Dirty McNasty is one of the best party hostels in Central America and a notorious spot to get drunk in Caye Caulker.
They’ve got their own bar as well as pool tables, darts, and free rum punch at happy hour. The hostel very much feels like your little home on the island, and people normally hang around longer than they expected. It’s not fancy, but it has everything you need to have a great time. Allow yourself to be lazy and drink like there’s no tomorrow in this island paradise!
5. Aqua Lounge (Bocas del Toro, Panama)
Bocas is a bunch of dreamy islands off the northern coast of Panama. The main city is located on Isla Colon and this is, not surprisingly, where you find the biggest party. Every night seems to be ladies’ night somewhere, which is excellent news for the female backpackers out there. If you’re a male backpacker on a tight budget, well… Smack on some mascara and see how it goes.
The islands are famous for their white-sand beaches, great surf breaks, and some of the best scuba diving in Central America. The nightlife is not bad either, with heaps of small bars on Isla Colon. Two spots that always put on a great party are Iguana Bar or on the road in front of Book Store.
Best party hostel in Bocas del Toro: Aqua Lounge
Aqua Lounge is actually not on Isla Colon itself. You’ll have to catch an easy $1 water taxi to the less developed Isla Carenero, but the party is worth it. The hostel has a Spring Break-like feeling to it with everyone half-naked and drunk almost 24/7. If you’re looking for a massive bender on the beach, go for it!
If catching a water taxi is too much work, Selina Hostel on the main island is also worth a shot. It’s busier than on Isla Carenero, but you do get your own private water deck.
6. Underwater Vision (Utila, Honduras)
Move Ibiza to Central America, replace the drunk teenagers with drunk scuba divers, and voila, you have Utila. Sounds good so far?
Utila is one of the all-time best places to party in Central America. The island is famous all over the world for its supreme and absurdly cheap scuba diving. But when the little scuba divers aren’t splashing happily around in the Caribbean, they like to go out for a drink or twenty.
Be warned, though – many an aspiring scuba diver has been lost in the black hole that is Utila’s nightlife. You get to choose between a dozen different drinking challenges every night. I personally got myself a Tequila Tuesday bad boy for downing 3 shots in 10 seconds at Tranquila. By the way, I still count the next day’s hangover among the worst I’ve ever had.
Best party hostel in Utila: Underwater Vision
Most diving centers on Utila also run their own bar and hostel. Underwater Vision is one of the biggest centers, and their bar is the place to be after dark. It’s located right on the beach, so you can even enjoy your drink to the sound of the lapping waves. If you’re not into diving, this could easily turn into your new sport.
7. Naked Tiger (San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua)
We’ve saved the perhaps biggest party spot in Central America for last. Technically, it’s actually not San Juan del Sur itself, but rather a specific party that takes place in town.
If you haven’t heard of Sunday Funday before, here’s all you need to know: it’s a MASSIVE hostel crawl! It’s not a cheap night out (the shirt alone is $30), but it’s a must-do on the gringo trail. The world’s official hangover day has been turned into the biggest party day of the week, and you’ll be engaging in some serious day drinking. Once the sun goes down, the festivities then move to a club for partying into the wee hours of the morning.
So, there you go – we’ve found the best place to party in Central America!
Best party hostel in San Juan del Sur: Naked Tiger
Sunday Funday was originally started by the folks at Naked Tiger, and they still run the show at arguably the best party hostel in the world. The hostel itself is set on a hill overlooking the town, and the view from the pool is pretty sweet. There’s plenty of drinks and horny backpackers during the week, and when Sunday comes around, they even throw in a DJ. Done!
Do you think we missed anywhere? Have any awesome drunk stories you want to share? Leave a comment, I promise we don’t bite.
If you think others will enjoy knowing where they can get extremely drunk in Central America, don’t forget to share it on Facebook or Twitter!
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this article. This means that we get a small commission from the company if you buy their product at no extra cost to you. We only use affiliate links for companies/products we have personally used. Just think of it as if you were buying us a beer to thank us for the work we’ve put into this post.