Why does anyone want a cold shower?… and by ‘cold’ I mean ‘shards of icicles pelting down upon your skull’. Because that is what I got at Vibes Hostel in Quito, Ecuador.
If you live in a tropical desert (which Quito definitely is not) cool showers aren’t that bad. Hell, even in Medellin, I’ve gotten used to them (but still wont take them on cold, cold days). But if I’m paying for a hostel, in the mountains, and especially one that advertises hot water, I expect it. Call me a priss, but I believe in accurate advertising.
Vibes Hostel may have super comfy beds, and Wi-Fi that gets into the bedroom, but ‘cold’ does not even begin to describe the cryogenic-like liquid that pour forth from their spigots. Their “hot water” is literally a bucket outside with a piece of plastic about a foot above it, in a pseudo solar heating attempt. What actually happens is your ‘hot’ shower is only slightly warmer than the air outside. By a degree or two. Oh, and their “shower area” is outdoors too. Plywood rectangles on 3 sides, with a curtain on the fourth.
Only 2 showers are inside, and they not totally separate. The first ‘bathroom’ is a sink and a shower, with a second door on the far wall. Through this second door is another ‘bathroom’ with a toilet and a shower. (and a window that is permanently open and lets in all the freezing cold, Andean air). So if you are showering in the first room (the only one without outside air) you have the possibility of someone in the second shower just walking through. If you are in the second shower, it’s a game of “How cold can you get before you stop being polite if someone is showering in the first bathroom?”
Ok, whatever, that part really isn’t that bad unless you are super private…but we live in dorms. We are use to changing in front of total strangers of both sexes. Most people knock just to say “I’m coming through”.
But back to the cold water. And outdoor showers.
Why in god’s name would anyone want to take a cold shower when it’s freezing outside?
So even though the beds are dank, and the Wi-Fi kicks ass, as soon as the 3 days I booked was up (because they wanted 48 hours notice to cancel a reservation, so by the time I realized about the cold showers I couldn’t really steal out any earlier)…I moved across the street to the Blue House Hostel.
Online photos of Vibes Hostel also show a bar and a fancy lite activity room, which I noticed a distinct lack of when I was there. There was neither breakfast nor bar nor pretty lights. The maintenance guy who has to let you in and out of the front gate during the day is usually nowhere to be found. Which relinquishes you to banging on the gate repeatedly, while trying to not draw attention to yourself that you are foreign, and locked out on the street. The rec room downstairs was dingy and dirty and not inviting at all. The reception person was super nice and helpful when I first checked in, then ranged from mildly interested in your questions to completely annoyed. You never knew if you could get help or just stared at coldly. The kitchen was small and dingy as well.
Vibes Hostel in Quito, Ecuador is a completely mis-advertised hostel.
Although the beds were super comfy and got Wi-Fi to them, everything else they advertise is straight up false, and customer service ranged wildly depending on who was working. They are cheap, but there are many others in the same price range in the area that are nicer hostels and have hot water.
I recommend staying anywhere else.
*Post originally published in 2012, and my stay was at the end of 2011. During my various trips to Quito, this hostel was constantly under construction but nothing seemed to change (from the outside). If you have more current information on this hostel, please let me know in the comments below, or you can email me using the contact page. Thanks.
About Dani Blanchette
I am a freelance travel and music photographer and creator of GoingNomadic.com.
I love music, food, and exploring cities without guidebooks. I’ve flown a helicopter, hitchhiked down the east coast USA, and once snuck into the back of a zoo (in Serbia) and pet a lion.
I am always up for an adventure, and sometimes I videotape them.