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This is our first article in a new weekly series Hotel Tip of The Week. Being on the road every day of the year means we stay at countless hotels along the way. For all the dingy, disappointing budget digs, there are as many budget accommodation gems. We’ll be posting one hotel tip of the week, every week, of places we feel confident recommending after having tried and tested them ourselves.

Entre Piedras hostel is set in a small mountain town of Alegria in El Salvador. Like most budget hotels in Alegria, Entre Piedras is a converted family house. What makes the hotel stand out is the way it brings guests the perfect balance of an at-home feeling with all the hotel amenities and services to feel like a valued guest. You won’t find Entre Piedras in any guidebooks yet either, as this near-new hostel opened only at the end of 2009.

Unlike many hostels, Entre Piedras is similar to a cozy bed and breakfast in size and feel. There are only three rooms available – one dorm of 6 beds, one room with a bunk bed for two (both with shared bath), and one master suite with a sprawling double bed and private bathroom.

Roberto, who manages the day-to-day business at Entre Piedras, goes above and beyond for his guests. Up early writing one morning, I had yet to have breakfast, and Roberto brought me a new fruit to try – a zapote, something I would never have tried but am sure glad I did. He also told us about a hike around the Laguna de Alegria, and even joined the guide and us on our hike, teaching us about local coffee history and coffee along the way.

The restaurant has an excellent, if small, menu of international food. Breakfasts for US$3 hit the spot, and this is the only restaurant in town which offers an alternative to comida tipica, or typical food. The public rooms inside are decorated as though you are simply staying in someone’s house, but the knick knacks, antique technology gadgets, stack of 50s magazines and very antique black and white photos are so well curated that this is clearly a subtly constructed living museum of sorts.

In fact, Roberto’s family run the La Casa Mia Hostel & Restaurante in the small nearby town Berlin, which contains such a large collection of artifacts, trinkets and family photos that the space is also officially a museum of both family and local history. This same style spills over into Entre Piedras, and makes for some fascinating snooping around, which is encouraged. (If you visit Berlin but don’t overnight, at least stop in to La Casa Mia for a piece of delicious cake and have a peek around the living room and family room which double as the museum space.)

Stand Out Features: Entre Piedras

At this hotel there are two features that bring Entre Piedras a head above the rest.  The first one is the excellent coffee. Roberto is a true coffee lover himself and has a top of the line coffee bar machine. Indulge in the best americanos, cappuccinos and lattes in El Salvador.

The second absolute stand out feature is the entire family’s engagement in quality tourism development in El Salvador and Central America. In addition to owning the two hostels Entre Piedras and La Casa Mia, the family are a part of ‘Red de Posadas Rurales’ a network of rural hostels and hotels through Central America that are of high quality, eco-friendly and engaged in their community. Roberto himself clearly has good relationships with hostel owners throughout El Salvador and is working together with Alex, the owner of the (also excellent) hostel Escencia Nativa in El Zonte, on a website called El Salvador By Bus. This website will map out the best and easiest routes for getting around the country by local ‘chicken’ bus and will include prices, schedules and journey times. Tourism infrastructure in El Salvador is rough at best and such assistance is sorely needed and much appreciated.

For the digital nomads & travel bloggers out there Entre Piedras offers free fast reliable wi-fi, and the hostel is peaceful enough to get work done. Working at one of the living room or dining room tables inside also feels like working from home, which after spending days in cafes and restaurants, is a really comfortable experience. At the time of our visit at the end of 2010, Entre Piedras was the only hostel with free wi-fi in Alegria.

Room for improvement: The Bathroom Situation

The shared bathrooms are clean and well-maintained, but are located in the back of the property. Guests of the hotel have to walk through the back end of the outdoor restaurant with wet hair and shower products in hand, which breaks up the enjoyable outdoor atmosphere of the restaurant and is a tad bit uncomfortable for guests. This shouldn’t affect your decision whether or not to stay at Entre Piedras, which we can whole-heartedly recommend should you find yourself in Alegria.

Location: Northeast corner of central park in Alegria, Usulutan, El Salvador.
Price: US$20.00 double room with shared bathroom / US$30.00 double room with private bathroom / dorms US$8.00
LGBT Friendly: Yes
Amenities: Restaurant, Wi-Fi, Payment with Cards possible, Hikes
Website: www.hostalentrepiedras.com

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Tags : budget accommodationEl SalvadorEntre PiedrasHotel Tip of the Week

14 Comments

    1. Thanks Jaime! Places like Entre Piedras deserve some promotion – hopefully you will make it to Alegria. It was one of our favorite places in El Salvador & Roberto made our stay at the hostel very memorable.

    1. Thanks Laura! We are stumbling upon so many ‘hidden gems’ when it comes to budget accommodation, we thought it was about time to share them! Sometimes it can be a real pain to find decent accommodation and we would like to make it easier for others by recommending some of the nicer hotels & hostels we stayed at 🙂

    1. Some South American hotels will come as soon as we get there – you might beat us on that, though!! We hope to cover the entire globe at some point, but that’s a long way to go 🙂

  1. headed to alegria this saturday (2/4/12) on a mission trip to help with building projects for the poor. as a glbt Christian, i’m thrilled to know this establishment is “family friendly”!!!

    1. Hi David, thanks for stopping by! It’s a small hotel, and not openly a GLBT place, but the owner is young, laid-back and very open. Have a great time at Entre Piedras, and if you’re a coffee fan, make sure to have him make you one with his great cappuccino maker!

      1. i had a ball at entre piedras! roberto and his wife, fannie, are true gems. i had a blast “playing in the kitchen” (i private chef and my professional background is in marketing).

        early morning coffee, fuente, on the patio was a definite highlight before heading into the mountains to work on a cistern project.

  2. La casa de piedra vraiment super! mon epouse et moi etions 2 jours et nous avons visiter casi tout. le museun, le lac, le velveder, les gens sont bien chaleureux, des petits restaurants tres propres, mais la bouffe a la casa de piedra Excellent sans parle du service tres chaleureux ….ca va la peine de visiter…je vous le recommande. Steph. Prevoyez au moins deux a trois jours pour bien decubrir, vous alle etre surpris.

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