Hacienda Merida is a typical nature preserve/hostel. It has dorms, camping, and hammocks for rent. Dorm are $3 per person while camping and hammocks are $1.50 and private rooms are $10 per person.
The hostel also boosts a wonderful restaurant, with items ranging from $1.50 to $3. The best part is that, as long as there are more than 6 people staying at the hostel, there is a $3 all-you-can-eat breakfast and dinner buffet. The food is awesome and goes fast, so make sure to get a spot at the front of the line! Dinner starts at 7pm, so be ready. You can also order your own breakfast, lunch or dinner. I recommend the chicken sandwich. It’s a foot-long shredded chicken sandwich for only $1.50. When ordering food, drinks, or rentals, everything is based on the honor system. There is a sheet with your name on it and columns for each aspect of the hostel to check off every time you eat, drink, or rent.
- Camping/Hammocks: $1.50
- Private Dorms: $10
- Public Dorms: $3
- All you can eat buffets: $3
- Lockers: Free
The ads for the hostel are a bit deceiving. They say that there are kayaks and Internet access. The Internet is nothing more than a single laptop hooked up to a cell phone. It’s $3 to use for the duration of your stay. The only drawbacks are that there is almost always someone on it and that it can only stay online as long as the battery stays charged, which isn’t long. The kayaks are two two-person kayaks with no seat backs. They are $5 to rent for the duration of your stay.
The hostel offers free storage locks as well. However, the lockers are only large enough for small personal belongings. I kept three wallets, a pro SLR, two disposable cameras, and a small video camera in one. You don’t really need to worry about theft, except maybe by other travelers, but that doesn’t happen often. The lockers are free, but require a deposit of a 100 cordovas, which is around $6.
There are several employees that speak English and will give you all kinds of information on where to go and what to do, as well as rent out the equipment. They rent bikes, horses, and kayaks.
The hostel is very easy to get to from the bus stop. In fact, once you get off the bus, just walk about 1-minute down the road, and you will run into a green gate-that’s the hostel. They also have the departing bus schedule posted in the dining area.
Flies and bugs can sometimes get annoying, but they don’t bite. I slept in a hammock outside with no problem. There are awesome views of the volcano from the dock as well.