Nanaimo International Hostel

Nanaimo International HostelYoung travelers from around the world often stay at the Nanaimo International Hostel, 65 Nicol St., a member of the Pacific Hostel Network. This older wooden house on the southern edge of downtown has been a hostel since 1985. It has a homey atmosphere with a communal kitchen and TV room inside and picnic tables with panoramic harbour views in the back yard. Hostelers can check their email here for free, and there's a washing machine that's only $1.25 to use.

The hostel has three four-person dorm rooms with two bunk beds each, costing $20 per person including tax. One dorm is for females only. These rooms share two bathrooms. In summer the hostel rents a miners cottage in the back yard at $40 per couple, shower and hot plate included. A two-room miners house in the back yard is $40 double per room. The owners also control seven self-catering apartments in several buildings near the hostel, and these rent in summer at $100 a night for up to five persons.

Pets are allowed in the apartments but not in the hostel or cabins. All rooms are non-smoking. Though friendly and welcoming, this isn't a party hostel. If you were thinking of engaging in some serious nocturnal carousing while in Nanaimo, The Cambie Hostel down the street may be more to your liking.

Check-in time at the Nanaimo International Hostel is from 4 pm to 11 pm. If no one answers the buzzer at the hostel's back door, try the apartment marked “Employees Only” on the left at the end of the alley next to the house. The hostel is open yearround, but in winter you should call ahead at tel. (250) 753-1188 to let the managers, John and Moni Murray, know you're coming. If no one is around when you arrive, ask for Gerald Gonske in Curiosity Cove Furnishings Ltd. next door and he'll help you track down the Murrays.

Be aware that the hostel website carries a misleading location map which indicates that the ferry dock is just down the street. This is the Gabriola Island ferry terminal. The Departure Bay Ferry Terminal from Horseshoe Bay near Vancouver - which most international travelers will use - is about five kilometers north, almost a one-hour walk. If you're driving, no problem, as the Nanaimo International Hostel has plenty of free parking space in back.

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