Room2Board Hostel Earns Its Wings June 19 2017

State of the art architecture. Photo: Philip Hall

Two years in a row, the fashionable, state -of -the- art  Room2Board has been awarded Best Hostel in Costa Rica on Trip Advisor. It is also recognized as one of the Best Surf Hostels in the World by Hostel World.  A new building was recently finished to add more dorm and private rooms. In all, there are 15 private rooms, 12 dorm rooms, both being equally popular. Brian Billing is the main owner in a group of nine. You can find him blending in with guests and staffs as he supervises in his laid back, friendly manner.

We recently visited with Carolina Barrientos, native Costa Rican and General Manager, to learn more about why this beach front hostel stands out, both literally and physically, on the south end of Jaco Beach. 

Carolina Barriientos loves her job as General Manager at Room2Board

PVBG: The architecture is so impressionable and distinct from other hostels. Who Is responsible?

Carolina: Lory Laera is the architect and also the designer of the entire place. 

PVBG:  What are some of the tours that clients can sign up for through your surf shop? 

Carolina: The most popular activities are the surf classes .They run $50 for a private, 2-3 people for $35 each  and more than 4 people is $30. each Usually there are more than 2 instructors depending on the size of the group. If you take a surf class you can use the board for the rest of the day, Our Waterfall Rappelling and Canopy Tours are also favorable with guests.

The popular surf shop run by Nate is always ready to accommodate your wishes. PC: Phillip Hall

 PVBG:     Your bar area is very popular. What are some of the specials at Room2Board that clients can enjoy? 

Carolina:  We have a weekly calendar of activities each night in the bar area. For example on Fridays and Saturdays we always have a DJ. Every day there is a happy hour from 5 to 9 pm and also from 1 .2 in the afternoon on the weekend. 

Dining and recreation area. Photo: Phillip Hal

PVBG:  For visiting hostellers that would like a more quiet atmosphere...?

Carolina: We have a quiet area on our terraza on the top floor with hammocks for those who prefer the chill zone.

PVBG: Room2Board always has a lot of volunteers Can you explain how the volunteer process works?

Carolina: We have a volunteer facebook page and Susan Shonk,one of the owners,is in charge of the program. Basically most of the volunteers are referrals, Susan interviews them and then sends us all the contracts. All volunteers assist us for three months. In exchange they receive free lodging in a shared dorm.. Also free breakfast every day. 

Photo; Phillip Hall 

PVBG: Who should interested applicants speak to? 

Carolina:  They should email Susan at  We  have a separate facebook page, Room 2 Board Volunteers Old & New, where some of our past and present volunteers post. We have up to six volunteers at a time who have backgrounds from all over the world. 

PVBG: Do you offer anything free for travellers staying at Room2Board? 

Carolina: Yes. We have free yoga classes every Sunday at 9 a.m. Daily yoga classes are also offered, but not for free. Guests can enjoy free wifi, we use the strongest internet service in the country, American Data. 

Also, we have free parking for our guests and there is a security guard at night. All dorm rooms come with secured lockers and locks are available at reception.

PVBG:  What keeps the good vibes going at Room2Board?

Carolina:  It is a combination of happy staff, great facilities and cool atmosphere. 

Beto is Carolina`s "wing man" helping with  Bar & Surf shop Operations. Wings by Mark Vose and Artify Jaco art program

"I like the relaxed atmosphere. We´re working and get to meet meet new people all the time. You can still chill 'cause it´s outside, working by the pool all day. Waking up on the beach is great. It´s cool, it´s right there."  - Janelle, former volunteer, currently bartending at Room2Board. 

Chris, volunteer in his first month, first time travelling abroad alone.  PC: PVBG 

"I love the people, everyone is super friendly. The guests are fun to talk to; I like meeting other travellers. You can surf every day. I´m learning to surf right now and it´s so much fun. The vibes here in Costa Rica, the culture, is great. I´m very happy here. Pura Vida! .- Chris, volunteer at front desk, from San Diego, CA. 

Thank you for your time, Carolina! Many blessings to you, your staff and the guests that cross your paths. 

Consider booking at Room2Board when you are visiting or backpacking through Playa Jaco. You can make reservations through Trip Advisor, Hostel World and Booking, or through their website

 If they are full, they have inflatable mattresses and hammocks available for rent. Staff is bilingual in English and some Spanish. They are ready to make you feel at home.

Look for some of our Pura Vida Board Gear products at the Surf Shop at Room2Board along with some other national brands. 

All photos by Phillip Hall, Carolina Barrientos and Kate Hanley 



Kate is the owner of Pura Vida Board Gear, a surf brand that promotes surf and a quality, positive lifestyle. Currently living near Playa Jacó, Costa Rica. she enjoys connecting with the culture and diversity of the community. Connect with her on instagram @puravidaboardgear Find Pura Vida Board Gear on Facebook. Subscribe to email list here.  Photo: Jorge A. Russell, Playa Jaco