I almost fainted as soon as I stepped inside theFew feet before I reached the reception, a shirtless, blonde hunk was mopping the floor, his toned muscles were flexing like they were teasing a stranger—and those smooth muscles already got me at hello. LOL…
When he turned around, he realized I was there standing. He smiled—-and I swear to angels and demons, I really wanted to faint—so he could catch me when I fell. My eyes quickly caught his sweaty six-pack abs. I held my breath—and died.
Then, I heard the lady receptionist said, “Hi. Are you checking IN today.”
“Oh, no! I just…. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m checking in.” I quipped, embarrassed.
What my mind registered was, “Hi. Are you checking OUT that guy?”
I was kinda red-faced but as far as I could tell, the receptionist didn’t really see me blushing at the sight of a sculpted god.
That was, perhaps, my most memorable entrance to any hostel I’ve stayed in so far. And I was pretty darn sure I’d be talking about it for ages to come. Right at that moment, I already concluded that ITH-San Diego would never disappoint me. And oh, they didn’t.
Voted as the #1 Hostel in San Diego by TripAdvisor, ITH strives to realize its mantra: eco-friendly, global awareness and social networking.
As an Eco-friendly hostel, three huge cans are visible in its backyard for hostellers to dispose and separate their waste. Everyone is encouraged to participate in their waste management program. They also grow vegetables and harvest them for their indigenous salads served during meals.
The hostel has 12 employees of diverse background. They are travelers, too, and you’ll be surprised at how friendly they are and how they manage to keep the vibe sociable by trying to help everyone out. Don’t be fooled by the hippie-vibe as soon as you enter its main house. Their walls are covered with activity reminders, posters, quotes and adventure opportunities. The hostel welcomes everyone—of all ages. While most travelers staying in here are young and adventurous, they have, in fact, hosted a couple of oldies and had a blast listening to stories of what backpacking was like in old yore!
Staying in here gives every traveler a sense of community. Their daily activities are geared for everyone to experience social networking by offering fun events that could be the highlight of your trip. As one Dutch girl told me,”This is definitely a party hostel. And it’s my favorite so far.” And she declared it after riding the mechanical bull at the bar! 🙂
International Travelers House has two branches in San Diego: the Adventure Hostel and Balboa Zoo Hostel. I stayed in the former–because it’s nearer to the GasLamp, a hedonist paradise for fun. And also because, it’s walking distance to Amtrak Train Station and local metro.
One of the things that I like in this hostel is that rooms are in five separate cottages (including the main house). There are ten rooms in total and 55 beds.
There’s a vending machine and an ATM inside. Aside from a yacht/boat, they have a van to transport travelers to places they plan to discover for the day.
And most of all, except on Taco Tuesdays, they’re the only hostel I’ve stayed where not only breakfast is free but also dinner. Yay!
EVENTS TO JOIN
The hostel hosts day and night time activities for free. As soon as you confirmed your booking, make sure to browse the events and register your name because some of the activities have limited spaces. A local staff member will be your guide, making sure you’re having the best time in the city.
On a Tuesday morning I arrived, I just missed Bob’s Beach Day where they explored the beaches in San Diego. But, at night time, I was able to join them for Taco Tuesday where we went to a restaurant where we had, of course, tacos. When you are in San Diego, so you’ve got to eat tacos.
Wednesday was a Secret Adventure when they drove us to the top of Mt. Soledad to see the 360 degree panorama of the City of San Diego. Then, we spent the afternoon at Pacific Beach. When we had too much sun, sand and sea, we went for late lunch and capped it off with a cheap bottle of wine that’s real good.
Wednesday night was the most fun event of the week—the Pub Crawl Night. We didn’t start until almost 10 pm, so we had time for pre-drinks at the hostel’s open air patio. Not everybody was dressed up to the nines but everybody was in party mode, consuming whatever pre-party drinks they had at hand. When our guide finally showed up, we, the party animals erupted in cheers. Bottles were emptied hastily and we started marching on towards GasLamp, San Diego’s paradise of hedonism. It was one epic night of bar hopping, drinking, dancing and flirting, too. And oh, most of us were de-virginized: we had our very first bull ride! Yay! We had to sign a waiver because we were already intoxicated! 🙂
On Thursday, I signed up for the yacht party. Yes, the hostel owns a boat that brings 10 people to go sailing around the marina. Party mode depends on what kind of people are going. Due to high participation of the event, the hostel decided to open two events in one day. Each event lasts 3 hours.
On Friday, we explored downtown walking through the main streets, all the way to GasLamp District. When we reached the San Diego Convention Center, our guide brought us to the 6th floor of a 4-star hotel where the ladies dipped into the pool. It’s free—so make sure you wear a bathing/swimming suit with you. We continued our downtown tour along the harbourfront where we passed the Unconditional Surrender statue and MSS Navy Museum.
Friday night also means Club/Bar Night. And on my last night at the hostel, a special kind of party was planned. One of the staff members was leaving—-and that night was sort of her farewell party, too. To make her exit something she would never forget, the rest of the staff (boys and girls) wore a Disney Princess costume, complete with a wee crown. Walking down the bar street with them as our guides in their ridiculous garb was part of the fun. It was another night of epic fun.
When I left early the next morning, I wasn’t really enthusiastic to go back to Los Angeles. If only I could stay longer…..