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Zostel Gokarna – A Review

Cliffs, beach views and tranquility – Zostel Gokarna has it all. Although not bang on the beaches like most other shacks in Gokarna, this Zostel – perched on a cliff overlooking the Kudle Beach – has something unique to offer budget/backpacking travellers.

Zostel Gokarna

Gokarna is a great place to spend a weekend and is quite close to Goa (for those who think Goa is too mainstream). The three of us reached here by train from Udupi, only a few hours away. Other travellers here were mostly stopping over for a day or two on their way to Goa.

Like most other Zostels, this one too has both mixed and female dorms with bunk beds and attached bathrooms (no-frills). These are sea-facing. There are also newer private rooms near the entrance but I suggest the dorms for the beautiful sunrise and sunset views.


The Main Dorm Building

Bunks in the dorm rooms

Above the dorm complex is a common room replete with beanbags, books, board games and television. An attached balcony overlooks the Kudle Beach and is a great place to spend the evenings.

Common room
Common Room

Meals are of course not provided but the in-house Mantra Café serves up some delicious Indian and continental fare and alcohol at reasonable prices.

The Mantra Cafe
A pizza and a cold beer at the Mantra Cafe


The café, also sea-facing, is a great place to relax and unwind after long treks to Gokarna’s other beaches or to just spend the whole night listening to the waves.

Restaurant with a view

Another unique thing about Zostel Gokarna is their volunteers. Harshal made sure our stay was comfortable and gave us some great recommendations on beach hikes around Gokarna (there are about four beaches here including Kudle, Om, Paradise and Half-Moon).

A view of Kudle Beach from Zostel

Dog-lovers will also enjoy the company of the resident doggo Haley, who is always ready for some heavy-petting!

Haley the resident doggo

Although part of India’s premier hostel-chain, Zostel at Gokarna is anything but presumptuous or pretentious – the only air here is the cool Dakshin Karnataka one. Here life is slow and blissful, if only for a while, before one has to snap back to reality. As a first timer to Zostel and to Gokarna, I highly recommend Zostel Gokarna, provided that you book in time!

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