Island Life Backpackers Hostel really is built by a backpacker for other backpackers! Chris from England first visited Dominican Republic back in 2009 whilst on a 3 year around the world backpacking trip.

Dominican Republic was not even on his list when he started his trip but whilst travelling in the USA he met Katherine (his now wife) who was from Santo Domingo. A 10-day trip to Dominican Republic was to change his life!

His dream (like many) was to open a hostel one day. After traveling the world and gaining a wealth of knowledge on hostels in the process he returned to Dominican Republic. Thus Island Life Backpackers Hostel was born.


The colonial building that is now Island Life Backpackers Hostel was built back in the 1600’s and was rescued from dereliction by its British owner to blossom in to the premier destination in Santo Domingo for backpackers from all over the world.

The making of the hostel was far from straight forward. After almost a year of searching for the perfect location in the Colonial Zone one day Chris walked in to a derelict building and fell in love. A restoration project was not in the original plans however there was something special about the building that made Chris and Katherine take on the huge project.

They quickly realized that things aren’t always as simple and quick in the Caribbean! Being in a UNESCO world heritage site made the process of restoration a complicated task. However after a lot of perseverance and patience, eight months later the permits were granted.

Chris did all of the work along with 4 workers taking 14 months from start to finish. To read more about the project check out our blog for an amazing write up and some great photos from start to finish.