Selina Oaxaca: A Detailed Review
Oaxaca, the land of mole and Day of the Dead festivities, is a must-see destination for foodies and people craving traditional Mexican culture. If you’re looking for a hostel in downtown Oaxaca, you’ve likely come across Selina. I spent two weeks there and wanted to share my Selina Oaxaca review so you have all the information I wish I had before I traveled.
My review is entirely unbiased and showcases both the good and not so good. Selina didn’t offer me anything in exchange for a review…in fact, they don’t even know I’m writing this.
Accessibility Note: Selina Oaxaca isn’t wheelchair accessible. If you’re a wheelchair user, check out our post on Accessibility in Oaxaca.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
My Selina Stay
I tend to book my accommodation at a Selina when the destination allows for it, since I love the convenience of having a cowork space where I live. Because I had been waffling on my exact Oaxaca travel dates, I booked my two-week trip about a month in advance.
This ended up being a huge mistake.
My travel dates fell during the Day of the Dead, which was intentional. However, I wasn’t prepared for the massive shortage of accommodations; I thought four weeks out from my arrival date would be enough.
So, I began playing around with dates and room types on Selina’s website. Three separate reservations later, I ended up swinging it so I stayed at Selina all but two of my fourteen nights in Oaxaca.
Doing so required me to stay in three different rooms at Selina. The two nights I moved to a hotel cost me as much money as I pay for one month staying at Selina. However, it was better than spending my whole trip near the airport, which was the seemingly only other available alternative.
Would I do it again?
I’d do my best to plan more ahead next time. But if it came right down to it, yes, I’d do all that moving around all over again. Experiencing Day of the Dead in Oaxaca was worth every peso and re-packed backpack.
All of this is to say that if you plan on visiting Selina Oaxaca during Day of the Dead, make your reservation as soon as you know your travel dates. And if there isn’t availability, try breaking up your travel dates into smaller chunks—even one night at a time to see if they have availability.
What Does Google Think?
It’s always fun to see Google’s opinion on their Selina ratings. They give Selina Oaxaca a 2-star rating, which is spot on, in my opinion.
Although Selina is a hostel, and hostels often have 1-star ratings, Selina’s tasteful decor and its plethora of amenities make it above average in the hostel realm.
Selina Oaxaca Location
Selina’s location in Oaxaca is unbeatable. You’ll be in the heart of the historic center, just two blocks from the Templo de Santo Domingo and five blocks from the Zócalo (Oaxaca’s main square).
Markets selling bucketfuls of dried crickets for snacking, quaint cafes, and beautiful architecture adorned with balconies will all be at your fingertips.
The mountains set a beautiful backdrop for photos, but the streets themselves around Selina are blissfully flat.
I had to hold myself back from photo bombing this section. You really have to see downtown Oaxaca for yourself. It’s nothing short of stunning.
I’ve stayed at a lot of Selinas during my travels, and some of them are labyrinths. What I love about Selina Oaxaca is not only how easy it is to navigate, but how quaint it is.
Built in a Spanish courtyard-like style, three floors form a square around a roofless communal area. There are hammocks, a little bar with outlets for working, and chairs where you can bask under the beautiful Oaxacan sun.
A mix of dorm and private rooms are located on the first two floors, with the third floor opening up to a rooftop bar and terrace.
On the ground level, you can access a restaurant that operates in conjunction with Selina either from within Selina itself or from the street.
Rooms at Selina Oaxaca
Now we’ve arrived at our Selina Oaxaca review where I’ll talk about the room options you have to choose from.
Selina Oaxaca offers the following types of dorm rooms:
- 4 beds
- 6 beds
- 8 beds
- 10 beds
- 12 beds
- 16 beds
All dorms are communal, so women don’t have the option to choose a female-only dorm room. Your room will come with sheets, a blanket, and a personal locker (you need to bring your own lock). Some also have an en-suite bathroom.
If the bathroom in your room is occupied, there are plenty of other communal bathrooms you can use.
Towels are available for rent. You’ll need to ask the front desk for details.
The dorm beds at Selina Oaxaca leave a lot to be desired compared to some of Selina’s other destinations. They have an approximately 2-foot board by your head, which offers minimal privacy.
However, you’ll have access to a small shelf and (usually) an outlet near your bed. The mattresses themselves are decent, especially for hostel standards.
Travel Tip: If you are spending a lot of time staying in dorm rooms, consider bringing your own blankets and/or sheets. Snag a bottom bunk, then use the sheets to form your own little private tent.
Example of a fort tent you can make if you have a bottom bunk in a Selina dorm room:
Because of its smaller size, Selina Oaxaca offers fewer private room categories than many of its other locations. However, there are still plenty of great options.
If you’ve got the money to spare, consider staying in one of these rooms.
The Micro: An ultra-tiny room with a full-size bed and barely enough floor space to put your luggage. It’s the most economical option on this list and perfect for those wanting privacy without an extra-big price tag. You’ll need to share a nearby bathroom. It can hold up to two people. It comes with towels and free toiletries.
The Standard: A more spacious option than The Micro for up to two travelers sharing a full-size bed. You’ll have a private bathroom. It comes with towels and free toiletries.
The Twins: An option for two traveling friends. You’ll have two single twin-size beds and a private bathroom.
Standard Triple: Perfect for three traveling friends. You’ll have one bunk bed and one single twin-size bed. It’s equipped with an en-suite bathroom.
Family Room: This private four-person room comes with either one bunk bed and two twin-size beds or one bunk bed and one queen-size bed. You get to choose the style, subject to availability. You’ll have a private bathroom.
The Suite: A spacious and beautifully designed room with a private bathroom and Selina’s premium in-room amenities. It comes with towels and free toiletries.
The Suite+: Same features as The Suite but with more space.
A Note on Selina Pricing
Selina operates on a flexible pricing schedule. The following factors determine the price of your room:
- How far in advance you book. The farther ahead you book, the cheaper your room will cost.
- The number of nights you stay. The longer you stay, the cheaper the price per night will be.
- Refundable vs. non-refundable rate. The non-refundable rate is cheaper than the refundable rate.
- Whether you book with or without breakfast, Selina’s breakfasts are seriously amazing, so I recommend booking with breakfast included!
- Whether or not they’re running any promotions. Promotions happen often, so keep your eye out for them.
- Holiday pricing. Some Selina locations charge more for certain events and holidays.
At the end of the day, you’re more likely to get a good deal on your room (and encounter availability) if you aim to make your reservation as soon as you know your travel dates. It’s pretty amazing to speak with fellow travelers and learn just how much they paid for their last minute stay!
Amenities: Selina Oaxaca Review
A Selina Oaxaca review wouldn’t be complete without covering the amenities it offers guests.
Despite its smaller size, Selina doesn’t skimp on its amenities and activities. It offers enough hangout places, spots to soak in beautiful views of Oaxaca, and delicious food to make it easy to stay inside the hostel for days on end. Of course, it’s unlikely that’s your goal when visiting Oaxaca!
Below are the amenities you’ll get to enjoy by staying at Selina Oaxaca:
- Restaurant with a cafe bar within the restaurant
- Rooftop terrace with a bar
- Cowork space
- Movie room
- Free social activities
- Free WiFi
- Wellness area
Selina Oaxaca Cowork
Selina Oaxaca’s cowork space is located at the back of the hostel on the first floor. It’s super tiny, but it’s also a small hostel. Although non-hostel guests are able to use Selina’s cowork space, it’s still hard to picture there not being enough work spots.
Case in point—I worked there during Day of the Dead week and there was only a handful of remote workers.
A lot of natural light enters the cowork space thanks to large windows. Since those windows sit beside a sidewalk and road (although traffic-wise, it’s more like a side street), some street noise enters the room.
In theory, there are two insulated conference rooms. However, the rooms aren’t very insulated.
Secondly, Selina requires you to pay to use the conference rooms. I didn’t find this out until a week into my stay, since they were always unlocked. Not having the ability to hop over to a free, insulated area to make a phone call is a huge downside of this cowork space.
I had issues with the WiFi a couple of times, but the front desk was quickly able to resolve this by restarting the router. You’ll be given a WiFi password that’s exclusively for cowork members.
Unlike any other Selina I’ve stayed at, there wasn’t an area inside the cowork to get water, coffee, and tea. These items are included with your cowork membership, but you need to head to the cafe in the nearby restaurant to get them.
It was a little inconvenient, but I understand why they set it up that way since the cowork space is small.
Important: The cowork space isn’t included with your room price. You’ll need to book and pay for this separately. There’s usually not an issue with availability if you book it upon your arrival.
As a solo female traveler, I felt very safe at Selina Oaxaca. They have an evening guard at the front of the building—the entrance that everyone must pass through.
Selina will give you a wristband to wear at check-in, which is how they monitor who’s allowed in. Guests are permitted under certain circumstances, but they’ll need to check with the front desk.
Selina Oaxaca is in a safe location. In fact, I felt safer in the historical center of Oaxaca than I have in any other place I’ve visited in Mexico.
The staff at Oaxaca does an excellent job of keeping the hostel clean. It’s not always easy cleaning up after guests, but I rarely walked into a bathroom that wasn’t clean and the common areas were well cared for.
Of course, you can’t expect 100% cleanliness all the time from a hostel, particularly when it comes to communal bathrooms. But overall, I’d give Selina Oaxaca an above-average rating for cleanliness.
Selina Oaxaca Review: The Good
- Excellent location within walking distance to the main tourist attractions.
- Dorm rooms go up to 16 beds per room for people on extra tight budgets.
- A blanket is included (this isn’t the case for many Selina locations).
- Rooftop terrace with beautiful views over Oaxaca.
- Small, quaint feel and tasteful decor.
- Selina itself is well-secured, and the area around the hostel is very safe.
Selina Oaxaca Review: The Not So Good
- No female-only dorm room option.
- Hot water was hit or miss. When there was hot water, I had to shower quickly before it turned lukewarm or cold.
- WiFi needs periodic resetting.
Bonus: Bus Travel in Mexico
Thinking about travel to or from Oaxaca by bus?
ADO is by far the best company for traveling around Mexico. Their buses are new, clean, comfy, and equipped with air conditioning, heat, and WiFi. If trying to book your bus ticket on ADO’s website makes your head spin, I recommend booking your ADO bus ticket through our friends at Bookaway.
I use Bookaway for most of my Mexico ground travel. You can even book a private transfer with them if that’s your style.
If you’ll be staying at other Selinas in Mexico, make sure to check out my reviews on the following:
Is Staying at Selina Oaxaca Worth It?
Selina Oaxaca is by far one of my most favorite Selinas. I think it boils down to the hostel’s Spanish-style charm, its friendly staff, and because I fell in love with the city of Oaxaca itself.
If you still have lingering questions after reading this Selina Oaxaca review, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help.
Laura’s love for traveling started with a trip to Jamaica. Since then, she’s spent over five years living in Latin America and four years wandering the globe. She’s an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she’s befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister. You can learn about their accessibility endeavors here.