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HI - Nanaimo - Painted Turtle Guesthouse

121 Bastion St, Nanaimo, V9R 3A2, Canada

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are restrictions on services we offer Located right in the charming Downtown Quarter of Nanaimo, where there certainly isn't a shortage of local cafes, pubs, shops, and ocean views, The Painted Turtle Guesthouse can be your gateway to exploring the wild and beautiful Vancouver Island!

  • Dorm
    From $37.17
  • Private
    From $71.92
10 or more people?

Nanaimo Hostel

Hostel Nanaimo

Hostelling International

Welcome to our hostel

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are restrictions on services we offer

Welcome to the Painted Turtle Guesthouse!
If you are looking for clean, affordable, and social accommodation in Nanaimo, look no further!
Our homey and relaxed hostel offers the ideal place to sleep, socialise and see the sights! Our funky place is a warm blend of hostel and guesthouse.

Opened in 2004, the Painted Turtle Guesthouse is a fully renovated 1913 heritage building. Located steps away from the 2011 Nation wide vote of "Greatest Street in Canada". The local cafes, restaurants, pubs, clubs, street art, farmers markets, street performers and colourful buildings of the Old City Quarter create the charm of downtown. Plus the seawall is only a block and a half away, providing a great place to go for a stroll, and enjoy the views of the harbour, including the glorious mountains across the Salish Sea. The waterfront area also has a swimming lagoon, crabbing opportunities, local artisans, delicious ice cream, and access to Newcastle island for camping & day trails!

Besides the parts of Nanaimo to explore, our Central Island location makes us a great home-base for day trips!
We are within day-trip distance to: Port Renfrew, Victoria, Parksville, Denman Island, Courtenay/Comox, Mount Washington Ski Hill/Strathcona Provincial Park, and countless countless day hikes!!

Our guesthouse provides you with a comfortable room with towels and linens included, a well equipped self catering kitchen and eating area, free coffee & tea, (plus free pancakes on Sundays), a cozy living area with a book exchange and board games. We also offer FREE luggage storage, laundry facilities, office services, travel kiosk and discounts to local businesses!

We have dorm beds (female, male & co-ed), private rooms, and family rooms - perfect for backpackers and groups. We have many bathrooms, which are single use and private! Our family friendly, home-away-from- home ambience, makes us perfect for every kind of traveller.

Reservations guaranteed with a VISA or Mastercard only.

We look forward to being apart of your Vancouver Island adventure!


Prices are non-member prices

Dorms - Per guest per night


Private - Per room per night


Important info

  • Additional tax of 16% is payable at check-in.
  • Government-issued photo ID is required to check in.
  • Unaccompanied children under the age of 18 can be accommodated only with a letter from a parent or legal guardian providing permission for the child's unsupervised stay.
  • Children under the age of 12 are unable to be accommodated in shared dormitories
  • Children under the age of 5 stay free.
  • Membership can be purchased on arrival at hostel.
  • Rates quoted assume guests are not members of Hostelling International or a National Youth Hostel Association
  • A discount of CAD 10 per person per night is available to members on arrival.
  • Pets are not permitted in the hostel.
  • Accommodations are available only to guests from outside a 25 km radius of the hostel.
  • Prices and product availability is as accurate as possible but may be subject to change during checkout



Leisure & Fitness

  • Common room
  • TV room


  • Not suitable for wheelchair users

Food & Drink

  • Licenced Bar/Pub

Facilities - Internet Access

  • Wifi
  • WIFI Charges - Free
  • Internet Cafe Nearby
  • Internet Cafe Distance - Less than 500 m

Facilities - In-Hostel Services

  • Basic Shop
  • Car parking nearby
  • Car Parking Nearby Distance - At or next to the hostel
  • Booking Centre for HI hostels worldwide
  • Conference Facilities
  • Currency Exchange
  • Cycle Storage
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Lockers Available
  • Locker Type - In Room
  • Luggage Room
  • Luggage Room Availability - Available during hostel reception times
  • Sports Equipment Storage
  • Travel / Tour Desk
Opening times

Opening times

Open all year

From 16:30 to 20:30
From 16:30 to 20:30

Get in touch

Get in touch

Tel. (250) 753-4432

Fax. (250) 753-4434

Main attractions

Main attractions

  • Port of Nanaimo Harbourfront (Less than 500m)
  • Beach (Less than 500m)
  • Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park (1 to 2km)

See the full list of attractions



Everything at the hostel was great. Only problem was a $30 parking ticket received in the car park. I was told parking was free Thursday afternoons and evenings due to the street fair. Unfortunately this isn't so.


Avatar for Lucy


Mon 08 Jul 2019

Hello Lucy, We regret that you received a ticket and have options to help you with this issue. Bylaws has agreed to cancel the ticket if you have not paid it yet and mail the unpaid ticket to us. If you have already paid the ticket, we will be pleased to credit you the cost of the parking ticket for your future reservations. Sincerely, Jeff

Manager avatar

Alice Wu, Owner

Wed 10 Jul 2019

Nice cosy hostel. The receptionist was top, he gave me a lot of advice about what to visit and which park to camp. A lot of place were not very famous but they were so beautiful.


Avatar for Charline


Thu 13 Jun 2019

I was welcomed and felt very welcome. Staffer was knowledgable of places to eat and snjoy music..


Avatar for Heather


Sat 24 Nov 2018

Können wir nicht wirklich weiterempfehlen. Küche schmutzig, Bettlaken blutig, Geruch Zumutung


Avatar for Ralf


Fri 14 Sep 2018

I was extremely disappointed by the service that I got in Nanimo. I’d booked a private room which I have in writing however when I arrived I was told that the hostel didn’t have me down as having a private room & so was given a dorm. When I showed the reception staff the booking he phoned his manager and told that I was not to have a private room unless I paid more. I was so displeased that I cancelled the next two night booking which I had made. I also wrote to HI but have heard nothing back.


Avatar for Jeremy


Fri 17 Aug 2018


Around the hostel

Around the hostel

Nearby attractions

  • Beach (500m - 1km)
  • Cinema (5 to 10km)
  • City Centre (At or next to the hostel)
  • Cycle trails (500m to 1km)
  • Golf course (3 to 5km)
  • Gym (1 to 2km)
  • Hiking / Walking trails (Less than 500m)
  • Local market (Less than 500m)
  • Mountainous Area (2 to 3km)
  • Museums / Art Galleries (Less than 500m)
  • National / State Park (500m - 1km)
  • Nightlife (At or next to the hostel)
  • Parks / Green Area (Less than 500m)
  • Restaurants (At or next to the hostel)
  • River / Harbour / Lake (At or next to the hostel)
  • Shopping area / Mall (Less than 500m)
  • Ski area (More than 10km)
  • Swimming pool (1 to 2km)
  • Supermarket / Food store (Less than 500m)
  • Theatre (Less than 500m)
  • Water park (2 to 3km)
  • Wooded Area (1 to 2km)
Getting to us

Getting to us

Fly directly into Nanaimo Airport with Air Canada West Jet or Kenmore Air. Take a taxi ($50) or shuttle service ($26) 18km to city.
Take Greyhound bus from Vancouver ($30) Victoria ($25) or Port Hardy ($75) to Nanaimo. Take Bus #2 to City Centre or #25 Ferry Shuttle. Both buses stop at the bus exchange. Walk down the hill for 5 minutes and we are located on the right hand side of the street.
Nanaimo is directly linked to the British Columbia mainland by two major BC Ferry routes for vehicle traffic (starting at $45). Horseshoe Bay - Departure Bay (Close to downtown) or Tsawwassen - Duke Point (13km from City Centre)
AC Taxi - 250-753-1231 OR Yellow Cab - 250-751-1111
The Painted Turtle Guesthouse is located in the Arts District downtown -the corner of Commercial and Bastion St (121 Bastion St). From Hwy 19/#1 (TransCanada) take exit to Hwy 19A and follow to city centre (approx. 5km). Parking is available on Commercial St. Two hours free on Mon-Sat from 8am-5pm. Free after 5pm and all day Sunday. Paid parking is available across the street at the Bastion street parkade for $0.50/hour; or $6 for 24 hours.
Passenger trains do not currently operate on Vancouver Island.
Sports & activities

Sports & activities

  • Abseiling
  • Athletics
  • Basketball
  • Birdwatching
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Cycling
  • Dance
  • Fishing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Horse riding
  • Mountain Biking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Rugby
  • Scuba / Snorkelling
  • Skateboarding
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Walking / Hiking
  • Whale Watching
  • Windsurfing

Sustainability initiatives


  • Low carbon activities
  • Public transportation is promoted
  • Environmental cleaning


  • Energy saving lights
  • Insulation and ventilation systems
  • Double-glazing windows


  • Working with local community
  • Educational programs


  • Recycling areas
  • Composting
  • Fairtrade food served
  • Organic food served
  • Local and seasonal food


  • Water savers in showers

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HI - Nanaimo - Painted Turtle Guesthouse