Hostel International – Pleasant Bay

Nova Scotia Hostel - Pleasant Bay

I’ve done my fair share of shoestring budget travel, but somehow I’ve never stayed in a hostel.  Throwing a tent in my backpack has always been my M.O. when it comes to saving money on the road, but it’s good to know that there are options out there if you ever need a sturdier shelter without breaking the bank.

Sunset Love Nova Scotia Highlands Cabot Trail

Hostel International is, as the name implies, an international organization of hostels that must meet certain (high) standards to be members.  There are a handful of member hostels throughout Nova Scotia and the rest of the Maritimes, including in Pleasant Bay in the middle of the Cape Breton Highlands.

HI-Pleasant Bay has only been a member hostel for a couple years, and though I don’t have a standard of comparison, Gillian has stayed in several hostels in Europe.  Her experiences have involved some good, and a few really bad experiences, including a London hostel shower that still haunts her dreams. This was her first stay at a Hostel International property.

Skyline Moose Cabot Trail Highlands Nova Scotia

HI-Pleasant Bay is ideally located near the entrance to the Highlands and close to great pub-style dining options like The Rusty Anchor. There are two common spaces with books, games and computer access, a fridge, stove and a place to grab umbrellas and walking sticks (to scare off coyotes and because…walking sticks).

Outside there is a small herb garden that you can use to add a little kick to your meals.  The kitchen is large and well equipped for most anything you could want to cook plus there is a barbecue. Bathrooms are shared but there are two in the main house and they are large very (VERY) clean.

Lobster and Snow Crab Nova Scotia

We spent time touring the cabot trail and dining on snow crabs and lobster at the Rusty Anchor before calling it a night.  Sheets are provided and the beds are comfortable, it felt more like being at a summer cottage than a hostel. They have a mix of accommodation options from private rooms to a large bunk house that sleeps 10 and which has its own bathroom.

Nova Scotia Hostel - Pleasant Bay

This photo is from the HI – Pleasant Bay website. We had our own images but our computer recently crashed and it was one of the lost items 🙁

The HI – Pleasant Bay is perfect for a budget conscious traveler or someone looking to meet new friends on the road.  As a first-time hostel guest, I was pleased, but not as much as Gillian who found HI-Pleasant Bay to be a much cozier spot than any hostel she had stayed in prior. Rates start at $23.48 and go as high as $54.78.  They are now open for the season, and will stay open until the end of October. Book early, this affordable, ideally located hostel books quickly!

While in the area we also recommend checking out some Whale Watching! You can also check out  our No-Fail Cape Breton Vacation Guide.

Hostel International Pleasant Bay
23349 Cabot Trail
Cape Breton Island, NS


Subscribe to me on YouTube
Follow our adventures live:


About the author

The Local Traveler

Two travellers' tales of finding adventure on the East Coast. This blog is dedicated to the best parts of travel, and to discovering, celebrating and promoting things to do in our corner of the world, and sometimes beyond. We especially love craft beer, day trips, romantic escapes, local food & hidden gems. Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and share tips and photos of your favourite East Coast adventures.

Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube