Flotsam and Jetsam: Beachside Hostel in Elyu


Flotsam and Jetsam is a beach-side hostel which offers a great place to unwind in the surfing capital of La Union (aka Elyu). With its summery vibe and chill atmosphere, Flotsam and Jetsam surely offers a unique tropical experience that every traveler loves. Here’s our quick review and experience of this wonderful stay in San Juan, La Union, Philippines.

This post is updated on November 18, 2020.

New Normal Guidelines in La Union

As of November 18, 2020: Flotsam and Jetsam is open only for the residents of Region 1 in the Philippines. Please follow safety protocols and always be a responsible tourist.

Flotsam and Jetsam Review

This seaside hostel became popular from promotions and posts of celebrities who visited the place. My friends and I decided to give it a try and see if this highly recommended hostel truly provides a unique experience. In this review, I divided my thoughts into 5 different sections with a quick travel guide at the end.

  1. Endless Tropical Vibe of Flotsam and Jetsam
  2. A Surfer’s Sanctuary
  3. A Colorful Plate at the Hungry Nomad KitchenBar
  4. Dancing with the Waves of La Union
  5. Wrapping Up and How to Visit Flotsam and Jetsam

Photo inside Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel

Endless Tropical Vibe

It was June when we visited Flotsam and Jetsam and the summer heat was still around. We arrived in the hostel around 1000H and requested for an early check in.

Photo of reception area in Flotsam and Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel

What’s attractive about Flotsam and Jetsam is its interior design. Some people say it’s hipster, but I think it is peculiar and unique. A good example are the small illustration boards hanged in the reception area displaying information of the weather and wave forecast jotted in colorful chalks.

Photo inside of Flotsam and Jetsam Beach Hostel

Almost every part of the hostel is decorated with different kinds of small to medium-sized figurines, landscape photographs on wooden frame, and ethnically modern oil-based murals. What caught my attention though were the Japanese umbrellas printed with various floral canvass hanged upside down in the ceiling. The building of Flotsam and Jetsam is also painted with pleasing flat neutral hues conveying a nice tropical vibe.

Photo inside dorm room of Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel La Union

A Surfer’s Sanctuary

We stayed in Flotsam and Jetsam’s air-conditioned premium dormitory. This 4-bed dorm room is petite but with enough space to occupy two bunk beds on both sides. Although the room is small, it does not lack essential features.

Photo inside dorm room of Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel

Photo inside dorm room of Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel

Photo inside dorm room of Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel

Flotsam and Jetsam Room Rates

Each bed is equipped with a privacy curtain, light and power outlet on one side, individual lockers, pillows, linens, and a comfortable mattress enough to mend our tired body. Wireless internet is also available upon request. On the other hand, the price of this dorm room was surprising. One occupied bed costs ₱1350 ($27) a night. Since we were a group of five then the total cost was ₱6750 ($135). That’s expensive for a beach hostel like this. Nevertheless, we went out and explored if this place was worth the price.

Photo of the Kitchen Bar of Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel

A Colorful Plate at the Kitchen Bar

Flotsam and Jetsam also has its own restaurant, the Hungry Nomad Kitchen Bar. This bar and restaurant is located on the beach side of the hostel. Similar upstairs, this place is also heavily designed with different kinds of art.

Photo of Kitchen Bar in Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel

It has a wooden platform populated with tables and rattan chairs enough to accommodate a number of guests. Suspended lighting with different accents and colors hanged in the ceiling of the bar giving life and ambiance especially in the night.

Photo of Bamboo Hut in Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel

There’s also a bamboo hut on the outer part of the kitchen bar with available microbead pillows and cushions perfect for spending a chill time with your friends while savoring the sound of the waves in the beach.

Photo of flotsam and jetsam food

Aside from its sense of community, the Hungry Nomad Kitchenbar also serves continental dishes readily available for gastronomes like me. For lunch, I ordered their fried chicken padang (Left) for ₱270 ($5.40). My friends, on the other hand, ordered their breaded porkchop (Right) for ₱260 ($5.20) and nomad green curry for ₱290 ($5.80).

Photo of breakfast in Flotsam Jetsam Hostel

Availing any of their accommodation entitles you for a free breakfast in the kitchen bar. In the morning, they served different kinds of complex carbs like cereals, breads, jams and coffee which is perfect for energizing your day. The bar also serves draft beers and various booze and cocktails perfect for night gatherings.

Photo of people surfing in La Union

Surfing Lessons in La Union

At the heart of Flotsam and Jetsam is their intense passion for surfing. With the help from foreign nationals who introduced this leisure, Elyu became one of the best surfing spots in the Philippines.

Photo of me surfing in san juan la union philippines

Surfing Lessons and Fee

Similar to other surfing spots across the country, renting a board or taking up lessons are affordable. Here, I availed their surfing lessons for only ₱400 ($8.00) inclusive of 1-hour board rental and fee for the instructor. If you already know how to surf but don’t have any surfing board to play, then you can rent one for only ₱200 ($4.00) per hour.

This was my third time surfing in the Philippines (first in Baler, then Reál) and I was glad that my skills has improved over time. A few more lessons and I think I’ll be riding combers and breakers soon. (Wishful thinking haha)

Photo of Surfing lessons by Flotsam and Jetsam in San Juan, La Union

Photo of Surfing lessons by Flotsam and Jetsam in San Juan, La Union

Photo of Surfing lessons by Flotsam and Jetsam in San Juan, La Union

Photo of Surfing lessons by Flotsam and Jetsam in San Juan, La Union

Unfortunately, the swells were not enormous when we surfed at Elyu. It was the off season, and locals told us that the waves were usually rampant during the months of July to October and November to March. Still, we enjoyed our surfing activity but we have to wait for a good wave during our session for a better experience.

Photo of travelers in Flotsam Jetsam Hostel in La Union

Wrapping Up

We had an amazing time in Flotsam and Jetsam. The atmosphere was lively and energetic. The staffs were congenial and accommodating. The food was a little bit pricey but the taste and quality were remarkable and their dorm room was just okay.

Is the price worth it? I can say the price is just right for a beautiful place like this. It is nice to spend a little bit more for quality stay and vacation.

Will I ever visit this place again? Definitely! If I will make another come back in this surfing town then I will surely stay in this hostel again. Nevertheless, Flotsam and Jetsam is a place of unending summer.

Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel

General Information

If you’re looking for a unique place to stay in San Juan, La Union then this is one of the best choice for you. Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel offers a variety of accommodation suitable to your needs.

How to Visit Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel?

If you have a private vehicle, then use any navigation apps like Waze or Google Maps and key in Flotsam and Jetsam as your destination.

On the other hand, if you’re going to commute, the best option is to take a Partas bus from Cubao, Quezon City to San Fernando City, La Union (travel time around 4-5 hours depending on the traffic). Fare is ₱436 for a regular AC bus From the bus station in San Fernando, take either a tricycle (₱80 per passenger) or a jeepney (₱11 one way) going to Flotsam and Jetsam Artist Beach Hostel.

For further details and reservations, you can check their interactive website at http://www.flotsamandjetsamhostel.com/.

This post is updated on November 18, 2020.

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