The hostel have pretty strange population, but in fact, the rooms are pretty fine, very kitch but ok. The neighbourhood is really cool, mission street is the south-american neighbourhood, not so far from town if you're ready to take the bus. I think the BART station on mission @ 16th may be a bit scary during the night, but the others places of mission are really ok. If you're a traveller who isn't too scared and used to poor nieghbourhoods, this hostel may suit you. I think backpackers are really used to this kind of place.
Just be careful with the owner of the hostel, he used to say all the time that the hostel is full, the website too, but the hostel seems to be empty quiet all the year. And he's used to rise his prices with strange and unknown taxes. Maybe better to come there and book directly at the hostel when you arrive.
If you want an hostel with more backpackers from all the world which is about 23$ per night per person, try the Elements Hostel just next to this one, a bit further south on mission street. The quality of services are much much better.
Don't trust all the frightening advices or the too good ones. It's just a strange hostel and a really nice neighbourhood.
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