Hostel La Candelaria (Parque La Candelaria, Calle 35 between Calles 42 and 44, tel. 985/856-2267, candelaria_hostel [at] hotmail [dot] com, www.hostellingmexico.com , US$8.25 dorm, US$19.50 s with shared bath, US$26 d with shared bath) offers clean though somewhat worn rooms—many beds needed to be replaced and a coat of paint would do wonders. Still, it’s a good choice, given the outstanding common areas: an outdoor kitchen that is amazingly equipped with loads of kitchenware, spices, and even tea; a laundry area (hand wash only) with soap provided; a comfy indoor lounge decorated with Mexican art and instruments; and a lush garden with hammocks, tables, and chairs. There’s lots of information about the region, plus a great book exchange. Continental breakfast is included in the rate as are sheets and private lockers.
With spotless rooms set along a grassy, flower-lined courtyard, Hotel Zaci (Calle 44 between Calles 37 and 39, tel. 985/856-2167, US$23 s, US$31.50, US$32.50 d with a/c, US$36 d with a/c) is a good option. Rooms are kept up nicely and have details such as stenciling on the walls and iron-work furnishings. The top-floor rooms are a bit cheaper—the decor and amenities are a bit dated—so if you’re counting your pennies, ask for one of those. A small, clean pool is a nice plus.
Across from the cathedral, Hotel San Clemente (Calle 42 between Calles 41 and 43, tel. 985/856-2208, www.hotelsanclemente.com.mx , US$32 s/d with fan, US$37 s/d with a/c) has 64 rooms surrounding a pleasant courtyard and pool. The rooms are spacious and clean with simple decor. Some units have a musty smell, unfortunately; ask for one on the top floor, which have the benefit of a good breeze.