Logo

Hackers Paradise Review [MUST READ!]

This Hackers Paradise review is designed to do one thing – show you EXACTLY what Hackers Paradise is really like from people who have actually done it!

With the help of this Nomads Nation insider guide, you’ll be able to see Hackers Paradise for exactly what it is, and decide whether or not it’s perfect for you!

Let’s dive into the most BRUTALLY honest Hackers Paradise review on the web (and see how it stacks up to it’s competitor Remote Year

#1 - Sebastien Arbogast

Sebastien Arbogast
  • Age: 37
  • Profession: Software developer and online trainer
  • Dates on HP: June 17 2018 - September 5 2018
    November 4 2018 - December 15 2018
    February 3 2019 - April 19 2019

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the best), how was your experience with Hackers Paradise?

10!!!

Sebastien Arbogast

What made you interested in joining Hackers Paradise?

I had been researching the digital nomad lifestyle for a couple of years before I managed to make it possible work-wise.
 
Then, once my job became compatible with it, I wanted to run a series of experiments to see if it matched my personality. In particular, I’m a happy introvert and I wanted to make sure working and travelling would not isolate me even more.
digital nomal styles
 And Hacker Paradise seemed appealing in that regard as it allowed me to travel with a bunch of people from around the world. In addition, I wanted to make sure I didn’t crash and burn by landing in the worst neighborhood, completely on my own without any Internet.
 
And Hacker Paradise seemed to offer something there as well since they took care of all the logistics for me, including accommodation and SIM card.
 
Last but not least, I wanted to make sure I would still be able to work efficiently and stay productive, even if I needed to record some of my video courses. And there as well, HP took care of coworking and internet bandwidth guarantees.
digital nomad style

What were you most (pleasantly) surprised with Hackers Paradise?

One of the things I was afraid of, being the introvert that I am, was a beach village atmosphere where I would be “pushed” to go out all the time, party all night and so on. And not only was it not my style, but I simply could not afford it financially. 

And I was really pleased to see that it was not the case at all. All the activities organized by the facilitators or by other participants were really optional, no pressure involved. 

And the culture promoted by HP was really one of open-mindedness, freedom, tolerance and inclusiveness, while maintaining a constant no-clique vibe.

I felt right at home, hung out with friends when I wanted to, worked on my own when I needed to, enjoyed some me-time when I fancied, that was perfect.
 
Another aspect I had not anticipated is that the group really softens culture shock: when you are exploring the most surprising (and sometimes outright WTF) places with a bunch of people from all around the world, it makes the whole experience so much more fun, enjoyable and rich of different perspectives and takes on things, I was blown away. 

Oh, and also, contrary to what the name suggests, it’s not all white male developers. Most trips I’ve been on were balanced in terms of males and females, and a lot of different jobs. 

Of course there are a lot of software developers, but maybe half of people have reinvented their job for this lifestyle.

Oh, and I was expecting to be a little less productive while on those trips, and quite the opposite happened: between all the rituals in the program designed to help us mingle and collaborate (reciprocity, goal sessions, talks, workshops, Monday lunches) and all the excellent accomodation and coworking/internet setup, I did an incredible amount of work done. 

Of course, it was happily compensated by a lot of group exploration and FOMO spirit, so in the end I didn’t do more than when I was at home, but I didn’t do less either, which I was afraid of in the beginning, so it was perfect.

Last but not least, I met a lot of people who had been traveling with HP for a while, and I didn’t expect such a family spirit. 

Sebastien Arbogast
Once you are an HP alumnus, you are really part of this family of people who end up bumping into each other on the other side of the world without necessarily planning it, and you really start again right where you left off. 

In a sense, it brings my community closer, it makes the whole world smaller, and it helps me feel at home everywhere. 

What I like to say now, is that home is where my community is, and HP helps my community meet all around the world, so my home really IS the world.

Where did you think there was room for improvement?

One of the hardest and most demanding jobs in the world really is for HP facilitators, those people who are on Hacker Paradise’s payroll, get us set with all the logistics (accomodation, SIM card, on-site transportation info, coworking, etc.), organize all the HP ritual activities, and have to answer all our questions and solve a lot of our language barrier and culture shock related issues during the trip. 

Doing that constantly throughout the year, changing team mates almost after every trip, it really wears down on them, and sometimes it can have adverse effects on the trip’s vibe and the group’s cohesion. 

Sebastien Arbogast

They know it, I told them about it (they take feedback very seriously, so there’s that) and I’ll do everything I can to help them improve their organization and facilitator management culture to make it even more sustainable and consistent so that a maximum of participants enjoys a maximum of trips.

Now that you've had some time to decompress and evaluate, what part of the experience do you keep going back to?

It’s all about the people. The world is beautiful, it is vast, it is so much richer than what we see when we stay at home, in our comfort bubble, but sharing this awakening with people from all over the world, with all their rich perspectives, really makes a huge difference. 

And now that I’ve been traveling on my own for a couple of months, I can see with my own eyes all those world citizens with a global spirit not sharing as much as we did on Hacker Paradise trips, almost living this lifestyle in parallel to each other, not really touching, and it feels like a waste. 

Sebastien Arbogast

I can almost understand how it can wear you down after a while and make you feel like going back home. 

As far as I’m concerned, I left my apartment and all my possessions in Belgium after 3 months traveling with HP, and I’m not even thinking of going back to a sedentary lifestyle anytime soon.

What sort of advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining Hackers Paradise?

There is not one silver bullet digital nomad lifestyle. Nomadism comes in all shapes and sizes and it’s so crucial to find the blend and balances that matches your personality. 

So when I rave at my experience with HP and talk about how I can’t wait to join them again, and I hear people answering me that it looks so much more expensive than paying for their own accomodation in Bali or Chiang Mai, I say yes, totally. 

Sebastien Arbogast

And Bali is nice and all (I didn’t enjoy Chiang Mai that much though to be honest. That damn airport noise!). 

But having the freedom to live and work anywhere you want and just settling down in the cheapest place you can find for the least paying job you can have seems like you stopped half way through your discovery. 

So my advice is this: save up for one Hacker Paradise trip as an experiment. Try to join them in the next destination that’s been high on your bucket list anyway, and see for yourself what they bring to the table.

And you will see that this instant global community and long term family spirit they manage to create is worth every additional penny you pay, and then some. 

And you might end up rethinking your own personal business model to make sure you can enjoy as many HP trips as you like, even if it means spending some time in Bali every once in a while to refill the bank account (which is what I’m doing now), and then you won’t be able to wait for the next trip.

Would you do Hackers Paradise again?

I’m doing it again in August in Belgrade, and then again in September in Lisbon, and then again in November and December in Cape Town. So as I always say instead of good bye: see you somewhere around the world!

#2 - Johan Van Wambeke

  • Age: 31
  • Profession: Developer Enterpreneur
  • Dates on HP: February 2-30

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the best), how was your experience with Hackers Paradise?

9!!!

What made you interested in joining Hackers Paradise?

I wanted to travel, but have absolutely no experience going outside of Europe so did not know where to start.

I also wanted to find paid remote work, again, no experience with that and not knowing where to look.

Then I joined a facebook group ‘Digital Nomads belgium’ where I met people who already accomplished what I wanted to do.

One of them suggested HP to me, and they were going to Thailand, around the time i planned to book my flight so that was a perfect opportunity.

The man who suggested HP to me was an elumni himself so I got a good idea of how this would all work.

They take care of the things I had no idea about, I would follow some workshops with them and figure out everything in a month time.

What were you most (pleasantly) surprised with Hackers Paradise?

The optional diversity of things to do, every day has an activity, you can either join and enjoy or work your ass of on your passion project, or kind of do anything else you want.

The group is also very open to suggestions, for example some tourist place you want to visit or organizing a Hike, it is all possible and none of it is mandatory.

I guess also finding like minded people, it is surprising how much you have in common with people, you would never guess. The HPers are more open about the good, the bad and the ugly.

Making you feel more normal and accepted, it’s rather therapeutic in a way.

Johan

Where did you think there was room for improvement?

Everything can improve, but if this is what you are looking for, changing 1 area would meen compromising another.

Everyone has there story and background why they are choosing to live away from comfort, and away from friends and family.

Sometimes the group vibe can suffer, a lot of people are trying to figure out personal struggles.

I was there more to develop professionally, so had to retreat of some ‘cumbaya’ moments.

Now that you've had some time to decompress and evaluate, what part of the experience do you keep going back to?

I had a nice one on one game of chess in the sun with one of my ‘donut buddies’ it was relay idyllic.

There was a way of getting to know some of the people on profound level, the way everyday life does not allow you to do it.

You start caring about them as if you’re somehow connected. Really interesting experience.

What sort of advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining Hackers Paradise?

Do not plan anything, making plans in advance on how you will spend your day, or plan your week is not a good idea. They have figured it out for you so just get on the boat and ride the wave.

Discover the area, the only thing we regret is not renting a scooter or bicycle on day 1, freedom comes in different shapes, being flexible transportation wise is smart.
We have kept traveling and we are now very solid cooter enthusiasts!

Do not pack to much stuff if you are going somewhere tropical, just the essentials. I am still ragging along clothes everywhere 😀 it is just unnecessary.

If you are a couple ( like we are ) and join the group, prepare for mostly singles. You will probably be the only couple. For us this is fine, but it makes it harder to fit in, if that is your goal.

Johan

Would you do Hackers Paradise again?

Yes, we want to do it again, looking forward to seeing some of the same people but also meeting a bunch of new faces.

We want to join somewhere far from Europe, it would probably not be asia again, either Japan or america.

If anyone from my old group reads this, miss you guys!

#3 - Cynthia Thissen

  • Age: 27
  • Profession: Wildlife Manager
  • Dates on HP: 2-30 February 2019

On a scale from 1-10 (10 being the best), how was your experience with Hackers Paradise?

9!!!

What made me interested in joining HP?

This trip was the very first beginning of my travels, for hopefully a half a year or longer. It made me feel much more confident that the first month of my travels would be around other working-traveling people. 

It was also reassuring that someone else was there for some questions before taking off. And knowing you are surrounded by like-minded (crazy traveling) people was definitely the biggest reason for me why I wanted to join HP.

What was I most (pleasantly) surprised with?

Definitely the coordinator’ (Sara) commitment to the group, to create an unforgettable experience, and Sara’s personal involvement for all participants. 

Right after I booked with HP, I fell ill and had to deal with Formaldehyde allergy and I had absolutely no idea what this would mean for my travel plans. 

I communicated this with Sara, and she assisted and helped me with all my questions really quick. She helped me searching for the best possible way for me to travel! Cheers to Sara!

Second reason was the group’s support during the meetings. You were encouraged to set your own business- and personal goals straight. 

I got feedback and offers for help from the fellow HP-ers. Sharing personal goals creates a trusting atmosphere and is a way to get to know each other real quick.

I also like the opportunity it creates after you joined HP. There is a Slack-group with alumni HP travelers, who know what it means to (try) to make a living while traveling. Everyone is very helpful and willing to share information, tips and skills.

Cynthia

Where did you think there was room for improvement?

There are actually 2 small things where I thing HP can improve on. During this trip, everybody was encouraged to share/talk about his/her skills for 20 minutes.

Not many people were very keen to do this, but did it anyways because our sweet facilitators kept asking (this is not what would need improvement, they did a good job). 

I think it would be nice to schedule in some ‘professional’ talkers or people who exactly know what they want to share. 

So when nobody from the group itself feels comfortable to speak, you know there will be someone else sharing valuable information and tips to the group.  

The pressure on the facilitators was noticeable. I bet doing such a job can be very demanding and stressful with a huge workload. 

Planning the next HP-trip while taking care of everything for the current HP-trip. Our facilitators really did a good job and managed to arrange everything what was promised. 

But I do think that the workload was too much for the amount of people on site. Even when we (as HP participants) got everything we need, I would also like to see that the facilitators could take a break sometimes also.

Now that you’ve had some time to decompress and evaluate, what part of the experience do you keep going back to?

Easy, definitely the people you meet while joining HP on their travels. I met some amazing people who really want to listen to your story and help you wherever they can.

I love how welcoming and accepting everybody is towards someone new or towards a different situation. I think the type of people doing these sorts of trips are the people I would like to surround myself more with.

And I really liked that all kinds of trips, evenings and lunches were planned for us. All I needed to do was to tell the facilitators I would like to join, and they would tell me where and when they would pick me up. 

Very easy, very nice! In this way I could focus on my work, while someone else was trying to make sure I would have seen/done as many things as possible from the island.

What I also really liked were the kind of ‘set-up’ meetings with your fellow HP-ers. We had a random ‘Donut-Date’ with one of your colleagues every week, to meet up and get to know each other. 

It is so nice to meet people one-on-one, no stress, no pressure, just a good talk with a cool coconut. It definitely creates a more personal and understanding group.

What sorts of advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining HP?

Make sure you don’t over pack haha.

If you do not like to travel alone, or you tend to get lonely while being away from home more often, just join HP for a while. 

You can choose 2 weeks, or even a couple of months. It is such a nice switch! You will get a different mindset, socializing time with new people, fun trips and nice evenings on the beach.

If you are really sure you have loads and loads of work to do, where you definitely have to work 9/10+ hours a day, I should maybe reconsider and join HP when you are not that super busy. 

HP arranges many trips/lunches/talks/meetings, and it would be a shame if you cannot attend to a single one of them because you have to work all the time. 

Well, I would personally find it difficult when I am feeling that I’m missing out on everything. Maybe you won’t feel like this so quick, or you can just choose the aspects which are most appealing for you.

Cynthia

Would you do Hackers Paradise again?

Yes! I really liked traveling with HP to Ko Lanta (Thailand) and I have not regretted this decision for a second. 

I would definitely join HP on another trip, especially when I know more people from the first trip are joining also. Thank you for this amazing time!

Final Thoughts on Hackers Paradise

Just like our Remote Year review, this Hackers Paradise review is meant to show you the TRUTH about this amazing travel program!

Whether you are an established Digital Nomad, or are looking to embark on your first work-and-travel-experience – Hackers Paradise is one of the best options on the market!

Have you traveled with Hackers Paradise or any of their competitors? 

Let us know in the comments below!

Further Reading…

***Disclaimer*** Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you through the link, Nomads Nation will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going 🙂

Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Dumpling crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -