"You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave."
Growing up, I remember being confused and infuriated by the idea of a monopoly being illegal. It seemed to me that the law punished companies for no other reason other than that they were simply too good at what they did, an inherently unfair concept. It took a college economics course for me to realize that the laws were written primarily to protect the consumer, and in a monopolistic environment, the consumer generally suffers.
As odd as it sounds, it is possible for a hostel to be too good. Loki, in Mancora, is probably too good. It has cracked the (admittedly simple) backpacker formula and is reaping the rewards. It has become bigger and more well-known than the town that houses it, it is an attraction in and of itself. It is a monopoly, and though it's an undeniable good time, the backpacker-consumer is suffering.
The open secret to a hostel like Loki is that if it provides all a backpacker needs at a good enough quality, they will have no reason to venture outside it's walls. Lodging, food, drinks, entertainment, and the best crowds - in Mancora, it's all at Loki. Late nights, fueled by perfectly designed happy hours and theme parties and drinking games, ensure that guests oversleep checkout time. A varied, reliable menu (with all items purchased on a tab system) destroy any motivation to seek food elsewhere. Even the lure of the ocean, the main attraction of Mancora, is undercut by a beautiful pool, void of the jewelry sellers that annoy you at the beach. You hate it and love it, you resent the place for keeping you so sheltered but at the same you just can't stop having fun.
And so, a little time was wasted at wonderful/terrible Loki. I made good friends there - a group of Australian surfers who may be the happiest people I've ever known, some fascinating rum-loving Chileans on vacation, a Swiss banker considering giving up a life of high salary for a life of tending bar - and left far earlier than many who get sucked in by Loki. I formed a strong Irish/Israeli crew and we made a plan to head south, to the mountains. And after lying to ourselves for a while ("We'll leave tomorrow!") we did just that.