The aim of this thesis is to understand the socio-cultural impacts backpackers, as ‘alternative tourists’, have on the destinations they visit. Through a case study analysis, I examine the relationship between the hosts and guests of one specific backpacker enclave. In order to apply my method of participant observation, I spent five weeks living as a backpacker in the small village of Zipolite. Based on my observations, I denote three distinct groups living together side-by-side within the enclave of Zipolite. I term these groups as: 1) the settlers, 2) the contemporary backpackers and 3) the ethnic locals. These three groups each have their own defining features and independent ways of thinking, yet they have a definite interdependence. Zipolite is thus characterized by the conflicting cultural values and views of these three groups. Through a presentation of interviews, conversations, observations and anecdotes, I illustrate how each of these three unique groups perceives the enclave. My overall purpose is to understand the relationship between these ‘alternative’ tourists and their hosts through an analysis of people’s interactions, perceptions and attitudes within the enclave (Cohen 1996: 56). From this analysis, I am able to draw upon possible socio-cultural impacts that backpacker tourism has brought upon the host population of Zipolite.