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Whether it's a relaxing or adventurous holiday that you want, homestays and bed & breakfasts in Goa are a great alternative to the usual beach hotels. It's at a homestay that you can really get away from the crowds and enjoy the calmness of the villages. These top Goa homestays, for all budgets, will give you a warm welcome and memorable experience of the true local Goan way of life. Do note that the rates stated below are the cheapest throughout the year and may increase significantly during the busy tourist season.
Neemrana's Arco Iris Noble Home, South Goa
Arco Iris is the perfect place for anyone with a passion for old Goan-Portuguese mansions. This one took three painstaking years to restore to its previous grandeur, but the result is stunning. The gorgeous mosaics are a special feature. The property fronts onto a seasonal lake, which makes the setting even more captivating. Situated in the quiet village of Curtorim, not far from Margao in South Goa, it's convenient for visiting other restored Goan-Portuguese mansions that are open to the public as well. Expect to pay around 5,000 rupees per night upwards for a double, including breakfast.
Capella Forest Retreat and Homestay, North Goa
Capella is a classic boutique Goan homestay, nestled on a forested hill in Parra village, about 15 minutes inland from Anjuna and Baga. The hosts are avid nature and wildlife enthusiasts, and have a vast collection of books on the subject. They designed and built the property themselves, and it oozes earthy character. There's a swimming pool and three air-conditioned guest rooms. Rates start from 5,500 rupees per night, for a double including breakfast.
Olaulim Backyards, North Goa
Olaulim Backyards is a hinterland homestay with five unusual eco-friendly cottages, where you can really get back to nature. The property sits along the Goan backwaters in Olaulim village near Aldona, about 30 minutes inland from Panjim. It's ideal for those who like an active vacation enjoying the great outdoors. Options include kayaking, village walks, and bird watching. Special scuba diving and monsoon white water rafting packages are also available for adults who like a thrill! Plus, the property has a swimming pool, tree house, and menagerie of pets. Rates start from 4,500 rupees per night. Breakfast and all in-house activities are included.
Casa Menezes, North Goa
The magnificent 300-year old ancestral home of the Menezes family is surrounded by paddy fields and palm trees in Batim village, about 20 minutes southeast of Panjim. The village feels wonderfully stuck in time. Nearby, a lake is a delight for bird watchers, and bicycles are available to explore the surrounding area. The host is very knowledgeable about its heritage and history. The property also has an art gallery and boutique (Sala de Kala). It showcases the work of artists from Goa and beyond, as well as stocks antiques and other unique items of furniture. Frequent exhibitions are held at the gallery. Pets are welcome! Expect to pay 4,500 rupees per night upwards for a double.
The Secret Garden, North Goa
Idyllic and immaculate, The Secret Garden stuns guests with its thoughtful restoration that took more than a decade to complete. The property is situated in Saligao village, around 10 minutes from Baga beach. It combines old and new, to create a magical tropical hideaway in a much loved 200-year old ancestral home. The Goan-British hosts have extensive tourism experience in Goa and this is reflected in their outstanding hospitality, including sumptuous breakfasts. The largest of the three exquisitely decorated guest rooms opens out onto the garden and has a path leading to the swimming pool. Rates start from around 6,000 rupees per night. A minimum two night stay is required.
Quinta da Graca, North Goa
Also in Saligao village, Quinta da Graça is an atmospheric Goan-Portuguese mansion, dating back to the 1940s. The hosts are a local couple who have restored the property with some additions, but largely keeping its Goan essence intact. Expect rooms with high ceilings, antique Belgian crystal chandeliers, period furniture, and a serene walled garden surrounding the house. The hosts have a keen interest in Goan folklore and culture, and have plenty of entertaining stories to share. The guest accommodations consist of four bedrooms, a separate one-bedroom cottage, and a two bedroom cottage. Rates start from 2,500 rupees per night for a double room.
Cancio's House, North Goa
Very family and child friendly, Cancio's House provides laid-back accommodations in the 500-year old ancestral home of a sweet Goan family and their pets. It offers a traditional village and eco-friendly experience in Aldona. Water is drawn from a well and food is cooked using home grown produce. The hosts organize kayaking on the backwaters. You can also charter a speedboat or catamaran. Rates start from 2,800 rupees per night upwards.
Caravela Homestay, Panjim
Caravela Homestay is ideal for anyone wanting to stay in Goa's Fontainhas Latin Quarter. Tucked away in one of the district's Portuguese mansions, it's themed on a 15th century Portuguese ship. The father and son hosts are really kind and helpful, and the property also has a cafe that serves delicious Goan-Portuguese cuisine. There's a wide range of rooms to choose from including single, family and suite rooms. The suite has its own rooftop terrace. Rates start from around 2,500 rupees per night.
Vivenda Rebelo, Panjim
This leafy, value-for-money homestay is centrally situated in the quiet Campal Heritage Precinct, close to Miramar and the Mandovi River promenade. Its affable host will make you feel welcome and settled. He even gives guests a short tour of the area. The International Film Festival of India is held at Campal, and the Kala Academy center for performing arts is nearby. In addition, the Goa Carnival parade passes through the area. The property is a refurbished 100-year old Goan-Portuguese mansion with four basic rooms for guests. Expect to pay 2,000 rupees per night for a double, including breakfast.
Simply Homestay, South Goa
Bright and cheery, and looking out across rice paddy fields about 10 minutes from Benaulim beach, Simply Homestay blends Goan and western influences. The hosts are a multicultural husband and wife team -- he's Goan and she's German/Slovenian but grew up in Switzerland -- plus their two young kids. They work in the travel industry and offer a diverse variety of activities. There are only two guest rooms (one with double bed and the other with two singles) in a building separate from the main house, so you'll have plenty of privacy. Expect to pay 3,000 rupees per night, including breakfast.
The Carvalho family have set up this elegant homestay -- a one bedroom cottage with kitchen -- in an extended part of their mansion, built in 1789, that was a storage area for coconuts. It was later was turned into a hair salon, and finally cozy guest accommodations. Such a lot of history! The way the family have preserved the original structures will definitely conjure up images of Goa in the olden days. The homestay is situated in Majorda, about 20 minutes walk from Majorda beach (unlike Benaulim beach, this beach undeveloped and sparsely populated), and is a handy base for exploring serene South Goa. Bicycles are available for guests. Rates start from around 2,000 rupees per night.
Fancy living the jungle life without sacrificing comfort? Affable hosts Monty and Shristi have five pretty wooden cottages (with hammocks!) nestled into the lush backyard of their property in trendy Assagao village. There are another two rooms on the top floor of the house, which the hosts have revamped -- adding a boutique, cafe, and mini open-air rooftop gym as well. Their aim: to allow guests to escape the concrete jungle and enjoy nature while being just minutes away from hip eateries. With an in-house Japanese masseuse and facial therapist, this is the perfect spot to relax and rejuvenate. A bonus is that the homestay is conveniently located right next to Purple Valley Yoga Retreat, so you can use it as a base for attending yoga workshops. Rates start from around 2,500 rupees per night. Breakfast is extra.
Animals-lovers who desire budget-friendly accommodations will appreciate Miss Jenny's Homestay, named after the family dog. Former Mumbai couple Hardika and Anirudh have transformed this groovy century-old Goan-Portuguese villa in sleepy Saligao village, where they reside in the downstairs part. Guests get the upper floor, where there are two interconnected rooms with balconies and separate entrances. There's also an independent garden cottage in the midst of mango, coconut and jackfruit trees. The grassy outdoor sitting area and village vibes will invite you to unwind and enjoy the slow pace of life. Books are provided! In case you're keen for some evening entertainment, Cantare tavern often has life music and is only five minutes away. Rates start from 2,000 rupees per night for a double. Breakfast is extra.