A holiday in Goa is most synonymous with sun, sand, and a hotel with a sea view! Right? Maybe, but there’s much to experience in Goa that has nothing to do with living in a hotel, but everything to do with authentic local flavour. And the best way to get yourself a good taste of this local experience is to stay in any one of many pretty Goa homestays, possibly with a local Goan family, and have a holiday that’s going to give you much more than just the usual beachy Goan holiday.
Homestays in Goa range from really simple ones that are available on a budget, to those that are more lavish, to ones that are an ode to Goa’s Portuguese history. So depending on whether you’re in Goa for a really low-budget trip just alone or if you’re someone who likes it stylish, or if you want a taste of history, there’s a lot to choose from when you’re looking out for an accommodation in Goa.
Anjuna: Anjuna is the heart of the hippie culture that was brought to India back in the 1960s. Every Wednesday a flea market is organised here, which you must not miss. There are also numerous restaurants and bars in the area, for example, Basilico, Curlies, Munches, Oasis, The German Bakery, La Franza, Shore Bar, Zuri, and Whole Bean. Looks like a place that has so much to offer is probably going to mean that you’re going to have a lot to do here! Whether you’re solo or with family or your group of friends, homestays in Anjuna can accommodate you.
Parra: A small village in Bardez in North Goa, this place is known for The Sacred Heart of Jesus School. The most famous place here is Tittos, which is a crazily popular hangout spot. Historically, Parra was famous for its really red watermelons! Parra also has a church that is dedicated to St. Anne.
Batim: This village’s claim to fame came in 1994, when the people apparently witnessed an apparition of “Our Lady”. Batim lake here is great for some bird watching. The Ganxim Church here was constructed in the seventeenth century and is situated by a cemetery.
Morjim: Best known as the nesting and hatching site for Olive Raidley Turtles, which is an endangered species of turtles, this beach town in Goa is located in Pernem. Morjim Beach is also known as Turtle Beach, and activities like Kite Surfing are popular here. Restaurants such as Bora Bora, Marbela, Hakuna Matata, La Plage, Marbela, Ku, Sur la Mer are well-known here. Staying in a homestay here would mean tons of interesting places for you to visit.
Varca: Situated in South Goa, Varca is a 10 km stretch of white sand beach, with black lava rocks in the sand and wooden boats that belong to the fishermen of the place. Known as one of the cleanest beaches, this beach is known for some dolphin spotting. Some nice homestay accommodations are available here.
Vagator: This beach is quite a populated one, as its one of the main beaches of Goa. The sea is choppy here at times, with big rocks pushing out of the water in intervals, making for great spots to grab some pics of the water and the sunset. The shacks on the shore offer great fried fish for those who love seafood. A homestay in Vagator is easy on the pocket and offers simple comfort.
Calangute: One of the main beaches in Goa, and also the largest and the most well-known, Calangute is always a popular place for tourists. This is mainly because of the proximity of the beach with restaurants, bars, and places to stay. Restaurants like Café Sussegado, Koi, Pousada, the rather posh ‘A Reverie’, and the German Bakery Café ensure that your tummy is always going to be treated to some great food in addition to having a great accommodation to live in.
Candolim: Candolim lies south of Calangute. This place is hugely popular because of a bunch of restaurants, marketplaces, bars and pubs, all of which are in close proximity to the beachfront. This place is the more upmarket of most others in Goa, and the homestay properties here are slightly more lavish than the others. Restaurants and pubs such as Bomras, Fisherman’s Cove, Cohiba, Sunny Side Up, House of Lloyds, and Café Chocollati are the popular ones around here.
Mandrem: This white sand beach is situated in between Arambol and Ashwem. Recently tagged one of the best beaches in the country, the place is beginning to become popular. It’s a pretty chilled out beach, with none of the usual hustle and bustle of other beaches in Goa. The homely accommodation experience here is also one that’s peaceful and laid back.
Arambol: Located about 50 km from the airport, this is a fisherman village. This place attracts a lot of foreign tourists, and has its own hippie vibe going. A must visit if you’re much of a party person, this place acquires a nice happy character with groups playing drums as part of ‘drum circles’. There are a few places to eat here such as Gecko, L’amore, German Bakery, etc. If you’re looking for a nice budget homestay, this could be the place. Arambol is also known for some great paragliding!
Querim: This beach is the most northernmost beach in Goa. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet and just want to get away from the more noisy Arambol, this beach is a good bet. It is situated at the mouth of the Terekhol river, and there’s also a fort that you can get to by ferry just for the view from the top! You’ll find a lot of pine and casuarina trees here. A homestay is your best bet here, as the place isn’t commercialised at all.
Siolim: Siolim is close to a number of Goan beaches, including Ashwem, Vagator, Anjuna, and Morjim. This is a riverside location and if you’re looking for a houseboat cruise, this is the place you’ll find it! A homestay accommodation in Siolim would mean experiencing the non-beachy side of Goa, while being just at arm’s length from a beach if you crave it!
Carmona: A south Goan beach, Carmona is a typical Goan beach that also offers water sports apart from all the usual beachy stuff. Lots of local Goan food is available here. The most famous church here is ‘Our Lady of Help’. Accommodating in a homestay here would be a good idea if you’re looking for an experience of Goa that is different from the mainstream. Restaurants such as Sake, Tangerine, Papa Joe’s Bar & Restaurant serve some awesome food!
Panjim: This is the capital of the Goan state. Situated on the banks of the Mandovi River, Panjim has so much to offer for the party animal in you. Casinos, bars, restaurants, river cruises—there’s so much to do! There’s also a museum and an art gallery for the more artsy ones among you. Experiencing homestays living in Panjim gives you the best of both worlds—the homely feeling along with the glitz of Goa.
Bogmalo: Bogmalo is a beach village in South Goa, and is located pretty close to Dabolim airport. The beach here is a small one, with a sandy stretch of about a kilometre. Restaurants such as Joet’s Bar and Restaurant, John Seagull, Claudi’s Corner, Coconut Creek, Tony’s Beach Club, and Full Moon Restaurant and Bar ensure that your appetite is looked after. Homestay accommodation here could be a good idea if you want to experience the local way of living.
Majorda: This beach village lies south of Bogmalo in Salcete, and has a connection to Hindu mythology as it is believed that Lord Rama was brought here when he was a child. The beach is picture perfect and staying in a homestay property here gives you a good change from the usual hotel accommodations that are aplenty here.
Benaulim: Another South Goan beach, this one isn’t as commercial as the others yet. The main beach is divided into two—Benaulim, which is the primary beach, and Vaddi Beach which is less populated. So whether you’re a couple travelling or a family or large group, there is definitely a homestay in Goa in Benaulim for you!
Baga: Baga is the party beach of Goa, with glitzy neon lights and loud music characterising its crowded bylanes. With tons of restaurants, bars, and clubs, this place is happening and tends towards the noisy side. Places like Mambo, Fiesta, and Cavala are must-visits. A homestay accommodation in Baga would mean a nice change and a budget stay.