God’s Own Country has been named for for a reason — it is! While up until recently, Kerala’s houseboats, resorts and spas had all the attention, getting into the culture and traditions on this vivid state have been made simple thanks to homestays and Airbnbs. And we love it! As per usual, we’ve had ourselves a merry hunt of the best {or perhaps most intirguing} Airbnb properties, which will get you the real taste of Kerala — from backwaters and beaches to hilltops and tea plantations.

36 Palms Boutique Retreat – Cherai Beach

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If you want luxury, then make sure you pick the 36 Palms Boutique Retreat. Apart from having great privacy as it faces the sea so there’s nothing to disturb you or your view, there is an infinity pool of the truest sense. Made entire of wood and stone {mostly Ecuadorian teak and red wood}, you’ll find the villa has accents of Kerala architecture in the form of pillars and furniture. We highly recommend waking up early at least on one day when you’re staying here as you can watch the Keralan fishing rituals kick off at sunrise. Oh! And dolphins will come to play with you when you go swimming in the sea.

Price: INR 4,500 upwards per night

Type of Stay: Private Room/Entire Villa

Can Accommodate: 2 people/18 people

Find out more here.

Authentic Luxurious Kerala Rooms

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Traditional, breezy and smack in the centre of Thiruvananthapuram, this is a great place when you’re being touristy in the state. There are two rooms on offer with both leading out onto a traditional terrace area separated by a charming trellis. If you’re travelling with kids, one of the rooms even has an attic that’s been converted into a play room. If you want to stay in, and you’re not a nasty house guest, owners Seema and Kailash will likely include in all their meals for a real homely feel. This is tradition at it’s best folks!

Price: INR 1,600 upwards a night

Type of Stay: 2 rooms

Can Accommodate: 4 guests

Find out more here.

Luxury Cottage – Varkala

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Right on the cliff overlooking the vast Arabian Sea and Odayam beach in Varkala, is this charming, Kerala style cottage, complete with open showers and slanting roofs. We might even move into this cottage forever! Jasar is the host, and makes sure that you feel at home here. He’ll even go out of his way to introduce you to Kerala culture and food {courtesy his grandma!}. With a veranda with cane easy chairs, spacious bedroom with a cane bed and even a pantry, it’s neat and great if you are happy to be away from the crowd.

Price: INR 5,000 upwards

Type of Stay: Entire Villa

Can Accommodate: 3 guests

Find out more here.

Private Sea View Villa – Privasea – Varkala

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At the top of a hill in the lush Varkala, coconut groves giving way to the sea is what you’ll wake up to every morning. When you’re not on the beach, you’ll likely be on the verandah or terrace of this one-bedroom villa looking at the magnificent views of the Arabian sea. Food is homely, and the place quiet, so don’t expect a buzz here.

Price: INR 6,600 upwards

Type of Stay: Entire Villa

Can Accommodate: 2 guests

Find out more here.

George’s Arabica – Bavalai

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Like Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs cottage in the middle of the woods, George’s Arabica is in the centre of Wayanad, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have deer, elephants, bison and even the odd tiger for company. Rather secluded, this log cabin is quite romantic too! A picnic bench and table set up outside means you can take in the cool air in the evenings or even settle in for a board game if you like. Since it’s on a 4-acre property, make time to meander through the plantations of ginger, tapioca, yam, rubber and even coffee, all in the shade of towering mahogany trees.

Price: INR 2,400 upwards a night

Type of Stay: Entire Cottage

Can Accommodate: 3 guests

Find out more here.

Backwater Facing Rooms – Kodamthuruth

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OK, this one’s got us dreaming of our next trip to Kerala. No fancy city or even a town, this little village, Kodamthuruth, is halfway between Alleppey and Cochin. Run by a family, it is literally on the backwaters. So much so that if you tumbled on your porch, you might just plonk into the water! Manu is a fine host and in addition to treating you to homely food, he’ll even teach you canoe to the veggie market or to the town nearby for a quick Kerala massage. But for the most part, we recommend just sitting on the porch, beer in hand, lulled by the lapping of the water on the banks.

Price: INR 1,400 upwards

Type of Stay: Private Room

Can Accommodate: 2 guests

Find out more about them here.

Heritage Marari – Deluxe Cottage – Mararikulam

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A recreated Tharawad {a traditional Kerala house} this one is great for a family or a small group as there’s two compact rooms. When you stay here, you’ll notice that all the furniture, décor and linen are locally sourced. With the Marari beach as a front yard and the back waters at the back, you get the best of what Kerala has to offer here. We do also love the adventure of getting to the beach, from the backwaters, on a canoe!

Price: INR 4,500

Type of Stay: Entire villa

Can Accommodate: 4 guests

Find out more here.

Flamingo, Lovely Boutique Villa – Marari

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Fancy living in a home that’s over 75 years old? Look no further than the Flamingo Villa. The house is traditional, which means single-storeys and roomy, with four-poster beds, quaint lamps but with the edge of modernity in the form of an inviting infinity pool! They also have access to the beach and backwaters through a canal behind the property. So if you want to go to town or hit the coast, pop into a canoe and paddle away.

Price: INR 7,500 upwards

Type of Stay: Private Room

Can Accommodate: 2 guests

Find out more here.

Riverside Heritage Bungalow, Cochin

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Right on banks of the Vembanad lake, the Mylanthra House is an 85-year-old traditional bungalow located in Cochin. Basil Mylanthra is your host at this property, and be it his expert advice on what you should do to his wife Annie’s divine homemade Kerala meals, it’s all very professional yet warm. What we most like is that from the house you can see Mylanthra family-owned quaint Chinese fishing nets, and during the sunset, you’ll find many Instagram-worthy shots.

Price: INR 1,500 upwards a night

Type of Stay: Entire home

Can Accommodate: 3 double bedrooms for 6 guests.

Find out more here.

Neelakurunji 3 Classy Rooms – Munnar

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Don’t be put off by the self-proclaiming classy name. It really is quite a treat to stay here. A plantation home which really cuts off from the humdrum of the city, you’ll be surrounded by greenery every which way you look! Ideal for a good bunch of about 10 people {it’s away from civilisation so you can get really boisterous here!}, you can head off on tea plantation trails and even hike around in the plantation itself.

Price: INR 21,000

Type of Stay: Entire House

Can Accommodate: 10 guests

Find out more here.

Feature Photo: 36 Palms Boutique Retreat – Cherai Beach