When I’m fatigued with the stereotypical Goan party vacation, or I have friends visiting from out-of-state looking for the real Goa, I direct them to homestays. Staying with the local families, eating dinner with them while discussing their ancient ties to the state, is a way for us to sink into a typical Goan life like no other.

Afonso Guest House


A family-run homestay for the last 30 years, the Afonsos speak fluent Portuguese, English, French and Italian. The homestay, with a beautiful walkway and a rooftop terrace overlooking the St Sebastian Chapel, is an extension of their residence.

Why Go
I recommend this homestay to those looking for an authentic Portuguese experience coupled with Goan hospitality. It’s located in the old Latin quarters of Panjim, and there are many restaurants, bars and art galleries around.

Need To Know
This is not the place for someone just looking for a beach to lounge at. They have air conditioned-rooms, and the rooms are clean and comfortable. Great for someone looking for a luxury experience on a budget.

Where: 173, Near St. Sebastian Chapel, Fontainhas, Mala, Panjim

Price: INR 1,950 for two people, one night

Contact: 0832 2222359

Check out their website here.

Birdsong Villa


Located in Moira, this homestay built in 1804 has a blend of heritage with modern luxury that I love.

Why Go
The villa also has a pool to relax by, making this a great weekend getaway. It’s ideal for the person who appreciates architecture and design, with the resort itself yielding to many memorable photographs. They also have a well-stocked library.

Need To Know
The homestay is close to a football ground which hosts tournaments weekly, which I love to drop by and cheer at. I also recommend nearby Cecilia’s Cart — near the panchayat office — for some chops to snack on.

Where: House No. 497, Calizor, Moira, Bardez

Price: INR 52,000 a night for the entire villa, can accommodate 12 guests.

Contact: +91 9987962519

Check out their website here.

Siesta Villa


Located in the heart of Cavellossim, South Goa, the Siesta Villa has two luxurious bedrooms watched over by the friendly owner and caretaker.

Why Go
I recommend this place for its view. The rooms have stunning views of the Sal river. It’s also good if you’re travelling with a group of friends, since you have exclusive access to a living room, a dining room and a pool.

Need to Know
This place has a minimum stay of a week.

Where: Siesta, Luisa By The Sea, Near Mobor Assolna Estuary, South Goa District, Cavelossim

Price: INR 49,000 for a week, can accommodate four guests

Contact: Email luisabythesea@gmail.com

Casa De Goa


This villa in Gauravaddo, Calangute, is over a 100 years old. Perched on the countryside of the district, this villa is a kilometre away from the beach.

Why Go
This place is ideal for people who want a little bit of everything. It’s in a quiet area, which makes it perfect for relaxing, but it’s also two kilometres away from Baga Beach, so I can drop by to check out the tourists before retreating to my homestay.

Need To Know
This homestay has slightly strict rules — no loud music after 11pm, and they’re sticklers for keeping the area clean, so be respectful of their rules. A no refund policy means that their rules are usually followed.

Where: E1/33, Gaura Vaddo, Near Tiara Hotel, Calangute

Contact: +91 8326717786

Price: INR 16,00 upwards

Check out their website here.

Chalet Balnear


Built in 1929 in the ancestral home of the Pintos, this homestay is right on the Candolim beach in North Goa.

Why Go
Overlooking Candolim beach, this homestay offers the kind of views I’ve usually only seen on postcards. A thatched roof, a private terrace overlooking the sea, and a walkway leading straight to the beach, this is where I tell people to go if they want to feel like they’ve escaped to an idyllic version of Goa.

Need to Know
This homestay is close to the Florentine restaurant, which according to me has the best Chicken Cafreal in Goa. Also check out nearby Viva Goa for a fish thali lunch.

Where: 207-B, Near Marquis Beach Resort,Dando, Candolim, Goa

Contact: +91 90497 04448

Price: INR 5,500 for three bedrooms, can accommodate six guests

All photos courtesy: MyIndianStay.com