A homestay is the ultimate small-scale and local accommodation of choice. They are becoming increasingly popular, offering travellers the chance to get familiar with locals and their way of life. While the word ”homestay” might make you think of sleeping in simple countryside huts, nowadays they come in all shapes and sizes. What they all have in common is getting the chance to live like a local.
Whether it’s sleeping in the nicest room of the house while sharing a bathroom with your host family in Nicaragua, or rolling out a sleeping mat on the wooden floor of a small hut in Thailand,or even spending the night in a private room with an en-suite bathroom in a beautiful casa particular in Cuba, your homestay experience will be eye-opening and enriching.
In many Asian countries, homestays have been popular for a long time because they provide a unique insight into local living. They are particularly convenient if you plan to trek through remote areas, as long as you don’t mind the sometimes basic conditions like outhouses or solar-only electricity. A homestay really is an unforgettable experience, and a way to get to know another side of the country you are visiting.
A unique experience
There are almost no hotels in Mongolia. If you’re travelling through the countryside, you’ll spend your nights in a Mongolian tent, a yurt. The tents are often located in stunning, largely inaccessible locations. We offer some very unique homestays in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Ladakh as well.
If your destination of choice is Thailand, you’ll get the chance to learn more about life in Leeled fishing village. Explore the mangrove by boat and learn all about the day to day activities of the fishermen.
On the Indonesian island of Flores, we offer real “off the beaten track” homestsays – for instance in the village of Wae Rebo, accessible only by foot. Here you;’ll get a chance to eat together with locals and spend the night on a traditional woven mat.
Latin American homestays
In Cuba, homestays are called casas particulares, and we highly recommend staying in one. You’ll have your own room within a family home, often accompanied with a great meal. The rooms are tidy and comfortable, and come with their own bathrooms. It’s the perfect alternative to impersonal state hotels that otherwise dominate Cuba.
In Nicaragua you can spend the night with coffee farmers, learning about the La Corona community and their way of life. In Peru, spend the night at an organic coffee farm and take part in the daily activities of your welcoming host family. Or for the ultimate nature-experience, choose to stay in Colca Canyon where you’ll sleep in your own little house with an indoor courtyard, hot shower and very comfortable beds.
Better Places offers different types of homestays in all the different destinations. In Swaziland, for instance, you can stay in the Shewula Mountain Camp, where you sleep in simple huts and share the bathroom with other travellers. The camp is run by locals, and the income goes directly into the community.
In South Africa, you can find out more about life in the Gugulethu township of Cape Town while staying with Mama Knox. To fully immerse yourself, you get to help out in the kitchen, preparing authentic, local delicacies, then spend the night in a special guest room.
Homestays come in all shapes and sizes, from the very basic to almost luxurious. Whatever you choose, a stay with locals is certain to be one of the highlights of your trip.