If you like to travel like a local; like I do; you will certainly agree that living in a home-stay is probably the best way to experience local lifestyle. Not only that, by striking up a conversation with the owner of the home-stay, one can often discover more about the place than a travel guide could offer.
After two days on the tourist infested beaches of North Goa, I was yearning to experience a more local side of Goa. A frantic search online led me to Afonso Guest House.
Situated in the old Latin quarters of Panjim and overlooking the quaint St. Sebastian Chapel, Afonso Guest House was a world apart from North Goa. I instantly fell in love with the bright walls, the oyster shell windows and Mario Miranda replicas on the walls.
By way of common space, Afonso does not offer much except for the terrace overlooking the chapel and beautifully decorated with potted plants and wooden chairs and tables. This is where breakfast is served at a nominal extra charge. On the way up, one can pick up a book to read from along the stairs and curl up next to the house cat basking in the morning sun.
The guest house does not have TV in the room but with such a beautiful neighborhood who would want to stay in and watch TV anyways. Step out to explore Fontainhas on foot. With narrow winding roads with colorful houses with tiled roofs it is faintly reminiscent of old towns of Europe. One can actually spend hours browsing through Fontainhas’ many art houses and shops selling painted tiles, porcelain figurines and blue pottery from Macau.
The mother-son duo who own Afonso Guest House recommended some great places for me to explore and also how to get around using public transport like a pro.
How to get there:
Afonso is just 10 minutes by foot from Panjim City Bus Stand. Alternately one can hire an auto-rickshaw or bike taxi to get to St. Sebastian Chapel near the guest house.
By way of facilities the guest house offers sparkly clean rooms with a comfortable bed and loads of books to curl up with among the bougainvillea blooms on the terrace. A simple Goan breakfast of eggs, Goan bread (good old pao) and coffee/ tea is served on the terrace from 7:30am to 9:30am at an extra charge. The owners are very helpful and have some great suggestions on what to see, do and shop in Goa.
There is hot water, free Wifi and AC in the rooms. However, since this is a homestay and not hotel, don’t expect room service or services outside of defined charter. On the last day since I checked out before 7am to catch my train, I had to leave without breakfast as breakfast is only served between 7:30am and 9:30am. They are quite strict about adhering to the defined rules which one one hand, does make them quite inflexible but on the other hand, it probably also helps in maintaining a standard service level.
I paid INR 3250 per night on a peak season weekday. Booking can be made online on their website.
P.S. : This is not a sponsored post. The purpose of this post is to let more people know about quaint and lesser known places to stay while traveling.
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