Showing up at Olaulim Backyards, the other side of Goa, was like walking into the set of Life of Pi, complete with a cat called richard parker. The zoo animals were two litle goats that know how to kayak, a donkey with a distinct interest in playing monopoly, cats, and dogs. My favorite dogs were the big great dane who thinks he’s a puppy although he looks like a horse, and Max the half rott, half labrador cuddler.
I’ve been checking out the guesthouse scene in Goa this monsoon so I can be a better resource to my readers. I can tell you every good restaurant in Goa, but I only knew through the grapevine which hotels are best. This weekend I stayed at Olaulim who was featured in huge magazines as the best nature resort in Goa.
Priding themselves on showing their guests the “other side of Goa”, Savio and Pirkko (along with two children Manuel and Shameena and all their pets) created this homestay with only three cabins so it’s very personal.
This was my first homestay experience, but I guessed what to expect and wasn’t far off. Homestays are popular in India and you can expect a family that shows interest in making sure you have a pleasant stay and home made meels with the family hosting you (although you can leave and eat elsewhere if you want but why would you!?)
Olaulim Backyards: the Property
The small village of Olaulim has less about 150 houses, as Savio will tell you on the village tour, and this one sits right down on the river. There are 3 cottages named after the local birds: Sun Bird, Horn Bill, and Golden Oriole. Each are unique and hold different amounts of people. All rooms overlook the backwaters and have local elements like bamboo, stones built into the rooms, coconut wood, and palm leaves. You won’t find A/C, Wi-Fi, and TV here- so that you can connect to nature better. You will have a fan, mosquito net, and hot water powered by solar panels.
the golden oriole
Sun Bird: our little home for the weekend
The very best thing about the room is the see-through ceiling instead of a tin roof. It was quieter with the rain and you can see the moon through the top. This hut is right on the water so you hear the frogs like a lulluby at night.
Water stayed hot, a fan was all we needed in this colder monsoon weather, and the bed was SO comfortable that I asked where the mattress pad came from- I NEED one at home. I loved everything about the room and I know lots of you did too based on your Instagram comments!
Luxuries I loved at Olaulim:
The bathroom, like all the huts, has an outdoor rain shower. I obviously took a warm shower out in the cold rain which was actually a really cool feeling!
The wrap around pool will be so nice during season time and sadly I didn’t get to swim as much as I wanted because the rains were full-on all weekend
The food was out of this world Goan food. I haven’t had such good prawns since I’ve been in Goa. I ate far, far too much.
Obviously the service is unbeatable at a homestay, but Pirrko and Savio really made sure all their guests were happy and comfortable, reminding us, “just act like you are at home”.
So, lets talk about the food…
It honestly could get a post of it’s own but I’m going to try to hold back and let the photos do most of the talking.
prawns from the river, local Olaulim rice, curry & veg
all the local grown fruit you could ever want including a new one! Pomelo: a mix of lemon and grapefruit, plus omelets & local breads and mango chutney, cereals, and Coorg coffee
beetroot, chicken xacuti (a local coconut curry dish), veg dish & below some amazing peppers, egglant rava fried, a dal, and carrot & dill salad
no Goan stay is really Goan without the best cashew feni. I only tried a little but Ben and the feni were like old friends.
prawn curry, garlic clams in the shell, tiny baby prawns you can eat with the shell on, a spicy garlic mixture, and some type of new veg like a bitter eggplant, but also can’t remember the name!
Who will love Olaulim Backyards:
This resort is for sure a place for nature lovers. You’re right there in the thick of it. If you hate nature, being outside, spiders, mosquitos, snakes, etc then you might not enjoy this palce! I can think of a few girlfriends back home that wouldn’t have lasted without their hair curlers, A/C, and a professional bug killer by their side.
If you’re a bird-watcher, trekking enthusiast, and into adventure sports then you’ll have a blast. Free options at Olaulim include: boating, kayaking to mangroves with otters, village tours, cycling, bird-watching, fishing, and trekking. All our seafood we ate can be found right there in the river we kayaked in!
This is a great place for honeymooners, families that are tired of beach vacations in Goa, people looking to seek refugee in nature after a long season of partying at Shiva Valley, and people who stay in Goa year round and need a monsoon getaway.
The hosts will arrange anything for you from scuba to rafting, and market tours to cooking classes and pottery class. One thing I will say is you will not get bored here even if you don’t “love” nature.
The Olaulim Village Tour
Things that would have been the cherry on top:
No matter how much I love a place, like this one, I always look for room for improvement when I write a review. It was hard to find here. Yes mosquitos were bad, but duh, we’re on a river in the jungle, of course they are going to be bad! I mean, one cannot just vanquish mosquitos from existence. All sprays, coils, plug-ins, swatters, and nets were provided.
I suppose the only thing is having a little shop to purchase all those unhealthy snacks we love: potato chips, candy bars, and Fanta. I’m know if I had asked they would have been happy to get some, but I hate ask for things because I feel bad bothering the hosts. I would say you could bring your own snacks, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to have them in the room attracting bugs of all sorts. They do e-mail ahead of time if you are veg or non-veg and if there is anything they can make for you and will cater to what you want.
Booking Olaulim Backyards:
The Sun Bird room we stayed in costs 4,000 in off-season up to 7,000 at the peak month of December. Rates include all in-house activities and breakfast. Kids under 3 are free and it’s discounted for children. For a long-duration stay, they will offer a reduced rate. See the Olaulim Backyards website for full rate information.
Location: Olaulim is only 8 km from Mapusa, 11 km from Panjim and easy to find. It will pop up on google maps, but beware, the map tried to take us past Olaulim to Porvorim and back, so just ignore that and follow your brain, not your GPS.
Contact Olaulim Backyard: e-mail at olaulimgoa (@) gmail (dot) com or call at +91 9326017731 or +91 9823390233.
As I started telling you about the zoo life at Olaulim, I guess it makes since to finished by telling you we left taking home an abandoned kitten (who has since survived eating poison and being burned by a toaster).
Meet Scar, Huck’s newest friend. Scar smells of Huck’s terrible breathe because he spends half his days being carried around the house in Huck’s mouth. Scar is pretty sure he’s a puppy.
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Rachel Jones is an American who left a career in nursing to live on the beaches on Goa, India two years ago where she is now a Thai masseuse, candle-maker, and travel writer. Her award winning website gives advice on the other 28 countries she's been to but has become the go-to site on India travel, focusing on off beat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine & was voted by Flipkey as one of the top 25 female bloggers to follow this year. You can follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google plus.
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