Experiencing culture is a focus for many travelers, and what better way to become immersed in your destination than to stay in the homes of locals?
We know. How about staying in one or more of our picks for quirky, unique homestays?
Skip the hotel chains and opt for a true glimpse into local life (with an offbeat twist, of course). Many times visitors end up sharing a house with the owners, though there are many places that are more private. From an organic garden in a jungle village of Thailand to a treehouse in Costa Rica to a few days on a local’s yacht, the following list offers unique homestays for all travel tastes.
Oh, and for those on a budget, did we mention prices start at $12 per night? On your trip, book a…:
1. A Traditional Temple (Gianyar, Indonesia)
Experience traditional Balinese on a budget with this homestay located just minutes away from the Pulagan Rice Field, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a 25 minute drive from the city of Ubud. There is a merajang — family temple — on site.
Click here for more details. Rates start at $12/night.
2. A Grass-Roofed House (Pernaja, Finland)
Speaking of unique homestays, this quirky grass-roofed house, named Villa Nordica, is located just a few miles outside of the city center of Loviisa in the marine environment of Pernaja. The owners are entrepreneurs in the industries of tourism, accommodation and catering, so they can assist in scheduling other activities. We recommend a fishing trip to western Finland!
Click here for more details. Rates start at $71/night.
3. A Swanky Treehouse (Costa Rica)
This newly renovated treehouse, located in San Antonio de Escazu outside the capital city of San Jose, is perfect for those looking for a tranquil getaway. While there are buses that run frequently to downtown San Jose, it is not within walking distance to town. Instead, visitors are immersed in nature as it is a true treehouse — built in a living tree — and is known for hummingbird sightings.
Click here for more details. Rates start at $64/night.
4. An Organic Farm In A Jungle Village (Thailand)
This organic farm homestay is located in a remote Karen village about two hours outside of Chiang Mai. It’s a great place to explore local culture as the owners lead a traditional life and grow most of their own food. Additionally, they are happy to teach guests about Karen culture and arrange activities like Karen weaving, trekking and bamboo rafting.
Click here for more details. Rates start at $21/night.
5. A Luxurious “Local” Yacht (Greek Islands)
Steph and Andy have been sailing full-time for eight years and are now opening their 15-meter yacht to guests. The yacht is docked just off the coast of Poros and guests can test out their sea legs as they travel from one island to another, heading ashore each evening to experience the local tavernas.
Click here fore more details. Rates start at $164/night.
6. A Private Island Zopango (Near Granada, Nicaragua)
Staying on a private island may seem like an unattainable luxury vacation for most people — but with this unique homestay, guests can do just that at an affordable price. Casa Zopango is located near Granada and is a guest-only island that is completely energy and water independent. Guests are given their own kayak and hammock during their stay.
Click here for more details. Rates start at $189/night.
7. A Lakeside Retreat (Halifax, Canada)
This secluded Canada retreat, which boasts a 2006 honorable mention in Architectural Digest, is perfect for anyone looking for a weekend escape surrounded by nature. The large windows let you see straight through the house and the lake view is guaranteed to bring about a sense of peace and serenity.
Click here for more details. Rates start at $57/night.
8. A 16th-Century Artist’s Cottage (Avignon, France)
This classic stone French house is located next to delicious boulangeries and a farmer’s market. There is also an enclosed garden and barbecue for a scenic al fresco meal, as well as an extensive alternative collection of books and films for guests. The house is located at the bottom of Mont Ventoux and offers easy access to many hot spots.
Click here for more details. Rates start at $131/night.
9. A Romantic Villa (Mykonos, Greece)
Ever wanted to view the legendary Greek sunsets with your sweetheart? This romantic whitewashed villa located just ten minutes from the city of Mykonos offers a rooftop where guests can do just that after spending the day relaxing on one of the nearby beaches — or before heading into Mykonos for the island’s legendary nightlife.
Click here for more details. Rates start at $136/night.
10. A Converted Barn (New Zealand)
This unique converted barn is located only ten minutes outside the town of Hawara, which has many parks and gardens to explore. The barn itself provides a stunning view of Mount Taranaki and beautiful sunsets.
Click here for more details. Rates start at $38/night.
11. A Whimsical Mountain Home (Zokapane, Poland)
Outdoor lovers will find themselves at home at this homestay in Zokapane, Poland. It’s a wooden chalet located at the base of the Tatras Mountains. In the winter, it’s a skiers haven while in the summer it becomes a top destination for mountain-climbers and hikers.
Click here for more details. Rates start at $21/night.
12. An Amazing Viewpoint (Rotorua, New Zealand)
Those looking for a luxurious getaway will find themselves falling in love with this modern homestay in Rotorua, New Zealand. The home offers panoramic views of the city, which is known for bubbling mud pools, geysers and natural hot springs, along with being a cultural center for the Maori people. The home comes with many upscale amenities, including off street parking, LED TVs, underfloor heating and a security system.
Click here for more details. Rates start at $163/night.
*This post originally appeared on Epicure & Culture.
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