• olaulim backyards the other side of goa

Olaulim Backyards / The Other Side of Goa

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.

Don’t forget to pick up my Insider Guide to Goa and my Guide to India

General Goa Journey Tips

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goaI’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 other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

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.

olaulim backyards the other side of goathe golden oriole

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goathe hornbill 

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.

olaulim backyards the other side of goaWater 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!

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa Luxuries I loved at Olaulim:

  1. 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!
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

olaulim backyards the other side of goaprawns from the river, local Olaulim rice, curry & veg

olaulim backyards the other side of goaall the local grown fruit you could ever want including a new one! Pomelo: a mix of lemon and grapefruit, omelets & local breads and mango chutney, cereals, and Coorg coffee

olaulim backyards the other side of goabeetroot, chicken xacuti (a local coconut curry dish), veg dish & below some amazing peppers, egglant rava fried, a dal, and carrot & dill salad

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goano Goan stay is really Goan without the best cashew feni. I only tried a little but Ben and the feni were like old friends.

olaulim backyards the other side of goaprawn 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!

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

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

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

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).

olaulim backyards the other side of goaMeet 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.

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

For more unique places to stay in Goa check out my 170-page e-book, Insider’s Guide to Goa. After five years of living in Goa, I am confident this book is the most comprehensive, up-to-date guide to Goa it has all my secrets inside. Click here to buy it now.


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Christie July 21, 2014 at 4:43 am - Reply

    Ohmygosh Scar is the cutest!!! Olaulim guesthouse looks pretty amazing, I love the look of the bed with the rock around it – so unique!

    • Rachel Jones July 22, 2014 at 2:23 am - Reply

      Yeah, the didn’t want to interfere with the stone walls so they built into them! Very cool.

  2. Heather July 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    I typically don’t look into guesthouses, but your post reminds me why I should! That place looks absolutely amazing. How lovely! And I particularly love the random donkey trying to get at something on the table…

    • Rachel Jones July 22, 2014 at 2:26 am - Reply

      The donkey had no clue he was a donkey! He totally thought he was a dog.

  3. Ashley July 21, 2014 at 10:23 am - Reply

    This looks like such a lovely property and the food looks amazing! Cute kitten!!

    • Rachel Jones July 22, 2014 at 2:23 am - Reply

      The food was sooo good- my photos don’t even do it justice!

  4. Michelle July 21, 2014 at 10:36 am - Reply

    What is the matter with Scar’s left paw?

    • Rachel Jones July 22, 2014 at 2:24 am - Reply

      he had a little tear when he was found but it’s all better now :)

  5. Andrea Anastasiou July 21, 2014 at 10:57 am - Reply

    Wow, I love the look of this place. The food looks out of this world. We’re planning a visit to Goa later this year, so I may just look this place up.

    How did you spend most of your time while you were there?

    • Rachel Jones July 22, 2014 at 2:25 am - Reply

      The food was killer! You should totally look it up- it’s just 10 min from mapusa and really shows a whole new side to Goa. We kayaked, read, played board games, ATE, and went on walks… some did cycling & rafting but we’d already been rafting with that group last year.

  6. Justine July 21, 2014 at 11:26 am - Reply

    I love outdoor showers! That hotel looks pretty amazing and that food sounds so good! Scar is the cutest! I love that your dog has taken such a liking to him :) Are you planning on keeping him?

    • Rachel Jones July 22, 2014 at 2:26 am - Reply

      We want to and so far we have , only problem is I’m very allergic and just after a week my allergies have really caught up to me, so now we’re not sure what to do. We won’t give him away unless it’s to a family though.

  7. Rick July 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Great post – you covered the home stay experience with excellent perspective.
    Now I must go find some Indian food and it won’t be easy here in Santa Monica.

    • Rachel Jones July 22, 2014 at 2:26 am - Reply

      especially food like this! Don’t expect there are many goan curries there! :)

  8. racheal morgan July 21, 2014 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    I think even if i wasn’t the adventure type I would brave this for the food!

    • Rachel Jones July 22, 2014 at 2:27 am - Reply

      Hahah, everyone seems to be loving the food. It could have gotten a post on it’s own ;) it was so good.

  9. Kendra (the Escapologist) July 22, 2014 at 8:20 am - Reply

    This looks perfect and the food looks amazing! I’ve never stayed in a guest house before, but I can’t wait to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rachel Jones July 23, 2014 at 8:48 am - Reply

      The food was sooo good and I don’t even eat Indian food that often.

  10. Sanwali July 22, 2014 at 10:18 am - Reply

    You just made me miss Savio, Pirrko and their hospitality so much! Have such wonderful memories of my stay there.
    Ans yes, such a lovely blog!

    • Rachel Jones July 23, 2014 at 8:49 am - Reply

      Ahh that’s great! Hopefully it’s in the cards for you to get back there and see them!

  11. Gouthami July 24, 2014 at 1:34 am - Reply

    Hi, your post reminded me of my first visit to Olaulim in July 2012. I hate creepy-crawlies! So the first two hours I spent getting totally freaked out and cursing myself. Then Pirkko and Savio worked their magic on me – I came back in September to stay for good in Goa! The one place in Goa where I am sure to get many veggie options as well!

    Superb post, Rachel – you captured Olaulim Backyards perfectly.


    • Rachel Jones July 24, 2014 at 3:41 am - Reply

      Haha yes it’s a bad place if you hate creepy-crawlies, I saw some MASSIVE spiders! Awesome that it turned around and you ended up staying in Goa.

  12. Riverside Goa 🔊 Podcast with Musafir Stories – Exotic Gringo September 10, 2018 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    […] to be discovered! Read extensive posts by my friends and fellow bloggers Sharanya / Shivya / Rachel / Reshma for more on this region (i’ve just touched it and want to explore […]

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