16 independent reviews for Cochin homestay accommodation, India

These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.


review 26 Nov 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Every day was memorable,the location,the hospitality,the people.To sit under the coconut palms watching the sunset,with an enjoyable drink, We went to visit the local primary school and were introduced to the head mistress and teachers and were given a tour of all the classes. The children were adorable so clean, so polite. A trip in Munnar is well worth the visit and the scenery is stunning or travel overnight on the backwaters.There are so many things to do you could not get bored.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Always ask Jos to for advise,he is so helpful,and knows the best tourist attractions,the best places for shopping, and will organise anywhere you wish to go,he was a wealth of information. He also invited us to eat in his own house if we wanted to. It was well worth accepting his wife is an excellent cook. Try the local caught fish it is lovely.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We visited a crab farm the prawn fishermen the local village market we travelled everywhere by local taxi or tuk tuk, it was quite obvious that all the local people benefited by our presence.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We spent 3 weeks here,and loved every day of it. I can only discibe it as heaven. 3 weeks was not long enough.

review 1 Feb 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The peace. The homestay was welcoming, and the transport met us at the airport exactly as planned. The welcome from Jos and his wife was lovely, and food and coffee arrived almost without prompting. Thereafter - peace and sitting watching the world go about its business.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Whilst on the water, this homestay is closer to the city than I had realised. so a day in Cochin can be easily organised. Don't expect to be out in the sticks - however, the water and all of life on the water is there at the foot f the garden.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We travelled in local taxis, ate at the homestay - and ate food sourced locally. Everything we did was organised by the homestay and paid on site. Local people were certainly benefitted. Environmental impact less simple to calculate as we did little other than read books and enjoy the surroundings.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good indeed. No fuss, no over ambitious expectations, just a beautiful place, kind people and time to chill. I can recommend it.

review 4 May 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Arriving at the cottage and seeing what a lovely spacious private and tasteful accommodation it really was. It's like being in the middle of nowhere, yet it is not! It's a beautiful cottage in the middle of a small coconut grove, right on the water, very private, yet it's near Cochin. What a lovely bathroom!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It is just south of Fort Cochin, about 20 minutes by Auto rickshaw and would be ideal as a starting or finishing place for a Kerala trip.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Local people involved directly in our stay included the boat man who punted us in a big circle in the waterway outside our place for a couple of hours of peaceful bliss, and we had breakfast at a prawn farm which was very interesting and delicious. In addition we were delivered in an Ambassador car to the location though it wasn't very far but was an additional quirky novelty. I'm told that of course locals are employed in the upkeep of the place. We also eat meals (except breakfast) in the gorgeous local hotel, just up the road. I'd recommend eating with the family however, don't be shy, just ask. No particular effort was made to push eco-credentials to be honest. The shower was solar heated (but weather was extremely hot so no need!), bed linen Indian handloom cotton.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A wonderful retreat!! We had a couple of very relaxing days here... relaxing because there is nothing to do except chill and sigh at the beauty of it all (in the immediate surroundings, that is except the tours organised by Jos... and don't forget how near Fort Cochin it is though....great!!), but the hammocks beneath the coconut palms and the massive apartment-like house felt very special indeed. A romantic hideaway and a peaceful contrast to the city. Very pleasant host and family, would have liked to have seen more of them to be honest!!

review 22 Sep 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing elephants and bison close up, and lots of monkeys!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Ask locals for advice on the things you would like to do. We stayed at 3 different homestays, were made very welcome, and our hosts were extremely helpful on all matters. In particular, Jos helped us organise an incredible 5 days trekking with Benny Kurian.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, definitely overall. All our hosts employed local people, and put us in contact with locals when we wanted to organise anything. I do have some concerns about the volume of houseboats on the Kerala backwaters, and I don't think I would go on a houseboat again though it was an enjoyable experience.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Simply amazing. We were made so welcome everywhere we went. And the trekking was a real eye opener that will make us think seriously about similar possibilities when we travel elsewhere.

review 21 Oct 2008

Really loved the homestay with Jos in Cochin. Jos was such a gent and the house was just beautiful. The stay was short and sweet and we had a wonderful breakfast.

review 1 Sep 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The canoe trip. The back waters are absolutely beautiful here and the boatman was incredibly skilled running along the side of the canoe with the pole. It was especially memorable because we had a tropical storm while out there. Great fun. Also the efficiency and kindness of Jos and his family arranging things for us to see close by and the beauty of his plot made it a lovely place to acclimatise after the flight for two days before we set off on our own.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

While the home stay was very good value compared to UK. It was nearly three times the price of most of the places we stayed once we travelled on our own including the wonderful rooms we had at a hotel in Cochin. Maybe the fact we were slightly off season had something to do with this

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. The village would not be reached by tourists normally. We had different local taxi drivers every day arranged by Jos. We went shopping in the village a couple of times and ate at the home stay.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. The reassurance of somewhere certain to stay was worth the extra expense.

review 6 Mar 2007

We would certainly give our holiday Five Stars ***** and we are already looking at possibilities through your organisation for next year. We had the most wonderful three weeks. We had decided to spend our holiday in one place this year and make excursions from this base. In our opinion a better host would be very difficult to find. His skills in anticipating ones needs, his organisation and the planning of some wonderful excursions are to be highly recommended. Also we must not forget our hosts charming family and his wife's wonderful cuisine. The accommodation was perfect for our requirements and we spent many hours by the backwaters reading, writing, just pondering and of course dozing after some wonderful lunches. We visited many wonderful places during our stay, but were always pleased to be able to return "home" to Nedveli House in the evenings. We would also like to thank the local taxi drivers, and all the other people in the village for their welcome, warmth and friendliness. We are still in contact with many. When we, hopefully return to Kerala, we will certainly stay again with Jos Byju and his family.

review 13 Jan 2007

Cochin homestay, view

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

All of it was memorable starting with driving up to the beautiful location, being welcomed by host Jos, who was incredibly kind and helpful, relaxing in the palms overlooking the water, and taking the interesting side trips that Jos set up for me.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Give yourself enough time to relax, my regret was that I didn't give myself enough time to stay there. Be open to Jos' suggestions.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, I was glad to have the opportunity to visit villages, meet local fishermen and people restoring an old wooden house, and stay with Jos and has family. I much preferred this to staying in hotels and felt like I was contributing to the local economy rather than a big corporation. This homestay was the highlight of my trip.

4. Any other comments?

Highly recommended. I was so impressed with how well everything went with this booking. Jos responded to me immediately after I made my inquiry, arranged for me to be met at the airport, sent emails assuring me of the plans head of time, arranged taxis, and side trips. Everything went incredibly smoothly. I felt extremely well taken care of.

review 31 Oct 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The relaxing ambience of the homestay, and the friendliness of the Keralan people.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring a universal plug for the wash basins and don't forget the mozzie repellent.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We did feel that local people benefited - people who supplied the raw materials for our food, taxi owners and drivers, shopkeepers, craftsmen, boatmen, employees etc. Flying is of course not environmentally friendly. We took a train from Bombay to Cochin, but once there we did use taxis rather than buses. However, we didn't use them everyday, and we ate at the homestay rather than going into Cochin for meals. Being in a homestay without a/c and without the waste that is inevitable in a hotel does help reduce the impact on the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was all that we hoped for. We were particularly happy with the advice and help that Jos Byju gave us with planning our holiday in Kerala. We would also like to mention our bird-watching expert, Jiju Mathews, who was terrifically knowledgeable about the natural world in Kerala and a wonderful guide.

review 25 Jun 2007

In June 2007 I spent a couple of weeks in India, around a week of which was spent in Kerala. I had booked a night at a homestay in Alleppey in advance via responsibletravel.com. Unfortunately there was a viral outbreak so I was advised whilst in Chennai not go to Alleppey. I therefore emailed this accommodation via ResponsibleTravel.com from Chennai. Jos, the manager of this accommodation telephoned me promptly to confirm the arrangements and was very helpful. I stayed here for two nights, at off season rates, during which time I was extremely impressed. I took the opportunity to relax for a day in the coconut plantation, with its view of the bay, having spent my time in India prior to that very much on the move. The location is wonderful, being out of the hustle and bustle of Ernakulam/Kochi but still amongst local dwellings etc. in the village of Kumbalangi – perfect for relaxing and watching the boats go by! The food served was amazing – the best I had whilst in India! My vegan dietary requirements were also quickly understood and well catered for. The room was spotless and well maintained. Jos was most helpful and allowed me to use his internet connection to check my email. He also arranged a 2 night stay at a homestay near Munnar for me, at off-season rates. He even negotiated a further reduction in those rates without me needing to ask him to do so! Following my trip to Munnar I returned to this accommodation for a third night. Jos arranged a boat trip around the bay with a local guide, which provided some insight into the lives of the local fishing community and some amazing photographic opportunities as the sun set. Afterwards I went to see a Kathakali show in Fort Cochin. I would highly recommend this accommodation for a relaxing yet involving stay, with fantastic food and a personal touch.

review 28 Nov 2006

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Many memorable moments, including bamboo rafting, swimming in the river rock pool near Vanilla County Homestay, a houseboat just for us to sail the beautiful and peaceful backwaters (thought we had died and gone to heaven!), bare back elephant ride and the lovely Keralan people we met and who made us feel very welcome.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take things as you find them and take the opportunity to talk to and get to know the Keralan people you meet (something that’s almost impossible if you stay in a hotel). Also take some stout shoes or boots (roomy enough to accommodate your leech stockings) if you're doing the bamboo rafting as there is a 8 kilometre hike through tropical forest to get to the lake, one and a half kilometre prelunch walk and 8 kilometres back. That's quite a lot of walking for one day and you need to be reasonable fit. My husband and I are in our 60s but take regular exercise at home. Had we not I think we might have struggled (especially as the following day a 10 Kilometre trek in the Gavi was on the agenda (we cut this down to 4 Kilometres as 10 was just to much after the previous day). It might be good to intersperse these 2 days with a rest day if time permitted.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes I think the benefits were more likely to benefit local people as they were involved and food was sourced locally. I think overall that there were aspects that were environmentally friendly such as the organic approach to food produced.

4. Any other comments?

Rating for the holiday would have to be five stars. It was very different to holidays we have taken before, but filled with great surprises and delights of both people and scenery. We fully intend to have a holiday of this kind in the future.

review 26 Feb 2006

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The sheer number of people and so many, young and older saying “hello, how are you, where are you from and what is your name” Also the smell of spices and the colours grabbing your senses wherever you went. The homestays were all excellent and meant you understood the way of life and culture in a way that would not have been possible staying in a hotel.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Use a local person to help you plan your trip. Use their local knowledge and expertise. Be adventurous, be prepared to change routines.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Benefit to Local People: The main benefit is that apart from airfares, the money we spent stayed in India. Some of the activities employed people who otherwise would be involved in things such as sandal wood smuggling. With all the buses, taxis and rickshaws it is difficult to comment on environmental impact. We did try to keep use of plastic e.g. bottles and bags to a minimum by using purification tablets and saying no to seemingly endless packaging in shops.

4. Any other comments?

For some time we were overwhelmed by the numbers of people, the amount of traffic, the constant sounding of horns which were an extension of most drivers hands, the smells and dust and what appeared to be chaos. As we began to forget our western pace of doing things we realised that somehow it all worked and most people were smiling. Stars: Definitely 5. Our visit to Kerala was a great experience. We returned home calm, relaxed and thinking about a next visit to India, soon.

review 16 Jan 2006

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being in a traditional village with no other tourists about and being near enough to get into the lovely nearby towns.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring mozzie repellent!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

I don't think it really benefited them but I will go home and tell others of the good time I had so it is good publicity maybe for them! It minimized environment impact yes.

4. Any other comments?

Yes one of the many benefits that should be mentioned more is that - although there are no restaurants, cafes or bars for a 20 minute radius, Jos's wife cooked us wonderful meals for dinnertime, Rs 200 each so very reasonable. And despite what you think 'homestay' means we did not get to see the family's quarters or eat with them but ate instead with the occupants of the other room. We met so many other travellers though so it was great. Americans, Norwegians, Belgians, Germans....and we got to hear all their experiences which was very enjoyable. **** although 2 weeks is maybe too long there

Read the operator's response here:

It is great to hear Emily and Tom overall had a good time and rated the Homestay with four stars.. About 80% of money I receive from the guests is spent locally. All the fish/prawn they ate are from local backwaters / fishermen and I buy everything from the local market. There is one woman worker to help my wife in the kitchen and a man to work in the coconut garden round the year. These two workers' families are totally depended on this homestay. I never use my private car to transfer guests to Fort Cochin area or places they wished. All the time I arranged a local rickshaw / neighbour's taxi, which the guests enjoyed very much and which benefited these drivers' families. The toddy taper, rat catcher, river sand collector, the man who iron the laundry with burning charcoal, other workers (during yearly maintenance of the house) are indirect beneficiaries.. Emily and Tom might have had a much better experience of local participation if they were ready to take any of the local activities which I had listed on arrival day. I felt they preferred to spend more time at Fort Cochin / Mattancheri town rather than getting involved in the local village life. It was peak season time in early January with regular guests arrival and I agree about the failure of my family not to find time or feel comfortable to dine with all the guests each day. As mentioned there was a series of guests, Americans .....Germans and much work to do for everybody's comfortable stay including too much cooking in the family kitchen. The involvement to the family details / homestay experience also depend on guests initiative. Though they were very young people (couple/friends ) we felt they preferred more privacy and relaxation.

review 27 Nov 2006

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Sitting by the backwaters with the late afternoon breeze coming off the water.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring earplugs if you don't want to be woken early by call to prayers.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes I think it did benefit local people directly through trips organised by Jos.

review 9 Oct 2005

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Lazing on a houseboat and watching the world go by - it really gave us a feel for the daily routine and lives of the local community.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure you fully participate with your homestay hosts - cook and eat with them and benefit from their local knowledge when deciding where else to stay and visit.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, definitely. Our hosts were keen to minimise the use of plastic, to recycle and to be more 'organic'. We participated in more local activities, which meant that not just our homestay hosts benefited from our visit.

review 22 Jan 2004

One of the nicest rooms we stayed in throughout our month in India, fantastic home cooking, all set right on the backwaters in a coconut grove. My partner spent the day in a hammock which our host had erected for him on the edge of the water - a truly relaxing place in a country village where we foreigners seemed to be the main attraction!

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Unedited reviews from other travellers

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
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