Off season at this family run homestay is 300 INR a night. For around £3.50 you get an immaculate double room (the sheets smelt of soap powder), clean and spacious bathroom, and a shared balcony (including hammocks, low chairs and coffee tables). It's less than a minute to the clifftop and beach. Fantastic.
Near Middle Cliff, Varkala, Kerala
Prices vary throughout the year from 300INR (Low season) to 1000INR (at Christmas and New Year). Most of the time they don't go above 600INR.
Walking along the sand under the high red cliffs, as the rollers came in and groups of Brahminy kites circle above, affords a spectacular view of this chilled beach resort. Kerala's jungle tries to climb right onto the beach, with grass and undergrowth extending down the cliff face. The sea can be rough and there's quite an undertow, but undeterred by red flag warnings—and a lifefguard furiously blowing his whistle—there were a few non-Indians body boarding in the surf when I was there.
Walking along the precipitous cliff park gives you a birds eye view of the sea below, but beware the many international bars (including the inevitable Cafe Del Mar) in the main area; they become more Indian-influenced in their cuisine further away from the main drag.
With more laid back bars (and less in-your-face vendors) than Goa, it's a friendly place to relax after some heavy trekking or sight-seeing.
Just north of Trivandrum, Kerala
Google map: bit.ly/Nr7C5w
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