Why You Should Do a Homestay on Ataúro Island
Explore Ataúro island’s culture, people, food, and land by doing a homestay with a local family when you visit
Ataúro Island offers so many adventures and experiences for travelers. Whether swimming in the most biodiverse oceans on Earth, hiking spiritually significant Mount Manucoco, or experiencing deep and complex history, Ataúro offers something for any intrepid traveler. However, when planning a trip, few travelers think outside of the box when it comes to island accommodation. An eco-lodge, perhaps, or a local dive shop are the usual options. Or indeed, maybe you get creative and bring a tent and sleep in nature. But why not take a chance to support the local economy and learn about the Timorese way of life through a homestay?
ATKOMA works with the people of Ataúro to promote and provide homestays for travelers to our island. This means staying in the home of our residents, eating with them and their families, and living as we do. Homestays allow you to be integrated into our culture, see all the nooks and crannies of our island, and meet lots of amazing people. Adventurous travelers will love homestays because they allow you to meet new people, be informed about a different way of life, and eat home-cooked food. The more hesitant travelers will still love the homestay option because it provides the comfort of home and family while away in a different country.
Doing a homestay is a form of community-based tourism, traveling which gives local communities control of the entire travel experience, ensuring they reap the economic benefits of tourism. Before reading about why a homestay in Ataúro might be the best for you, we encourage you to read about this type of tourism here or at this website!
Introducing our Homestay Families
We want to ensure top experience for travelers when staying with our amazing hosts. So below, we’ll introduce all our hosts and a little bit about their homes. You can also read more here: https://ataurotourism.org/where-to-stay-eat/homestays/
Rui’s Home (Beloi)
Rui and his family live in Beloi, very close to the beach, hiking, and a local market, making it a perfect place to base for your trip. He and his family have two separate rooms with double beds, meaning it’s a great homestay for solo travelers or a couple of friends visiting!
Rui’s home is cozy and welcoming, and he and his family are looking forward to hosting anyone who comes to Ataúro! And, for any football fans who’re thinking about visiting, Rui is a big Chelsea fan! One of the beds even has Chelsea bed sheets.
Moises’s Home (Beloi)
The Moises home is a perfect place to stay for families. They offer two rooms with three beds in total, so it’s ideal for parents and their kids! Located just on the beach, the Moises home is ideal for those families who like to wake up to the sound of waves.
Eliazer’s Home (Beloi)
If you’re a foodie, you absolutely have to meet the Eliazers. The two are suco-famous chefs, so any meal they prepare for you might just be the best food on the island. This young couple’s home is perfect for solo travelers, as they’ve got one room with a double bed.
Their home, just like Rui’s, is located in the perfect area to explore lots of Ataúro. Right on the water, the Eliazers suggest fishing expeditions and hiking before returning home to their snug home.
Antonio’s Home (Beloi)
Antonio and his family are positive that you’ll find your second home with them in their place in Beloi! Their home is near all the main tourist attractions in the village and is accompanied by three delicious meals a day! With a couple of double beds, their home is ideal for solo travelers or a couple of friends together.
Estevão’s Home (Beloi)
No matter where you’re from, Estevão and you are sure to get along. Fluent in English, Portuguese, Indonesian, and Tetum, Estevão can help you get anywhere on the island and communicate with anyone–not to mention his deep knowledge of Ataúro.
The home has two rooms with two beds, so Estevão and his family are perfect hosts for any sort of traveler–family, solo, or otherwise. Located in the heart of Beloi and only a five minutes walk away from the beach, Estevão’s home offers both village and beach vibes.
Yuli’s Home (Beloi)
Yuli and his family are eager to use the homestay experience to teach travelers Tetum, a local language of Ataúro, and Bahasa Indonesia, the most commonly spoken language in Indonesia. In return, they’re excited to learn English from you!
Yuli and his family uniquely offer a private bathroom, which some travelers may prefer. With a single room, Yuli’s home is perfect for a solo traveler! Also, the family loves cooking for those who are eager to learn the culture and food of Ataúro, so if you stay in their home, be sure to come hungry!
Alda’s Home (Beloi)
Alda is not only hoping to have you stay in his home but is also eager and ready to organize a dive! Alda is fluent in Tetum, English, Bahasa Indonesia, and a bit of Portuguese and is eager to learn whatever language you can teach him. He is deeply knowledgeable about the island and its geography, so he’ll be the perfect tour guide for your visit
His home offers individual rooms for a relaxing stay and great food. Located in Suco Beloi, you’ll be a short walk away from anything you could need. He and his family are confident that their home will feel like your home after your stay.
Pinorana’s Home (Bikeli)
For those hoping to get away from the beach a little bit, Pinorana’s home is perfect. The only homestay available in Bikeli, Pinorana’s home is quaint and simple but full of great food and culture to explore. With three rooms with double beds, Pinorana’s home is ideal for families or friends traveling together.
Carlito’s Home (Anartuto/Orakadade)
Like Pinorana’s home, Carlito’s home is not in Beloi but rather in Anartuto (Orakadade). Much closer to the mountains than the beach, Carlito’s home is perfect for those hoping to hike and explore the interior of Ataúro and see its natural beauty. Whether hiking the 999m Manukoko mountain or experiencing the homemade crafts made by Carlito and his colleagues behind his home, this is a perfect homestay to explore the island.
Why Do A Homestay?
Even if you’re dedicated to learning our culture and experiencing an authentic stay on our island, there are many reasons to do a homestay here on Ataúro. The homestays are the best value for their price and are incredibly sustainable.
1. Affordability and Value
Doing a homestay in Ataúro is the best value for the price. The cost for full board (three meals a day and your room) is $20 a day. Half board (the same as full, but without lunch) is $15 for only one meal less. In short, you could do a two-week vacation and only spend $280 for all of your meals and a room. Or you could spend $210 for two meals a day and your room.
The value of a homestay is by far the best when compared to a guesthouse, hotel, or bed-and-breakfast. Staying with a local family ensures you have a local guide to show you around. The time you’ll spend with your host family is simply unattainable if you choose different accommodations.
If you would like to explore other accommodations on our island, check out our page on Where To Stay and Eat. And, to read more about the business of homestays, we encourage you to read the homestay industry section of this article.
It’s important for all travelers to consider sustainability when traveling. Where does my money go? Who are the locals here? What is my carbon footprint here? These are some of the questions and issues that travelers should think about when visiting new places.
Staying with a local family ensures that you can answer all your sustainable questions:
- Where is your money going? Your money will go primarily to the family who hosts you. They’ll spend it locally, on food to feed you and themselves, on local produce, and for their own living, etc. A small portion of the fee will go to us, ATKOMA, for connecting you and your hosts.
- Who are the locals? You’re staying with them! You’re living with people who speak our language, are a part of our culture, and who know Ataúro better than anyone else. There’s no risk of giving to foreigners, foreign organizations, or anything similar. This is because you’re staying with folks who’ve lived here their whole lives.
- What’s your environmental impact? The food you’ll be eating is locally grown or caught and will be cooked locally. You can even catch the fish yourself by asking to go out with a local fisherman for a fishing experience.
- Other important sustainability aspects As a former colony, it is very important for the culture of Timor Leste and Ataúro to be able to flourish, as our native culture was suppressed for so long. By staying with locals, you’ll get to learn about how we live, what we believe, and all about our culture. Just by being curious and asking questions, you’ll be benefiting the longevity of our culture.
For further reading on the importance of sustainability in our industry, this article explains why tourism specifically is a great way to encourage sustainability in our global culture.
Additionally, ATKOMA provides a sustainable traveler pledge that we highly encourage all visitors to our island to read thoroughly. The pledge can be found at https://ataurotourism.org/plan-your-trip/traveler-pledge/ .
For bookings about doing a homestay visit https://ataurotourism.org/where-to-stay-eat/homestays/ where you can contact us to book a stay with a family directly. Otherwise, you can email us at [email protected] or send us a WhatsApp message at +670 7737 5489 or +670 7597 3623.
We look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your stay in Ataúro!