Fresh breeze, rejuvenating greenery, caressing sea winds and lush coconut groves will welcome you when you enter Goa. Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea.
Its long history as a Portuguese colony prior to 1961 is evident in its preserved 16th-century churches and the area’s tropical spice plantations. Goa is primarily known for its beaches, which are frequented by people from across the globe.
Beaches ranging from popular stretches at Baga and Palolem to laid-back fishing villages such as Aguada make Goa the most preferred tourist spot in India.
Another striking site that will enthrall you while at Goa is swaying palms, white sands and sparkling waters. These elements attract two million visitors annually to Goa’s balmy shores.
People say that if you want to go crazy, go to Goa and it is exactly this feeling that creeps inside you once you have been here. There is a lot to do for people of all age groups at Goa. If you are a romantic, there are umpteen places and beaches to enjoy evening wine by the bay or enjoying a stunning sunrise as you climb one of the many hills this place has.
You can indulge in adventure activities like water sports or simply enjoy a sunny afternoon with local brewed beer or ‘kaju ki feni’, which is made using cashew nuts, or one of those fancy liquor brands that you easily get in Goa.
Walking past centuries-old cathedrals in Old Goa, sipping wine at a candle-lit seaside restaurant, admiring gorgeous sunsets at a beach or just relaxing in your luxurious resort, it has something to offer to everyone.
It is one of the most frequented global destination for honeymooners, Goa is popular not only because of its sunny beaches but also for its cheerful and relaxed vibe.
You will be greeted by old Portuguese-style buildings, buzzing night life and an array of fancy resorts and wellness centres that will pamper you.
What you need to do is to simply rent a two-wheeler, there are many available from scooters to Harleys, and zoom around this magical state. Whether you are alone or with friends, you will get what you need to actually have fun in Goa.
We have listed some things that are a must when you are at Goa and you really should try them to derive the magical experience.
Stroll hand-in-hand on Goa’s best beaches
Goa’s beaches range from relaxed to maddening. They offer an overwhelming array of choices. This place has the perfect sandy-stretch to let the beach goer within you explore beaches and clear waters. One of the most frequented beaches in North Goa are Baga and Calangute due to the buzz that they have all day long but go farther north if you yearn to be at peace with nature and gaze at blue waters. South Goa beaches are calm and peaceful and offer limited activity as compared to North Goa stretches.
Old Goa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to several magnificent churches. While here, it is imperative to stroll amidst Old Goa’s historic churches.
The former Portuguese capital or Panjim is home to centuries-old chapels and history. The local markets have a lot to offer and you can pick up artifacts, incense, T-shirts, cool lowers and a lot more at the Saturday night bazaars. The Mandovi river is another experience as it offers cruise during the day time to rejuvenate you.
Spas and wellness
If you have been out for a while now, strolling on the sun-kissed beaches of India’s favourite beach-holiday destination, then it is vital to indulge in a therapeutic treat. Goa houses several wellness centres and spas to give your mind and body a revitalizing dose of healing treatments and massages. There are places where you are taught yoga and some pranayams to heal your body and mind.
Party the night away
One thing that makes Goa a favourite among youngsters is the swinging night life that attracts tourists from all over the world. You will find a bar in every home here and there are some excellent roadside bars that are thronged by people in the night. Bars here are a heady combination of great cocktails, excellent live music and an unbeatable feel. There are some not-to-be-missed out bars in Baga and Calangute area.
Panjim’s Latin quarter
Goa is home to India’s only Latin quarter. The fine charm of this area is due to the narrow streets and tiled-roof houses that have to be seen on foot. So say goodbye to your bike and take on to the streets as you shop, eat and drink.
Goa’s diverse international tourist population ensures that the food here is an excellent amalgamation of cuisines from around the world. The food here has continuously evolved into a fine culinary scene. Pick any restaurant in Goa, be it the known ones or the local sit outs, you will discover what Goan food is really about.
The region’s cuisine is a mélange of Konkan, Portuguese and Arabic influences. Goa has two major communities, Hindus and Catholics and they use spices and seafood in the best possible manner. Catholics make use of what Portuguese introduced to Goa, coconut vinegar, beef and pork. The locals also learnt the tactics of making bread and using ingredients that the Portuguese brought from their international colonies like chilli, cashew nut, guava, pineapple, tomato and potato. The perfect recipes that came out from this blend are vindaloo and local breads. Xacuti, which is a curry with coconut, spices and poppy seeds, balchao, a fiery tomato-chilli curry, and cafreal, fried chicken marinated with spices, are served everywhere and are a must try. Goan delights like prawn curry, prawn kishmur, crab masala and shellfish with coconut will tickle your taste buds.
Goa derives most of its living from tourism and this of course means that tourists are treated extremely well here. As a tourist you can expect unmatched hospitality and warmth from the locals. Just a word of concern is that do not get influenced by ‘get rich quick’ ways and ‘cheap’ resorts that promise the world to you.
The best time to head to this small yet breathtakingly beautiful state is October to March but those of you who love rains and want the Goan experience at a cheaper deal can visit Goa during the monsoons, i.e. June to August. Though, beach shacks will be closed during this time as water rises but there is still a lot to explore and you can enjoy your beer by the beach all year through. The discotheques are functional all year long and so are the resorts and the hotels, so, if you like it lush and green then head to Goa during monsoons.
The December carnival is the most expensive period here and everything gets triple its price otherwise. However, celebrating Christmas and New Year in Goa means gaiety, pomp and show. There is a special charm during Christmas in Goa that sets it apart from Christmas anywhere else in India. Goa, Being predominated mainly by Christians, during this time comes alive in a kaleidoscope of colours and carousing. During Christmas, streets are lit up and the market place is decorated with shiny flecks and buntings.
Beautiful harmony and melody of Christmas carols fill up the atmosphere and brings about a festive mood. The delicious aroma of baking cakes and breads fill up the air around and the songs at churches add delight to the surroundings. There are parties, morning masses, prayers, music, shopping, dance and other festivities that all add up to the exotic fiesta that brings the magic of Goa alive. There is a cheerful vibe around this place during this time and one can see many Bollywood (Indian cinema) celebrities in Goa.
Another important time when people throng Goa is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, who was a much loved saint. He died on December 3 and therefore, in Old Goa, every year, people assemble to participate in the feast. The famous church named as Basilica of Bom Jesus still holds the body of the saint preserved in a casket. The body is brought out for people to see once in every 10 years. Since the saint lives in the memory and hearts of the Goan people, this festival is celebrated with much cheer. It is believed by people in Goa that till the time St. Francis Xavier is safe in his casket in Goa, no calamity will harm Goa. No natural calamity has actually been able to create havoc in Goa till date.
If sandy stretches enthrall you and caressing sea winds amuse you, if music and dance is all you crave for and partying all night entertains you, visit incredible Goa.
People in India say, GO GOAAAAA…… so, do it, atleast once in your lifetime.