Travel Guide To Goa – India

Goa  was conquered by the Portuguese in the early 16th century and was returned to Indian rule in 1961, today in Goa you will see the influence the Portuguese in the form of architecture, food and art. Goa is one of the smallest Staes in India and very popular with tourists from all over the world. Goa attracts visitors to it’s stunnning beaches, vibrant colourful markets, incredible nightlife and amazing food. Goa is a great place to visit and explore, and has something for almost every type of traveller.

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Goa

 Beaches

Goa has over 80 miles of coastline, with numerous beautiful beaches lining the shores, each with its own character. You can pick from over 30 beaches to visit when you travel to Goa.

Anjuna beach, the original hippy hangout, has changed dramatically since its original days but retains a touch of the unconventional. Try to get here on a Wednesday to see the extensive flea market. Here you will find hawkers selling jewellery, fabrics and trinkets from all over India, their wares spread out under the shade of palm trees.

Head north and you’ll find peace again on the beaches of Mandrem, Asvem and Arambol – broad sweeps of fawn sand, backed by thickets of palm trees and casuarina pines.

Similarly unspoilt is Palolem, one of the state’s most southerly beaches. With postcard-perfect views, lazy beach life and a chilled-out nightlife this broad bay has little in common with the more commercialised northern beaches. For something even quieter, wander south to the next beach along, Patnem.

Goa Guide

Activities:

Diving

There are a selection of diving schools both for experienced divers to go onn diving trips annd for beginners to learn.

For divers check out Goa Diving school, it was established by an expatriate Scotsman, Willie Downie, and operates from Bogmalo Beach. A single dive costs a very reasonable and costs about (£20), (about £180) buys an overnight excursion to Pigeon Island.

You can also learn to dive in Goa at  Barracuda Diving, based in Panaji it has been  is accredited with five stars from the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) and they charge (about £230) for a full PADI Open Water Diving Certification course. If you prefer to remain above the surface then Day Tripper Tours and Travel in Calangute organises a two-day safari and white-water rafting trip which costs around £75.

Goa IndiaWildlife

The deepest immersion in nature can be found in the largest of Goa’s four protected wildlife areas, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary in the town of Mollem. The sanctuary is on the eastern boundary of Goa, accessible by road or rail from Panaji or Margao. Leopards, spotted deer and cobras can all be seen here.

Wellness

India was where yoga was born, and Goa is the most Western-friendly place to study the discipline, Yoga Magic near Anjuna, is a reliable retreat that offers daily yoga classes, accommodation in Rajasthani-style hunting tents and delicious vegetarian food. Prices start  (about £35) per person per night. Before it started offering yoga classes, Yogamagic was built to accommodate people heading to the nearby Purple Valley Yoga Retreat, which teaches the dynamic and challenging Astanga style of yoga in a secluded valley. The retreat now offers its own accommodation; a week’s stay at Purple Valley including classes, and three vegetarian meals daily, starts at £450.

Food and Drinks

Rice, fish and coconut are the staple ingredients in most Goan meals, punctuated with chilli flavourings. The fusion of Indian and Portuguese gastronomy is best characterised by the ultimate Goan dish of fish curry, but the vindaloo originated here too. Brought to Goa by the Portuguese, its name is derived from carne de vinha d’alhos, or meat with wine and garlic. It is traditionally made from pork and is less fiery than you might expect.

The dominance of Hinduism in Goa means that vegetarian restaurants and dishes are widespread and with the prohibition of beef for Hindus and pork for Muslims, lamb and chicken are the meats that appear most often on menus.

Drinking alcohol in Goa doesn’t have the same stigma attached to it as it does in other parts of the country. In fact, the region produces and consumes its own variety of fiery spirit made from cashew or coconut sap: feni, made more bearable when diluted with water or soda.

Getting Around

Auto-rickshaws – open three-wheelers with small, noisy engines – are the standard way to cover small distances. Fix a fare in advance. In resort areas, you can rent a bike for less than £1 a week. Rented motorcycles are a popular, albeit dangerous, form of transport.

Hiring a car with a driver can often work out cheaper than self drive rentals, and considering the hazardous Indian driving regulations it’s safer too. Expect to pay around (£7.50-£13) per day.

Taxi’s are also available in Goa.

Check out Goa’s Tasty Restaurants 

Jamies Restaurant– head here for some casual and cozy Barbecues.

Magic Italy– Authentic Italian restaurant and Pizzeria-  land here for foodstuffs suitable for kids too.

Pousada By the Beach – this one is one of the best South Indian beach restaurants

 Shivers Garden Restaurant– North, Goa great for  late night food cravings.

Goa’s Ark Restaurant–  A fabulous place to grab some breakfast and dinner.

These are some of  the best beach restaurants to fill your tummy with the delicious tastes of Goa.  The restaurants are decorated well during the nights; they also give you a different experience of eating near the shores with the cool sea breeze. 

Accommodation

Ratings from TripAdvisor:

Grand Hyatta Goa – the best five-star hotel with 4.6 ratings out of 5 

W Goa – Latest five star in Goa, located in Vagator 4.5 ratings out of 5

Neelams The Grand– four-star hotel with 4.0 ratings out of 5 

Citrus Hotels, Goa– three-star hotel with 4. 0 ratings out of 5 

Air BnB Choice Links:

To get £25 Travel Credit with Air BnB – Click This Link (AirBnB £25 Travel Credit)

Wow Romantic Tree House, Anjuna-Vagator

Romantic secret getaway in Goa.  The tree house is built with eco-conservation in mind. The tree house is set on two levels.

Quinta da Santana- Luxury Country Villa 2

Luxury accommodation South Goa – set I the middle of such hills with a stunning swimming pool.

Nightlife

 Goa’s reputation as a party destination began to be established when it was a Portuguese colony, providing a liberal bolt-hole in a conservative nation. When young Western backpackers began to congregate in Goa, the state became a venue for all-night raves.

The three-day “underground” trance parties take a bit of finding. The best place to begin is at Vagator beach, starting the evening at an established venue such as Nine Bar, Hill Top or Primrose Café which are all open until 3am, from there you can ask around to find the jungle location where that evening’s party will take place.

However, since the police have started to crack down on these unofficial all-night raves, mainstream club nights and venues are stepping in to fill the gap, such as Tito’s in Baga Beach a great nightlife spot in Goa. There are plenty of bars, and night clubs and parties in Goa to keep you entertained, and you definitely won’t be getting bored here for entertainment at night.

Goa Party

Best Seasons To Visit

Mid-November to mid-February are the best months to visit Goa. The weather is completely calm and cool during this time period. The shores are not that hot enough to drive you under the shade. You can also join the bunch of visitors who gather around during this time in the year to witness Goa’s sunburn festival along with the Christmas and New Year celebrations. 

Visa

The visa procedures are simple and easy, many people turn out to be successful in their visa process. The Indian government claims its tourists follow the e-tourist visa procedure that is enabled by ETA. Tourists have to start their visa procedure at least a month before their date of arrival. The cost is around US$60 and the applicants from eligible countries can apply for the visa.

Currency

The currency in Goa is Indian rupee.

Languages

Earlier, Portuguese was widely spoken in Goa. Even now very few people speak Portuguese. As Goa is protected by Maharashtra in the north and east, the common tongue is Marathi along with Konkani speakers. Foreigners communicate mostly in English no matter the place they arrive from. These are the commonly spoken languages in Goa.

 

 

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Showing 4 comments
  • Raghav
    Reply

    A great guide to Goa in which you have covered all the important aspects of the region. I have always found it to be quite intriguing, but somehow even though I am from India, I would much prefer the beaches along the Mediterranian coast. But that’s me and Goa does bring a different kind of charm, one that lies in the local culture and the food.

  • constance
    Reply

    Goa looks so amazing! I’d love to visit someday so this was super interesting to me. I wish I could’ve seen more of it’s cultural history as a colony of Portugal but I may just have to see that for myself by visiting in real life. Pinning for later!

  • Arnav Mathur
    Reply

    Have been to Goa so many times, and have experienced it differently all the times. Its dirt cheap, and the party scene is awesome, but what I like the most, is the nice romantic ambiance by the beach at night. With the stars sparkling in the sky, and the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, and a drink in your hand.
    Goa has got a different charm for everyone.

  • Shannon Keary
    Reply

    This is a great guide, very informative! I never had thought of going to Goa for diving but I imagine it is incredible!! I’ve always wanted to go to experience the culture, food and the yoga! Your photos are beautiful too! ❤️ Shan xoxo

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