Let’s face that. Let’s face it. For beaches and parties, most people visit Goa. There is much more to experience, however. In 1961 they were finally expelled by the Portuguese occupied Goa for approximately 450 years. In the 1970s, the state was also a major destination. As a consequence, it’s very different in India from anywhere else and has a different culture. This Guide from Goa will help you plan your journey.
Planning Your Trip
- Best time to visit: from October to March when the weather is warm and dry, Goa’s tourist season runs. In November most beach huts open. Because of extreme heat and moisture, they pack by April or May. From June to September the South-West Monsoon brings rain.
- Language: Konkani is the native language of most Goans, but it is widely understood and spoken in English and Hindi.
- Time zone: $5.5 hours, also known as Indian Standard Time, UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). No daylight saving time is observed in Goa.
- Getting around: the most common means of transport are taxis and auto-rickshaws. The notorious Goan taxi mafia, unfortunately, keeps fares high and prevents app-based cab operations such as Uber. There is a GoaMiles taxi service run by the state and based on applications. The Hop-On-Hop-Off bus is an affordable way to reach Goa’s sights. Motorcycles or scooters are popular and cost-effective.
- Tip: The Goa monsoon season is perfect for spending time in the mountainous hinterland of the state. It is possible to raft white water.
Things to Do
Most people wonder how much is going to be done in Goa apart from the beach and nightlife. This includes water activities and adventure, hot-air balloons, cooking lessons, ancient fortresses, spice groves, browsing museums and galleries of art, the bird’s eyes on doctor Salim Ali, nature reserves hiking, yoga and natural treatments, a private yacht cruise along Mandovi River, casino bets, live Jazz music and of course jacuzzi. These off-beat electric bicycle tours and walking tours can be done by active travellers.
Three of the main things to do in Goa are
- Spending at Anjuna Beach’s Wednesday Flea Market, Goa Collective Bazaar at Hilltop near Vagator, Arpora’s Saturday Night Market (between Anjuna and Baga). This is a seasonal market.
- Touring Old Goa and the Latin Quarter of Fontainhas.
- South Goa tour of Portuguese villas.
Learn about Goa’s top places and cultural activities beyond the beaches in Goa.
What to Eat and Drink
Mainly Portuguese-influenced Goan cuisine is mainly non-vegetarian. The traditional cuisine of the Hindu community of Brahmin Saraswat is less known. Curry fish and rice, in Goa, are omnipresent staples. On the menu, you will find xacutti (coconut curry), cafreal, sorpotel (stew), recheado (filled), Ambato tik (sour, spicy, and vindaloo (few curries marinated with vintage garlic and wine), as well as xacutti (coconut-based curry). Popular are also goosed hot chorizo (sausages) and pao (pain).
However, you will have to get authentic Goan food away from the shacks.
Feni is the local brawl and the informal state drink of Goa. It is made of cassava or cocoa palm sap. Drink it with a slice of lime or tonic water. However, avoid cheap, commercially made feni because of its clearly uncomfortable smell. Try to take your hands on a feni (Dudhsagar Plantation Farmstay does its own). Or the Big Boss or Cazulo Feni Premium bottle. The source of Cazulo feni can now be accessed directly as the company opened its cellar for tours and sweet degustations in the Cansaulim foothills. To make a reservation, call 8605-008-185. The Panjim’s Joseph’s Bar offers several innovative feni cocktails. Latin Quarter. On a beach, a curry is good for King’s beer.
Where to Stay
The coastline of Goa is around 100 miles long. There is a wide range of accommodation types, from beach huts to luxury private villas, and each beach is different. It can be misleading! Base yourself in North Goa if you are looking for action because South Goa is relatively undeveloped and laid back. South Goa is home to the majority of luxury hotels. Palolem is South Goa’s most eventful beach, whereas Agonda is ideal to chill out. A bit of both Patnem offers. In North Goa, the beach stretch of Candolim-Calangute-Baga is particularly marketable and gets super crowded in peak times. Backpacker Hostels are common near the beach of Anjuna, and there is also the famous Wednesday Flea Market.
The remaining mental trance scene has been found around Vagator Beach, the beach stretch of Mandrem-Morjim-Ashwem has become quite trendy, while the new traveler’s center with a range of alternative therapies is Arambol Beach. Panjim Capital is located between North and South Goa, centrally located. Its Latin Quarter of Fontainhas is an atmospheric district in the Portuguese mansion that has been restored.
There’s one airport in Goa. It is an international airport operating from a military airbase on the southern and north beaches of Goa’s Dabolim. Most people go from the airport to their hotel with a prepaid taxi. The arrivals terminal has a counter, where you can reserve and pay. There is also a shuttle service to Panjim, Calangute, and Margao from the airport. You can book it here or at the airport online.
Another way to get to Goa is by Indian Railways. For budget travelers it’s useful, and in north and south Goa there are several stops. Particularly scenic is the distance from Mumbai to Goa on the Konkan Railway. This is Mumbai’s best train to Goa.
- During the low season from May to September hotels offer huge discounts of up to 50 percent.
- In Goa, there are numerous budget lodges, which are not on the internet. If you’re not going in the high season (from the middle of December through the middle of January).
- Stay at a backpacker hostel in a dorm or a private room.
- Take a look at bars for cheap or free drink for happy hours and women’s nights.
- Make sure that you negotiate a good deal on the markets.