For years Goa has been a highlight of the west coast in India. Everything from its cheap alcohol to its pristine beaches, clean at that, and its cosmopolitan crown have attracted many youngsters and old timers alike. Goa comes very close to a true tropical holiday experience, something that many other coastal cities and towns in India have found difficult to simulate.
One of the first things one notices about Goa is how heavily influenced it is by the Portuguese way of life, primarily because it was under Portuguese rule well into the sixties. Furthermore, the people of Goa are very proud of their heritage and have done a fantastic job preserving their heritage buildings and their other landmarks both natural and manmade. The city attracts travelers from the world over, different countries and they all swear by the experience, comparing it to the likes of Bangkok, Ibiza and other prominent beach destinations.
So what does an ideal day at Goa look like?
To start with, one can choose to enjoy a traditional Mediterranean or Continental breakfast at one of the many joints on the sidewalks at Candolim in North Goa or Panjim, the city center. What’s better? Goa is one of the few places in India where a beer with breakfast is considered completely normal. The streets of Candolim are best explored on foot or by hiring a two wheeler which would ideally cost a tourist not more than INR 250 a day. So on the way to your breakfast place, you might want to check out some of the awesome street shopping, at unbelievable prices. Everything from t-shirts to sun glasses to refrigerator magnets. Candolim, and Anjuna in particular is also host to a Saturday flea market.
Come afternoon and the holiday crowd chooses to hit the beach. The Candolim area offers 3 major beaches, Candolim Beach, Calangute and Baga the first being the best maintained. Water sports are offered at practically all the beaches and touts and agents by the hundreds get you to manage a good deal. One can choose from JetSkis, Banana Rides and Parasailing. One cannot miss a beer with some authentic Goan seafood at one of the many beach shacks. Brittos is one of the biggest and most famous shacks at Baga and food is to die for.
A hop away from the 3 major beaches is Anjuna Beach and the world famous joint Curlies. Anjuna is a quiet little corner and offers a wonderful afternoon experience for a reader or for catching up with some e-mails on a beach. The USP here is silence and serenity. For the hukah lovers, all beach shacks in Goa, especially Curlies offer a mean hukah at throwaway prices.
A slower South Goa...
As for the south of the city, it is widely believed to be a lot slower. The south has some very famous churches and very quiet beaches. One of the most famous beaches of Goa, Colva, is in the south. The more disciplined family traveler might just find South Goa a lot more appealing since most of the posh hotels are nestled here.
Tourist places in Goa
Come evening, and Goa turns into a partier’s paradise. Cops are used to Goa being up and about as late as 3 am and night club owners and pubs keep the music going till the wee hours of the morning. Word of advice though, heading out too far at night in Goa without transportation can be a hassle since it’s not easy to manage a cab.
Café Titos and Mambos are two of the most famous night clubs in North Goa, very close to Calagute beach. Walk down the street from these places and you can check out any one of the roadside pubs and bars serving very affordable food and alcohol and playing music to suit all genre preferences. Apart from the traditional night clubs, some of the beach shacks also host good parties, but heading out too far onto the beach at night is not something that’s easy, given tides and cops.Panjim, the city center isn’t as happening in the holiday sense, but does offer a slower pace than most other Indian holiday destinations. The food is awesome, and the shopping better.
Commuting in Goa
Goa as a destination is well connected, very accessible and offers an amazing holiday experience regardless of age. Apart from the nightlife, beaches and parties it offers a slower pace than most other Indian cities and can be a welcome change for domestic travelers. Holiday makers coming in from overseas will certainly enjoy the freedom the place offers, its winding, confusing streets which leave a lot of room to explore, all of this thrown in with tropical weather and a little bit of an Indian touch.
Feeling a little more adventurous? You might want to rent yourself a private shack on the beach and experience the living culture, firsthand! We could go on and on about the never ending sights and sounds of Goa, but this feature ends here. Happy holidaying!