By public opinion, unanimously, Club Cubana is the best place to party in Goa. This is one of the only places in Asia that’s open practically all night, and we mean all night with no cop trouble and no abrupt party spoilers.
Club Cubana scores a perfect ten on the crowd front. If you’re the Bollywood or even the Holywood kinds, you might just end up spotting a celebrity or two once in a way. Right in the centre of the night club is a huge swimming pool and Jacuzzi and the open air night club that’s on a hillock overlooks the coastline.
Palms decorate some of the areas in the night club which makes for a true outdoor part experience with a very spacious dance floor. Club Cubana wins points across the board, though, we’ve heard of some patrons complaining about the relatively limited dinner spread, but hey, if you are there to party, it’s the bar you want to hit!
One of the downsides of Club Cubana is the fact that it’s open only from October to April, being owned by a European family. The entry fee offers a full cover which can be redeemed for food and drinks and generally hovers around the INR 1,200 mark which, given the service is a very good price to pay.
If you’re in Goa, you have to visit this place once to get a feel of one of Asia’s most authentic poolside party experiences. The club claims a capacity of 3000 people, but don’t be surprised if you see more, sometimes it gets hard to breathe. This of course, never takes away from the energetic party experience.
Getting to club Cubana is easy enough, its located at Calangute, but we suggest you use your own vehicle. Cabs are available round the clock, but one might just get gypped if you find yourself too many drinks down and out too late.
Legend has it that the Lord Rama and his wife Sita, when exiled from the holy city Ayodhya, spent 14 years taking shelter in this fort. Some believe it to be important from the mythological standpoint, for a tourist it’s an ideal place for an afternoon out with a couple of beers, friends, good conversation and a view to die for!
Many Indian tourists often mistake this fort for one seen in a popular Hindi movie Dil Chahta Hai, for those of you living in the haze that’s fort Aguada, although Cabo De Rama with its non-Portuguese, non-traditional name has nothing less to offer in terms of tourist value.
Overlooking the Canacona and Colva beaches, which are just a walk away, this fort is very strategically located with tourists often making their way to these beaches for a short dip, especially on a day-long picnic at the fort. These beaches also have several shacks offering good Goan food with very affordable alcohol! The best time to visit the Cabo De Rama Fort is in the summer.
The fort offers a breathtaking view of the majestic Arabian coastline. The Cabo De Rama Fort has changed various flags having been under the Marathas, Portuguese and the Muslims at various times in history. At one point, the fort was clad with 21 guns by the Portuguese, clues of which can still be found in the remains of a damaged turret. The Portuguese also erected a chapel at the fort.
Cabo De Rama is located at the south end of the Colva Beach bay. A bike or a cab from any of the south Goan localities or towns, like Panjim, Vasco or Margao, is an easy way to get there. Tourists based in North Goa, Candolim, Baga and Calangute, including Vagator and Mapusa, get ready for a relatively long ride and make sure the cab fare is accurate.
Dudhsagar waterfalls – the very name of this alluring falls translates to mean a sea of milk and it is aptly called so, for it simply seems like it's milk and not water that's cascading down those rocks. Located in-between Karnataka-Goa Border, about 72 km away from Panaji and set amidst an extremely beautiful spot, it is a major tourist attraction in the area.
According to a legend, it is believed that a pretty princess lived in a palace within a forest close by Dudhsagar and enjoyed taking bath in a lake located close by and would drink sweetened milk in her golden jug after her bath. Meanwhile, she noticed that a prince was watching her bathe which embarrassed her, and to prevent him from seeing her, she poured milk from her jug to form a curtain that prevented him from seeing her. It is believed that it is the same sweetened milk that is cascading down the rocks as Dudhsagar waterfalls today.
Fall And Its Surroundings
Dudhsagar waterfalls and the roads surrounding it are maintained by the Goa Forest Department. It is considered to be one of the world's most beautiful waterfalls and is listed as India's fifth tallest waterfall, having a total height of 310 metres. It looks extremely spectacular, especially during the monsoon season. However, the roads leading to the falls remain closed during the rainy season and are opened for public transport only after October.
The cascading waters form a pond beneath in which people can bathe but at their own risk. The waterfall which is located inside the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary of Collem in South Goa is surrounded by a thick deciduous forest, which houses various species of animals, plants, insects and birds.
Dudhsagar waterfalls can be reached easily by road and rail. While the nearest railway station is the Collem railway station. It is not advisable to travel to Dudhsagar by car as the road has a jungle track and the river criss-crosses the road at several points.
Trekking is also a famous tourist attrcation at Dudhsagar. There is a railway track close by the waterfalls where trekkers can find shelters. However, they are made available to trekkers only on first come first serve basis.
Bamboo styling, a typical outdoor feel and based on a model from nowhere else but Ibiza, Café Del Mar Beach Bar and Club has it all! Undoubtedly one of the most happening party places in south Goa, south of both Margao and Panjim this relatively large resort cum restaurant cum night club is situated on Palolem Beach.
Cafe Del Mar is a full-fledged resort, and while it’s one of the most picturesque places to be based at during your vacation here, and one must if they can, the night is a different story. Partygoers from all over south and north Goa flock to Café Del Mar to enjoy the true beach experience it has to offer with its artificially elevated bamboo sundecks and a view to die for no matter where you are.
The beach shack serves some very well priced alcohol and Café Del Mar is one of the only places in South Goa that has a late license which allows it to have the party going till the wee hours of the morning.
Café Del Mar’s restaurant can set up a beachside barbecue for you while you enjoy the amazing music and order cocktails till you’re ready to hit the dance floor. Being relatively well spaced out, the dance floor can accommodate many and is generally not all that crowded.
All said and done, Café Del Mar is more than just a nightclub, it’s an entertainment zone for all age groups and adds pace and energy to a relatively slow south Goa. Getting there is simple, get a cab from the airport, Vasco or Margao. Head south beyond Colva beach and ask around for Palolem Beach.
At the foot of the fort is the church dedicated to the Saint Jerome and the fort is famous for hosting the annual 'Festa dos Reis Magos' which translates to the Feast of the Three Wise Souls on the 6th of every January.
The best time to visit the Reis Magos Fort is in summer. Getting to Reis Magos Fort is easy and being relatively small, sightseeing doesn’t take long. From Panjim, Margao and Vasco, tours can be arranged, and it takes just under an hour to get there.
From Panjim, of course, the travel time is a lot lesser. If you’re based in north Goa, Candolim, Baga and Calangute, respectively, a cab ride is often the best way to get there or one can decide to ride down on a hired bike.
Finally, a club in Goa which seems to have solved the vehicle parking issue! Margarita, one of the few up and energetic places in South Goa among others like Paradiso is a stand-alone club close to Colva beach and boasts of night long parties, world-renowned DJs and a huge, strikingly attractive neon-lit bar table.
Furthermore, this is one of the only places in the region that makes it very easy for stags to get in at around 300 bucks on weekdays and 500 on weekends. Apart from a roomy dance floor they sport a multi-cuisine restaurant and an exciting selection of cocktails.
All said and done, for a metropolitan club experience in Goa, Club Margarita is definitely worth a visit. The costs are very affordable and the crowd as cosmopolitan as it gets. To get to Club Margarita, get a cab from Panjim, Vasco or Margao. If you’re based in North Goa, ask for Colva beach, though the ride is a little long.
The town of Saquelim in Goa has often been visited by tourists from all over, but a little detour off the approach road and you might find yourself in the midst of the majestic Arvalem Caves also known as the Pandava Caves as they are known to have housed the Pandavas (characters from Hindu Mythology) during their 12 year exile.
There’s not much to speak of in terms of architecture and sculpture at these caves are considerably small. Their origins can be traced back to as early as the 6th century and credit for building is still undecided.
Some believe the caves owe their origins to Buddhism, but the presence of Lingas on the walls is confusing. Laterite stone and some architecture resembling Buddhist architecture also lead us to believe that the Arvalem caves, are probably Buddhist.
Archaeologists have also been exploring some Sanskrit inscriptions found from the 7th century in the caves. Arvalem caves are often visited by Hindu tourists to marvel at their mythological importance, but apart from that these red bricked caves are awe inspiring even for the average tourist.
An ideal picnic spot, one might want to set aside an afternoon for a picnic at these caves and enjoy nature at its best. The best time to visit the Arvalem caves is in the monsoons. Getting to the Arvalem caves is a little bit of a hike. They’re located close to the town of Sanquelim inland, towards the east, from places like Vasco, Margao and Panjim.
Its best to ride down to the caves on a hired two wheeler or your own vehicle, although cabs are available from the city side and north Goa. Beware of the costs though, they might not charge you by the metre.
Housed on what is now known as the famous Tito’s lane in the Baga vicinity is one of Goa’s best night places, crowd, food, alcohol and music. Ask anyone around the Baga area about where to head for a decent party, and the reply in most cases is quick, Tito’s.
Notwithstanding the fact that the famous Tito’s lane has various bars, night places and pool parlours that are all well rated, one just has to visit the mother ship!
Don’t get let down by the steep entry fee, pitched at 1500 bucks, and sometimes Tito’s might not allow stags. Once you get in you are greeted by amazingly energetic music, very comfortable temperature and an A La Carte Menu to die for. What’s better, the entry fee you paid gets you unlimited alcohol.
Some may argue the brands are very basic, but hey, 1500 bucks for all you can drink booze is completely worth it now, isn’t it? The crowd at Café Tito’s is a mix of all ethnicities, which is enjoyable.
The club features high ceilings and feels very roomy with its multiple levels. It does tend to get a little crowded on the weekends, but nothing the place can’t handle. Also, the in-house security is more than competent to handle large crowds.
Tito’s also features Celebrity DJs now and then. Now here’s the real downside; the discotheque is reserved for people who are willing to pay an additional fee. It isn’t much at 300 bucks for couples, but it still doesn’t go down to well with many patrons.
Nevertheless, no complaints on the quality of service once you’re in. The Tito’s lane is crowded on weekends, so you might want to find yourself a parking spot away from the lane. Furthermore, try not to take a cab and be mobile. The Tito’s lane is just a walk down from the Baga Cafe Coffee Day and once you’re in the lane, Tito’s itself is hard to miss!
The fort of Chapora like many others in Goa hasn’t had a very strict maintenance regime for the last few decades but does offer some spectacular views. Tourists still marvel at this algae- and moss-infested structure that once spoke of the grandeur of Portuguese architecture along with solid built quality.
Fort Chapora was built by the Potuguese in the year 1617 to protect their territory from Hindu invasion. It’s one of many that were built during the era including the famous Fort Agoda, but unlike Agoda, it fell in the hands of the Hindus eventually, and the ruins today speak of the struggle.
The fort was built on what was earlier a Muslim settlement called Shahpura; hence, an alternate name for the fort spells Shahpur. The fort was abandoned by the Portuguese finally in 1892, but one can still spot discernable remains of the two supply tunnels used during the attack and war.
Chapora is close to the Vagator Beach in the North Bardez district and is easily accessible from the town of Mapusa, being around 10 km away. Simply put, if you’re based anywhere near the Baga, Calangute, Anjuna stretch, getting there shouldn’t take long, just head north.
Getting a cab from Panjim or Vasco should not be an issue either, though it’s advisable that on a day out exploring forts, you hire a car or a bike so you can take your time exploring. The best time to visit Fort Chapora is in the summer.
The Bambolim Church is the parish church of the village of Bambolim also known as the church of ‘Our lady of Belem or Bethlehem.’ This church unlike many in Goa is perfectly well maintained and a relatively new one. The giant sloping roofs and clean white look and feel to the structure is very inviting and a favourite among tourists, pilgrims and residents in the region.
The church is situated on a hill called Orte De Vigar in Bambolim which is just a few kilometres south of Panjim. On the first Sunday of every January, a feast is held in the name of Our Lady of Bethlehem subsequent to the feast of three Kings.
Regular bus services to Bambolim and cabs are available from all 3 major cities and the Northern Goa towns. For tourists transiting through Goa on the famous Panvel Kanyakumari road, it’s just a few kilometres off the highway.
Enter the world of the true low cost night club on the Tito’s lane. Much like brands like Ibis or ETap, Cape Town Café is backed by a solid ownership brand, the legendary Tito’s Café. Located in the famous Tito’s lane at Baga, the tall ceilings, huge LCD screens, loud music and amazing Goan food is hard to miss.
Unlike other night clubs in the lane, this one’s amazingly affordable, and open to a much larger array of crowd. One might argue that it isn’t a place you’d want to end up at with your dad, but well, all in all, it’s a good place for the middle aged traveller to kick back and relax.
Patrons swear by the food, and it’s one of the only night clubs that features an in-house boutique called Curves for some casual designer shopping. One can shop for swim suits, tops and accessories. The restaurant on the outside features wooden tables, ideal for a meal with a bunch of friends or family.
Furthermore, it’s important to add, Cape Town Café is one of the only places in the lane that serves beers as cheap as 70 bucks. Also, worth mentioning is the Tandoori Lamb preparation which seems to have caught the attention of a lot of patrons.
Being backed by Tito’s management, the bouncers are very competent and usually make sure it’s a trouble free environment. For the most part of the week, there is no entry charge although they might just levy one on Indians on the weekends.
Fair skinned Indians just might get away, as do foreigners which isn’t altogether the done thing! Couple of things to keep in mind while visiting Cape Town, get there early! Patrons usually have a tendency of occupying tables early in the night and tend to not leave for a long time.
Also, make sure you find yourself a sweet parking spot since they do not have a valet service. On some days, the cops might just not allow traffic into the lane, in which case it’s a short walk from Café Coffee Day at Baga.
Owing to the crowd, don’t expect the fastest service, be patient and enjoy the live DJ. If you’ve got a few extra bucks to part with, you might want to get yourself a table in the VIP section which adds to the charm.
Home to the Saint Francis Xavier, the priest responsible of bringing Christianity to the region, this church in Goa attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims from all over the world, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike, to experience what can only be termed as divine intervention itself. It is said that the great Saint Francis Xavier had immense powers of healing which is still reflected in the remains of his mortal self.
Testimony to this claim is a public viewing of the Saint’s body that happens once a decade. It last took place in 2004. Bom Jesus translates to Good Jesus or Infant Jesus to whom it is essentially dedicated.
Having been inaugurated in 1605 by Father Aleixo De Menezes, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is over 400 years old and is open to tourists and pilgrims every day. Inside the church, pilgrims can worship and browse through the intricate artwork that speak volumes about the life and time of Saint Francis Xavier. The remains of Saint Francis are kept in a well-clad casket. Most of the mausoleum has been designed by Giovanni Battista Foggini, a 17th century sculptor. The entire church has been built on the principles of Jesuit architecture.
There has been talk that the Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is soon on its way to going green with a galvanised roof for a better experience for Church inhabitants, pilgrims and tourists. The galvanised roof will replace the current asbestos roof. This is a first of a kind move in India to preserve a 400-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Widely Opposed Professed House
The Professed house is a separate structure within the church compound and predates the church itself by around twenty years, having been built in 1585. Jesuit missionaries made this place their base for activities pertaining to the far east since back then. The Jesuits faced tough opposition from the Senate for which they were not permitted to build the church.
One night, against the opposition, the Jesuits threw open a small church on the doors of which was inscribed the work Jesus and invited the commons in to celebrate mass. Ever since the Senate was helpless but to let them go about with their activities. The Professed house, a separate building is still on the campus and a hot favourite amongst tourists.
How To Get There?
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is just a stone throw away from the capital of Goa, Panjim. One can easily hail a cab in the city or get on from Vasco da Gama city or Margao city. For pilgrims who are put up in North Goa, namely Baga, Calangute and Candolim, cabs are available, although if you’re doing a day-long tour, visiting various churches in Panjim and the south, it is best to be mobile with your own vehicle or a self-driven hired one.
Gambling as a sport hasn’t really picked up in India, for better or for worse, that’s a matter of opinion. A good way to experience it though is to head to one of India’s only floating Casinos, Casino Royale. The ship is stationed in the river Mandovi and heads out to international waters where all the fun begins.
Some of the games featured at Casino Royale are American Roulette, Poker, Black Jack, Money Wheel, Baccarat, Pontoon, Craps and the Slot Machines of course. They also feature a separate VVIP gaming room.
The fun doesn’t end at Gambling; Casino Royale is a fully equipped entertainment ship with various levels, dinner catered by China Garden, a candle light setup, a sun deck for marvellous views through all seasons and a crew that’s as friendly as ever.
The restaurant even features a belly dancing troupe from Russia once in a way. The cost to enter may seem steep at first, but here’s what’s in store. A couple pays 4000 bucks to get in, 3000 worth of non-redeemable coupons are handed over to you along with alcohol and dinner on the house!
Hey! It’s a casino, right? Might as well try your luck. For the amateur gambler they have a simpler selection of games to play, and for the clueless gambler, you might want to hit the slots, and they’ve got several of them!
Don’t you worry if you’re travelling with kids; the ship is equipped with sleeping rooms for kids so couples can enjoy themselves to the core. Apart from sleeping zones, they also have a very well stocked play area to keep the little ones occupied.
For the celebrity lovers, spotting a couple on each visit isn’t unusual. All in all, Casino Royale makes for a fun filled evening! For a moment you almost forget you’re in India. Getting there is easy enough. Get a cab, and they’re all aware of how to get there!
DJ Pierre has been making news off late, and Club Ivy, a relatively new addition to the Tito’s lane has him on board as their in-house DJ. Club Ivy is all about the music! Possibly the best looking club on the street, one is immediately attracted to the loud music and the touts at the entrance yelling free entry.
And it’s every bit worth the claim. It’s one of the only places in Baga that offers free entry all days of the week. Club Ivy opens at 8 pm and features an exterior cocktail bar for just a casual drink or two, ideal for someone who’s in Goa for just a night and is pub hopping in the Tito’s lane. And that’s a lot a places to hop to!
DJ Pierre plays a decent mix of R & B, and the giant screen plays live matches or formula one. Getting to Ivy is easy enough, it is located just at the mouth of the Tito’s lane and parking isn’t hard to find even on a crowded day since it isn’t much of a walk.
To get to Club Ivy from other parts of Goa, all you need to ask for is the Tito’s lane in Baga. Word of advice; if you’re hungry and desire some tandoori food, you might want to hop over to this very famous tandoori take away joint not too far from Club Ivy, beside Cafe Coffee Day in Baga.
Mambos is the last stop down the famous Tito’s lane at Baga. Even though, this lane is flanked with nightclubs, bars and pool parlours, one can’t help but make their way down to the end to witness what is one of Goa’s most famous nightclubs that undoubtedly plays good music.
The entry fee to Mambos is cheap at 500 bucks for a couple and 800 bucks for stags, but bear in mind the club does not offer cover on the entry fee, you buy your food and alcohol inside. Furthermore, and very surprisingly so, Mambos doesn’t accept cards, so make sure you go in with enough cash.
Unlike other clubs in Goa, Mambos offers an A La Carte dinner menu that’s just as good as their alcohol and cocktails. Don’t forget to try their authentic Goan pork preparations. It’s a pleasant experience dining here since the dance floor, and the restaurant are placed separately.
Security is relatively tight in all zones, so no monkey business and anything that isn’t a standard cigarette is a strict no-no. Owing to the cheap entry, don’t expect the best of crown, in fact, it may turn a little rowdy sometimes, but the security handles the situation more than well.
Bar tables are conveniently located at more than 3 locations, and fast food joints outside serve the inside of Mambos as well, so they’re well stocked. On most days the dance floor is packed!
Getting to Mambos is simple enough, get a cab to Baga and ask for the Tito’s lane. On a busy night, traffic into the Tito’s lane is stopped so you might have to get off and walk, which is OK as one can check out the various other bars along the way. Its best to have your own ride though.