Hola everyone. Happy 2017 and wishing you all happy vacations too. This is the time of the year when half of us have already gone on a vacation and rest half are gearing to go on a vacation to kick start our new year with a bang. Well if you are wondering where to vacation in Inda in the New year, then no doubt Goa is the best option of all and why not, after all it is the only place where you get to party so hard with lovely people on those beautiful beaches. No doubt Goa is the ultimate party capital of India.
Goa is a small state on the western coast of India and used to be a Portuguese province before it was annexed by India in 1961. However the portuguese influence is still so dominant on almost everything in Goa, be it its cuisine, music, culture, architecture or anything. And I just love that colonial feel about everything. You will find the most happy go lucky Goan people here who know how to enjoy life.
Goa has always been a place very close to my bohemian heart. I just never get enough of it and its always on the top of my list when I want to vacation in India. After all there's so much to do here once you are in Goa. Whether you are a party lover or a nature lover or a history lover, Goa offers something for everyone. So all you need to do is just hire a bike or a car and set off to explore the beauty of Goa. Here is my top picks of the 10 things to do if you are in Goa.
1. Watch dolphins, explore untouched beaches and islands on Palolem beach
Well Palolem beach in south Goa should certainly be on your must travel list if you ever go to Goa. Why because there are so many things to do here. Its certainly one of those beaches of Goa which are very scenic, beautiful, very clean and very less crowded too. Just hire a boat and get on to the adventure of watching the dolphins as you make your way through the waters to some untouched beautiful beaches like Honeymoon beach or an island like Butterfly island. This is definitely the place to witness the real beauty of Goa and you can actually enjoy some scenic breathtaking view of the hills of the Western Ghats from your boat. To read my travel story on Palolem beach Click here
2. Watch the sunset and Party hard at the Vagator beach
This beach in north Goa is a very beautiful rocky beach and is very popular for viewing sunset. It is the ultimate party beach and is the host of many happening new year parties and fests. Sunburn festival which is Asia's largest dance music festival is held at this beach in the month of December. For the music and dance lovers this is a must-visit place as many restaurants here organise some music parties on weekends too. Not only this you get some really good food here. To read in detail my story on Vagator beach click here
3. Come face to face with the history of Goa at Fort Aguada and Chapora fort
There are so many forts all along the coastline of Goa. However my favourites are the Fort Aguada and Chapora fort which are really popular among the tourists for their beauty and wonderful location. Fort Aguada is a very well maintained seventeenth century Portuguese fort built on the Sinquerim beach. There is a light house too inside this fort. You can enjoy some stunning views of ocean from this fort. Chapora fort in Bardez is also a Portuguese fort though lying in ruins. But its beauty lies in its ruins and hence is not to be missed too. Some parts of the bollywood movie Dil Chahta Hai were shot here too.
4. Explore the rich heritage of Goa in the Old Goa churches
Though Goa is dotted with so many churches but Old Goa is the home to some great historical churches, some even dating back to the sixteenth century.The beautiful old churches of Goa should definitely be on your must travel list. The most famous churches to see are the Church of St Francis of Assisi, Church of St Caetano, Se Cathedral, and the Basilica of Bom Jesus which contains the relics of and the Basilica of Saint Francis Xavier. You can also head over to the deserted ruins of the St Augustine church famous for its six meter high tower.
5. Spice plantations of Ponda
India is the world leader in the production and export of spices. So if you want to see how some of the famous spices are grown and processed, then a visit to a spice plantation farm in Goa will definitely be an enriching experience. The walk through the green plantations will rejuvenate your mind and soul. Here you can go for some traditional lunch and buy some authentic Indian spices too. You can also try Feni, the local alcoholic drink of Goa. I went to the Sahakari spice plantation in Ponda which organises a guided tour to its plantation and was so worth my time and money.
6. White sands and Water Sports at Colva Beach
You can go for water sports at almost all the famous beaches of Goa. However my favourite is Colva beach because its a very long beautiful beach with white sands. The adventure of water activities only gets doubled when you get that dose of beauty all around. If you are a water adventure freak then this is definitely the place for you.
7. Have a gala time at the Saturday night market of Arpora
This night market in Arpora in North Goa is something not to be missed. Here you can enjoy some live music concerts and at the same time savour some really delicious mouth watering food at the stalls. If thats not enough then hop around the stalls selling Indian handicrafts, Indian jewellery, tea , Indian spices and so much more.
8. Indulge yourself in some shopping at the flea market of Anjuna
This weekly market is held every Wednesday near the Anjuna beach. And if you want to buy some Indian stuff for your friend then you can find some really good options here. You can find merchandise from almost all parts of India being sold here like colorful skirts of Gujarat, saris and handicrafts of Rajasthan, carpets of Kashmir, some Indian tribal jewellery etc. And don't forget to hone your bargaining skills before going to this market because that might help you alot.
9. Collect some shells at the Morjim Beach
Morjim beach is one of the cleanest and serene beaches of Goa. Since it is not very crowded you can easily get your alone time with your loved one and enjoy the view. Also if you are an enthusiast of collecting shells then this is the beach for you. Though I went there in the afternoon I could easily collect shells from this beach. Lots of shells lay scattered there that can definitely fulfill your fantasy of collecting shells. And its a good beach for water sports lovers too . To read in detail my story on Morjim beach click here
10. Release a sky lantern and have a delightful dinner at Candolim beach
Candolim beach is also one of the least crowded beaches and is dotted with so many good restaurants that you are actually spoilt with choice. Go for Indian cuisine or Thai cuisine or continental cuisine, there are so many options. Head over to the beach to relax and release your own sky lantern in the sky and watch it fly away while you enjoy your drink at the beautiful serene beach under the starry night sky.
So you got quite a lot of things to do in Goa. What you waiting for? Book a flight to Goa and fall head over heels in love with this beautiful state of India.
Best time to visit Goa
November to February is the best time to visit because its the winter season at this time in Goa. Weather is cool and expect a maximum temperature in the range of 20-25 degrees celsius during this time. Early mornings and nights are cool and breezy while afternoons are sunny ideal for getting tanned. However if you love rains and the lush green then July to September is the period for you because its the time of monsoons in Goa.
How to reach Goa
The nearest airport is the Goa International Airport, Dabolim which is very well connected with the major cities of India and the world. Refer the map below for the location of the airport in Goa.