Whether you love to spend your holidays relaxing on the beach or throwing yourself into an adventure sport, it’s pretty easy to plan a trip to Goa that’ll keep everyone happy.
Plan a Trip in Goa for Everyone
Aside from the beautiful white sand beaches, Goa is a fantastic blend of Indian and Portuguese culture. Traditional delicacies, world heritage architecture, and world famous nightlife attracts tourists from all over the world yearly.
There’s something here for everyone and each area attracts a different type of holiday-goer. You just have to know which parts will be best for you before you plan your trip to Goa. So, what kind of holiday-goer are you?
If your ideal holiday consists of action-packed adventure or something that gets the heart beating faster, then you’re the adventure holiday-goer!
Goa has lots to offer for the adventure types.
Water sports include parasailing, windsurfing, jet-skiing, water-skiing, kite-surfing, and banana boat rides. You can explore underwater Goa through scuba diving and snorkelling, viewing the beautiful coral reefs and wrecks. Or even kayaking in the backwaters. Goa has just about everything.
If you prefer to venture out safely on land however then don’t worry, there’s lots of that too!
There are plenty of hikes and treks throughout the jungle. A popular one being a trek to the Dudhsagar Falls pictured below, along the route from the Devil’s Canyon.
Alternatively, you can hire motorbikes from plenty of places around Goa which is a great way to travel between places! Be careful though, Indian drivers are CRAZY. Let’s just say the highway code doesn’t mean much in India.
- Best time of year for adventurers
The sea is calmer and winds in control in the dry season, so this is the best time to enjoy adventure sports in Goa safely. The dry season is between October and March and is also the most popular time for tourists to visit Goa.
If you want to avoid the mad rush of tourists then aim for earlier on in October when you plan your trip to Goa. The earlier you go the more likely there will be water in the waterfall too!
- Approximate Costs
- Scuba diving and snorkelling – INR 3999 per person.
- Parasailing – INR 850 – 1100.
- Windsurfing – INR 1500 onwards.
- Jet-skiing – INR 500 onwards
- White water rafting – INR 1800
- Water skiing – INR 400 – INR 500
- Kite surfing – INR 2500 onwards
- Banana boat rides – INR 699 onwards
- Kayaking – INR 1600-3200
- Day hikes – Between INR 2000 to INR 5000for day tours to Dudhsagar falls and national parks
Nightlife in Goa
I can’t forget to mention the famous Goan nightlife of course!
If you’re interested in experiencing Goa’s vibrant clubs, psychedelic beach parties and live music scene then Baga Beach is the place for you.
Tito’s road in Baga tends to be where most tourists head for a night on the town. Here you’ll find clubs and bars dotted all down the strip for you to pick and choose.
Alternatively, Anjuna beach, Vagator beach, and Arpora are other popular destinations, although there is slightly less choice of bars and clubs here.
Adventure sports aren’t for everyone though. For a lot of people, an ideal holiday is spent lounging on the beach, topping up the tan, and getting a good dose of sun, sea, sand, and seafood!
Goa is perfect for the people that just want a luxurious resort to enjoy their holiday in. Without the Maldives cost!
There are some stunning white sand beaches, you just have to know where to find them.
For a quieter day at the beach I would recommend staying around South Goa. The beaches are less crowded so often a lot nicer. North Goa however is home to the party goers, so maybe stay away from those beaches if you want to avoid the crowds, markets and clubs…
Away from the Beach
Alternatively, if you want to do something a bit more exciting than lounging around a beach all day, there are other options.
The Tropical Spice Plantation is tucked away in a small village called Keri, around 6km from Ponda. The land is untouched by pollution and you can enjoy the chirping of birds and sounds from the stream, as you stroll through the spice plantation. You are showered with flower petals on arrival and greeted with a mixed spice hot-tea whilst you wait for the spice plantation tour.
The tour itself is really interesting and at the end you can enjoy a traditional Goan buffet. The food is delicious! There is also a shop where you can buy different spices for affordable prices.
Price– INR 400 per person which includes the tour and buffet.
Another popular is to take a dolphin boat-trip. A trip with Johns Boat Tours includes a 4-5 hour boat trip of dolphin watching, passing the Aguada Fort and Millionaire Palace, free beers and a traditional Goan BBQ. If you don’t see any dolphins, you don’t pay!
Price– around INR1100 per person.
Goa has a fast-developing food and drink scene that combines local and international flavours.
The traditional food preparation of Goa is to cook in clay pots over firewood to add a smoky flavour the dishes.
Traditional Goan Cuisine
Goan cuisine is largely seafood based or vegetarian. The main foods are fish curries and rice, often accompanied by a popular Goan delicacy of Prawn Balham. Which is an oily and spicy pickle.
Traditionally, South Indian curries are accompanied with rice rather than breads, and Goa is included in this. You will often find multiple varieties of rice to choose from. In fact there are over 28 traditional varieties in total!
The Portuguese introduced cooking with potatoes, various fruits, cashews, and chilli peppers. Meaning sweet but also very spicy curries such as Vindaloo are popular in Goa.
Not to worry though. Goa attracts numbers of Western tourist’s year in and year out. So, it’s only right that it caters for their needs too. Continental food can be found in most restaurants as well, and it is the nicest continental food you will find in India.
- A few restaurants to consider
Café Lazy Days is a fantastic restaurant in Calangute, North Goa. The quality of food is excellent and affordable, and the staff are very attentive and friendly. Live music plays a couple of times a week which are normally the busiest evenings, but the food service is still fast even when it’s busy. Traditional Goan food can be ordered from here as well as continental foods. The fish and chips is particularly popular and even comes with mushy peas!
Price– INR 1000 for two.
The Verandah is another affordable restaurant situated in Panjim, South Goa. Built on top of one of Goa’s Portuguese heritage hotels, popular dishes here include prawn curries and pork vindaloos.
Price– INR 800 for two.
Pousada by the Beach is a hidden gem in Goa. Tucked away off Calangute beach, this fine dine restaurant serves delicious fresh seafood right on the beach. This place is especially good for a lazy afternoon lunch and if you’re stuck on what to order the staff do well to recommend a dish best suited to your taste!
Price– INR 2500 for two.
The Nature Lover
Surrounded by beautiful jungle, rivers and beaches, Goa has plenty to offer for the nature lovers.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is the best place to experience nature close-hand in Goa. It is a prominent eco-tourism destination with watch towers dotted around the sanctuary to observe the wildlife. The most common animals that can be found are Goa’s state animal, the Gaur, Sambha deer, panthers, jungle cats, leopards, wild boar, porcupines, anteaters and giant squirrel!
Goa’s only bird sanctuary is situated only a short drive and ferry ride away from Panaji. Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a perfect place to visit for nature-lovers, especially in winter. Not only do you see the native birds, but also several species of migratory birds too.
One of Goa’s most visited nature reserves is the Zuari Wildlife Sanctuary. Located just 10km from Panaji, the rich plant life means that the wildlife thrives here. You can find an assortment of fish, snakes, jackals and crocodiles as well as many other species.
Goa is a blend of people, culture and festivals. Since Goa is a former Portuguese colony, it is considered the most Western state of India.
The Portuguese built magnificent churches in an attempt to spread their faith across Goa. It is now a mixture of Christian, Catholic, Hindu and Muslim faiths.
Churches and Temples
The churches and convents of Goa have now been declared UNESCO world heritage sites so are definitely worth a visit. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is particularly popular with tourists, as this is where the remains of Saint Francis Xavier lie.
The temples are also beautiful places to visit however. The oldest existing Hindu temple in the state lies within the Tambdi Surla forest near Mollen National Park. This 13thcentury Mahadev Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Of course, one result of the Portuguese inhabiting Goa is the numerous forts dotted around Goa. The need to defend their land meant that these Forts were erected all along the coast. Most are ruins now but some remain standing and it’s worth visiting these brilliant remnants of Portuguese architecture.
The Fort Aguada is a popular one for tourist, however Chapora Fort is also a favourite as it overlooks the Chapora beach, famous in numerous Bollywood movies.
It isn’t a secret that Goans have a fondness for performing arts. Dances and music in the state are performed for religious festivals and events throughout the year.
Aside from Christmas and Diwali, popular festivals include the Shigmo festival, celebrated in spring time in honour of local warriors defeating invaders. This festival is celebrated alongside the Holi festival (the festival of colours).
Another very popular festival is the Carnival, celebrated in February for four days. This festival celebrates King Momo, whom brought in peace, harmony, melody and colour to different parts of Goa.
Goa is for Everyone
So, there you have it! There really is something for everyone in Goa.
Not many people can categorise themselves as being just ‘one type’ of holiday-goer. But that’s the beauty of Goa. You can spend a day exploring the local culture then chill on the beach the next day. Whatever it is you choose to do, you certainly won’t run out of activities.
For hotel reccommendations, read our article on finding the best hotels in Goa for every budget!
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