Goa is to India what Las Vegas is to the United States of America. Being the party capital, it drags people of all ages and nationalities and hooks them with its charm, making it not only one of India’s but one of the most popular destinations in the world. Beautiful beaches along with a unique culture which is a heady mix of Indian and Portuguese elevates Goa’s charm as a holiday destination. Though it is a state in India and not a city, most people just refer to it as Goa even though it’s divided in many zones with each zone having something special brewing along the coastline.
Goa has an undying vibe that spreads happiness which is what makes it so popular among all sorts of crowds. Many a time, people tend to ask me why people obsess over Goa and keep revisiting it instead of exploring new places – well, the article here gives you the answer:
Perfectly crescent shaped, fringed with palm trees, with soft reddish or white sand under your feet, strangely shaped rock formations, some surrounded by hills or lagoons too and to add to the beauty dotted with beach huts are just some of the reasons why Goa’s beaches are considered among some of the most spectacular beaches in the world.
With a coastline that spans almost 300 KMs, Goa offers something for everyone from the overly populated Calangute – Baga – Candolim stretch which happens to be party central to the crowd looking to relax or spend some time romancing around quiet beaches should head to Palolem, Majorda, Betalbim or Betul beaches.
Secret Lagoons, Lakes, Waterfalls and Coves- Goa’s Hidden Spots
Goa is full of places that are hidden from the crowds and the noisy partygoers. There’s no dearth of secret lakes, lagoons, waterfalls and secluded beaches that very few people know about. Told you Goa is a state, didn’t we? And no matter how small it looks on a map; don’t be deceived, there’s place enough for everyone’s whims and fancies here. Try trekking to the Dudhsagar falls or go to the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary or take around the spice plantations that litter the countryside.
Goan Food… Nom Nom Nom
Goa was once a Portuguese colony and the Portuguese left quite a bit of their influences and not only in architecture, but also in Goa’s cuisine as well. With a twist obviously, though Goan food exhibits some heavy Portuguese influences it didn’t shed its Indian identity, so the food is nothing short of extraordinary and making use of the 300 kms of coastline, Goan seafood delicacies are out of this world! And if you’re craving some non desi khaana, leave the restaurants that are so puraana and head to the infamous flea markets for some global fare with some international flair. Seriously, it’s quite impossible to have a bad meal in Goa! With all the Xacuti, Cafreal, Vindaloo and Balchao, only a moron would come back without sampling some Bebinca, the seven layered dessert extravaganza made of plain flour, sugar, ghee (clarified butter), egg yolk, and coconut milk that is normally served during Christmas, but now widely available in most restaurants serving authentic Goan fare! The Portuguese people sure had some great taste in food, didn’t they?
The Shacks of Goa
Beach shacks are synonymous with Goa. Everywhere you go the beaches are dotted with sea facing shacks mostly run by friendly and enterprising Goan families. A warning though, they’re quite addictive and it’s almost impossible to get rid of the addiction once you spend some time in one, an hour turns into an entire day spent just lounging on beach beds gazing out at the frothy waves of the sea. Almost all of these shacks are equipped with a brilliant beach bar, order from a range of International drinks to Goa’s local brews and sit around playing games while you sip your drink of choice and they have some amazing food to go with your drink too. If you’re on the lookout for affordable accommodation and want to experience some authentic beach life in Goa, some of these shacks do provide cheap accommodation too.
These infamous shacks are a household name for every Goa tourist, Curlies in Anjuna, Pink Orange in Ashwem, Morning Star in Arambol, Om Shanti in Patnem and Blue Corner in Benaulim.
King’s Beer – Goa’s Local Brew
One thing that people don’t ever forget to do in Goa is drink their fill of alcohol. And Goa has plenty of it to offer like local brews along with the regular stuff. Feni a spirit made exclusively in Goa is distilled from cashew or toddy and not sold anywhere else. Along with Feni, Goa has another local brew King’s beer – available only in Goa and Mumbai, it’s worth the ticket to fly there and drink your fill of beer. Priced at a mere INR 35 for a pint, it is cheapest beer you’ll ever drink. And the cute, short and fat little dark bottle that it comes is definitely a keeper; take it home as a souvenir.
The Best Parties… Ever!
Goa has been nicknamed party central ever since the hippies came in and settled in the place and threw some kickass parties with crazy psychedelic music. They gave birth to the “Goa Trance” genre which further ushered in a whole new style of partying with a strong presence of visual feature with UV lights, UV paint and decoration that now is world famous and copied everywhere.
Some of the best parties in Goa are underground and invitations are only for the “insiders by word of mouth”. If you’re lucky enough to get an invitation, do not pass up the chance for you will remember the experience for the rest of your life! Well, meanie much! For the rest of you “Outsiders”, the Hilltop in Vagator or Palolem for a silent headphone party is where you need to go. Then there’s Britto’s and Tito’s, a visit to Tito’s is almost synchronous of a coming of age tradition for most Indian youth.
The Beautiful People of Goa
The Goans are an easygoing and laidback lot. The best part is the warm welcoming smile on everyone’s faces, added to that they are extremely polite and trustworthy. Goa is a hodge podge of several cultures and nationalities in one big pot, apart from Konkani’s who were the original settlers of Goa; there are people from all corners of the world who call Goa their home. They have collectively formed a harmonious society that is a perfect blend of East and West. Together they have formed a society that is safe, peaceful and respectful.
Stunning Architecture – Old Churches, Abandoned Forts and Portuguese Houses
Goa is a gold mine of historical architectural marvels made up of ancient Churches, Forts and old school Portuguese houses that have made their mark in the history of Goa. The Basilica of Bom Jesus (1605), Se Cathedral (1619) and the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (1541) are some of the most famous churches and tourist spots. In fact, Old Goa is chock full of monuments that were built during the Portuguese rule. Check out these ancient sea facing forts – Chapora Fort, Fort Aguada and Cabo de Rama – they all are fun to explore and to read up on the history of Goa.
Goa is awesome for Shopping
The flea markets of Goa make it difficult to resist the urge to buy colorful clothes, lamps, tribal jewelry, UV bedsheets, elf dresses and many such things in the street shops. Add to that the bargains you’d find while shopping in a flea market, such satisfaction!
Try your negotiation skills at the Anjuna flea market, Arambol’s street shops, Arpora’s night bazaar and the Mackey’s Saturday night market. None of these are by any means cheap and offer pretty much the same thing, but it’s the adrenaline rush you get from the high pitched haggling for your purchases that makes these markets so much more attractive.
So now you know the reasons why we love Goa and obsess over it so much. It’s time now for you to head to Goa and make some memories of your own and discover Goa and what you love about it for yourselves. And those of you who have already been, there’s nothing wrong with rediscovering one’s loves; it makes the experience all that much sweeter. So book your tickets now and get going before you run out of good weather.