Being a part of a WhatsApp group planning a vacation to Goa is like a mandate in every single one of our lives.. Like really! Adding people to the group and making plans is super exciting and awesome until one by one your folks drop out making the stupidest and silliest excuses; and by the time this excruciating pain is over, you are the last person in the group which is just more painful and all you want to do is save the group only to add people to it the next time you plan to Goa! As hilarious as it sounds, Goa is still a dream destination to most of us!
Until a few years ago, when even an inter-state travel seemed big, Goa undoubtedly was the most popular destination of parties for anyone in India! Going to Goa even for a weekend was like the coolest thing to do. A beautiful blend of the Indian and Portuguese cultures, Goa offers us with the best beaches, party, people, food, liquor.. Anything you ask and Goa has it all!
Many of you will agree to us when we say Goa is best visited for the beaches and the party; may be a few for the food and the amazing shopping experience. But let’s just make it easy for everyone to understand.. Goa is just not about the beach and the Goan trance. It has so much more to it; so much more of the things to do and places to see that most of us are just not aware of.
This little state on the Konkan coast stretching along the Arabian Sea, has the best beaches in India. And maybe that is why we cannot think of Goa beyond its beaches. Travel a little inland to experience the actual Goa that the locals live. The experience is definitely unexpected and out of the normal.
Most of us visiting Goa are fixed to North Goa where all the party and fun is at. Travel a bit south and learn more and experience the authentic Goan culture. To have the best experience of Goa try visiting the beautiful and unspoilt destinations of Goa rather than the normal places everyone chooses to visit. Here are a few off the beaten spots to visit on your next trip to Goa.
Spice It Up!
Goa is all about the spice. It has the most beautiful spice farms in India. Visit a spice farm on your next trip and you will not regret the decision. Goa has plenty of spice farms that are accessible to tourists. And most of these farms are open to a guided tour. A few of these farms even have a food serve that serve a Goan spice delicacy and also spice shopping. Savoi Plantations, Tropical Spice Plantation, Pascoal Spice Plantation and the Rustic Plantations are few spice farms you can visit when you travel inland.
Bargain for the Best
Goa is all about the hippie shopping experience! While there are the usual, famous markets that tourists usually shop in, there are other inland markets too that a person can visit to get the most beautiful handicrafts, bags, accessories, jewelry, etc. and bargain is the key!
- The Anjuna flea market is the most famous market to shop from in Goa. It is held every Wednesday and is definitely a place to shop till you drop!
- Another market to visit is the Arpora night bazaar that happens on Saturday nights. The night factor of this market is one amazing experience.
- Mapusa Market is another very famous shopping area in North Goa. Though the market functions throughout the week, Fridays are open for Goan entrepreneurs who bring in their things from different parts of Goa to sell in the market. Forget buying things here if you have less time. Instead head straight to the food market!
- This may not be an off the beat place for anyone but is still a must visit for anyone who wants to take back a bit of Goa back home. The Panjim market gives you the best of souvenirs to take home with you.
The Beauty of Wildlife
Like we said, Goa is not just about its beaches and beer! Wildlife is another major aspect of Goa.
- Goa is the home to many species of animals but it’s one of a kind Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary tops the list. Dr Salim Ali was a famous Goan ornithologist. Carry your pair of binoculars and a hat along to spot birds you’ve never seen before.
- The Butterfly Conservatory of Goa is another place for you to visit if you are a fan of the wildlife. The conservatory created by the Helbekar family is a haven for butterflies which gives you the most awesome feeling when you walk through the 4000 sq-meter park.
- And not to forget Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary that stretches from the Karnataka border into Goa. It is famous for it forest canopy that does not even let light pass through the trees.
The Portuguese Life
Witness the lavish lifestyle of the Portuguese landlords by visiting the 17th century Braganza House in South Goa. The Menezes Braganza House belongs to the Braganza house in the quiet village of Chandor. The house is an exemplary example of the how amazing the Italian designs were back in those days. The house is a blend of local and foreign designs that make it even more special. The house comes with a package of visiting Goa Chitra, Palacio do Deao and the Benaulim beach on the way.
Dive into Dudhsagar!
Visit the second largest waterfall in India in the far corner of Goa into the green wilderness. Bordering the Goa-Karnataka border, Dudhsagar is one of the most famous waterfalls in South India. Take a bumpy jeep ride through the dense jungle to reach the water falls. If not for the monsoons when the water levels are pretty high, you can enjoy swimming in this waterfall
Witness the beauty of rural Goa
These two islands give you the best experience of old Goa. Charao, a beautiful island with paddy fields and Portuguese thatch houses gives you a perfect picture of rural Goa and the local life. Not to forget, the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is situated in Charao.
To reach Divar you need to take a short ferry ride. The ferry ride will definitely show you more of the rural Goan land. Divar is a well more organized and secluded place compared to Chorao. It has more beautiful Portuguese villas that are better maintained. In between Chorao and Divar, you can make stops at Amona, Sanquelim, Bicholim and Maem.
And finally beaches!
And finally to the beach people.. On your way to north Goa, you can find Morjim, a beautiful beach secluded from the normal crowd. With a typical beach set up, this beach is one of the peaceful beaches of Goa which is also the nesting and hatching habitat for the Olive Ridley sea turtle.
Travel further north to find the Arambol beach, one of the most beautiful in Goa. This beach usually less crowded than Morjim, is famous for the line of eateries and shacks found in the beach.
Both these beaches are the two most tranquil beaches to visit!
Hope this blog will be of help for your next trip to Goa! And fingers crossed it happens this time!
Happy traveling! 🙂