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Overview of Goa
 

Famous For

Mediterranean influences

Sunshine & beaches

Chrisitan Heritage

Unique cuisine

Laid-back lifestyle
 
 

When to go

October - March
 

Avoid

June, July, August (monsoon)
 

What not to miss in Goa

Anjuna’s Flea Market – the hub of Anjuna’s alternative scene. An amazing array of goods for sale, sold by an amazing array of people. Go just for the experience or haggle like mad if you are tempted to buy.

• Olive Ridley marine turtles at Temb. This species of turtle is now endangered by natural predators and human ones. Considered a delicacy, local villages collect the eggs for the local Mapusa market; other hatchlings meet their fate accidentally at the hands of the fishermen.

Pork Vindaloo, a fusion of Portuguese and Goan cuisine combining pork, palm vinegar, garlic, tamarind and local chillies cooked in coconut milk.

• Perreira – Biaganza / Menezes – Biaganza House regarded as the grandest of Goa’s colourful mansions. Reached by a journey across the fertile rice fields to the village of Chandor, you see it dominating the village square. Built in the 1500s and remaining within one family it contains a wealth of antiques. Turn up – approximately! – 10-12pm and 3-5pm and knock on the door.

• A side trip into the Western Ghats, in particular to view the Dudhsagar waterfalls, some of the highest in India. The name means literally, ‘Sea of Milk’. Access is by Jeep from Colem and the scenery is breathtaking. October – mid March is the best time to visit when water levels are at their highest.


 
 

Regions within Goa

  • Central Goa 
  • North Goa 
  • South Goa 
 

Goa is laid back, lively, and modern with a vibrant personality. This, the smallest state of India,  isolated by the Arabian Sea on its 67 mile coast and the mountain wall of the Western Ghats inland, was only fully absorbed by India in 1987, ending more than 450 years as a Portuguese colony.

Until the mid 20th century it was the well kept secret playground of Mumbai’s wealthy, when it was discovered first by the hippies then the package tour market.

The many beaches are quite idyllic and despite the local population of 1.5 m being doubled during the high season, it is still possible to find a serene hideaway well-away from mass tourism.

The European heritage is obvious everywhere: in language, architecture, religion and food, all of which blend Mediterranean influences with Asian.  Towns feature narrow streets with red tiled roofs; catholic churches fill with Christians on a Sunday; traditional music with guitars is strangely reminiscent of fado; and vinegar – unknown in the rest of India – is an important ingredient in many Goan recipes.  Silolim House, has been lovingly and painstakingly restored by its owners keen to preserve this magnificent Portuguese mansion.

Goan geography is small scale and with good public transport - ferry, train, bus and motorcycle taxi - it is easy to cover a lot of ground. It is possible to visit the northern region with its old hippy / rave reputation, Panaji (Goa’s new capital). Old Goa and the lesser known but more sophisticated South.

The Christian heritage is seen predominantly in Old Goa where the sonorous tones of the Golden Bell of Se Cathedral are heard 3 times a day, and the sprawl of churches and convents draw crowds of Christian pilgrims from all over India. Panjini became the capital in 1843 after Old Goa’s port has silted up, but grew only slowly until the 1960s, and its uncongested sheets have escaped the bustling atmosphere of many Indian cities

In the past the reputation of Goa’s beaches has been somewhat tainted by reports of immodest behaviour and the use of drugs. However, modern policing and government policies have curtailed the wild behaviour, and now there are some calm, relaxed beaches to be found.

The finest beaches are in South Goa: sparkling white sand protected by bands of coconut plantations.

The spectacular scenery of the far south is set in layers. The beautiful jungle overlooks the Sahyadri Hills, which faces the strings of white sandy coves, which are littered with colossal piles of black boulders.

Newer and more sophisticated hotels and guest houses have been established like the delighful Vivenda dos Palhacos. Sea swimming here is safer than in the north, malaria and pollution are managed better and building restriction prevents construction on the beach.

This hedonistic picture is in sharp contrast to the wonderful natural beauty of the mountainous interior. If you long to escape the relentless sun for a day or two – head for the hills, where deciduous and tropical rainforests, grasslands and scrub offer a rich collection of flora and fauna. Rare species of bats, 1800 species of plants, 330 species of butterflies and more species of frogs than you can imagine provide a paradise for nature lovers.

To discuss a bespoke holiday itinerary to include Goa, please email our consultants.

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