Overview

Located in the western region of India, the state of Goa is surrounded by Maharashtra on the north and Karnataka to the east and south. Despite being the smallest state (by area) in the country, Goa is one of India’s top tourist destinations for both domestic and international travelers. With its rich coastline and some of India’s most famous beaches, its rich cultural heritage (including Portuguese cultural influence and a UNESCO World Heritage site) and bohemian lifestyle, Goa continues to attract visitors from across the world.

Events

Things to do in Goa!

Hotels

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Guide

Neighborhood


Goa is divided into two districts- North Goa and South Goa.  Goa is best known for the serene beaches and its buzzing night life, the laid back attitude of Goans combined with the best partying locations as compared to the whole nation.

Goa is the smallest state in the country and has small towns blessed with architectural heritage and scenic beaches.

North Goa:

Panaji is the capital of the district and the state as well. The best beaches in the district of North Goa are Sinquerim, Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim and Arambol.

The beaches in North Goa are famous for:

  • Tourists, sunbathers and parties.
  • Beach resorts
  • Water-skiing, para-sailing, fishing, scuba-diving and wind-surfing.
  • Fort Aguada
  • Portuguese colonies

South Goa:

Margao is the capital of the district of South Goa. It is not as commercially oriented as North Goa and has comparatively serene beaches that offer a tourist a much needed solace from the busy city life. The famous beaches in South Goa are Velsao, Majardo, Colva, Palolem and Bogmalo.

These beaches are best known for:

  • Relaxing golden sand and clean beaches
  • Small cafes adjoining the coast line

Getting around


General info

Attracting tourists from all parts of the world, Goa is well connected by air, railway and road.

By Air:

Regular flights connect Goa to rest of the country and the world. Flight Services like Air India, Jet Airways, Spice Jet, Kingfisher Airlines, Go Air, and Jet Lite & Indigo have flights carrying passengers and cargo in and out of Goa.

The airport is located 30 km away from the city of Panaji. There are a number of chartered flights flying from UK and other European countries to Goa daily, besides this Air India, Air Arabia and Qatar airways also operate international flights to Goa.

More details about flight schedules and tariff can be found here.

Train

Goa has two major railway stations — Margao and Vasco-da-Gama, both located in the southern area of the state. The South Central Railway terminus is at Vasco-da-Gama and the Konkan Railway terminus is at Margao. Besides the two main stations, the trains usually halt for a few minutes at a number of other smaller stations in Goa.

Konkan railway plies trains from Mumbai to Goa on a daily basis, the total time taken from Mumbai to reach Goa is 8-9 hours.

Bus

There are bus services operating from Goa to rest of the neighboring towns in the state of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

These buses go to and fro on a daily basis at a considerably good frequency. The fares for these bus services range from INR 250 to INR 650.

Taxi

For both white-colored tourist taxis as well as yellow tops:
A flat rate of INR 8 per km. For one-way journey outside the municipal limits, there is a 50 percent extra charge.

Motorcycle Taxis:
The rate is INR 5 for the first kilometer and INR 2.50 thereafter.

Suggested itinerary


Spending three days in Goa you get the best of both worlds - crazy nightlife and solace from the city’s hustle bustle.

Goa is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the country as well as a rich cultural and architectural heritage, all thanks to the Portuguese settlers who inhabited Goa in the pre-independence era.

Travelling for three days in and around Goa can be done as per the following suggested itinerary:

Day 1: Relaxing beaches of South Goa

  • Begin your day with the relaxing serenity of beaches in South Goa.
  • Hit the Palolem beach, one of the most secluded beaches and get into the holiday mood with dolphin spotting.
  • Next destination can be the fort at Agonda Beach called Cabo de Rama.
  • Spend the morning in Calangute, have an afternoon swim followed by lunch at Baga. Cover Anjuna if you have time. But in any case, make sure to be in Vagator (more precisely, on top of the Chapora fort) for the beautiful sunset.
  • End the day with dinner at Curlies or Mambo's or Tito's.
  • Indulge yourself in any of the beach activities like Scuba diving, banana boat ride, jet skiing, parasailing etc.

Day 2: Explore wildlife in Goa

Day 3: Shopping in Goa

  • Most of the apparel outlets are open between 9:30am or 10am to 6pm or 7pm, depending on their location.
  • Products of dry coconuts and coconut-shells are carved and often designed to fit on a wooden base. Items produced here include table lamps, flower pots, table clocks, different religious statues and decorative items.
  • Cotton thread is transformed in an artistic way with the crochet steel hook, rendering it in beautiful designs and shapes. Likewise, sea-shells that were once discarded by the beach get transformed by artisans. Traditional clay art -- in the form of pots, ash-trays, flower pots, images of gods -- is a skill that has been built up across generations in Goa. The same in the case of bamboo products.
  • A few of these items are produced in-house at the Goa Handicrafts' center in Bicholim. Others come from artisans across the state. This network has done a fair job in highlighting the skills of geographically-scattered local artisans, and also finding them the market they so-badly need to sustain their rich talent.
  • Night clubs in Goa:

Staying connected


  • There are many GSM service providers in Goa- all major National carriers are available including Vodafone, Idea, Airtel, Reliance, BSNL, TATA Docomo etc.
  • Wi-fi options are available as per each hotel’s own policy. Most of the hotels in Goa do offer wi-fi service to the guests.

Tipping


  • Tipping in India does not have any specific norms as such, so it is a matter subject to vary from each person’s own experience.
  • Carry your wallet in the inside jacket or side trouser pocket, never in the rear pocket.
  • While traveling, hold pocketbooks close to your body. If it has a strap, then wrap it around the bag. Carry credit card & cash in your pocket.
  • Never keep pocketbooks hanging on hooks or on back of chairs where someone can easily access them.
  • Do not leave valuables, important papers, passports unattended in your room. Keep them safely stored in the hotel’s safe deposit box.
  • Do not carry large amounts of money. Plastic money is preferable.
  • Do not open hotel room door to unknown people/strangers. Be sure to contact the front desk/reception in case of any doubts.
  • In case of business meetings, carry out a thorough research about the company and the client. Never hold meetings at unknown places.
  • While checking in and checking out, hand over luggage to only official hotel bell porters. Do not leave luggage unattended at public places like airports & taxi stands.
  • Cheap means of transport via Kadamba Transport Service (KTC) is available throughout Goa. In addition, public ferry services operate at major points in the state.

Eat / Drink


Local

The staple diet of Goans consists of pickles and fried fish. Most famous dishes to try are Goan vindaloo and xacoti. Vindaloo is a spicy goan curry, which is available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian variants (potatoes for the vegetarian option and any meat or fish for the non-vegetarian option), whereas xacoti is a special form of spicy goan brown curry unlike the usual red curry found all over Goa.

Many dishes such as prawn balchao and Kingfish in Garlic have a distinct Portuguese flavour.

Dishes such as Sorpotel, Vindaloo and Xacuti (pronounced Cha'cuti), Cafreal will be familiar from Indian restaurant menus, and are originally Goan dishes. For those with a sweet-tooth, Bebinca is a must. A traditional goan pudding, Bebinca is made of flour, egg-yolk, and, coconut milk. It is certainly a great way to finish that sumptuous meal.

Most beaches have shacks that serve surprisingly delicious meals, especially sea-food and they'll usually consult you to see how you like your food. Don't miss the shack eating experience. It is best to eat at local places, ask a taxi driver where these would be.

Some of the local cuisine you should sample:

  • Portuguese style seafood- prawns, shellfish, mackerel, sea cod.
  • Ambot tik – A sour curry dish prepared with either fish or meat.
  • Arroz doce – A Portuguese derivative of kheer (sweetened rice).
  • Balchão – A curry based on a traditional sauce from Macao, made from shrimp, aguardente, laurel, lemon, and chili.
  • Canja de galinha – A type of chicken broth served with rice and chicken, and is originally a Goan recipe.
  • Chamuça – A Goan derivative of the samosa.
  • Croquettes – Beef cutlets and beef potato chops that are common snacks.
  • Feijoada – A stew brought by the Portuguese.
  • Roast beef and beef tongue – Popular entrees at Goan celebrations.
  • Sorpotel – A Goan meat, liver, tongue, and blood curry that is made from pork and is very spicy. It is eaten with sannas or pão bread.
  • Xacuti – Goan curry made with roasted grated coconut with pieces of chicken or beef.
  • Samarein Chi Kodi – Goan curry made with fresh and dried prawns.
  • Patoleo or Patoli – A dish of turmeric leaves stuffed with rice, lentils, jaggery, and coconut.
  • Sanna – A dry rice cake, considered to be a Goan variant of idli.
  • Solantule kodi – A spicy coconut and kokum curry.
  • Vindaloo – A spicy curry where the name is derived from the Portuguese term for a garlic and wine (vinho e alho) marinade. This dish is popular in the West.
  • Bebik (Bebinca) – A pudding traditionally eaten at Christmas.

This blend of various cooking styles and influences is what makes Goan food so unique among the cuisines of India.

Some local restaurants are:

Vegetarian

Most of the restaurants around Goa serve vegetarian food. The dishes one has to look out for are:

  • Bhaji or Shak made of different vegetables and fruits.
  • Khatkhate 
  • Tondak, made of beans, cashew nuts, etc.
  • Different varieties of sweets made of rice and lentils, such as Payasu, Patoli, Madgane, Kheer, etc.
  • Different varieties of pickles and Papads.
  • Solachi kadi, a spicy coconut and kokum curry.

Drink

Feni

Feni is a liquor produced exclusively in Goa. There are two types of Feni - Cashew Feni and Coconut Feni depending on the original ingredient. The Feni consumed in South Goa has a slightly higher alcohol content than the Feni consumed in North Goa. Feni can be served neat, or over ice, or mixed in classic cocktails or with juices.

Some notable bars:

  • Zanzibar – beach shack on Baga. (Opens early till midnight)
  • The Alcove – overlooking Ozran Vagator Beach – Also good place to eat (Open Till Midnight)
  • TITO’S – Baga Beach – A popular night club in goa (Open Till 10.00 pm)
  • SHORES BAR – Anjuna Beach – (Open Till 11.00 pm)
  • Club Cubana (Arpora) –This decadent mansion perched on the top of a hill looks over Anjuna and the sea and sports a huge pool, 4 bars, indoor dance floor, a pizza bar and four poster beds scattered around the place. Pay anywhere from INR 500.00 – INR 1000.00 for a couple entry (stag entry is not allowed) and pay no more for the rest of the night- the place has an open bar all night with unlimited beer, wine, sparkling and basic spirits available.

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Banner image credits: Eustaquio Santimano