Konkani, Marathi, Hindi, English
Hinduism (64%), Christianity (30%), Others (6%)
Best time to visit
October - March
May: Very hot
June - September: Monsoon
is not really India at all, but a package tour paradise. Squeezed
between the seas and the lush forested hills. It offers glistening
sands, swaying coconut palms, and ultra fresh seafood. Luxury hotels
and budget guesthouses overlook fisherman mending their nets, and
beer comes cheap and chilled. Discovered by pioneering hippies looking
for peace and love. Goa’s beaches are now filled with persistent
hawkers during the day and rave parties at night. For those intent
on discovering the real India, Goa is the best treated as a relaxing
break on the southern trail, but definitly worth a longer stop.
How to get here
Goa's international airport is Dabolim, at a distance of 29 km from
Panaji, on the coast near Vasco Da Gama. Most domestic airlines
operate in Goa apart from chartered private airlines operating from
UK and Germany. Indian Airlines has direct flights from Delhi and
Mumbai daily. Air India also flies to Goa
Reaching Goa by train is easy from Mumbai (490 km), Bangalore (430
km), and Delhi (1,874 km). Goa's two main stations are at Margao
and Vasco Da Gama.
Buses run to many places interstate and also out if state.
From south to north:
Palolem - Agonda - Varca, Cavelossim,
and Mabor - Benaulim - Colva - Dona Paula - Candolim - Calangute
- Baga - Anjuna - Vagator - Chapora - Arambol
A beach of white sand facing a blue bay between two headlands. Tourists
have discovered Palolem and so there are quite a few shacks selling
seafood snacks, souvenirs and clothes of the shapeless, bright,
A bit south of palolem lies Agonda beach. You can get there by taking
a rickshaw from palolem or its also possible to cycle there. It
is a very quite beach with mosly couples relaxing. But if you want
solitude this is certanly a place to go. There are a few guesthouses,
but not a lot of ships or other stuff around.
.: Varca, Cavelossim, and Mabor
Some of the most beautiful beaches south of Benaulim. These beaches
are much cleaner and quieter than most of the famous beaches of
Goa. There are numerous beach shacks offering a variety of Goan
dishes and seafood at reasonable prices. There are several food
joints around Dona Sylvia where you can get entire package of good
food, good drink, nice service, and a pleasant service in quite
At the end of the Colva beach, Benaulim is a quiet and pleasant
beach. The best thing about Benaulim is that it is still rather
undiscovered by domestic tourists even though it is a fishing beach.
It gets fairly crowded in the evenings and on weekends, it gets
fairly crowded with local visitors who get off buses about a kilometer
away and pour onto the beach.
With 20 km of virgin white sands, palm fringed, and sun drenched
beaches, Colva is the most loved beach of Goans. Colva, unlike Anjuna
or Calangute, gained popularity only lately. It was little disturbed
and life moved on quietly. But those are the things of the past.
Over the years, many hotels and buildings have sprung from nowhere.
It is developing at a good pace.
.: Dona Paula
The beach is named after Dona Paula de Menzes, daughter of a viceroy
(in colonial India), who threw herself off the cliff, when refused
permission to marry a local fisherman, Gaspar Dias. The myth says
that Dona Paula is entombed in the Cabo Chapel of the Raj Bhawan
and is supposed to be seen emerging from the moonlit waves wearing
only a pearl necklace.With the romance and myth attached to it-haunted
by Dona Paula de Menzes-tourists throng the Dona Paula Beach not
only in search of the deceased beloved, but also to indulge in water
sports on the clear waters.
This beach has also been the location for many Indian movies, the
most famous being Ek Duje Ke Liye. Given this dual attraction, Dona
Paula Beach has become a popular tourist spot.
.: Aguada beach
Almost synonymous with the top-notch Fort Aguada Hotel complex,
a superb hotel that is built on the cliff, around the remnants of
the early 17th century Portuguese fort. Although access to the beach
is not possible through the hotel grounds, which are private, you
can walk along Aguada beach, for in India private beaches do not
exist. The hotel has been constructed in three parts, consisting
of expensive cottages on the upper reaches of the hillside, the
fort jutting out to sea, and a delightful Goan village, with individual
cottages. Drawn by the clientele of the hotel, Aguada beach has
cafes, itinerant vendors of everything from Kashmiri carpets to
massages, and a good range of water sports.
The Fort of Aguada was built by the Portuguese to control the entry
into River Mandovi and to protect old Goa from enemy attack. The
fortification skirts the seashore. At the center is a circular lighthouse
tower. The Fort presently houses the central jail.
Sinquerim is located some 13 km from Panaji. Taj Hotel group has
set up the Heritage Complex here which dominates the headland around
the historic Fort Aguada. There is uninterrupted firm sand from
here all the way to north to Baga and if you want a long beach walk,
there cannot be a better place to start from.
Candolim is the best beach if you want solitude from the hustle
and bustle of Aguada though not expecting too much of facilities.
There is good food and long and straight beach backed by scrub-covered
dunes with little shelter.
.: Calangute Beach
16 Kms from Panjim. Calangute is the most popular holiday resort
in Goa and known as The Queen of Beaches. Excellent accommodation
facilities are available, particularly at the tourist resort and
cottages.Calangute lie on the shores of the Arabian Sea of North
Goa in India.
Calangute's heyday as the Mecca of all expatriate hippies has passed.
The local people, who used to rent out rooms in their houses for
a pittance, have moved on to more profitable things, and Calangute
has undergone a metamorphosis to become the centre of Goa's rapidly
expanding package-tourist market.
.: Baga Beach
Baga is a small but perfect beach located between its two more famous
cousins, Colva on one side and Calangute on the other. It is a far
better place to enjoy some restful moments if you don’t like
the hustle and bustle of Colva or Calangute.
.: Anjuna Beach
A popular beach area adjacent to Chapora fort. In Anjuna there is
magnificent Albuquerque Mansion built in 1920, flanked by octagonal
towers and attractive Mangalore tile-roof.
Anjuna Beach is popularly known as the freak capital of the world
and not without reasons. It claimed popularity for its Trance Parties
and the Hippies who tried to synthesize the spiritual traditions
of the East and the art, ideas and the music of the West. Sometime
in the late 1950s to mid-1960s, the area was "discovered"
by a group of travelers, including "Eight Finger Eddie,"
and a small international psychedelic scene began to meet there
to party during the dry season. Anjuna is just the right place for
lazing holidaymakers. Besides the calm waters of the Arabian Sea
lapping softly on the Indian shore, Anjuna comes live with its ever-famous
full-moon parties and the Wednesday flea market to take one on to
a trance trip.
.: Vagator & Chapora
The soft white sands, the black lava rocks,
the coconut palms, the lush green landscape, nature playing its
own music, and the sea turning from aquamarine to emerald green—Vagator
and Chapora, overlooked by the 500-year-old Portuguese fort, leaves
each visitor awestruck. Yet to be disturbed by the hustle and bustle
of tourists, life goes on peacefully, in the background, in Vagator
and Chapora. The world-famous Anjuna Beach lies to the south of
Vagator and Chapora are rich with rural life. Chapora is a fishing
village. So a large number of fishermen in their traditional attire
can be seen. Anyone patient enough to listen to the numerous stories
of the sea, they have plenty of them. Colorful women can be seen
haggling and hocking fish by the roadside.
A large and sprung out village near the seashore, Arambol can be
approached by a road which winds across the plateau and down through
the cashew trees. The beach is an uninterrupted and stunning stretch
of curving sand, still unspoilt in comparison to other beaches.
The beach is quiet except on Sundays, when a large crowd of local
picnickers gather here for holidaying.
The villagers are friendly and the place is less touristy allowing
you to have a close experience of local life and culture. There
is relaxed environment and peace and tranquility attracts many day-trippers
from other beaches nearby. There are miles long uninterrupted beaches
with well-made track running around. The second beach is even more
secluded and little used. There are sulphur pits and freshwater
lakes that you can use for swimming.
Places to visit
.: Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Spread over 1.78 sq. kms. and located at the western tip of the
island of Chorao along river Mandovi near Panaji. It is fully covered
with mangrove species. Varieties of local as well as migratory birds
frequently visit the are.
This sanctuary can be visited any time of the year with the permission
of the Chief, Wild Life Warden, Forest Department, Junta House,
Panaji-Goa. The sanctuary is approach able by walk after crossing
over by ferry from Ribandar to Chorao.
There are some private parties who take tourists around in their
canoes fitted with outboard motors.
.: Bondla Forest
Up in the lush foothills of the Western Ghats, Bondla is good place
to see Sambhar and Wild Boar. It is smallest of the Goan Wildlife
Sanctuaries. Its area is 8-sq-kms but easiest one to reach. Situated
55-km from Panajim and 38-km from Margoa, the sanctuary includes
a Botanical Garden, fenced Deer Park and Zoo, which is better than
most, with reasonably spacious enclosures.
" Glistening sands, swaying coconut palms
and ultra fresh seafood"
.: Catigo Wildlife Sanctuary
The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, 10-km southeast of Chaudi, was established
in 1969 to protect a remote and vulnerable area of forest lining
the Goa- Karnataka border. Encompassing 86-sq-kms of mixed deciduous
woodland, the reserve is certain to inspire tree lovers, but less
likely to yield many wildlife sightings: its Tigers and Leopards
were hunted out long ago, while the Gazelles, Sloth Bears, Porcupines,
Panthers and Hyenas that allegedly lurk in the woods rarely appear.
Visitors however, stand a good chance of spotting at least two
species of Monkey, a couple of Wild Boar and the Odd Gaur. The sanctuary
is best visited between October and March months. Cotigao is a peaceful
and scenic park that makes a pleasant day trip from Palolem, 12-km
northwest. The wardens at the reserve's small Interpretative Centre
will show one how to get to a 25m-high treetop watchtower, overlooking
a waterhole that attracts a handful of animals around dawn and dusk.