Goa isn’t the location you’re visiting once and cross your list. It becomes an impulse after the first visit and a tradition after the second. This Portuguese Shangri-la on Indian soil has so many charming worlds that even the most experienced travelers can’t make the best of their Goan holidays. But when you’re in Goa, do as the Goans do. Here’s a list of Must-Do things that will redefine your trip to Goa Tour Packages.
Beauty and the Beach
It’s got to start with the beaches! While the beaches of North Goa steal the limelight, the beaches of South Goa are less crowded. We are nominating Arossim Beach and Utorda Beach near the town of Majorda for the best award for South Goa Beach. For North, Baga, Calangute, and Anjuna, the ‘People’s Choice Award’ bag! Water sports on these beaches include jet-skiing (water scooter as we know it), parasailing (a view from the top is worth it), scuba diving (a shimmering underwater life compensates for losing corals), and dropping from a banana boat (most adventurous of the lot). To make the most of your beach experience, book a room at one of the best resorts in North Goa.
No, it’s not exactly what you think! I’m talking about a visit to the Spice Plantation in Ponda called Sahakari Spice Plantation, and your noses will remind you why the Europeans came to India! This region’s largest spicy farm lets you pluck and taste pepper, bite Peri Peri (the hottest chilies in the world), bathe in an ‘elephant shower’, and enjoy a traditional Goan lunch cooked with farm spices. Though not many of them visit Goa’s spice gardens, those who do, praise them no less than the beaches.
Old is Gold!
History is coming alive in Panjim. This is Old Goa, the state capital for the better part of the three centuries, regarded as the ‘Rome of the East.’ The cavalcades of temples, convents, museums, art galleries, government houses, bungalows, and bakeries together make it hard to suggest what you can’t see in South Goa. However, the most visited are the Basilica of Bom Jesus (for its architectural magnificence) and Sé de Santa Catarina (the largest church in Old Goa). Not to be missed, Old Goa is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Enter the Jungle!
Yeah, Goa’s wildlife is much more thrilling than its nightlife! The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mollem National Park have species such as the panther, the sloth bear, the mouse deer, and even the barking deer. Then there are 200 species of birds, including the Indian great black pecker, the Malabar pied hornbill, the paradise fly-catcher, the fairy bluebird, the emerald dove, and the Kingfish. This quiet sanctuary in the foothills of the Western Ghats (known as the Sahyadri in Konkani) can be visited from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day.
The Uncommon Market of Ingo
Once upon a time not so long ago, this new market for the rental property was set up by a German named Ingo. Fondly known as Ingo’s Saturday Night Bazaar, this Arpora market has been around for about six months of winter and offers junk jewelry potpourri, imported T-shirts, hippie products, Indian And multicultural cuisine from Rajasthan and Cachemire to Turkey, Spain, and the rest of Europe! For non-shoppers, Daniel’s Bar also sees a DJ performing on the market. And without this, music plays the entire day and gets groovier at night, say around 11 p.m.
The dolphins are a much better sight in life than on Animal Planet! The dolphin cruise in Goa is also enjoyable for both the elderly and the young. Dolphins peeling out of the sea around your boat in graceful motion are best savored by the eye and saved on tape. The Dolphin Cruise Ride is flanked by a day-long tour of Grand Island, perfect for a quiet picnic.
A Tryst with History
Though ‘museum’ is a monotonous word for others, in Goa it has a new sense. The congregation of Hindu objects in a Portuguese-Cum-Colonial setting, with stories from two worlds, makes these museums very different from our normal view. The Archeological Museum of Old Goa, for example, has some Hindu artifacts and bronze statues of two famous Portuguese men set in the middle of robust Portuguese architecture. There are several more museums worth visiting in Old Goa, such as the Naval Aviation Museum and the Menezes Braganza Institute.
This restaurant in Panjim, the capital of Goa, offers a fusion of Portuguese and Goan cuisine. The crude mussel is spicy and sweet. One of the best things about Mum’s Kitchen is the array of balanced vegetarian dishes on the menu. After a delicious meal, go downtown to pick up souvenirs like cashews and shoes, and enjoy a good night’s sleep at one of these Panjim hotels.
Near Majorda in South Goa is Betalbatim, a small village with a popular restaurant named Martin’s Corner, Sachin Tendulkar’s favorite restaurant. The food here is legendary. King crabs, pomegranate, chicken garlic, and fish combined with sauces and spices. These are only a couple of the reasons why celebrities, locals, and tourists flock to Martin’s Corner. Here’s the best part-a a two-day meal of about Rs. 600.
St. Anthony’s Beach Shack
At the beginning of Baga Beach are St. Anthony’s bar, restaurant, and bar. When the sun sets behind the sea, the place becomes more vibrant by the minute. Picture this, tables with candlelights and beach chairs by the water with live music or karaoke performances in the background. Delicious seafood or vegetarian dishes wash well with everything from local beer to wine. Another indulgence at St. Anthony’s is the scented hookah, which can get better and naughtier with vodka inside! Adjacent to St. Anthony is Britto’s, another restaurant and shack renowned for its food and service. Yet I have brighter memories of the former.