Goa Travel Guide
Goa Travel Guide: There’s so much more to Goa than sun, sand and psychedelia. The allure of Goa stems from its distinctiveness- a heady mélange of Indian Portuguese and Western freewheeling culture that astonishes especially when seen in conjunction with the mainstream. Westerners can relate to it as there are Roman Catholic remnants everywhere, yet Hinduism is not far away. The freewheeling attitude of the populace with the predominance of sun, beaches, feni and fun makes your visit very comfortable.
Saunter along beaches or espy the rivers forming estuaries. Creeks and bays limit the sandy, palm-fringed monotony. See the coastline rising almost magically into hills. Sink your jaws into the seafood – prawns, mackerels, sardines, crabs and lobsters that is sure to tickle your palate. And if the fancy strikes, pick up real gem of bargains in the flea markets – or just let the sun and the beach rock and roll you over.
Places to visit in Goa
It is just the place for some serious fun and frolic. The main attractions of Anjuna Beach are the superlative Albuquerque Mansion (flanked by octagonal towers and an attractive Mangalore tile-roof), the Mascarenhas Mansion, and the Chapora Fort. The Flea Market on Wednesday is a haven for bargain hunters.
Enjoy the fun in the sun, sand and sea and feast on fresh seafood and feni. The shacks and stalls under the palm shades here hawk everything from fried prawns, beer to trinkets made of seashells The St. Alex Church stands out nearby with its two towers and a magnificent dome .There is a magnificent architectural style and ornate altars within. The Kerkar Art Complex is one of a kind.
The romantic legend of Dona Paula de Menzes pulls substantial numbers but most throng the Dona Paula Beach to indulge in water sports on the clear waters. Water sports include water-scooter, cycle, and motorboat rides. Other water sports windsurfing, parasailing, water-skiing, toboggan ski-biscuit, skibob, sports fishing, snorkeling, harpoon fishing, kayaking, and yachting.
It forms the spiritual heart of Christian Goa. Its global fame rests on its most famous building – the Basilica of Bom Jesus, where lies interred the 400-year-old unspoilt body of St Francis Xavier. The Convent & Church of St Francis of Assisi is replete with gilded and carved woodwork as well as murals depicting scenes from the saint’s life. The Portuguese-Gothic St Cathedral is largest and the ‘Golden Bell’ within peals thrice daily. Don’t miss the spectacular Church of St Cajetan, which was modeled on St Peter’s in Rome, and the Royal Chapel of St Anthony.
PanjimPanaji transports you to the Mediterranean towns with its cobbled streets, pastel-colored terraces, flower-bedecked balconies, terracotta-tiled roofs, whitewashed churches and innumerable small bars and cafes.
Goa is a treasure trove of souvenirs. Stack your self with the local handicrafts like brassware, terracotta, shell work, crochet, carved furniture, bamboo work, and so on available in the Government Emporia. Be sure to pack the famous cashew nuts in flavors like plain, salted and masala. The Friday Market at Mapusa with stalls selling everything from curios and old coins to dried fish and spices is a must see, whereas the Anjuna Beach market, set by and for foreigners, is an extremely lively spot to shop for souvenirs, beachwear, trinkets and handicrafts.
Eating Out in Goa
Goa is a synonym for gorging on Sea food- ranging from fish to varieties of shell fish – mussels, oyster, cockles to prawn, crab, lobster and squid. Revel in local dishes like the spicy coconut based fish curries, chicken xacuti and cafrael, the vinegar based fish and prawn balchaos and rechaedo, pork vindaloo and sorpotel. Sweets like Bebinca, Dodol and Doce made with coconut are special to area. Discover eating places that can be restaurants in the five star hotels or numerous personalized family run eateries and beach shacks stocked with excellent food in both local and western styles.
Experience live music amidst fitting ambience at the Alfama at the Cidade de Goa, the Banyan Tree at the Taj Holiday Village, Casa Portuguesa at Baga, Riorico at the Hotel Mandovi and Planter’s Restaurant at Calangute.
How to reach Goa
Goa is quite well connected. There are regular flights between Dabolim Airport and most major cities in India. Several charter companies also fly into Goa’s Dabolim Airport direct from Europe and USA. The 760km Konkan Railway links Mumbai Mangalore (15 hours), and reaches you very swiftly. If you prefer languid travels, go for the super deluxe video buses from Panjim and Margao to Mumbai (15 hours), Mysore (16 hours) and Bangalore.
Do’s and Dont’s
- Do not leave valuables and important papers (jewelry, passports, return tickets, etc) unattended in your room. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.Do not keep your wallet/purse in your rear pocket.
- It is better to meet potential client or any other individual in a public place, like a well-known hotel or restaurant.
- Do not use poorly lit streets and narrow alleys. Try and avoid traveling alone at night.
- Do not swim in prohibited places on the beaches and stay near the shore. Do not go for swimming after you have had an alcoholic drink.