It's not hard to imagine why some would refer to Goa as the land of freedom.
Picture this, a cushioned chair at a beach side café, swaying palm trees, sandy coastlines, sparkling water with adrenaline rushing water sports, an ice-cold drink and lazing around with a feeling of unbridled freedom. Blissful, isn’t it?
A unique blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, Goa is a heritage state on India’s west coast bound by the Arabian Sea. The white-crested waves crashing on the shores of Goa invites almost 2.5 million visitors annually.
Even if you have seen a lot of beach getaways, Goa’s beaches have that infectious energy that make them a top destination for holidays.
From beach lazing or enjoying holistic treatments to visiting historical sites, it is the perfect place for family and friends to enjoy together.
Planning your trip
Before embarking, here is a list of things to know for you adrenaline junkies. Bike rentals are a booming business in Goa, as the land of sin is best explored atop a bike. Do not wince if asked to submit original identification as proof while hiring a vehicle.
A rundown vehicle and a bottle of petrol (from £3.50 to £7) will of course spare you from paying hefty sums for tourist taxis across the state. If you are worried about getting lost, then purchase a map or hire a guide to drive you around.
Goa is well connected by road, rail, air and sea from all the major cities in India. The Dabolim Airport in Vasco Da Gama is the only airport for international and domestic flights.
The best time to visit Goa is mid-November to mid-February when the weather is comfortable and pleasant. This is when you can bask on the beautiful beaches amidst the high rising tides or stroll around embracing the hippie way of life.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa is a UNESCO world heritage site. A must visit for first timers! Get a feel of old times, wandering around its corridors and lanes. Old Goa is dotted with churches like St.Francis of Assisi, St Catejan and Se-Cathedral to name a few.
There are also many museums in the capital city, Panaji. The Viceroy’s Arch, another glory of Goa is worth visiting for its picturesque landscape. It needs an entire day to explore this culturally rich city.
Indulge and get tanned by endless beaches and water sports. There is far more to discover here than the dainty pleasure of warm sand and unrelenting noon sun. From surfing, banana riding to parasailing, you can enjoy everything under proper supervision.
Beaches like Anjuna, Arambol, Morjim, Calangute, Baga, and Chapora are worthy visits.
Maddening crowds of bikini and sarong-clad tourists, topless men sporting their sun tans, beach shacks serving incredible cuisines, and the panoramic view of Goa make these beaches roar with life and fun.
Getting a beautiful henna tattoo done by an artist or a soothing holistic massage from a specialist spa is also on the beach side menu. So here is a check list to get ready for this beach getaway. All you need is your favourite sunscreen lotion, a pair of sunglasses in jazzy colours and a flaunting floppy straw hat.
Carry clothes and footwear that are appropriate for the climate and activities planned. Limited bling is also fun to wear.
Stroked with hunger pangs? Beach shacks serve amazing delicacies with a blend of local flavours. Goan cuisine is mostly seafood based. Goan fish curry, pork vindaloo and sorpotel served with fresh steamed rice would be callous to ignore.
Some eateries to give a try include breakfast in Infantaria at Calangute. It has a huge variety of snacks, bakes and beverages. A meal for two, without drinks will cost approximately £2.50 to £5.
Lunch in Curlies at Anjuna, serves local cuisines, rice and fish with free scenic beauty. The average meal for two is around £6 here. Finally, go for a candlelit dinner in Britto’s at Baga, where one can dig into fresh seafood, desserts and more. The average price is £6.50.
Also, huge varieties of vibrant cocktails like Piña Colada and Mojitos are available in various shacks. When looking for a tall glass of liquor with lots of flavour, try a Gin and Tonic while watching the beautiful sunset or a cocktail with fruity flavours. Feni is also a popular drink exclusive to Goa. They come in various flavours, both cashew and coconut Feni are to be tried.
Boarding a cruise on the Mondovi River shrouded with scenic beauty, or lazing on a beach with drink and friends can also be immense fun.
Shopaholics can go for the Ingo’s Saturday Night Market at Arpora or 18th June Road. It is a shop lined paradise with lots of illuminated stalls selling everything from local handicrafts to precious gems.
Party freaks, get into the amazing pubs or beach parties. Expect high volume music, flowing alcohol, lots of pretty people and fun! For classy gamblers, Floating Casino Royale in Goa is the place to be.
Tired and in search for a reasonable place to stay? Options are in nearby beaches for a peaceful stay at cheap rates. It is also the best way to feel the vibrant sea.
However there are lots of luxury hotels like the Leela Goa, Park Hyatt, and Goa Marriott for varying degrees of decadence and prices. One can also choose to stay in budget hotels, hostels and guest houses, the prices for these start from £5.
Despite so much choice, while sipping the last drink of the day you might feel a strong sense of wanderlust to take another ride and revisit all the incredible sights and sites of the state a second time.
It’s not hard to imagine why some would refer to Goa as the land of freedom. So you gotta go to Goa, a perfect destination for your rampant soul and digital camera!