Goa in Monsoons - Of Lush Greenery, Cute Cafes & Panoramic Sea Views

3rd Jul 2019

My family and I booked a rather impromptu trip to Goa last week. With little to no research on what we should be expecting in a Goa during the rainy season, we just went ahead and booked it for a rather long five nights trip. We needed the break and wanted to spend quality family time in a serene and beautiful destination. There isn't much written about Goa during monsoons online and opinions are massively divided over whether it is somewhere that should be considered during rains. My friends told us that it rains in Goa the whole of July and therefore we won't have a lot to do.

A little circumspect about the trip, we decided to go check it out for ourselves anyway. And what a great decision that was! I don't know if we just got lucky or if Goa is definitely a lesser explored hidden gem during Monsoons because we ended up having the time of our lives.

Goa is beautiful this time of the year. I experiences strong but intermittent spells of rain showers during my time there. It used to rain constantly for about 15-20 minutes, then once the rain stopped, the sun used to come out and a cool breeze used to embrace our senses. It got a bit humid in patches but nothing like how bad it usually gets in Goa. In fact, the temperatures throughout the day used to be within the 27-29 degree range. I have visited Goa twice before - once in October and once in April. This is the first time Goa blew me away with its optimal weather ad beautiful lush green scenery.

Sure, there are a few downsides as well. Most of the beaches aren't functional due to high tides and choppy waters. A lot of beach shacks are not operational which can be a downer. However, our agenda throughout the trip was to find quaint cafes and beautiful views to get us by. In the five days that we were there, we managed to do a lot. Let me break it down for you.

Day 1 - We had an early morning flight from New Delhi to Goa. The journey usually lasts 2 hours 40 minutes but we landed in 2 hours. From Dabolim Airport, we took a cab to our hotel - Phoenix Park Inn which is at Candolim beach, North Goa. It took us more than an hour to reach the hotel and costed us Rs. 1300.

Our resort was tucked away on a small street next to Candolim's most touristy stretch.. It's a nice resort with comfortable rooms and a very friendly staff. It's close to the beach and a stone's throw away from some of the best cafes and bars in the area.

Day 1

After resting for a bit in the resort, we headed out for lunch at Sunny Side Up a beach shack at Candolim. It was a kilometer and a half long walk. The walk was on the main market road of the area and was a fun, refreshing stretch since it had all the makings of a tourist friendly walk without a lot of tourists around. Sunny Side up was reminiscent of a typical Goa beach shack with the view of the beach, beachy seating and cute stray dogs lounging around. The view, though of the sea wasn't that great since the beach strip was not very neat and had patches of trash which were probably because of the monsoon sea bringing them ashore. However, Sunny Side up was a perfect place to start our trip. We ordered butter garlic prawns, french fries and dal makhni and naan. The butter garlic prawns were a standout and the rest of the items were satisfactory as well. We gulped it down with beer

Photo of Candolim Beach, Goa, Candolim, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal
Photo of Candolim Beach, Goa, Candolim, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal
Photo of Candolim Beach, Goa, Candolim, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal

Post lunch, we strolled on Candolim beach. Much to our delight, we found a clean strip on the beach with hardly any people. We soaked our feet in the waves, sat and talked for a good hour, clicked a lot of pictures and had a grand time. After a good two hours, we exited the beach had some coconut water and headed towards the market where we bough a few essentials for our trip. The Candolim market strip has some quality supermarkets and is an overall pleasant experience. The street vendors are also friendly and don't overcharge for their wares. We also had fresh watermelon juice and some ice tea in a cafe when it started raining.

After resting at our hotel, we headed to De Candolim Deck a restaurant on the main road for dinner. The restaurant had a very typical Goan setting with a wooden deck, old school tablecloths and a live music setup. We had pizza and potato skins in garlic sauce. The pizza was quite average but filled our tummies, the potato skins were a revelation. I have never had anything like it. The overall experience at that place was fantastic with the musician singing some old school english tracks and a cute candleight setting.

Photo of Sinq Night Club, Candolim, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal

After dinner, we headed to Sinq Beach Club on Candolim beach. It was a good 20 minute walk. The club opens at 10 and offers free drinks for ladies. The vibe of the place was good. The crowd was not your typical Goa hard partying kind. There were young men and women, teenagers, parents and everyone was mostly having a good time. The DJ played commercial English and Spanish songs. The club was divided into two parts, one was the lounge area and one was the dance floor. We explored both and had a decent time. We also had chicken tikka which was great :D

Day 2
Photo of Chapora Fort, Chapora, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal

On Day 2 we had breakfast at the hotel. The buffet spread was decent and we had our stomachs' fill. After that, we rented a car. The car rental place was suggested by the hotel staff. We drove to Chapora fort. The drive was beautiful with North Goa's greenery and scenic views being accentuated and made better due to the rains. We reached Chapora fort only to discover it's not a fort at all. Just the ruins of a Portugese fort with little remaining boundary walls that encapsulate an uneven strip of land. However, Chapora fort is a great viewpoint for the mesmeric Arabian Sea. We got a panoramic view of the pristine sea which almost looked like it's a gleaming ruby green in parts. The waves crashing against the beach and the beautiful breeze made us spend a good hour there and made for some great photo ops.

Photo of Chapora Fort, Chapora, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal
Photo of Ashvem Beach, Goa by Pooja Paliwal
Photo of Ashvem Beach, Goa by Pooja Paliwal

After Chapora, we decided to go further north to spend some time at the pristine and much cleaner Ashvem Beach. I had been to Ashvem once before and had fond memories of enjoying a sunset lying on the sunbed near a shack surrounded by almost white sand and hardly any other tourists. However, much to my chagrin, Ashvem beach was in ruins this time around. Due to the monsoons, the beach was entirely closed and full of plastic and other filthy trash which the sea seemed to have threw ashore. The sand was almost black and wet. It broke my heart to see the most beautiful beach I've seen in India to be reduced to this during monsoons. A group of ladies who work on the beach told us that they'll clean it in October once it's functional again.

Photo of Sinq Beach Resort Morjim, Morjim, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal

Since there wasn't much to do and we couldn't have gone for a stroll on the highly dirty beach, we decided to sit at a nearby beach cafe which was open -Sinq Beach Resort. We had french fries and hummus pita there. The food was pretty bad but the view made up for it. The cool breeze made it worth it despite the dirty beach.

Photo of Artjuna, Market Road, Monteiro Vaddo, Anjuna, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal
Photo of Artjuna, Market Road, Monteiro Vaddo, Anjuna, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal
Photo of Artjuna, Market Road, Monteiro Vaddo, Anjuna, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal

After our Ashvem debacle, we decided to head to this cafe we had heard a lot about - Artjuna. It had featured in so many lists of must visit cafes that we had to go see it for ourselves. Once I entered, I could see the charm of the place. Tucked away in the by-lanes near Anjuna beach, Artjuna is the perfect cafe to unwind, relax and feel the good vibes. It has a hippy, laidback feel to it and I completely get why it allures so many. We spent a good two hours there, just chilling, playing with the stray dogs and cats and reading our books. We had Artjuna toast, which was basically a pesto mozzarella sandwich and nutella wafells. I also had a chocolate shake. Everything was tasty and not too tough on the pocket.

Later we went for a swim in the hotel pool and went to De Candolim deck for dinner again. We had kadhai paneer and veg spring rolls there. Both the items tasted just alright.

Day 3

I began the day with a half an hour workout in the hotel's fitness center. The fitness center was just a small room with a few fitness machines here and there. It was quite shabby for a nice hotel's fitness center. I followed it up with a big breakfast and then, at the insistence of my Mom, we decided to head to Aguada Fort.

Aguada Fort was close to our hotel and the beautiful drive was just the icing on the cake. I had faint memories of visiting Aguada back in 2012. However, I couldn't remember exactly what made this fort a tourist attraction. Like Chapora, Aguada is more of ruins of a fort than a standing fort. It doesn't offer much except for panoramic views of the Arabian Sea. It can also get overcrowded. I personally liked the views at Chapora better than Aguada and the fewer crowds just make it a better place to spend some time.

We headed back to Candolim for lunch and decided to pay a visit to this quaint, highly rated restaurant - Tuscany Gardens. It truly is a hidden gem and transports you to Italy as soon a you enter. The staff is exceptionally friendly and the ambience will leave you with a happy feeling. We ordered bruschettas and a veg lasagne. Both the things were exceptional. The red sauce in the lasagne along with the sundried tomatoes was to die for. We topped it up with a panacotta for dessert which was really nice as well.

After lunch, we headed back to our hotel to check out since we were moving to another hotel in Anjuna. Unfortunately, we got a flat tire before that but thankfully a sweet member of the hotel staff helped us out with it. We drove to Anjuna and i don't think I've said it enough, but the drive was beautiful.

Photo of Goa in Monsoons - Of Lush Greenery, Cute Cafes & Panoramic Sea Views by Pooja Paliwal

We checked into Fairfield by Marriot at Anjuna. Unlike our last hotel, this was not near the main market and it can get a little dark and isolated in the area therefore it's better to have your own car from a safety perspective. The hotel though is worth keeping as an option. We got a sweet deal on the rooms and the friendly staff along with their huge pool and pool facing rooms made it a worthwhile stay. Once we checked in, we went to the pool and spent over an hour inside It rained heavily and the pool experience in the beautiful rain along with beer by the poolside turned it into quite the experience. After the pool sesh, we had some french fries and enjoyed the rains from the coziness of our rooms.

Photo of Fat Fish, Khobra Waddo, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal

For dinner, we headed to Fat Fish - a very famous restaurant near Baga. The restaurant was lively and was swarmed with visitors. We ordered butter garlic prawns and King fish curry at the server's recommendation. The butter garlic prawns were nice but the king fish curry didn't sit well with us. We could only have a few spoonfuls before we decided to leave the entire thing. It had a peculiar taste to it which I haven't developed a palate for. I don't know if it's more of an acquired taste but I just couldn't have it at that point of time. Well, with the good comes the bad and you have to take it all in your stride.

Day 4

Day 4 began with a big fat breakfast buffet full of nutella toasts, cheese masala dosas and fresh juices. Post breakfast, we headed to Little Vagator

Photo of Little Vagator, Vagator, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal

On my last visit to Goa, I had a good view of the Little Vagator beach from Thalassa - a famous Greek restaurant and the beach looked promising. We climbed down quite a few stairs to reach the beach but even this beach was mostly submerged by the sea. Nevertheless, it made for a good photo op and we made the most of it.

Our little beach hopping spree didn't just end there. We also decided to check out Anjuna beach and see if we can find a few scenic spots to spend a few quite moments at. However, when we reached, the waters were quite choppy and the places were really crowded. Should have used our better judgement to realize Anjuna isn't exactly the go-to place for some peace and quiet. But we met the cutest puppy on the way and that made the trip worthwhile.

Photo of Artjuna, Market Road, Monteiro Vaddo, Anjuna, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal
Photo of Artjuna, Market Road, Monteiro Vaddo, Anjuna, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal
Photo of Artjuna, Market Road, Monteiro Vaddo, Anjuna, Goa, India by Pooja Paliwal

For lunch, we headed to Artjuna again. We had shakshuka and nutella pancakes along with a mango smoothie. The highlight of my lunch was the Falafel burger. It's a must try when at that cafe. We chilled at the cafe for a while and headed back to the hotel where we went for another dip in the pool

Day 5
Photo of Goa in Monsoons - Of Lush Greenery, Cute Cafes & Panoramic Sea Views by Pooja Paliwal

For dinner, we headed to the newly relocated Thalassa at Siolim. The road from Anjuna to Thalassa can be isolated and I'd suggest taking a car there. Considering it was a Saturday night, Thalassa was packed and we had to stand at the bar a long time before we managed to get a table. They don't take same day bookings so make sure you book in advance especially on weekends. The place, however is fantastic and a must visit when in Goa. The ambience was festive and owing to a few Russian and Greek performances which highly engaged the crowd, the place was perfect for a Saturday night. They have a performance where everyone breaks plates! It has something to do with a Greek tradition of breaking plates while celebrating. We had Sangrias and Gin and Tonics. Coming to the food, we ordered Greek style spaghetti which was made in red sauce and garnished with feta cheese. It was really delectable. The Tzatziki came with nicely toasted pita bread which was great but the tzatziki itself was disappointing. It tasted like homemade cucumber raita. The fried calamari was munch worthy and the veg pastito which is basically lasagne with penne pasta base was average. We had a fun night and the sea breeze just added to the charm of the place.

Day 5 began with breakfast at the hotel followed by some pool side chilling in the rain. Around afternoon, we decided to head to Olive which is located at Big Vagator

Unfortunately, Olive Bar and Kitchen was packed and weren't taking walk-ins. However, we made the most of it by chilling at the viewpoint at Big Vagator which offers a panoramic view of the sea. The breeze was wonderful and the choppy waters were fascinating to watch from a height.

Photo of Big Vagator Beach, Vagator, Goa by Pooja Paliwal

For lunch, we headed to another beachside cafe at Anjuna - Purple Martini. Purple Martini is a white and blue themed restrobar facing the sea. It's a must visit to just laze around and has an uber chill vibe and amazing music. With the waves crashing against the deck, beautiful breeze and a musician playing the saxophone, this place turned out to be the perfect spot to spend the afternoon. We had dal and paneer butter masala which were tasty. The staff was super sweet and our server even gave us complimentary cheese naan. It was our perfect last day in Goa. Later we went to the hotel and chilled in the pool and had dinner in the hotel itself.

Day 6

Day 6 arrived and it was time to bid adieu to Goa. We had an evening flight and didn't step out of the hotel. We chilled by the pool, had good food and took all of Goa in one last time. We took a cab to the airport which took us around 1 hour 10 minutes to reach.

A few reasons to visit Goa in the monsoons - lush greenery, at it's most scenic, less crowded, cheaper to stay, beautiful drives. Give Goa try this time of the year guys. It's worth it!