The Hot & Happening GOA

26th Dec 2019
Photo of The Hot & Happening GOA by Abhijit Das

GOA, often synonymous to parties, beaches, sunburn and beer, is a tourist destination highly acclaimed by the Indian and foreign tourists. The vast stretch of sands, azure Arabian Sea, majestic Western Ghats, cascading waterfalls, beautiful churches and flea markets adorns Goa. The place is hot & sunny. So considering the time that you would be spending on outdoor activities, the best time to visit this place is Nov-Feb.

We were in Goa for 5 days during the Christmas Holidays so got enough time to explore. Here is our itinerary in short-

Day 1

Baga Beach

Photo of Goa, India by Abhijit Das

On day 1, we covered the beaches of North Goa. The cab took us INR 2600*. Our day started with Baga Beach. This beautiful golden beach is famous for water sports and clubs & shacks. There is a market near to the beach where you can test your bargaining capacity. From the Baga Beach we went to Sinquerim for the Dolphin sighting trip. On the way, we covered the Mae De Deus Church. For the Dolphin Trip we reached the Sinquerim Boat Jetty from where we bought the tickets (INR 300 * per pax). It's an hour boat ride in which we were lucky enough to spot dolphins doing somersaults; however, they were too fast to get captured in my lenses.

The next in our itinerary was the Aguada Fort. It's an old Portuguese fort located on the Aguada-Siolim Road in Sinquerim, overlooking the Arabian Sea near the mouth of the river Mandovi. At present, the luxurious Taj Aguada hotel stands within the fort walls.

Read more about Fort Aguada and its history-> Fort Aguada – The most strategically located Portuguese Fort in Goa

From there we went to the Sinquerim Beach. People here were involved in water sports and sunbathing. Since we had more to cover on that day, we left for the Anjuna Beach. Unlike other beaches, Anjuna is a rocky one and not at all suitable for swimming or water sports. However, it will give you great view of the sea against the rocky shore. Our next destination was the Vagator beach. The famous Chapora Fort, which was picturised in movie Dil Chahta Hai, is here. Unlike Anjuna beach, it was crowded. We reached the Vagator beach during the sunset. The molten golden waves made our day.

(*Subject to change)

Day 2

Dudhsagar waterfall

Photo of Goa, India by Abhijit Das

Our day 2 was for Dudhsagar and parts of South Goa. The Dudhsagar waterfall is around 90 km from Calangute. It is a four-tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi River in the Goa-Karnataka border. Our car took us to Mollem from where we rented a jeep, which took us to the gate of the Dudhsagar waterfall. From the gate, we trekked for about half an hour to reach the falls. Here mobile towers don't work so before leaving for the trek better to get the assembling spot fixed with the driver.

Read about our experience of Dudhsagar trip-> Dudhsagar – The Milky Waterfall of Goa

From Dudhsagar we went to the Sahakari Spice Farm. Here the entry fee was INR 400 / pax* which included lunch and farm tour. The lunch was followed by a guided tour of the farm where we got to see plantation of spices, herbs etc.

While returning we went to the Mangesh Temple. This Lord Shiva temple is one of the largest and most frequently visited temples in Goa. From there, we left for Basilica of Bom Jesus church. It's an old Portuguese church with beautiful interior and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier is in the mausoleum, in a glass-sided coffin. Due to Christmas the church was beautifully decorated. Just opposite to the church is the Archaeological Museum. If you wish to visit the museum, check the timings and dates and plan your trip accordingly.

(*Subject to change)

Day 3

View from Calangute Beach

Photo of Goa, India by Abhijit Das

We spent the whole day 3 in Calangute, relaxing in shacks, doing shopping, enjoying water sports and relishing Goan food & drink. Apart from shacks, there are many good restaurants like Fisherman's Cove, Capricorn etc. Do try Chicken Xacuti, Chicken Vindaloo, Fish Curry, Sea food platter, Cashew Feni and local beer. Cashew Feni is strong and might make you feel thirsty. Even if you are not a fan of samosa, do try it here. They are crispy, spicy and yummy!

Day 4

Morjim Beach

Photo of Goa, India by Abhijit Das

On day 4, we covered few more beaches of North Goa. We stared with Morjum beach. It was a serene, clean and less crowded beach to be truly termed as foreigner's beach. The water here was calm and crystal-clear. After having lunch here, we left for Ashwim Beach. It was crowded. Spending a couple of minutes there, we moved towards Mandrem Beach. There was nothing special to mention about this one, so we moved towards Arambol Beach. It was crowded but better than the previous two. Since we had a plan to visit the Tiracol, without spending much time we headed towards Querim Beach. From Querim there is a boat service across the Tiracol River to the Tiracol Fort. The fort stands tall and proud crowning the hilltop at the confluence of the Tiracol River with the Arabian Sea. At present a part of the fort has been converted into a luxurious hotel. Unfortunately we reached Querim beach around 5 pm and by the time the water level of the river dropped considerably making the movement of the boats difficult. So if you plan to visit this fort try to reach here before 1pm.

Day 5

Grand Island

Photo of Goa, India by Abhijit Das

Next day, i.e. on 31st morning we left for the Snorkelling & Grand Island trip. There are agencies through which you have to book the trip. If you are interested, ask your hotel front-office people, they will guide you.

The agents arrange for the pick and drop facility. Around 8:30 am from our hotel, a bus took us to the Sinquerim beach jetty point from where our trip started. Our 1st spot was the Grand Island, the largest marine island far out into the Arabian Sea, off the Marmagoa Harbor, where we were supposed to swim and snorkel. It took us around an hour to reach the island. On the way to the island, we spotted dolphins, few squids and jellyfishes. After the diving session, they took us to the Monkey Island, where our lunch was served. Both veg and non-veg options were available.

Now it was time to return. Compared to arrival the return journey was adventurous. The waves were huge enough to drench us. To add to our adrenaline rush, our boat went short of fuel on the mid-way! Luckily, they were carrying reserved fuel to drop us back to the Sequerim beach jetty.

A 31st night in Goa can't be imagined without parties and clubs. Millions of people visit Goa during this time only to experience the madness of the 31st night. You can booze, visit casinos, go for a river cruise, dance or party. People love partying in Club Cabana, Titos, Britos or would play in Deltin Casino etc. but, we found the shacks much better place to celebrate the eve than getting claustrophobic in the pubs.

Day 6

Here comes an end to our trip. Next day our flight was scheduled from Dabolim airport. Since we had more than 3 hours in hand, on the way to the airport our driver took us to the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church followed by a fishermen's village. This church has been one of the favourites of Bollywood movies.

Before I conclude, I would like to mention few points:

1. Do carry sunscreen with SPF 60+, sunglass, hats, shoes, a pair of flipflops and swimwear. You may also buy these from here.

2. Bargain is applicable for shopping as well as for cab rentals.

3.Try local foods and drinks

4. Last but not the least ...Enjoy Goa...CHEERS !!!

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