Goa For The Pathfinder

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Photo of Goa For The Pathfinder 1/1 by Sachin Verma

Goa – the place you will never leave. Every year millions of travelers visit Goa. The northern part of Goa alone houses thousand of shacks, pubs and clubs. With the shacks playing hypnotic music and the sea breeze caressing your face, Goa is every travelers delight. 

From the crowded beaches like Baga, Calagute in the north to uninhabited, serene beaches like Galgibag and Kakolem in the south, Goa will definitely offer something to everyone.There is a lot more to Goa travel than parties, beaches or shacks. A perfect place for sun chasers and star gazers, it will offer you amazing moments to cherish. 

The architecture, especially in the southern part is awe inspiring. Being a Portuguese Colony till 1961, Goa boasts beautiful homes, churches and cathedrals. One can spend days travelling through some of the magnificent architecture of 16th century onward. The food is amazing everywhere. There are some places you must visit for the sake of your taste buds. The local bakeries running since the colonial times bake some of the finest breads you will get in India.

Travel light, Travel more.

Day 1

Reach Calangute, Goa by noon. The first day just relax. Sort out your travel and stay. If you are a solo traveler in Goa, do not go for luxury. The first two days move around and stay in North Goa. Rent a place in North. On the Baga-Calangute beach, you will find good places to stay starting as low as Rs 600/- (During peak the minimum you will get is Rs 1000 – Rs 1500) The cheapest way to travel Goa is by either using public transport or hire a Bike. Using public transport will save money but hiring a bike will save a lot of time, and “time is money”. During high season you can hire an Activa for Rs 275-325 per day, and if you are good negotiator, you may get the same at a cheaper price.

Once you have sorted your stay and travel, grab some food and beer, and chill at the room. Get a good sleep, there is a lot to experience in the next 3 days and 4 nights.

The party gets going after sunset and this is the time people start coming out on streets. Walk down the strip towards Baga beach. It has some good Sports Bars, Clubs and cafes which are highly recommended for football followers. The Cape Town Cafe, Cocktails and Dreams, to name a couple and of course the most prominent of all Titos and Mambos. 

This Strip is one of the most crowded street in Goa and one cannot set a foot here during Christmas and New Year. Baga is also popular for its shacks on the beach. During night the atmosphere on beach and strip is amazing. Every single person here, is to have fun. Stroll on the beach towards the Baga River, will get you to Brittos. Popular for its menu and taste, a meal here is recommended.

Photo of Brittos, Baga, Goa, India by Sachin Verma

Spend some quality time on the beach eating and exploring. The breeze will make you forget all the worries and rejuvenate you. The night is still young and you have plenty of time remaining. If you get enough of Baga, and feel like moving, head north towards Anjuna.

One of the most popular beach among Foreign travelers, Anjuna is known for its calm waters and shacks on the beach. The best shacks of Goa are on the Anjuna Beach – Curlies, Shiva Valley, Cafe Liliput to name a few. These shacks are quite popular among Bohemians and are built next to each other. One can easily sense a Hippy culture running on the beach. There is a party going on everyday in one of the shacks. Barring New Year and Specials there is no entry charge for these places. The atmosphere remains quite much the same till dawn, and this is when the crowd start retreating to their places. Its time to get back to bed and get a good sleep. A new day will bring new adventures.

Photo of Shiva Valley, Anjuna, Goa, India by Sachin Verma

Day 2

Its a new day. Don’t start early. After a good sleep and breakfast, Brittos is recommended again, it’s time to ride. Our first destination of Day 2 is Arambol Beach, the last developed beach of Goa towards north. This beach is more popular among the foreign travelers specially The Russians and British and a very few Indian travelers visit this beach. Spend some quality time in peace on the beach. Eat some of the best sea food available in Goa and this is the place to shop. Due to scarcity of Indian Crowd here, you have plenty of time to check the stuff and bargain. In any cafe or shack nearby, you can indulge into a conversation with a random stranger and keep talking for hours over beer. If you are staying long in Goa, prefer renting a place in Arambol. The beach is amazing and a dip in water will be refreshing and relaxing. Grab something to eat from any shack on the beach and start travelling south of Arambol.

Photo of Arambol, Goa, India by Sachin Verma

Moving back from Arambol towards Vagator, make a stop at Morjim. Known as “Little Russia” Morjim has a large concentration of Russian Immigrants.The beach is amazing and is a nesting and hatching habitat of the preserved Olive Ridley Sea Turtle. If you are a turtle enthusiast, Morjim will offer you something special in form of Olive Ridley. Grab couple of Beer and chill on the beach or Hill top, you would not want to leave the peace this place will offer. Moving south, our next destination is Vagator. Famous for the hill top parties and the World Famous “Sunburn“, Vagator host some of the best EDM parties in India. The view from the Hill top is amazing and the beach is less crowded unless there is a party nearby. 

The famous Chapora Fort is uphill Vagator. Leave your bike at the bottom and climb the hill to the fort. You get a 360 degree view from here. This place is most suited for the people who want some time alone. You can spend hours sitting here and wondering. Spend some quality time here and start moving again. Our next stop will be Anjuna. By the time we reach Anjuna, the Sun would have started its disappearance into the ocean. Watch the Sunset sitting on the deck of Curlies, this will be one of the most beautiful sights you ever witnessed.

Photo of Curlies Beach Shack Goa Anjuna, Monteiro Vaddo, Anjuna, GA, India by Sachin Verma

Post sunset, the groovy music of Anjuna will take over the atmosphere and the sound of waves will get mixed with Music. One can sit here for hours doing nothing, talking to self. Despite the loud music and crowd dancing and cheering, one can still feel the peace and calmness within. No one troubles you or interferes. You can meet a lot of writers, poets, musicians coming here for inspiration. Talk to self or indulge in a conversation with strangers, you will surely spend quality time here. If you haven’t got enough of Anjunas party yesterday, you can stay back. There will surely be a party going on either in Curlies or any of the shack nearby.

The Roads leading to Baga from Anjuna have quite a few flee markets where you can find anything you look for at a cheap price. All these markets have specific days when they are open. Anjuna’s flee market is open only on Wednesday from 8 AM to 6 PM. The Saturday night market at Arpora is a special attraction and open from evening till midnight. On you way back, eat some local cuisine.

 Fish Curry in this area is amazing and is recommended in any of the restaurants by the Baga River. Take a relaxing stroll on the beach near your accommodation and then straight to bed. Next two days will be more of travel than leisure. Be ready for South Goa. It will be the soul filling experience starting tomorrow.

Day 3

Start the second part of journey. This will be quite different from the first two days. This is when the actual road trip across Goa starts. Check out of your place ( Most BnBs, hotels, lodges have 10 AM as their check out time). Return the bike rented and hop on a state transport bus to Panjim. Panjim, Capital of Goa acts a bridge between North and South. Rent a bike at Panjim and start travelling. The first stop, after a travel of half an hour will be Old Goa, Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine.

Photo of Church Of Saint Augustine Ruins, Bainguinim, Goa, India by Sachin Verma

The ruins of 46 meter high colossal along with the ruins of 8 chapels and 4 altars can be seen. The church was built in 1602 by the St. Augustinian Friars. In 1835 this complex was abandoned due to the expulsion of the religious orders from Goa and the Portuguese Government ordered its demolition. In 1846 the main vault of the Church collapsed and the convent rapidly decayed.The remains are now conserved against all odds. Watching the ruins, will take you back to history and force you to think about how such a magnificent piece of architecture is destroyed. Opposite to the Church of St Augustine, lie Royal Chapel of St Anthony which carries a citadel look. The chapel exhibits a unique style of architecture. The walls of the Chapel have four frescoes with the pictures of the five doctors of the Church. The clerestory windows light up the interior of the church, which is exquisitely finished and richly ornamented. You do not need much time to explore these marvels and can be done in an hour or so.

Five minutes from The Ruins is The Basilica of Bom Jesus. A UNESCO world heritage site, it holds the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier. A huge number of tourists pay a visit to the remains. The body is kept for a public display every 10 years, next will be in December 2024. The church is open everyday for public. Right opposite to the Basilica of Bom Jesus is the Church of Francis of Assisi. Built in 1661 by the Portuguese, the Church boasts a magnificent architecture.

Photo of Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa Road, Bainguinim, Goa, India by Sachin Verma

Right next to the Basilica, is the World Wax Museum. The statues of different personalities and cultures depict the diversity in India. Grab a quick bite at any of the place nearby start riding south. Next Stop – Palolem Beach in South Goa. By 4 PM, you should be in Palolem. Sort out accommodation. Palolem is a good place to stay. One can find a decent accommodation within Rs 1000/-. Relax for sometime. Visit the beach at the time of sunset. Palolem beach is famous for its nightlife and parties. The beach featured as the Goa Residence of Matt Damon (Jason Bourne) in the 2004 film The Bourne Supremacy. If you want to spend some time partying, Palolem is the place to be. One can party at the Silent Noise which provides headphones to each partying individual so as to cut the noise disturbing locals after 10 PM. The party goes on for hours under the twinkling stars and moonlight. Enjoy the beach for the night and do not forget to take a good sleep before we start the next day which is going to be hectic.

Photo of Palolem Beach, Goa, India by Sachin Verma

Day 4

Wake Up, its the last day and we have a lot to explore. Start early. First stop after breakfast : The Butterfly Beach. Take a boat from Palolem to Butterfy beach. As the name suggests, the beach hosts a variety of species of butterflies and is one of the best secluded beaches in Goa. Butterfly Beach Goa is well known as a favorite place for dolphins playing. Lack of road connectivity, this place is visited by very few and if lucky you can also enjoy the whole beach by yourself. Spend some good time. Please note there are no shops or shacks on the beach. Either carry your stuff or make sure you come back in time.

Photo of Butterfly Beach, Canacona, Goa, India by Sachin Verma

Once you are back to Palolem, ride your bike to the north and drive to Majorda beach. It is a 1 hour ride from Palolem to Majorda and make sure you reach Majorda by 2-3 PM. Majorda is famous for its breads that is a delicacy. Beach with silver sands is ideal for swimming and soaking sun. 

Utorda beach nearby Majorda is less crowded but more beautiful. One can take long walks along the beach. The view of sun setting behind the ocean is simply magnificent from this beach. There are a couple of good Cafe’s nearby where you can kill your hunger for a while and start riding towards Vasco Da Gama. Its a half hour journey from Majorda to Vasco.

Photo of Majorda Beach, Majorda, Goa, India by Sachin Verma

Vasco Da Gama or Vasco, as the city is known is named after Vasco Da Gama, the Portuguese explorer was founded in 1543. A salient monument being the 400-year-old Igreja de Santo André (St. Andrew’s Church) is located at the entrance of the city. Roam around the city a bit. Absorb the cultural Goa and then settle for an authentic goan meal at Anantashram. After food, one can ride along the highway back to Palolem. This will be scenic journey of about an hour and half and you will be chasing moon all the way to Palolem. Get back to Palolem, soak in the music and cherish the moments you are spending. These days are the best days. We all live for these days.

And its time to Pack the Bag and head back or head to a new destination.

Till then Adios.

Peace.

Travel Thirst:

If you still are travel thirsty and decide to stay back for a day more, a visit to Doodhsagar water falls can be considered. Situated at 60 KM from Panjim, 70 from Palolem. Start early morning. 

Falls are located in the Bhagwaan Mahaveer National Park. Swim under the falls, soak the sun and enjoy nature. Dhoodhsagar waterfalls are nature at its best. View of the falls is amazing. Water is milky white and the best time to visit Doodhsagar is during or post monsoon. Come back by the night and head to your next destination in the morning.

Photo of Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, Goa, India by Sachin Verma

Railway Stations (Near Panjim and South Goa) : Madgaon, Vasco Da Gama

Important Bus Terminus : Panjim, Bambolim, Vasco Da Gama, Fonda.

Airport : Goa International Airport, Dabolim.

Life Hacks :

1. Always carry 1 extra bottle of petrol while traveling. There are no petrol pumps in the village areas. You need to purchase from people sitting roadside selling at about Rs 10-20 costlier.

2. Don’t go deep in water on a secluded beach even if you are a trained swimmer.

3. Best place to shop in North would be the market leading to Baga from Calangute or the market on Anjuna Beach. You can bargain well and always start with offering 20-30% of the price told and finally if you like the product and willing to purchase, buy it for not more than 50%-55% of the quoted price.

4. The best time to visit Goa : Anytime. I would suggest September onward till December 15th. Goa is not crowded much till then. From mid December till mid January, Goa will be Crowded, Chaotic and Expensive. If you want to enjoy your Goa trip, avoid these days. Post mid January, the crowd will disappear.

5. If you like monsoon and rain, Goa’s monsoon has a lot to offer too. The Green cover all over Goa with empty beaches, cheap accommodation and food, Goa will be a different experience altogether.

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