P.S. – Don’t shortlist Udupi Restaurant just across the road from the church as your to-go restaurant even if you are damn hungry. The food ain’t that great when it comes to prawn biryani, it wasn’t spicy at all, chicken hyderabadi and garlic naan is 'dhokha'. Adjacent to the restaurant, there is an alcohol shop, Baskin Robins on the right hand side and a Caju shop on the left. We inquired about the island trip at the Udupi Restaurant which shares the same counter to an alcohol shop. So, it’s a full day thing with pick up and drop included from Calanguate and Panjim in the North. Not quite sure about the rest of the places. The package includes dolphin sight-seeing, island hopping, scuba diving, snorkelling, lunch, snacks and drinks. It starts at around 9 in the morning and end by 5 pm. I will mention the details about the agencies providing such services in the comment section below if interested.
You might have figured out until now that it was quite a chaotic trip. Don’t worry, I will simplify it for you. In other words, write down the itinerary for you.
1) First, and foremost, check-in in majority of the hotels/holiday homes and Airbnb happens at 2pm and check out at 12pm. So, book your flights accordingly.
2) Parking expenses at tourist spots –
a. Chapora Fort – Rs. 10/- per scooty + free parking (if you park scooty infront of W Goa)
b. Old Church, Panjim – Rs. 20/- per scooty
c. Anjuna Beach – Rs. 20/- per scooty
d. Aguada Fort – free parking
e. Sinquerim Beach – free parking
f. Anjuna Beach (parking behind Curlies) – Rs. 50/- per car
g. Arambol Beach – Rs. 50/- per car
h. Ashwem Beach – free parking
3) Other Expenses –
a. Scooty on rent available at Rs. 300/- per day. You have to fill your own petrol.
b. Car on rent available at Rs. 1200-1500/- per day. Petrol is on you. You have to pay security deposit and submit an identity proof.
c. Parasailing at Anjuna Beach – Rs. 800/- per person + Rs. 200/- (for dip+height) + Rs. 200/- (for swim in the beach)
d. Tattoo (kindly avoid) at Anjuna Beach – Rs. 50- 75/- per square meter.
e. Entry for girls at LPK free. Couple entry – Rs.1700/- (includes free 4 drinks per person)
a. As you can the map of North Goa here, it is divided into two beach stretches. One Arambol- Morgim Beach and the other ‘Vagator – Sinquerim Beach’.
b. You’ll be able to cover the former beach stretch on the first day or choose any two out of the four and spend quality time.
c. The stretch is marked by many hotels and home stays. So, you can choose online from any travel portal. I felt booking.com was the most comfortable portal as it lets you book with free cancellation uptil a certain date. Rest it is entirely upto you depending on many factors. Personally, I felt Oyo Townhouse is just a perfect blend of luxury and affordability and is just across Ashwem beach plus its facing the sea.
d. Water sports were not available here (Arambol and Ashwem Beach)
e. You need not worry about commute on the first day as each beach is at a walking distance from the other.
f. There are not a lot of shacks in Arambol and Ashwem, so if you are more of a Baga Beach person, you might be disappointed as the beaches are a little quieter, crowd deficient and peaceful. However, the place has a lot of good restaurants across the beach. You can have brunch/lunch at La Plage, Ashwem Beach.
a. Book a stay somewhere close to Vagator - Anjuna Beach stretch. Staying at Siolim is not advisable as it is quite far from the beach if we talk in terms of walking distance from the beach.
b. You can visit Vagator in the morning. Vagator beach is divided into big Vagator and small Vagator/Ozran beach. You can have lunch at Thalassa, Ozran Beach or at Antares Restaurant and Beach Club.
c. Vagator does have water sports but might be a little expensive than Anjuna due to the W Goa property located here.
d. From here, head towards Anjuna Beach, indulge in some water sports. Enjoy food at Curlies.
e. Anjuna also holds a Saturday Flee Market, so you can plan accordingly if you are interested.
f. Before sunset, head back towards Chapora Fort and enjoy the sunset.
g. Later at night, you can go to Baga Beach and take on the dance floor.
a. For Day three, keep Calanguate, Candolim, Sinquerim and Aguada Fort. You can either choose three of the above-mentioned places or choose 2 beaches and visit the fort. However, if you are visiting the fort, make sure you go to the lighthouse. It’s different to have a different view.
b. Rise early and visit Aguada Fort as it really gets difficult to visit it later in the day even in October due to the heat. Instead of visiting the fort first, you can climb the lighthouse first and then roam around the fort for a while until you please. From there if you wish, you can also visit the jail. You can also decide to visit this place during sunset, hoping it would be beautiful.
c. The beach stretch from Candolim to Sinquerim is lined up with picturesque cafes and restaurants. So, you can pick the one which suits you. Of what I have heard Fisherman’s Cove is a popular one, though we didn’t go there. We chose Candolim Creek over it. It has car parking at the back of the property so it was easy for us to park your car instead of at Fisherman’s Cove.
d. After having a good lunch, you can head to Candolim or Calanguate beach, get a good foot or body massage and enjoy it with a chilled can of King’s. Though it didn’t quite match with my palate.
e. You can also pick Sinquerim Beach for the sunset and watch the sun bid goodbye and paint the sky with hues of yellow and red. Have dinner at the star lit beach, watch Taj Resorts lit up the Sinquerim Beach border and watch it rise in all its glory.
a. Keep this day for the Island Trip and Old Goa Church. You’ll need an entire day to cover these both.
b. Wake up early, have a good breakfast or brunch whatever suits you and move towards Panjim. It will take you 45 minutes approximately, the ferry ride included.
c. These 45 minutes ride is in Chorao Island. The place has got its own scenic beauty. If you got time, you can plan to visit the Salim Bird Sanctuary which is located just at the corner overlooking river Mandovi that separates Old Goa and New Goa at one end. Though, I am not sure if you will be able to squeeze it in your tight schedule. And, if you are no a bird lover, you can choose to skip it. Instead, head straight to Old Church, Velha, Panjim, Goa and enjoy the architectural marvel.
d. Remember to register yourself for the Island trip and book your slot one day prior to the planned visit. I happened to visit Panjim on the last day. Hence, could not participate in it. Comment below if you are interested to get the details of the agencies providing such services. So, you can plan beforehand if need be. They also provide pick up and drop services at the hotel footsteps. And if you are staying in North Goa, then they can pick you up from Calanguate-Candolim at the max, so decide your stay accordingly.
Day 5 (Optional)