Places To Visit In Goa: A Step By Step Guide to Having a Good Time Here

Tripoto
9th Oct 2012
Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Total expense for 3 days

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Getting to Goa from other cities in India

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Beaches in Goa

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Places to Visit

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Mix - A small restro bar near Calangute.

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

A generic 3-7 day itinerary

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Bogmalo, Goa

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Calangute Beach

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Colva Beach

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Curlie's, Goa

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Fort Aguada, Goa

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Basilica of Bom Jesus

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Naval Aviation Museum, Goa

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

Titos, Goa

Photo of Goa, India by Deepak

You have 3 days and 3 nights to burn off. What do you do? Go to Goa.

You and your friends want to have a good time, a break from the excruciating pace of corporate life? Here is a compilation of places to visit in Goa you must check out!

Photo of Places To Visit In Goa: A Step By Step Guide to Having a Good Time Here by Deepak

Reunion? Go to Goa.

Romantic get-away? Go to Goa

What are the places to visit in Goa in 3 days? This article is all about your Goa trip plan. It will tell you about places to visit in Goa in 4 days or 3 days. If you have even lesser time, you can read this article to know about places to visit in goa in 2 days.

What’s the hype about this puny state anyways?

Goa in India is synonymous with holidays, fun, beaches, gorgeous girls, cheap booze and rejuvenation. But most of us are clueless about how to make the best out of 3 (or 4) day stay?

What are must-visit places, must-try cuisines, the best beaches, cheap yet convenient accommodation and the most efficient mode of transport? Worry not; the Goan Batman is here to help you form your Goa itinerary.

Goa is a state roughly 43km x 86km (3700 sq km). Out of its total perimeter of about ~260 km, more than 120 km is coastline. Divided into two districts – South Goa and North Goa with district headquarters Madgaon and Panjim respectively, it is most famous for its 20+ beaches and its distinct Portuguese architectural style. It handles a disproportionate amount of foreign tourist traffic – being just 1/800th of India in terms of population and geographical size, it handles around 1/8th of the total foreign tourist arrivals in the country. It is the richest state in India in terms of GDP/capita – 2.5 times the national average.

How do I get there?

Goa has one airport – Vasco-da-Gama, three railway stations (Vasco, Madgaon, Thivim) and two major bus depots (Panjim and Madgaon). It is well connected with all the major cities in India.[TIP: To search for trains to Goa, enter “Madgaon (code: MAO)” in the destination station. There is no station called Goa.]

Ok. I have decided to go to Goa. Now, help me with the packing please? Pretty please?

There are a few things you need to remember to pack if you are visiting Goa:

1. The official footwear of Goa – a pair of sandals and a pair of beach slippers

2. At least 3 pairs of shorts

3. A couple of swimwear

4. Shampoo and conditioner (the beach sand feels nice when you are in the sea, not so much when it’s in your hair afterwards)

5. Sunscreen (Duh!)

6. iPod/mp3 player + earphones (because music makes everything better)

7. A book or two (for light reading on the beach, if you are a reader)

8. A camera (You definitely want to capture all those moments, because you might not remember some of them)

9. Portable (battery powered) speakers (if you stay up late at night because most of the places close down by 2am)

10. Your driving license (transport is costly in Goa. The best, and cheapest, alternative is to rent bikes)

I am just a student/just started working. I want to have a good time without spending much. How do I get the best deal without compromising on the quality?

Let’s see. The major expenditures in Goa would be accommodation, transport and food (and drinks, if you do). Let’s assume you are a party of even number of people.

1. Accommodation : If you visit Goa in the non-peak season i.e. March to October, you will find really good accommodation at a highly affordable price. Good hotels within a 1km radius of popular beaches like Colva and Calangute will charge you around 2000-2500 per room (double bed). With a little negotiation, you can get an extra mattress in the room to make it triple sharing.Cost: 800/person/day = 2400 (for the 3 day stay)

2. Transport : The cheapest way to travel and explore Goa is to rent bikes – taxis are exorbitantly priced (Rs 25/km) and bus network is almost non-existent. Bikes will cost you anywhere from 350-600 per day depending on the bike that you want (350 for the Activa, 500 for Pulsar, 600 for Avenger etc). Fuel cost is over and above that.Cost: Around 500/day for 2 people = 750 per person (for the 3 day trip)

3. Food : Do not go for the expensive shacks and restaurants all the time. You can find plenty of good restaurants just outside the beaches. Should not cost more than 300 per meal i.e. 600 per day. Booze is as cheap as it gets – 50 bucks for a can of beer (Kingfisher, Tuborg, Carlsberg etc) from liquor stores (which are plenty), 200 bucks for a bottle of Old Monk, 300-400 for vodka (Magic Moments etc) and 500-600 per bottle for good whiskey.

What are all the beaches there?

Well, there are 22 friggin’ beaches. I sure as hell can’t visit all in 3 days.

Well, you don’t have to. You see, beaches tend to be similar in many respects – there’s sun, sand, waves, sunsets, shacks, scantily clad women, adventure sports (not everywhere). So, after around 5-6 beaches, you will get bored. Visit the most popular ones:

  • North Goa – Anjuna, Baga, Calangute, Vagator (In a single stretch, you can walk from the first beach to the last), Dona Paula
  • South Goa – Colva, Majorda, Palolem, Cavelossim

So, it’s only beaches? Man, that’s boring!

Nope. You have churches, museums, wildlife sanctuaries, forts, pubs, go-karts etc. These are the places to visit in Goa in 3 days-

  1. Aguada fort: A fort-cum-lighthouse build by the Portuguese in 1613
  2. Chapora fort: This is the fort featured in Dil Chahta Hai
  3. Basilica of Bom Jesus: Built in 1605, contains the tomb and the remains of St. Francis Xavier
  4. Naval Aviation 3Museum: A museum dedicated to the history of Naval Aviation in India, probably only one of its kind
  5. Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception: This has been shown in many movies that are shot in Goa (Josh, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani
  6. Go-karting near Verna: (also has a really good pub at the foot of the hill called King’s pub; economical, good selection of beers, definitely plays if there is any good football or cricket match happening)
  7. Flea markets: Anjuna flea markets, Mapusa market, Calangute market square are great places to buy souvenirs, jewellery, footware etc. at throwaway prices
  8. Casinos: Try your luck at Deltin Royale, Casino Pride and Deltin Caravela, some of the best casinos in Goa.
  9. Water sports: Kayaking, windsurfing, jet skiing, scuba diving, parasailing, snorkeling etc. are provided at many beaches.
  10. Silent noise parties: People gather, put their headphones on and listen to their own music. These parties are exclusive to South Goa.
  11. Dudhsagar waterfalls: Located on the Mondovi river at Goa-Karnataka border.
  12. Mhadei wildlife sanctuary: Famous as a bird watcher's paradise, it supports a wide variety of wildlife.
  13. Bondla wildlife sanctuary: A popular wildlife sanctuary frequented by families, children and eco-tourists.
  14. Netravali wildlife sanctuary: Popular forest reserve and a major attraction for nature-enthusiasts, wildlife lovers as well as perfect for a relaxing yet adventurous short break.
  15. Rachol fort: The place has not much of an architectural delight, but the scenic beauty of the place is very pleasing.

I have also heard that the food is great there. Any recommendations?

The following restaurants, shacks and delicacies are a must try.

  1. Café Mambo: On Baga beach
  2. Curly’s: On a corner of the Anjuna beach cut off from the main
  3. Tito’s: Baga beach; restaurant-cum-disco
  4. Martin’s Corner: Majorda.
  5. Joet’s restaurant and bar: On a little known beach near Vasco called Bogmalo; around 30 km from Panjim, visit only if you have extra time on your hands
  6. John’s Seagull: Again on Bogmalo
  7. Bora Bora: Beach shack in Morjim
  8. Seafood in any good shack – crabs, squids and prawns are a must-try
  9. Lasagna at Vagator beach
  10. Mango Tree

Also, the rock culture seems to be pretty strong. Where can I watch some good bands perform?

There are a lot of small restaurants in Goa, particularly in Panjim, which have gigs by small and upcoming local bands. You will be able to locate such places if you go for a drive.We found a similar place while returning back to the hotel, decided to stop for a couple of beers and ended up staying till close.

So, how many bucks would I have to shell out at the end?

As I already mentioned, the total should come around 5000-7000 depending on whether you drink or not. Add to that the cost of the tickets. If you’re travelling by train, the entire trip should not make your wallet lighter by more than 10-12k.

What should a generic 3-day itinerary look like?

Try and cover places that are geographically closer in one go. Get yourself a place somewhere on Baga (or between Baga and Anjuna). It is a single stretch containing 4 kick-ass beaches, 2 forts and tons of great places to wine (or beer, vodka, tequila, whisky) and dine. This would be your Goa tour plan mentioning the best places to visit in Goa in 3 days-

  1. Day 1: Start from South and gently work your way up north. Spend the morning in Calangute, have an afternoon swim followed by lunch at Baga. Cover Anjuna if you have time. But in any case, make sure to be in Vagator (more precisely, on top of the Chapora fort) for the beautiful sunset. End the day with dinner at Curly's or Mambo's or Tito's or all 3, if possible.
  2. Day 2: Start from Cavalossim, up to Colva, Majorda and finally Bogmalo. End with a dinner treat at John's or Joet's.Alternatively, start from Bogmalo and work your way south to end the day at Cavalossim, topped with dinner at Martin's corner.
  3. Day 3: Start the day by spending the morning on Aguada fort, visit the two most famous churches - Basilica of Bom Jesus and Lady of Immaculate Conception - in the afternoon, go for go-karting in the evening and celebrate with dinner and drinks (with, if lucky, a good football match) at King's pub.
  4. Extra days If your trip is longer than 3 days, you might consider:
  • Spend a full day in Madgaon. This place still has a distinct Portugese touch in everything - architecture, roads, even the air. It is starkly different from Panjim and you can find some really good food near Palolem beach (must visit).
  • Explore the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary on wheels. You can end the day again at Palolem.
  • Go to Gokarna if you have a couple of more days at hand. It is around a 100km drive from Palolem beach; a small village in Karnataka with some beautiful, obscure beaches untouched by the tourist culture.
  • Settle down. I mean it. Settle down in one beach. Relax. Or hire a local guide. I am done here.

How can I enjoy Goa in 2 days?

Maybe you're in Goa for a business trip or some other reason which allows you to be here only for 2 days. What can you do then? These are the places to visit in Goa in 2 days:

Day 1: Rent a bike and cover old Goa, Panjim(Dona Paula,Miramar beach) & river cruise.

Day 2: Vagator beach, Chapora fort, Anjuna, Fort Aguada and in evening relax at beach shacks at Calangute/Candolim/Baga

Finally, any other advice?

Plenty.

  1. Respect the Goan people. You are not at home! I repeat you are in some one else's backyard.
  2. If you should so chose to drive a car/ride a bike on Goan roads, show some respect to Goan traffic when you drive.
  3. Do not pollute the area. Goa is not like other places in India and you will be seriously taken to task. It is not just a place for tourists but is also a place that many people call their home!
  4. Take a camera. But do not cling to it like its Anne Hathway. Whip it out of the bag sporadically. Take at least one picture every place to go, so that you remember it later. But don’t turn it into a click-fest. Pictures are important during vacation, but they should not be the only thing you do during them.
  5. Always carry your driver’s license.
  6. Do not drink and drive.
  7. If you are planning to drink at night, make sure you get a cab or find a place near to your hotel. In any case, make sure there is at least one sober person in the group

Relax. The number of places you visit is not important. What is important is that you had fun. So take out time to relax on a beach, gazing into the horizon lit by the orange sunset while gorgeous ladies soothe your eyes, cold beer drenches your soul and the cool winds make you feel it’s all a dream

Bogmalo is a small, secluded, overlooked beach in Vasco. It is a stark contrast from the crowded and bustling ones in Panjim or Madgaon. The entire beach stretches for less than 1 km and has 3 prominent places to eat and one damn expensive place to stay.I love this place because:1. I have been here countless times during my undergraduate years.2. It offers a respite that other beaches don't.3. You can do a lot of things - watch football/cricket matches, play pool/billiards and sing during the Karaoke nights.

Photo of Bogmalo, Goa, India by Deepak
Photo of Bogmalo, Goa, India by Deepak

John's Seagull is one of my favorite places in Goa. The food is great (do try the golden fried prawns). The beer is good. The music is good. You can play pool when you're bored. You can take a stroll on the beach. You can stay late if you know the owner (which I do) and he serves drinks on the house (to only those he knows, and only after the places has officially shut down).

Photo of Johns Seagulls, Bogmalo, Goa, India by Deepak

Colva is one of the most serene and beautiful beaches of Goa - white sands, shallow waters and the occasional whiff of dried fish.If you are at the beach, do visit the Our Lady of Mercy Church nearby.

Photo of Colvá, Goa, India by Deepak

The largest and the most commercial beach of Goa. It is sort of an obligation to visit it. Sadly, due to the high traffic, the beach is polluted, crowded and cacophonic.

Photo of Calangute, Goa, India by Deepak

One of the most famous churches of Goa, the Basilica is a fine example of baroque architecture. It also holds the remains of St. Francis Xavier (died 1552).

Photo of Basilica of Bom Jesus, Velha Goa, Goa, India by Deepak

The typical Goan restaurant - drinks, cocktails, sizzlers, seafood, hookah, loud music and dance.

Curlies is a small stretch of a beach with 3-4 restaurants/shacks. Although its charm seems to have faded over the years, being here nonetheless, gives one a feeling of serenity and peace. A good place to have dinner and end the day.However, its accessibility is an issue. The road leading to it is in shambles and you will need to drive carefully. If you plan on drinking, make sure you have a designated driver.

Photo of Curlie's, Montero Waddo, Anjuna, Goa, India by Deepak

Decent place, decent prices. Quality and reputation has taken a hit in the past few years.

Photo of Titos Ln, Titos Ln, Baga, Goa 403516, India by Deepak

Was our favorite place back during Engineering. The food is good, service is decent and prices are reasonable too. Also, they mostly have bands playing on specific days.

Photo of Martin's Corner, Majorda, Goa, India by Deepak

A much welcome change from the flurry of beaches in Goa, Aguada fort still has a lingering presence in it back from the days when it used to serve as a prison. Tour of the entire place takes less than 2 hours and overlooking the Arabian sea is a pleasant experience.

Photo of Fort Aguada, Candolim, Goa, India by Deepak

The best part about the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary is the drive leading to it. Although you won't get much to see inside (except for a few birds and small animals), it is good to be back with nature once in a while.

Photo of Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao, Goa, India by Deepak

One of its kind - The Naval Aviation Museum is a must for anyone interested in History. It has, on display, 13 decommissioned aircrafts, huge replicas of INS Vikrant and INS Viraat and a lot of other informative signage, rare photographs etc.

Photo of Indian Naval Aviation Museum, Bogmalo Road, Mormugao, Goa, India by Deepak

The only go-karting place in Goa. Perfect place to for an adrenaline release. Plus, there are a few good restaurants and pubs at the foothill.

Photo of Go-karting, Verna by Deepak
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