Think Goa is just about partying? Think again!
I have been to Goa half a dozen times and decided to make the last one different. I went solo!!
Over these several years of travelling to Goa, I realized how enthralling this experience has always been and how it gets better each time.
Goa is mostly known for its nightlife and I think it doesn't do justice to the place. It is a lot more than that!
So I have jotted down the things I loved the most about Goa and which can turn a vacation into an experience of a lifetime.
Trekking to Dudhsagar Waterfalls
Goa is home to thriving wildlife sanctuaries. One such is the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, bordering Karnataka, another state in India.
Dudhsagar Waterfalls lie inside the wildlife sanctuary and trekking to the falls was one of the best choices I made.
Trekking to the Dudhsagar waterfalls is also the only option available for those who are planning to visit during the monsoons. It is an experience which you wouldn't regret.
The spice plantations of Goa do not see huge footfall except only for day trips. I stayed at a spice plantation overnight and couldn't have asked for more. It felt like a complete package. Cliched, but true!
A tour of the spice plantation brings you a little closer to nature and spending a night in a treehouse was all I needed to wrap things up here.
There are several tour options that one can take to visit the spice plantation even though for a day, at a reasonable price.
Mapping the wildlife sanctuaries
There are five major wildlife sanctuaries and one bird sanctuary in Goa - Bhagwan Mahavir, Cotigao, Netravalli, Bondla wildlife sanctuaries, and Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
The most famous is the Bhawan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary for it houses one of Goa's most tourist-favored destinations, the Dudhsagar Waterfalls.
Another one that I was fortunate enough to be a part of was the Netravalli Wild Life Sanctuary. This came as a part of my stay at the spice plantation in Goa.
Spread far and wide....
The wildlife sanctuary, though sees lesser number of tourists has an attraction for itself, driving adventure seekers.
A peek into the history
A trip to Goa would be incomplete without visiting its churches. Goa is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful churches in India, some of which date back to as early as the 1500s. They are not just a site of religious importance but also tell tales of Goa's history that influenced these architectural marvels.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, a 16th century spectacle housing the remains of St. Francis Xavier
The churches of Old Goa or Velha, seven in number, were collectively declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and lure tourists from around the globe each year.
Velha, Old Goa sees a huge tourist footfall throughout the year. You can either explore the lanes of old Goa by yourself or take an organised tour to wade you through its history.
A beach life
Last but not the least, the small state of Goa has some surprises tucked away from its regular spots.
The beach scene of Goa always forms a subject of argument while deciding between the beaches of North or South Goa.
I'd not have to think twice before recommending Palolem to anyone. It has never failed to surprise me, with its cheering crowd, friendly locals, and great beach shacks.
And I totally forgot to mention about the sunset which surprisingly looks more stunning each day.
During my visit to Goa, Agonda had fewer tourists. The lanes leading to the shoreline looked pretty empty. That however didn't weaken its charm in any way.
Stepping into the ocean....
Cola was indeed the most pleasant surprise in Goa. It was my first time visiting the place and even though it was really hard to locate, I think every wrong turn was worth it.
After pushing past some broken roads, I made it to the Cola beach's hilltop. The beach, sunset, and horizon looked so alluring, I almost decided to set up a camp there.
The beach has a stunning shoreline, lined up with shacks making it a perfect spot to unwind with the setting sun.
Crashing waves and pearls on water
It is one of those places that you tend you overlook despite being in the vicinity. For some reason, Patnem doesn't see a lot of tourists and I fail to understand why. It is a beautiful beach, lesser crowded than the neighbouring Palolem.
Frequented by local fishermen, Patnem is perfect for knowing a thing or two about Goa, the local way!
North GoaQuerim beach
If I were to rate beaches of North Goa, Querim would always top the list. Quiet shoreline, fewer tourists, challenging waves, and lined up beach shacks, it is perfect to both begin your day with and wind up the evening at.
Beaches less frequented
Although the beach geographically lies inside the Indian state of Maharashtra, its location bordering Goa makes it easily accessible and less frequented by the tourists thronging the beach state.
Overlooking the Vagator beach is the Chapora fort. Admittedly, it is a tad bit difficult to find a quiet spot at Vagator. This prompted me to take a detour and visit the Chapora fort. Though even the hill fort can witness tourist frenzy, the trick is to know where exactly to go.
All eyes to the horizon
The hilltop adjoining the fort is a little hard to access, attributed only to the long walk one has to take to reach where you can feel one with the horizon and vast expanse of the ocean.
I have never failed to visit the hilltop ever since I first discovered it and it has looked more beautiful and quieter each time.
Goa offers a little for everyone, from quiet beaches to thumping dance floors, from adventure to laid-back travel. It has remained one of the best places I ever travelled to overtime and my last experience as a solo female traveller was no different. One of the best times to visit Goa would be during the month of September, with fewer tourists, easy availability of accommodations, and affordable travel.
Rough waters and dramatic Skyline