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Goa

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Goa is a former Portuguese colony currently a state in India's West region. It is 3700 square kilometres in size and has a human population of approximately 1.4 million. Its east-west mix, beaches and syncretic culture is what attracts an officially-estimated two million visitors each year. Bulk of the visitors are from the rest of India, but the quarter-million from abroad have an influential role to play because of their spending capacity. Among the foreign visitors, and increasingly among a section of young visitors from India, Goa is currently renowned for its electronic music parties and its beaches. From 1510 until 1961 Goa was a Portuguese colony and many aspects of Portuguese culture and architecture can still be found.

Palolem beach, Goa

Districts

Goa is a very small state, with only two districts , North and South Goa, which are further divided into 11 talukas.

North Goa

South Goa

Cities

Other destinations

  • Fort Aguada

see also Beaches in Goa

Understand

The Goan population is a mixture of Hindus and Roman Catholics, the distribution being approximately 60% Hindu and 40% Christian. Despite this, there have been no communal clashes in the past and Goa is regarded as one of the most peaceful states in India

The best time of the year to visit Goa is mid-November to mid-February.

Talk

Goa's state language is Konkani. Most Goans speak Konkani, English, Hindi and Marathi. Portuguese is also spoken by some, especially elite class.

Get in

By bus

There are several bus routes from various cities, but most traffic is from mainly Bombay and Pune, but with increasing demand from the south, there has been an increase in buses and trains from Bangalore and New Delhi.

By train

Trains connect Goa from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Mangalore, Ernakulam and Thiruvanantapuram (via Bangalore). There is a daily express train service from Delhi.

By air

Some airlines fly directly to Dabolim Airport at Goa, but most international flights arrive via Mumbai.

Goa has daily flights to and from Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune (no flights return to Pune) and has flights twice a week to Chennai and Cochin. There are international flights to Kuwait and U.A.E twice a week and charter flights to U.K, Germany and Switzerland.

By sea

Catamaran between Mumbai and Goa

An air-conditioned catamaran with places for 400 passengers runs between Mumbai and Goa. It leaves from the New Ferry Wharf / Bhaucha Dhakka in Mumbai.

  • Mumbai - Goa: depart Mumbai 22:30 Tue & Thu; arrive Panaji 06:00
  • Goa - Mumbai: depart Panaji 10:00 Mon + Wed + Fri + Sat + Sun; arrive Mumbai 17:30

Passengers are requested to board the ship 2 hours before departure. Economy: Rs. 1400; business: Rs. 1600 adult; special cabin for 5 people Rs.9000/- (all one way). Foreign tourists can pay in rupees on presentation of their currency exchange certificate.

Get around

Scooter

Renting a scooter or motorbike can be a nice experience. However, take care, since Goa's roads can be dangerous to both experienced and inexperienced drivers.

Renting a scooter is way too easy, it will cost you anything between Rs 125 to 250 depending on the season and you may have to leave small amount as a security deposit. Also for a little more you can hire a more preferred "Enfield", which is a favorite for travellers who often buy the bike if they plan to stay for longer periods of time. Also for the novice rider, you can hire a scooterette .

Bus

You can also use the local buses to travel to different beachs in Goa. Note that these buses are not owned by Goa municipal authorities and as such the fare can vary. A typical bus ride will cost anywhere from 4-6 rupees. Fares are not collected at the bus doors but rather after you after you entered and the bus has begun to move. It is prudent to ask your fellow passengers about the fare, since as a foreign tourist, the fare collectors will attempt to rip you off by demanding you pay 3-5 times to actual bus fare.

See

Goa is world famous for its beaches, its ancient temples and churches, and its Goan carnival

If naval aviation interests you, you might want to stop by the Naval Air Museum. This is behind the Dabolim Airport, and you will need to loop around the airport perimeter across the Dabolim Railway station to get there. There are seven outdoor exhibits and other memorabilia and models in a two storeyed building.

Do

Since Goa is still largely Catholic it has many Catholic holidays besides the Indian national holidays.

One of them, the Carnival though often mistaken for a 'Catholic holiday' is largely a Government sponsered affair of Floats and festivities.

There is a lot to do - for those who like their fun a little laid back

  • Relax at the Beaches. Goa has an almost unbroken 100 km coastline of beaches
  • Visit the venerable Catherals of a bygone era at Old Goa, which are still in remarkable good condition
  • Enjoy the cuisine at a range of resturants that cater to just about every palate.
  • Check out the several Discos and Pubs that have sprung up around Goa.
  • Try feni. It is a local specialty, an alcoholic drink made from cashew fruits.

Eat

Food

The Goan staple diet consists of rice and fish curry along with pickles and fried fish. This can be found on many of the beach shacks. The Goan cuisine is a blend of Portuguese and local flavours. Many dishes such as prawn balchao and Kingfish in Garlic have distinct Portuguese flavour.

Dishes such as Vindaloo and Xacuti (pronounced Cha'cuti) will be familiar from Indian restaurant menus, and are originally Goan dishes.

Places to eat

  • Cavala, Baga - Beautiful authentic goan food in a charming setting. Also great entertainment is often featured!
  • Bella Ciao The Italian Restaurant at La Calypso Hotels, Saunta Vaddo, Calangute Baga road, Baga, Goa - 403516 - Phone: 0832 2275821 Italian
  • O'Coqueiro
  • Mirabai Goan Village, off Baga Road, Calangute. Phone: 98 22176808- The best! Authentic Goan food, excellent sea food, charming knowledgable owner
  • Souza Lobo
  • Hotel Mandovi
  • Casa Andre's, Calangute
  • Martin's Corner, Colva
  • Casa Porteugese, Baga
  • J & A's, Arpora
  • Waves, Calangute
  • Tibetan Kitchen, Calangute
  • La Resturaunt- Baga Road - French cuisine at its best
  • Stone House, Candolim - garden bar and rest - great cooking lovely atmosphere
  • Caji's Place, Colva- known for its fresh and spectaculuar Prawn Curry.
  • Dominos Pizza Margao 0832-2713888, 2713660-61 Shop No.11-12, Durga Apartments, Louis Miranda Road , Near Saaj Hotel , Margao - 403601
  • Tato's in Margao for good Pau Bhaji.

Most beaches have shacks that serve surprisingly delicious meals, specially sea-food and they'll usually consult you to see how you like your food. Don't miss the shack eating experience. You'll want to go back and do it again. Most fancy hotels and restaurants serve terrible foods, it is best to eat at local places, ask a taxi driver where these would be and dont let him take you to any fancy restaurants as they receive commission. For a taste of the local flavour with clean facilities but low prices go to Caji's Place, Colva.

Drink

  • Zanzibar - beach shack on Baga. opens early till midnight
  • The Alcove - overlooking Ozran Vagator Beach - Also good place to eat (Open Till Midnight)
  • TITO'S - Baga Beach - A popular night club in goa (Open Till 10.00 pm)
  • SHORES BAR - Anjuna Beach - (Open Till 11.00 pm)

Club Cubana(Arpora) - A night at the Playboy Mansion! This decadent mansion perched on the top of a hill looks over Anjuna and the sea and sports a huge pool, 4 bars, indoor dance floor, a pizza bar and four poster beds scattered around the place. Pay anywhere from 500 - 1000 Rupee for a couple entry (stag entry is not allowed) and pay no more for the rest of the night. Club Cubana has an open bar happening all night, unlimited beer, wine, sparkling and basic spirits are available to you all night! Enjoy the party!

Goa/Psy Trance

  • 9-Bar - Fantastic location nestled on the cliffs of Vagator beach. Things get going from around 6pm and close about 10pm. This is the place to go to find out about whats hot after 10pm.
  • Prim Rose - This is a small bar and restaurant in Little Vagator. Once the road to Vagator is taken (the first right from Anjuna) you are on the way to this psychedelic haven (ask the locals to take the crucial left from the main road). The place consists of a closed wall wherein the two story restaurant is located. To the other side of the road a few snooker tables are placed within a closed area. The roof of the ground floor is adorned with wierd psychedelic grafiti in pretty abstract colours. The upper story houses a huge plasma TV and some more snooker tables. Life starts here after 10 in the evening when a huge section of Goa's foreign trippers and junkies get here to have a good time. Good food and wine is served (albeit a bit costly according to Indian standards, but cosidering the absolutely great music they play and the ambience, it's worth it).
  • Hilltop
  • Bamboo Forrest
  • Paradiso
  • DiscoValley
  • Dolce Vita
  • There are many outdoor raves/doofs/parties during the peak season ie December - March

Sleep

A lot of great places to stay at but more often then not, you will find that all your searches result in websites that do your travel/accommodation bookings. While this is good, it can leave a holiday maker frustrated. In this section, we will add direct contacts of hotels, resorts etc., so that one can choose to use travel agents and/or call/email directly.

Apart from alcohol, which is very cheap in Goa, Goa is one of the more expensive states in India. Though for a foreign tourist it is still very cheap. In season which is from November to late March the prices are very high. Especially in December, 5 star hotel rates rates range from around Rs.20,000 - Rs.35,000 per night some rates go even higher. All touristic places charge more in the season.

Budget

  • Captain Lobos Beach resort

Mid-range

Many ancestral homes are being renovated to include full-facility guest accommodation, with/without authentic Goan meals, located in scenic, quiet and relaxed villages, all within easy reach of Cities and Beaches:

North Goa

  • Cavala Seaside Resort - Baga

South Goa

  • Garca Branca [1]

200-250 rs daily for renting a scooter (plus fuel), food at shaks is 125 rs to 150 rs per head

Splurge

There are plenty world class hotels in Goa. So, depending on the location that you want, take your pick .

North Goa

  • Phoenix Park Inn
  • Taj Fort Aguada [2]
  • Taj Hermitage
  • Taj Holiday Village

Central Goa

  • Cidade de Goa
  • The Majestic - 5 Star
  • Bambolim Beach Resort - 3 Star
  • The Menino Regency - 2 Star
  • Marriott
  • Vainguinim Valley Resort

South Goa

  • Club Mahindra
  • Goa Renaissance
  • Holiday Inn
  • Intercontinental, the Grand
  • Kenilworth Beach Resort
  • Majorda Beach Resort
  • Park Hyatt
  • Radisson White Sands
  • Taj Exotica
  • The Leela (7 star Luxury hotel)

Stay safe

Goa is a generally safe state, but as with any tourism dependant economy, it has its fair share of petty crime and touts.

Please remember these important points when you are visiting Goa:

  • Avoid sex with strangers, as the prevalence of AIDS is very high.
  • Do not indulge in drugs, as police in Goa, are very strict and cannot be easily bribed.
  • Be-careful when wading at the beach as undercurrents can be very strong, many visitors have died.
  • Goans are very friendly and helpful, should you have any problems talk to the the nearest shop, restaurant or bystander.
  • Travel guides can be expensive and have been known to dupe foreign visitors. Try your hand at travelling alone, buy a map and hire a taxi or rent a bike.
  • Temperatures in Winter and Summer can be extreme, do not forget sunscreen.
  • Beware of hawkers who always mark up their goods, up to 300%.

Get out

  • Pick up some memorablia from the beaches -- conches,Shells,Straw hats etc.



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