Goa is a former Portuguese colony currently a state in India's West region. It is 3700 square kilometres in size and has a population of 1.4 million approx. It's charming east-west mix, beaches and syncretic culture is what attracts an officially estimated 2 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.
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.
From Goa you can take a sleeper bus (which allows for a good night's rest in the bus) to Hampi. There are normal buses to Mumbai (sleeper bus also available), Pune, Bangalore,Mangalore and other cities.
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 Sharjah twice a week and charter flights to London and Germany.
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 Honda "Activa" or a "Dio" scooterette .
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.
Since Goa is still largely catholic it has many catholic holidays besides the Indian national holidays. One of these is carnival.
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
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.
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.