PLACES TO VISIT
Discovered by hippies in the 60s, Calangute Beach stays one of the hippest of all the beaches at Goa. With the blue waters of the Arabian Sea lapping its shores, it's a heaven for nature lovers. Plus, it lets you fly over the waves with para-sailing and a host of adventure sports.
There are many lounge areas spread on the stretch, where you can laze in the sun for hours. It has got many restaurants that serve some really sizzling food, especially continental and sea food. And as Baga Beach sits right by its side, a walk can land you right there. It's also one of the most commercially buzzing beaches of Goa, and you can bag in some chunk jewellery from here.
If you are a looking for a party or want to see the happening life in Goa, then this is the place to be. Referred to as the Freak Capital of the World, this rocky beach has quite a few venues for entertaining backpackers and tourists. The soft white sand and swaying coconut palms add to the holiday spirit on the shore of the Arabian Sea. Take a plunge into the calm waters or try out bungee jumping at this happening beach of Goa.
The fun and frolic is truly reflected at the dance clubs, amphitheatres, restaurants and bars. So, just relax and rejuvenate yourself. Those of you who love shopping, Anjuna Beach has the perfect offer- the weekly Flea Market, which sets up every Wednesday. One of the most famous venues for full moon parties, this is a great place to shop, eat and celebrate when in Goa - thanks to the Anjuna Flea Market, delightful beach shacks and party hubs like Paradiso and Curly's.
If there is one beach in Goa that remains alive day and night, it has to be Baga Beach! Named after the Baga Creek that empties into the Arabian Sea on the northern part of the beach, this is surely one of the most popular beaches of the state. There is no doubt about the fact that the place is always zooming on the hotness meter as there is so much that one can do here. Roaming around on the Baga stretch enjoying from the various souvenir shops to the best party hubs of the state, the beautiful beach hits you with a breeze of vibrating energy which can be felt in every granule under your feet.
Whether it is the water sports spree or the amazing cuisine, the beach is just full of life in every sense of the word. Suddenly the hype about the place seems understated when you experience it f or yourself. The beach is lined with continuous rows of shacks and colorful fishing boats. With time, the beach has become more famous for its dolphin cruises which take you around a kilometer or two away from the main beach stretch for dolphin sighting. However, the operators dealing with that do not give you the surety of you being able to see any dolphin during this over hyped cruise of yours. We, for sure, hope that they you do.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Old Goa, Panaji, Goa, 403402, India
You can walk in here to pay respect to St Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus. The silver casket inside the cathedral here holds his remains. He had wished to be buried in Goa and even though he died on his way to China, his remains were handed over to the church authorities.
Though the architecture of the church is not ornate, the marble floor is embedded with precious stones and is much of a wonder for visitors. It's the only church in the whole of Goa that has no plaster layers on the exteriors. Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the chief attractions of Goa and sees a steady trickle of visitors all along the year.
Sao Antonio Island
Near Vasco da Gama Coast, Goa, 403802, India
Heading further on the Vasco-Panaji coast road from San Jacinto Island towards Vasco da Gama, slightly over a kilometer lies the islet of San Antonio, connected to the Chicalim coast by a narrow strip of land. Discernable by the crucifix placed on the islet worshipped by locals of neighboring villages, the islet's main attraction is the clam digging or harvesting by the islet's locals.
Fort Aguada Jail
Fort Aguada Jail, Fort Aguada, Sinquerim, Bardez,
It is one of the largest and one of the best-preserved symbols of Portuguese dominance in Goa. This magnificently sublime fort was built in 1612 by these settlers-cum-rulers to protect old Goa region from potential attacks by the enemy. The enormous vaulted cistern in the central courtyard, the four-storeyed lighthouse and the gigantic bell inside of it, are all symbols of a significant era gone by. And what remains of this vast fort has been converted into a prison, supposedly the biggest one in Goa.
THINGS TO DO
Parasailing at Calangute
Calangute Beach, North Goa, India
If you want to get a bird's eye-view of the Goan coastline and the lofty Western Ghats, para-sailing is the thing for you. A strong 300 feet rope is attached to a speedboat at one end and to a parachute at the other, into which you'll be carefully and securely harnessed. Once the speedboat takes off from the beach, you'll be suspended in air through the colorful parachute, with the wind gushing in your ears and the vistas below delighting your eyes. Don't miss the majestic Fort Aguada if you're parasailing from Candolim or Sinquerim beaches. The season for parasailing is usually between October and April, when the skies are clear and the winds blow at the just-right speed, though you can parasail at anytime of the year except during monsoons.
Paragliding at Arambol Beach
Arambol Beach, Goa 403524, India
Paragliding at Arambol Beach is an experience in itself. Be a free flying bird! Climb atop a small hill, strap up your harness and thrust yourself in the air, up and away! Paragliding as an adventure sport involves a great rush, as you can have a bird's eye view of your scenic surroundings just sailing in the air without any support from external factors. Goa is amongst India's favorite spots for professional gliders all over the world. If you aren't a trained glider, don't worry, you can still glide in the company of a professional! Do I see a smile spreading on your face now?
Scuba Diving at Sail Rock
South west of Grand Island, near Mormugao harbour, South Goa, India- 403802
Plunging down in the underwater world of Goa, you will discover a world poles apart and yet quintessentially Goan just 4 feet below. Stand on top of Sail Rock and plunge down through the warm, clear waters of the Arabian Sea down to its murky depths, past tropical fishes swimming around. The shipwrecks out here, like the wreck of SS Rita or Suzy's Wreck as it is fondly called, are home to molluscs, corals, lobsters, clams, barracudas and many other tropical marine beings and exploring them is an adventure in itself.
With fairly clear visibility as deep as 18 feet below sea level and waters that relatively calm most of the time with just the occasional surges, scuba diving in Goa is quite the popular indulgence and most of the sites are feasible for beginners as well the professionals.
Water Skiing at Calangute
Calangute Beach, North Goa, India
Feel the waves beneath your feet, while you're pulled along by a speed-boat. Water-skiing is a sport that is soon becoming popular in Goa, despite the fact that it requires some training and practice before actually undertaking it. A speed-boat usually pulls you forward and takes you across the sea, while you stand perched on surf-boards and hold onto a long rope attached to the boat. It's a tricky water-sport and requires one to be physically agile and alert at all times. Get ready for an actual adrenaline rush, while you literally hold on for your life!
Mapusa, Near Mapusa Municipal Market, North Goa, 403001, India
The Mapusa Market captures the local flavours of Goa all in one place. Be it shopping for fresh local produce, sea-food, jewellery, pottery or little knick-knacks, the market has it all. Head here on Fridays for the special Mapusa Friday Bazaar. The entire place comes alive with locals and tourist weaving through the crowd to indulge in some serious shopping. The Friday bazaar is also a great place to explore the local culture and lifestyle of Goa, be it the locals or their warm hospitality towards tourists
Anjuna Beach Flea Market
Anjuna Beach, Anjuna, Bardez, 403101, India
Hop onto the spirit of the carnival at the Anjuna Flea market, held every Wednesday. From expats to Indian tourists to locals, you'll find the place abuzz with a lot of activity, even late into the night. The market began in the 1960s, when hippies headed to Anjuna for some trance music and parties. Originally, the market was like a garage sale, where hippies would sell second-hand stuff in a bid to earn some extra bucks.
Evolved over the years, the market now sells everything from second-hand motorbikes and cellphones to unique hand-made lamps and handicrafts. Pull up your socks and get ready to hunt through the market for some great souvenirs, fashionable clothes and lovely artifacts. If hunger strikes, head to one of the stalls here for an eclectic choice of food, and finish off with a trance music party at the beach.