“Beaches, Sunsets and Crazy Nights”
Lying on the western coast, Goa is India’s smallest state and unlike any other, known for its endless beaches, stellar nightlife, eclectic seafood, world-heritage listed architecture. Spread across just 3,702 km, Goa lies in the Konkan region. It is a far cry from the hippie haven or a beach getaway, and one of the only few destinations that is open 24×7. The laid-backness (susegad) of Goa attracts as many international tourists as it does Indians, or even more so.
The Goans are quite friendly towards tourists and celebrate many festivals throughout the year, the most famous being the New Year and Goa Carnival. While the seafood is excellent, Goa has one of the best nightlife in India with trendy bars, beach shacks, elegant cafes and many clubs and discotheques. Thanks to lower alcohol prices in the state, Goa is also great for younger tourists with relatively tighter pockets.
For those of us perpetually confused between North Goa and South Goa, this might help – the state of Goa is divided into North Goa and South Goa. While North Goa is the nightlife hub where all the touristy beaches, flea markets, and beach shacks are located, South Goa is the land of luxurious resorts and laid-back beach vibes.
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“A Journey through the Rivers of Goa”
Cruise in Goa allows one to explore the exotic scenery, pristine waters and marvel the breathtaking view of the sunset. There are several types of cruises in Goa ranging from simple evening cruises, elaborate and romantic dinner cruises, backwater cruises, and casino cruises. All of these usually originate from Miramar Beach in Panjim.
Several Goa cruises also offer dinner options along with guaranteed fun and entertainment activities are carried through the day depending upon the daytime, sunset and moonlight. Booking a cruise getaway in Goa is fairly simple as a number of them also offer online booking options. Depending on your requirements and time that you want to spend on the boats, you can choose a package that suits you the best.
“The Queen of Beaches”
Situated 15 km from Panjim, Calangute Beach is the longest beach in North Goa, stretching from Candolim to Baga. Due to its sheer size and popularity, it is a hub for tourists and backpackers from all over the world.
Popular as the “Queen of Beaches”, the Calangute Beach of Goa is among the top ten bathing beaches in the world. Being one of the busiest and most commercial beaches of Goa, it is swarming with eating joints, shacks and clubs serving cocktails, beer and seafood. The Calangute Beach is also known for its water sports activities like parasailing, water surfing, banana ride and jet-skiing.
While the days here are filled with beach fun, nights call for upbeat parties and letting your hair down. Calangute is also popular for staying in Goa as it keeps you well-connected to the other beaches in the north such as Baga, Anjuna, Candolim, Aguada and many more.
“A Fortress of Tranquility”
Fort Aguada is a 17th-century Portuguese fort looking out at the confluence of Mandovi River and the Arabian Sea. The crumbling ramparts of the fort stand on the Sinquerim Beach, approximately 18 km from Panjim. The highlight of the fort is a lone four-storey lighthouse (which is one-of-its-kind in Asia )and a stunning view of the sunset.
Built-in 1612 as a protection from Dutch and Marathas, Fort Aguada was the most prized and crucial fort for the Portuguese and covers the entire peninsula at the southwestern tip of Bardez. The fort is so named after the Portuguese Word for water i.e. ‘Agua’ and used to be a replenishing source of freshwater for sailors. In fact, it has the capacity to hold 2,376,000 gallons of water and was one of the biggest freshwater reservoirs of Asia.
Fort Aguada has also been used as Aguada jail. A statue in front of the jail salutes the freedom fighters, giving the fort a touch of patriotism.
“The Flowing Cascade of Milk”
One of India’s tallest waterfalls, the Dudhsagar Falls is located inside the Mollem National Park. The majestic falls are a little farther inland approximately 60 km from Panaji on the Goa – Karnataka Border. Literally translating to Sea of Milk , the 310 m high waterfall is divided into four tiers on the Mandovi river and resemble a heavy rush of milk flowing effortlessly down the hill.
While most people arrive at the Dudhsagar falls by jeep or by their own private transport from Panaji and nearby areas, others choose to visit the falls through a train journey or by trekking. The famous Dudhsagar Railway trek is closed to the public but the trek to the lower falls is still open.
The Dudhsagar falls should be visited during the monsoon when it is in full flow and the surrounding deciduous forests are at their verdant best. However, reaching the falls during monsoon if difficult and it is closed if the water level gets too high.
“Sun, Sea, Surf, and Waves”
Water Sports in Goa have always seen its fare share of excited tourists and adventure seekers. The beach capital of India enjoys a long and uninterrupted coastline with relatively calmer waves and even sea floors. While water sports in Goa can be enjoyed at any one of the beaches in the north or the south, they are more popular and draw huge crowds at Baga, Calangute, Benaulim, Candolim, and nearby beaches. While here, you can choose from a number of water sports activities such as kneeboarding, kite surfing, snorkelling, parasailing & paragliding, diving, kayaking and many more. If you prefer so, you can engage in your preferred activities through quite a few vendors of these water sports on the beach. Alternately, you can also engage in your favorite activities through a number of licensed water sports package operators such as Atlantis Water Sports, Aqua Sports Goa etc. The cost of these packages ranges between INR 2000 to 4000 or more, based on the activities chosen.