1. Water sports
It’s not just Goa’s beaches that are dotted with people. You can find them up in the sky as well, screaming their lungs out! Goa’s popular beaches are filled with various beach activities like parasailing, banana boat riding, jet-skiing, etc, and water sports are definitely among the top 10 things to do in Goa. Along with a brief list, I’ve also included some indicative prices. The activities you’ll find on most beaches include:
- Water Skiing/Knee & Wakeboarding Rs. 400-1200 for 15 minutes
- Jet skiing (locally referred to as water scooter) Rs. 400, 1000, 1500 for 2, 10, 15 minute trips respectively
- Wind Surfing Rs. 300-600 for an hour
- Parasailing Rs. 500-1250 for 5 minutes
- Banana Boat/Bump & Ringo Rides Rs 200 for 15 minutes
- Catamaran Sailing Rs. 600-1500 for an hour
- Speedboat rides Rs. 800- 1200 for 3-6 people for 10 minutes
- Grand Island Day Trip
- Dolphin cruises
- Scuba diving/ Snorkelling Rs. 2500 per dive
- Sunset/Moonlight cruise on the Mandovi River
1. Most are run by private operators and some may not have the requisite licenses/safety features.
2. All water sports are shut in the monsoon when the sea’s rough.
3. It’s always best to bargain down to an agreeable price before your ride.
2. Nature Trails
- The Sahakari Spice Farm in Ponda is a hidden gem. They offer a tour of the plantation, where you can learn about and taste the different spices and produce, take a cold shower, enjoy a traditional Goan lunch, and additionally get a chance to watch folk dances, swing between trees a la Tarzan, and bathe and ride elephants.
- The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary near Molem offers as much as you want to pack in. Overnight stays in a tent/dorm, a chance to spot panthers, sloth bears, mouse deer, barking deer and over 200 species of birds. Also on offer are camping trips, elephant activities (shows, bathing, riding, painting), yoga and more.
- Crocodile Watching in Cumbarjua Canal, Quepem, Chorao or Thivim. With an expert to guide you, you can watch them in their natural habbitat of thick mangroves, from the safety of a canoe or boat.
- The Arvalem, Lamgau and Rivona Caves among many others are worth a visit as they overlook the sea, have evidence of prehistoric existence, and some beautiful legendary stories.
3. Heritage Hunt
20 minutes west of Panjim, you’ll go back in Indo-Portuguese time. To Old Goa, where churches, convents, museums, art galleries, government buildings, bungalows and bakeries abound. Gasp at the magnificent Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se de Santa Catarina, The Archeological Museum of Old Goa, The Naval Aviation Museum and Institute Menezes Braganza.
4. Shopping Spree
- Ingo’s Saturday Night Bazaar in Arpora, can be an overload on your senses, and you never know what you might discover. When we say you can find anything, we really mean anything. The hundreds of stalls, stock items from all over the world – bohemain clothing and jewellery, stoner paraphernalia, music, and bikes. Even if you aren’t shopping, this market really is a fun night out. You’re sure to find fire eaters, poi jugglers, live musicians/DJs and great food from all over the world and don’t forget to stop by Daniel’s Bar.
- Anjuna Flea Market is held on Wednesdays, and once again has clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, and a whole lot of rubbish along with a whole lot of treasures. This one’s on the beach, so it’s really quite lovely even if it’s small. If you take the walking route (not motorable) from the last shack on Anjuna beach, you’ll be sure to pass a small shop that sells ultra-violet paintings, paint and canvas. You’ll want to pop in.
1. Street Shops in popular areas like Baga, Calangute, etc are plenty and they sell the basic stuff like sarongs, clothes, bags, jewellery, shells and other souvenirs.
2. Most beaches also have vendors who walk around toting their wares.
3. If you don’t want something, it’s important to be firm with the vendors and shopkeepers, especially the women who can be rather pushy.
4. Always, always bargain.
5. Why not
- Get a Black Henna tattoo painted onto your body by artists in the markets and on beaches. Pick any design, it washes off in a couple of weeks!
- Braid your hair with colorful embroidery threads and beads by the tribal women who sit on the beach and in markets.
- Get a massage from the masseuses who walk the beaches. They’ll pamper your legs and back for a great price, with or without oil, right in the comfort of your beach lounger.
- Sip coconut water from the ladies who walk the beaches. It’s cheap and wonderfully cooling.
- Spend a night on the beach but only if you’re a larger group or a bunch of guys.
6. Gluttons & Gourmets
There really are so many eating out options in Goa and overall, the quality of food doesn’t leave one complaining (unless it’s a bad shack). That makes coming up with a list next to impossible, so what we’ve done is compiled a short list of favorites that we visit every time we’re in Goa.
- Martin’s Corner in Betalbatim, is legendary for it’s king crabs, prawn vinadloo, garlic chicken and sea food that is grilled, fried, roasted, steamed and mixed with sauces and spices. Here’s the best part, a meal for two costs around Rs. 1200.
- Britto’s on Baga is another popular restaurant and shack famed for its food and service. Best for a candlelit dinner, with the breeze in your hair and your toes in the sand.
- Infantaria at Calangute is the place to go for breakfast with their large collection of superbly prepared snacks and bakes. Get there early, before the crowds.
- Curly’s on Anjuna is a lively, popular shack that serves some seriously good food. We love the banana-nutella waffles with honey, as well as the limonada juice that’s seriously healthy.
- Souza Lobo at Calangute is an old establishment, set up in 1932. While they serve a varied fare, try their traditional offerings.
7. Bikers Anonymous
If you can tear yourself away from the beaches, Goa has miles of intricate roads and paths that run right through paddy fields, cottages and bungalows. With the wind in your hair, and Goa at your feet, it’s not just a great way to get around, but also a great way to get lost.
8. Party Animals
From shacks with karaoke, retro English, Bollywood, popular club and electronic music, to the standard bars to uber luxe lounges and nightclubs, to open air, hilltop, beachside and semi-jungle raves, Goa has something to offer for every kind of party goer. Tito’s on Baga and Hilltop at Anjuna are evergreen, but new places keep popping up and shutting down all the time, so just keep an eye out for party posters and flyers, and a ear out for hushed whispers.
9. Holistic Healing
- Ayurvedic treatments abound in Goa, but the best place to go is Keri village where experienced ayurvedic doctors run an age old natural practice.
- Yoga/Meditation is taught at almost every corner, but for yoga holidays, recommended places include Yab Yum, Yoga Magic, Ashiyana and The Mandala.
- Reiki is practiced and taught at several locations in Goa and we’ve heard lots about Neo Yoga Centre.
- Vegans and eco conscious people get their fill at Bean Me Up; a soya-station cum health food cafe in Anjuna.
10. Glamorous gamblers
There isn’t too much gambling one can do on Indian soil and that’s where Goa’s famed Casino cruises come in. Lately machine operated casinos onshore have become popular as well. But if you’re expecting a Vegas-style casino experience, forget about it. Goa’s casinos are largely frequented by men and there’s a reason why it’s at the bottom of this list! But if you do want to try it out, dress up, put on your lucky perfume, and hope to get lucky!
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