Explore Goa: Welcome to Goa – the land of sun, sand and spices. Located in the Konkan region of Western Ghats, Goa is a place that caters to every tropical whim. Whether a backpacker, a thrill-seeker, a luxury traveller, or a history lover, Goa will top up the game as well as the tan. Beach hoping, lazing at the shacks and sipping on Goan Feni are some of the things listed on every individuals itinerary; but if someone needs to feel the beating pulse of Goa, they have to dig a little deeper. Goa is a kaleidoscopic blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures and the indelible marks of the same can be seen in the architecture and heritage of the state. The whitewashed churches, ancient forts, impressive cathedrals and Catholic ceremonies are part of the Goan heritage.
Getting There: Goa's accessibility to all the major cities via rail, road and air makes it one of the most visited places in India. The major railway stations here are the Madgaon and Vasco Da Gama railway station, which connect the state via South Western Railway and Konkan Railway lines. If you are travelling to Goa by air, Goa International Airport at Dabolim is the state’s only airport. It caters to domestic and international flights from India and middle-eatern countries. The airport is located at a distance of 29 kms from Panaji, and is easily accessible by taxi. You can also travel to Goa on a bus or a private vehicle.
Where To Stay: Undoubtedly, Goa's biggest draw is its stretch of golden-sand beaches, but there's a different part of Goa that resides in the hearts and minds of the locals. Are you ready to break free from the frenzied lifestyle and experience Goa the local's way? Book a homestay in Goa and explore the hidden crescent coves that will walk you through the lifestyle and a rich heritage of Goa. With the quaint villas, cosy cottages, lavish apartments and elegant guest houses, Goa homestays will make for a perfect companion during your stay. The hosts will guide you to a plethora of places, which are unknown to the tourists; and will also give you an insight into the historical significance of the state and its various monuments. To top up your experience, the homestay hosts will prepare an authentic Goan meal that will surprise and tantalise your taste buds.
Currently there are 85 homestays in Goa listed with Travelguru which have been growing rapidly so as to cater to the needs of travellers. The homestays have been categorised based on the landmarks, localities, themes and property types. Nested in the world famous village of Anjuna, Castelinhos Homes, Riviera Hermitage, Curlies Emerald and Saranto Vaddo are some of the homestays in the area. Out of 80 properties, there are around 14 homestays in Calangute which are economical and in close proximity to the beach. Some of the homestays at Calangute which are gorgeous home away from home are Royal Land Scape, Parth Holiday Home, Ganesh Guest House, Calangute Beuty and Shashesca Villa. If solace is a major priority for your vacation, you can browse through homestays in areas like Arpora, Baga, Bardez, Canacona, Candolim, Dona Paula and Varca. The quaint homestays at these locations offer comfortable rooms equipped with all the modern facilities. Also, the properties are surrounded by a tranquil atmosphere, thus giving you a break from the maddening crowd. There are multitude of homestays in Goa for the explorer, philospher and the party animal in you. Choose to stay at the Goa homestays which will allow you to stumble upon their cultural nuances, unravel the history, discover a dazzling array of locals and indulge in some spicy curries and mouth-watering dishes.
What To See: The stunning architecture, exotic beach life, local cuisine and favorable climate attracts a number of tourists to Goa every year. June to September is considered as an ideal time for eco-tourism in the state, whereas the ensuing months, from October to February witness a number of festivals and carnivals that invite tourists to join in the celebrations. Whether on a relaxing or an adventurous vacation, there's a lot to see in Goa. You can either lounge amidst nature, or experience an old-world charm at the architectural wonders such as Ancestral Goa Museum, The Basilica of Bom Jesus, Shanta Durga-Mangeshi Temples, Fort Aguada and Chapora Fort; or go on a fun-filled adventure of rafting, scuba diving, snorkelling or parasailing. You can also go beaching like never before at Calangute, Arambol, Mandrem, Morjim, Chapora, Vagator, Anjuna, Baga, Candolim, Colva, Benaulim, Cavelossim and Mobor beach, to name a few.
What To Eat: Goan cuisine has been influenced by the Portugese and the food savvy travellers. With an exotic blend of sea and spices, the happily complicated and enriched cuisine has made a mark in the food industry. Some of the dishes that you must try in Goa are Rotisserie chicken, Gomantak prawn curry, cafreal, xacuti and sorpotel, Prawn rava fry,Tuna teriyaki, Beef chilly fry, Ros omelette, Mussel rawa fry, Prawn balchao, Pork vindaloo and Fonna kadi.
Where To Shop: Goa has a plenty of shopping malls, but what makes the shopping scene in Goa different are the markets that characterise Goa as a tourist destination. From hippie clothing to junk jewellery and gothic accessories, you will find it all here. Anjuna Flea Market, Calangute Market Square and Saturday Night Bazaar at Arpora are the main markets in Goa which remain bustling with tourists. You can also shop for textiles, antiques and souvenirs at Mapusa Market.
Insider's Tip: Take a boat ride on the Mandovi river and explore Goa's backwaters.