Goa is a popular destination in India, with its perfect beaches, sleepy villages, whitewashed churches, great markets, and almost perfect weather from October to February. This former Portuguese colony, located in southwest India, is India’s richest state and quite distinct from the rest of the country.
Goa was a hippie paradise in the 60s and today attracts many package tours from Great Britain and Europe with its reputation as a party place. There are beaches geared to those who want a friendly, inexpensive holiday with a bit of the exotic thrown in, and inexpensive properties for foreign retirees who are interested in a longer stay. For those travelling in other parts of India, Goa is a place to catch your breath in an environment that is a little less foreign.
There is much to do in Goa if that is your inclination. Try not to be too put off by the trashy touristy stuff. You can scout out the various beaches, soak up the sun, enjoy the many restaurants, visit plantations. The Anjuna Beach Wednesday flee market is lots of fun. Many foreign tourists ride around on motorbikes or you can hire a taxi quite inexpensively. Panaji, the capital, is certainly worth a visit, with its cobblestone alleys and Portuguese-influenced architecture.
Your biggest challenge will probably be choosing where to stay. I did this by hiring a car and driver for a couple of days and driving along the coastal areas, stopping at properties that seemed appealing. Calangute and Baga were too party-central for me and I finally settled into a beautifully restored Portuguese guesthouse on a back road by Fort Aguada.
By Sylvia Fanjoy
Photo credits Sylvia Fanjoy
© Riding the buses 2011