Flights to Goa - Explore ‘Party Capital of India’
India's smallest state Goa, situated on the western coast, is a former hippie haven famous for its scenic beaches, heritage sites, eclectic seafood and stellar nightlife. A Portuguese colony for almost 450 years, Goa is only one of the few beach getaway destinations in India that is open 24x7 and welcomes millions of tourists from around the world throughout the year.
Goa is renowned world over as the “Party Capital of India”. With its discotheques, nightclubs, cafes, beach shacks, trendy bars and lower alcohol prices, Goa attracts both young and old with its liveliest nightlife, which is absolutely one of the best in India. There are numerous places where you can party until dawn. Goa is undoubtedly the best destination to seek relaxation and enjoy life.
The tourist-friendly Goa is a major attraction for people especially during the Goa Carnival and New Year celebrations. With its unmatched greenery, miles of scenic beaches and traditional fisherman villages, Goa continues to attract tourists of all kinds. Be it a honeymoon, family vacation, or fun-filled and action-packed vacation with friends, board flights to Goa for a truly gala time.
Top Things to Do in Goa
The pint sized state, Goa, is going to make you fall in love with itself at first sight. The sun, sand, sea, spirituality, seafood and a colorful blend of Portuguese and Indian cultures are among the top reasons for a vacation in Goa. The uniqueness of this charming destination is in its varied offerings to tourists of all ages and budget.
Goa is a water sports heaven. The extensive coastline along the Arabian Sea offers it all to water lovers. There are plenty of sun-soaked, scenic beaches for the tourists, with the prominent being Calangute Beach, Anjuna Beach, Baga Beach, Colva Beach, Vagator Beach, Agonda Beach and Palolem Beach. The state abounds in water activities such as kitesurfing, sport fishing, snorkelling, scuba diving and more. You can also look forward to backwater cruises and kayaking on the Nerul River and Zuari River as well.
Get a taste of the Portuguese culture in Goa. The Portuguese influence is appropriately reflected in the architecture, lifestyle and culture of the Goan people. As you explore Old Goa, you will find many older locals speaking Portuguese. Catch a glimpse of Portuguese architecture by visiting some of the historical churches such as Se Cathedral (the seat of the Archbishop of Goa), Church of Saint Francis of Assisi and Basilica of Bom Jesus. Also, discover the colorful Portuguese-style houses in Panaji neighborhood of Fontainhas, where the culturally-charged atmosphere is also on full display.
Nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts will love visiting Goa for its exotic wildlife. This paradise for birdwatchers will delight you with over 450 species of birds. Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in Chorao is worth checking out. Apart from the birds, there are many animals for you to see in the state’s wildlife sanctuaries. Head to Mollem National Park, where Goa’s biggest sanctuary is located. It is about 2 hour drive from the capital city Panaji. You will get opportunity to see animals like elephants, chitals, guars, pangolins and more.
Goa offers amazing shopping experiences to the tourists. Some of its most popular and busiest markets are waiting to be explored. The Anjuna Night Market is a great hit with the tourists, where they can find colorful summer beachwear, ornate handicrafts, lanterns, teas, spices and scarves. Head to the Arpora Night Market to savor a fusion of Indian and international cuisines with chilled Goan beer, while swaying to the tunes of some of Goa’s best live musicians. Get a taste of the local lifestyle with a visit to the weekly Mapusa Market on Fridays, and watch artisans and farmers selling their produce.
Best Time to Visit Goa
Goa being a coastal state experiences very hot and humid summers, with the temperatures peaking to 40 C. The best time for visiting Goa is during the winter months from November to March when you will be greeted with cool breezes. Goa’s tropical climate makes it a year-round destination. Families and kids enjoy visiting during the summer season, while tourists can be seen indulging in water activities during monsoon. The winter season is also an ideal time for sunbathing.
What to Eat and Drink in Goa
The cuisines of Goa are influenced by many cultures due to centuries of colonization. In fact, Goan food is an incredible fusion of Portuguese, Malabar, Malaysian, Chinese, Konkan, African, French, Arab and Brazilian flavors. Look forward to tantalize the tastebuds with the popular Goan cuisine such as vindaloo (fiery pork curry marinated with wine or vinegar and garlic), ambot tik (sour and spicy), recheado (stuffed), sorpotel (stew), cafreal (marinated and fried/grilled), xacutti (coconut-based curry), and bebinca (dessert). The staple food is fish curry and rice, while pao (bread) and chourico (sausages) are also popular. Don’t forget to sample Goa’s pungent local brew ‘Feni’ made from the sap of coconut palms and cashew fruit. Gulp down this unofficial state drink with tonic water or lemonade and a slice of lime.
Where to Stay in Goa
A wide range of accommodation options are available for tourists of varied budgets. The type of accommodation chosen will depend on one of the three main places you prefer to stay – Panjim, North Goa and South Goa. If you are looking for a wide range of water sports along with a cultural touch then Panjim, the state capital, is the best place to stay. Those who want a vibrant beach experience should choose to stay in North Goa, while those seeking relaxation and spending time peacefully should consider staying in South Goa. If you are traveling with less number of people and traveling for more days then hostels are the best option. Tourists can find all types of budget, mid-range and luxury resorts in the areas such as Mandrem, Bogmalo, Candolim, Benaulim, Cavelossim, Calangute and Bardez. Do remember to book accommodation in advance during travel to Goa, especially during the winter months and long weekends.
Festivals of Goa
You will find most festivals to be Christianity-specific as Goans are predominantly Roman Catholic. The important festivals include The Feast of Our Lady of Miracles (celebrated 16 days after Easter), The Feast of St. Anthony (June), and Viva Carnival (often compared to Mardi Gras or Rio Carnival, starts from Fat Saturday and ends on Fat Tuesday). Shigmo, the Goan version of Holi is also popular and celebrated in February and March. One of Goa’s most distinctive festivals, Igitun Chalne is celebrated in May at Sirigao temple in Bicholim. The biggest attraction of them all is New Year’s Eve during which tourists arrive in hordes from different parts of the world to celebrate New Year in style at the panoramic beaches with live music and elaborate fireworks display.
Getting Around in Goa
Goa has only one international airport, which is popularly called Dabolim Airport (GOI). It is located in the city of Dabolim, 30 km away from the capital city Panaji. If you are flying from a U.S. city then you will first have to arrive at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) and then take a connecting flight to Dabolim Airport. It will take approximately 20 hour 4 minutes to get from United States to Goa, including transfers, while covering a distance of 13,863 km. Getting around in Goa is easy with plenty of public transport options available, including buses, cars, pre-booked taxis, privately booked chauffeur cars and taxi bikes or ‘pilots’.
Goa is often said to be a paradise on earth. It’s one of the best destinations to visit in India offering the perfect mix of everything that a quintessential tourist desires for. If you are looking for a superb getaway then Goa is surely the place to visit.
Things to Know before visiting Goa
- Goa has strict drug laws despite its reputation of being a party hub. Carrying drugs is a criminal offence and will land you in jail for 6 months to 30 years without getting a bail
- If you land in a difficult situation then immediately dial 108 in case of emergency, dial 100 for police and dial 102 for ambulance
- Being topless or bathing nude on the public beaches is prohibited. Also, don’t wear skimpy clothes or a bikini outside the resort area, especially in religious places. Cover your shoulders and legs when visiting churches
- Smoking is banned in public places and many (not all) restaurants. However, you can smoke in beach shacks and open-air eateries. It’s recommended that you should first confirm before smoking in public places
- Always carry some cash with you as many small shops, restaurants, bars and beach shacks don’t have credit card machines. It’s also prudent to familiarize yourself with the ATMs in your area for withdrawing money easily
- Prefer not to book tickets to Goa for travel during summer months. The heat is likely to cause sunburns and heat strokes. Do take special care of your skin by staying out of direct sunlight during the afternoons or staying indoors. It’s always good to use sunscreen
- Free Wi-Fi is available at nightclubs, beach shacks and other eateries. If you need to operate Internet then remember to ask for the password
- Prepaid taxis from Dabolim Airport are the most convenient and popular mode of travel to any part of Goa. You may also the app-based taxi service called Goa Miles launched by Goa Tourism for commuting