If one is looking for an exotic beach-side holiday, Goa is the place to be. Cozily ensconced on the west coast of India, this state faces the Arabian Sea. There are 2 main districts in Goa. North Goa contains its capital city Panaji, with all the administrative and judicial functions.
A cruise on the Mandovi River offers the best way to see the city and its surroundings, while being treated to delicious traditional cuisine and folk dances accompanied by music.
The beach at Dona Paula
is famous for water sport activities. The jetty offers amazing sunset views, with the golden sun dipping into the horizon and the spray of salty water refreshing onlookers. Legend has it that a pair of lovers committed suicide at this spot; the place is named after the lady. Visitors can see the country's center of maritime research called the National Institute of Oceanography and the Cabo Raj Bhavan, where the Governor of Goa resides.
Calangute is one of the most popular Goan beaches, though the water currents at this beach are tricky and swimming is not encouraged. Early in the morning, the fisherman can be seen casting their nets out to sea and later, raking in the catch of the day for sale. Its sandy stretch extends into the adjoining Candolim beach, where the historical ruins of Fort Aguada stand. Rent a villa in Candolim
to enjoy some peace and quiet, for a relaxed break away from the crowds.
South Goa has the Vasco port and the trade center of Margao. Also, there are several spice plantations, the best one being the Tropical Spice Farm
Every city in Goa has a colorful and noisy marketplace and bargaining for all items is the norm. Gadas or small roadside stalls on handcarts sell hot, roasted bikanas or gram and wada-pav, which are potato patties in burger bread. Bars are a common sight and the local drink called feni is popular; it is distilled from cashews. Public buses and two-wheelers are the main means of transportation, though cars can also be seen on the road. Rental apartments are available in plenty along the beach or within the cities, close to the touristic sites.
Among the religious structures, the Basilica of Bom Jesu at Old Goa is a UNESCO world heritage site. It houses the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa. The ancient Tambdi Surla temple towards the southern tip of Goa is worshipped by the Hindus.
Although Goa is internationally well-known for its sunny beaches and happening nightlife, it also has deep cultural, historical and spiritual aspects, promising an interesting and educational vacation. » More about Goa