We don’t really need a reason to go to Goa. Monsoons, summers, winters—going to the sunshine state is always a treat. But did you know that there’s much more than just beaches and bars? A rich Portuguese heritage, delectable food, the wonderful concept of susegad, a flea shopping haven and a melting pot of cultures: we tell you how to spend 24 hours in Goa.
SUNRISE AT THE BEACH
Start your day watching the sunrise at the gorgeous Arambol beach. One of the few less-crowded beaches in Goa, Arambol makes for an excellent spot for some spiritual exploration or even some light meditation. If you are looking for complete privacy and want to have the entire beach to yourself, try Agonda, Betalbatim, Betul or Kalacha. But no matter which beach you choose, the sunrise is what you’ll remember, along with the cool sea breeze in your hair and the sand in your toes.
BREAKFAST THAT FEELS LIKE HOME
Sunrise done and dusted, head for a scrumptious breakfast that feels just like home at one of the many shacks that line the beaches. Our recommendations are varied but at Infantaria in Baga, the continental breakfast is regarded as pretty great. Or head over to AJ’s in Margao for their delicious pancakes and waffles with crumb-fried chicken. If its authentic stuff you’re in the mood for, try Goan the Vatanyachi bhaji—it is served hot and fresh with Goan poi (bread). There’s also our favourite--the choriz Pao where juicy Goan sausages are stuffed inside a pao (bread). Very simple but oh so good.
SOAK IN THE HERITAGE
Satiate the tourist in you by visiting the various cathedrals and churches that adorn the streets of Goa and the rich Portuguese heritage they boast of, along with the numerous forts. Hire a scooty (we highly recommend this) and go to have your own Dil Chahta Hai moment at the Chapora Fort in Bardez. There’s also the 17th-century Fort Aguada on Sinquerim beach overlooking the Arabian Sea. Though the Basilica of Bom Jesus is probably the most-visited place in Old Goa, we say you don’t miss it. One of the oldest churches in Goa, the Basilica holds the remains of St Francis Xavier, and is part of the Churches and convents of Goa UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re in the mood to go hunting, take the spice tour at the organic, family-run Tanshikar farm. Enjoy the aromas of nutmeg, cashew, vanilla and peppers on the tour. There’s also a butterfly conservatory in Ponda if that’s more up your alley.
Now for lunch. When in Goa, try authentic seafood for lunch. Freshly-caught prawns, crabs, lobsters and a variety of fish, you get the best kind in Goa. Head over to Martin’s corner in Betalbatim for some brilliant calamari, or dig into the messy but lip-smacking butter garlic king crab, tiger prawns and even the butter garlic lobster. Fisherman’s wharf also has mouth-watering and authentic Goan food, guaranteed to satisfy your hunger. And while gobbling up seafood, try Feni, Goa’s GI-tagged liquor which, we won’t lie, is an acquired taste.
BEACH BUM OR ADVENTURER?
Goa’s beaches are lovely. With innumerable beaches all along the coast, try beach-hopping to take it all in. Anjuna, Calangute, Candolim, Ozran, Benaulim, Baga, Vagator and Varca are some of the most famous ones. Work on your tan, build a sand castle, get a temporary tattoo or your hair braided, sip on some wine or beer…it’s your YOU time. And if you’re an adventurer, try water sports on offer at these places. Kayaking, jet skiing, water boarding, surfing, parasailing and even catamaran sailing—you pick. If you really want to take it above a notch, try white water rafting on the Mhadei or an ocean trek at Arambol. Did we mention that Goa has a new bungee jumping spot?
END THE DAY BY LIVING IT UP
Goa does excellent parties. After a whole day of fun, adventure and eating, put on your party clothes and hit the town to paint it red. Head over to Tito’s lane in Baga, lined with clubs and pubs, or Shiva Valley which is the ultimate dream destination for Trance lovers.