Holidays In Goa
Goa Holidays at a glance
Goa is India's smallest but wealthiest state and has been ranked as the one with the best for quality of life. Located on the country's west coast, in the Konkan region, the state of Maharashtra is to the north, Karnataka to the east and south, and the beautiful beaches of her western coastline skirt the Arabian Sea.
In evidence is the cultural influence of the Portuguese who landed there in the early 16th century conquering it soon afterwards; Goa remained a Portuguese colony for about 450 years until annexed by India in 1961. Today, the mix of two differing cultures creates a fascinating blend in which flavours of each come to the fore both in turn and together - an unusual east meets west combination that distinguishes Goa from the rest of India and has bewitched holidaymakers since tourism really took off in the 1960s.
In exquisite historic buildings Portuguese architecture is still evident and you may occasionally be forgiven for thinking you were in the older parts of Lisbon. Portugal's character is stamped not only on bricks and mortar, but the Goan people have inherited the Portuguese love of music and renditions of the old 'Cantades' are regularly to be heard lilting on the warm air. The flavours of Lisbon permeate the coconut and chili of the Indian dishes, and the locals laid-back approach to life embraces a Mediterranean-style long and languid lunch followed by the slumber of a siesta.
But it is the white sands, glistening clear seas and swaying palms of a lush green landscape which continue to draw over 2.5 million holidaymakers each year to this uniquely enchanting region. With vanilla plantations, rivers alive with wildlife, and herds of wild buffalo among the sights to be seen, it is no wonder Goa is known for being a traveller's paradise and is a firm favourite among British tourists. With dependable weather, too, it is hard to go wrong and Goa is the perfect holiday pick for many. Choose from an all inclusive holiday, tropical holiday or winter sun holiday.
Please note: Indian Authorities require customers to travel by return flights on the same charter airline. One-way charter flights from Goa are not permitted. If you do not take your outbound flight from the UK you will not be permitted to travel back on your return flight to the UK. Charter flights and scheduled flights cannot be mixed.
Key Facts - Goa
- Population1.4 million (approx.)
- LanguageKonkani, English and Portuguese
- CurrencyIndian Rupee
- ReligionHinduism and Christianity
- Dialing Code00 91
- Time Difference+5hrs 30mins GMT
Goa Holidays - Destination Profile
Whether you're in need of a relaxing retreat or a new and thrilling adventure, a Goa holiday won't disappoint. In this unique destination, you will experience a one-off mix of cultures that has created the Goa of today and made it a favourite place to holiday with holidaymakers each year.
Within Goa, the north and south have developed characters of their own: North Goa holidays offer a lively mix of fascinating colourful markets and restaurants with delicious local specialities available. The fresh fish and seafood are among the best you will find anywhere. South Goa holidays are more relaxed with a slower pace to life in quiet fishing villages scattered around the coast and among paddy fields inland, where a wide variety of wildlife can be observed.
Discover the delights of Goa holidays
If you've booked a holiday in Goa to experience the world-renowned beaches, you won't be disappointed. Goa's virtually unbroken 70 kms of coastline includes such gems as Anjuna Beach, Calangute Beach among countless others.
Those seeking more active Goa holidays can choose from among a wide variety of watersports. Try parasailing in Colva Beach or, between October and mid-May, join the action in scuba diving season with the unique opportunity to swim through sunken shipwrecks located off the coast.
Culture lovers will enjoy exploring the fascinating history and charming character of towns and cities such as Panaji and Vasco Da Gama. A must for visitors is a trip to old Goa with its stunning cathedrals, home to the sacred remains of St. Francis Xavier, and the fascinating museums such as the Goa State Museum and Houses of Goa which focuses on architecture.
Once the sun has set, try your hand at bargaining in one of Goa's lively night markets? And once you've worked up an appetite, you won't be disappointed with Goa's choice of culinary offerings - a delicious blend of Portuguese, Indian and local flavours.
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Holidays in Goa - Things to see
Panaji: The capital of Goa and headquarters of North Goa District, a small and charming city on the left bank of silvery Mandovi River, with beautiful red-roofed houses, built in Latin style, also boasts of many modern houses, well laid gardens, statues and avenues lined with Glmohar, Acassia and other trees. Enchanting panorama unfolds from atop Altinho (HillTop).
Vasco Da Gama: A modern, well laid out city close to Mormugao Harbour, has beautiful and extensive avenues. The air terminus of Goa at Dabolim lies on the outskirts of the city. It is also the railway terminus for passenger service on the South Central Railway.
Crocs and Spices: Spend a morning on a boat trip along the waterways of the river Zuari, with the chance to see Kingfishers, Fish eagles and Kites and, when the tide rises, perhaps even a crocodile. After your morning on the water, climb up into the hills to visit a 160 year old spice farm with a wonderful Goan style lunch.
Waterfall and Wildlife: A visit to India's second highest waterfall, a 603 metre fall of water into a pool perfect for swimming and the opportunity to visit a wildlife sanctuary.
Castaway Cruise: A relaxing day with the chance to see dolphins, take a swim or do a little fishing and enjoy a barbecue on a beautiful secluded beach.
Things to do on a Holiday in Goa
Make your Goa holidays that extra special by booking some of our great excursions, places are limited so reserve your place at your Welcome Meeting or contact your holiday representative to avoid disappointment.
Jungle Book: Join us on our overnight trip to Shanti where you can ride and swim with the elephants on our once in a lifetime Jungle Experience. You will have the chance to interact with the elephants and sample traditional village life including bathing and washing these beautiful creatures.
Rajasthani Romance: Spend the night in style in a beautiful Royal Rajasthani tent on the stunning beach of Cola - deep down in south Goa, where you will have the opportunity to relax on the powder white beach and swim in the blue lagoon.
Waterfall Wonders: Visit these beautiful waterfalls and take a refreshing swim in the cooling waters before feeding the resident cheeky monkeys.
Tiger and Tuskar Trails: Take a 3 day adventure into the neighbouring state of Karnataka to see tigers, lions, deer, peacocks and elephants on our amazing 2 night adventure into the wild.
Glimpses of Goa: A great way to see all the highlights of Goa in just one day with visits to old Goa's churches, a spice plantation, Hindu temples and a chance to haggle for all the bargains in the capital City of Panjim.
Floating Palace : A truly unique opportunity to spend the night aboard a traditional Keralan Rice Boat and experience the beautiful Goan countryside whilst floating along the backwaters.
Eating/Drinking During Goa Holidays
Visitors taking Goa holidays tend to think that food and drink in Goa means the famous fish, curry, rice and feni package. And for most Goans these are indeed the three basic necessities of life; fish, curry and rice. The long period of Portuguese rule, besides that of the Muslim and Hindu kingdoms, has left an indelible influence on the original style of Goan cooking and this has led to an exotic mix of truly tasty and spicy cuisine.
The Goan people value their food as much as they does their daily siesta (break). And in an average Goans daily meal, seafood always has a pride of place is some form or the other. From fried fish to exotic concoctions like ambot-tik, sea food is usually a must on the menu, except for the occasional break for some religious observance.
Alcohol in Goa is cheap and there is a variety of it. A must try in Goa is the coconut drink. The coconut, still wearing its green husk, is opened at the top, and to its innocent liquid is added some not-so-innocent feni (a potent alcoholic drink made from cashew fruit), crushed ice and some sweet, fruit-flavoured cordial.
Nightlife: The strangest custom one comes across in some areas as they make a trip to Goa is the presence of a bar-cum-restaurant in almost every third house. All the trendy looking rooms of the houses are open to the public with a couple of chairs and a table. The atmosphere is just great - relaxing and conducive to a pleasant night out with family and friends. Most of the places serve exquisite seafood and other Goan delicacies having well stocked bars. And if you want to jive the night away, there are a couple of nice discotheques in Goa.
The pubs in Goa provide an evening filled with fun and excitement. There are various pubs in Goa spread all over Goa, each designed with a different theme. Large groups of tourist as well as locals gather at these pubs to enjoy their favourite drinks and listen to the latest music. Most of these pubs provide all this and more at very affordable rates.
Getting Around on Goa Holidays
Taxis: For tourists, white Maruti Van Taxis serve as the main means of travelling between resorts. One will find them lined up outside most charter hotels, where a board invariably lists the destinations in and around the region. The fixed rate fares only apply to peak season, and at other times one should be able to negotiate a hefty reduction from the demanded fares.
Motorcycle Taxis: Goa's unique pillion-passenger motorcycle taxis, known locally as "pilots", are ideal for nipping between beaches or into town from the resorts. Bona fide operators ride black bikes with yellow mudguards and yellow number plates. Fares, which should be settled in advance, are almost half the auto-rickshaw rates.
Ferries: If auto-rickshaws are the quaint, essentially Indian, mode of transport, flat-bottomed ferries are their Goan equivalent. Crammed with cars, buses, commuters on scooters, fisherwomen and clumps of bewildered tourists, these blue-painted hulks provide an essential service, crossing the coastal backwaters where bridges have not yet been built. They are also incredibly reasonable, and run from the crack of dawn until late in the evening.
Goa Holidays Shopping
Any holidays to Goa would not be complete unless you take back a souvenir of their memorable visit in this magnificent paradise. The excellent local handicrafts of Goa are easily the most popular souvenir items and include brass ware, terracotta, shell work, crochet, carved furniture, bamboo work, pappier-mache, etc. These are available in the Government Emporia and also at shops and stalls near the popular tourist spots.
Another item which is on the list of every traveller to Goa is a pack of the famed cashew nuts. These are available practically everywhere. There are shops specialising in selling only cashew nuts. The nuts are available in a wide variety of tastes ranging from plain, salted and masala. The prices vary based on the quality and flavour. The charm of shopping in Goa lies in bargaining to your heart's content in markets and shops until you finally bring down the price and make the purchase a worthwhile experience.
Holidays in Goa - Beaches
North Goa: North Goa's coast has virtually unbroken, wide sandy beaches.
South Goa: Southern Goa's beaches are seemingly endless with fine, white sand and watersports are offered at many of the beach side hotels
Weather and climate information
The climate is without doubt a important reason for booking Goa holidays, from October to March the weather is consistently warm with temperatures staying between 25C (77F) and 30C (86F).
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