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General Information about Goa

It’s hard to think about Goa in original terms. Not unless you visit the place and experience what’s beyond the beaches and the para-sailing and jet skiing and snorkelling to touch the chord of complete surrender to the idea of ‘losing yourself to find yourself’ which has been dreamed of and nurtured by generations of travellers who fall in love with Goa, over and over and over again…

Goa was once the colonial outpost of the Portuguese and has managed to retain its old-world charm despite its new-found reputation for being a party hotspot. Thousands of tourists, both domestic and international, visit this state for having a fun-filled vacation which can be both action-packed and relaxing - as one chooses.

Once in Goa, there are plenty of places to visit, which begin from churches, beautiful beaches and the wildlife sanctuaries, etc. Goa is a place which offers you plenty of options in terms of adventure sports and not to forget, the nightlife. Some of the must-visit places in Goa include the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which is recognised by the UNESCO as a world heritage site. The basilica houses the tomb and has mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, which shockingly is in a good condition even today, after 400 plus years of having it. The beaches of Baga, Anjuna, Calangute (which happens to be the largest beach in Goa), Palolem, Agonda, Colva and Vagator are some of the most famous beaches in Goa that attract a large number of people from different countries. These beaches are a perfect treat to the eyes!

Goa’s numerous beaches are its prime attractions. From isolated and serene ones like Palolem and Cavellosim to bustling ones like Baga and Calangute, where water sports are conducted, tourists are spoilt for choice here.

Those interested in visiting religious places can head to its synagogues, churches and temles that dot this state. One can also come across charming and quaint bungalows painted in vibrant colours as one drives through the various locales of Goa.

Activities like Water sports like parasailing, banana boat ride, jet skiing and snorkeling are possible at several beaches in the North of Goa. For those of you interested in wildlife, Dudhsagar Falls, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary are the places to head to.

Bird watching, boating, photography, water sports, and sightseeing – there is no dearth of activities that one can indulge in while on a longer weekend getaway from Hyderabad to Goa.


Connectivity :

By Rail : The main railway station is Vasco Da Gama. The railway station is well linked with major cities of Mumbai, Bengaluru and others.

By Air: The main airport is the Dabolim International Airport, which is at distance of 30 km from Panaji. It is well connected to all the major cities in the country and international ones too.

By Road: Goa is well connected by roads. The driving distance from Hyderabad to Goa is 642 km. There are plenty of buses which operate from Hyderabad to Goa and also from other major cities.


Few Places of Interest

Baga Beach
Baga Beach is the most famous of all Goan beaches and as a tourist visiting Goa you really haven’t been to Goa if you haven’t been to Baga. Full to the brim with activities you can indulge in, Baga Beach and its surrounding areas will not give you time to get bored. There is always something exciting going on here. In the morning, the beach is a great place to lounge in, soak in the sun and interact with tourists from all over the world.

When you’re done with the sun, it is time to take in the salty sea winds with some adventurous water sports in Goa. Head over to lunch at one of the many restaurants that populate the beach and which offer various dining options. If it is fine dining you want, you can take your pick from some of the top restaurants of Goa.

Night is the time when the beach virtually comes alive. Lots of great party options make Baga Beach an amazing beach to party the night away. Tito’s, Café Mambo, Kandy Club and many more clubs make Baga beach a party haven every night.

Water Sports: Baga Beach is best-known for its jet skiing, parasailing, banana ride and boating water-sports.

 

Calangute Beach
The largest beach in Goa, Calangute Beach is also affectionately known as the “Queen of Beaches”. It is among the top ten beaches in the world, which means it is one of the tourist places in Goa that you should not miss. It is a big, serene beach with activities enough to fill your mind for the entirety of your trip. The beach alone is a great attraction for tourists. The beach is ideal for both the options, lying down in the sand without the fear of being run over or trying your hand at some water sports.

There are a lot of options to choose from. The distance of Calangute from Baga Beach is not great; the two beaches are only separated from each other by some rocks. You can choose to have breakfast or lunch at Baga or Calangute. There are also many great sight-seeing opportunities near Calangute such as Morjim Beach, St. Alex Church, the Water Pond of Arambol, Ashvem Beach, the Aguada Lighthouse & Aguada Fort, Nerul River, the Friday Local Mapusa Market, River Betul & Betul Estuary.

And at night, you will find Calangute transformed into a party hub as good as the one at Baga Beach. Since Calangute Beach is connected to most other important tourist spots in North Goa, it is a good place to reside in during your Goa visit.

Water Sports: Calangute offers the best in water sports- enjoy kayaking, sailing, wind-surfing, water snorkeling, water-skiing, and fishing here. Parasailing is also a sport you can indulge in.

 

Palolem Beach
Palolem is one of Goa’s most beautiful beaches, or at least used to be till it got overrun by commercialization in the form of huts and hawkers. Nonetheless, its peaceful waters bordered by headlands are still very attractive. It is a popular tourist attraction of South Goa. The location makes its sea calmer than others and you can walk almost 100m into the sea with ease. Not only are there many things to do on the Palolem Beach, there are many things you do in the nearby locality.

You can participate in an early morning yoga class for one thing. You can also dance at the offbeat Silent Noise Disco. You put on headphones provided by the club and party into the early hours of the morning without any worry about the police interrupting you because of the noise. There are also many sightseeing options like the Monkey Island and the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. Both places make a good day trip around Palolem.

If you wish to simply kick back and relax, Palolem is a good place wherein to do so. Also get an Ayurveda massage while you are at it.

Water Sports: Scuba diving, canyoning, self-paddle kayaking, dolphin watching are some activities you can undertake here


Basilica of Bom Jesus
One of the most important of all tourist places in Goa as well as a central landmark for Catholics, the Bom Jesus Basilica is the place in which the incorrupt body of St Francis Xavier is kept. The Church was built in 1605 and the body of the Saint was brought to it in 1622 where it has laid since in its glass mausoleum. The body is perhaps the greatest attraction of the Basilica. A gallery of Modern Art is also a part of the Basilica.

The building is constructed in baroque style and is considered one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India. You can visit the Bom Jesus Basillica in December for the best experience of the tradition as the feast and novena take place at that time along with Christmas celebrations.


Casino Cruise
This is a little out of the way thing you can indulge in when in Goa. A Casino Cruise is essential, at the basic level, a restaurant, but with the additional casino features for those who want to try a hand at Vegas style entertainment. The ship is docked on one of the many rivers in Goa and is fitted with posh furnishings. The view outside and the rooms inside both make for a great set-up. The casinos are open all round the clock but they really come to life in the night from 9 pm to 3 pm. They are like clubs but instead of the DJ and the party music, you have casino games and low music. They are well-fitted spaces with fine dining options in place including a good selection of drinks.

The visitors can stay on board for up to 12 hours and enjoy the ambiance of the cruise. If you are lucky, you might even end up slightly richer when you come out of the Casino Cruise. Some places even have playrooms for children in case you want to take them along. The tickets are slightly expensive but seeing that they come inclusive of the provision of food and drinks as well as the various other entertainments apart from the casino rooms.

There are dance shows and ball rooms and lovely decks where you can hear the river waters dapple against the ship. If you are visiting Goa as a honeymooning couple, this is a very romantic place to be. There are many Casino Cruises in Goa like Deltin Royale Casino, Casino Pride, Casino Royale, Casino Carnival etc. Most are located close to Panaji.

 

Fort Aguada
Another heritage from the Portuguese, Fort Aguada has been standing stern on the beach facing the Arabian Sea from 1612 when it was built in order to provide defence against the invading Dutch and the Marathas. It was a grand old fort in its time with the capacity to hold 79 cannons among other weapons of defense. It was one of the prized possessions of the Portuguese. Today, it stands as a famous landmark dividing the Sinquerium Beach and the Candolim Beach.

There is an old lighthouse standing within the fort which was built in 1864, the oldest lighthouse of its shape and size in India. Fort Aguada is a great place to explore when you are out visiting the Candolim or Sinquerium Beaches. The architecture gives a good insight into the building techniques of old Portuguese architects and it has some amazing views you should really see. The old fort provides a good view of the sea and the sunset is reckoned to be lovely.


Colva Beach
The most popular beach in South Goa, Colva Beach is a tourist must-visit. The beach has a really lovely stretch of white sand which extends for nearly 25km. The sand and the beautiful glimmering sea are Colva Beach’s most famous attractions. Soft winds that blow salt sprays into your face are an added bonus. The ambience of the beach is perfect, being just the right balance between commercial and quiet.

There are dozens of shacks that cater to the needs of visitors so food and drinks are easy to lay hands on. There are a lot of pubs and clubs here which contribute to the nightlife of the beach like The Gatsby Club, Club Margarita etc. Admittedly, the night scene here is not as high or wild as at the clubs of North Goa but if you want just a taste of partying when at Colva, these clubs are not bad options to pick from.

Sight-seeing opportunities include the white-washed Our Lady of Mercy Church built in 1630, and the markets at Margoa.

Water Sports: Paragliding, parasailing, jet ski's banana rides, dolphin sighting are activities you can take part in on Colva Beach.

 

Tito's Street
Goa is India’s favourite party place. Therefore, you simply have to visit one of the many clubs scattered around Goa on your visit there. Tito’s Street is one of the best clubs you can visit. Tito’s Street, named after the street it is located on, is a club that attracts a lot of crowd especially because of its prime location and its top-notch service. Baga beach, where the club is located, is a party hub so it is no wonder that loads of tourists find their way to Tito’s Street after sundown.

The club is known for its excellent services and this compensates amply for the slightly overpriced tags on drinks and food. The place is made up of two levels: the lower level is a dance floor with a separate dance space for couples; the upper level allows people to sit and watch the activity below while enjoying their food and drinks. The DJ is reckoned to be very good and you’re sure to get in some soul-pumping dancing on your visit.

There are various entry vouchers which have complimentary services included. T Their security is also among the best which is very important in a party-climate like Goa’s. It does not matter whether you go during in or off-season. Tito’s Street is an exciting place to party in Goa all year round. Their cocktails are the talk of the town, so make sure you try them out. Nonetheless, even if you aren’t looking to drink, Tito’s Street is one of the places to visit in Goa.

Head over to Tito’s Street if you want a great experience which is worth your time and your money.


Dudhsagar Waterfalls
The Dudhsagar Waterfalls are situated on the Goa-Karnataka border and are one of India’s must-see sights. The four-tiered waterfall structure is one of the tallest in India and is located on the Mandovi River. The white water cascades down from a height of nearly 1017 feet off a nearly steep mountain face. They form a part of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, so the best way to reach them is by entering the national park and taking a van allocated by the park to the falls.

The Dudhsagar trek inside the park is closed to the public but you can still reach the waterfalls by trekking from Kulem and following the jeep trail. Another possible route is the trek from Castle Rock in Karnataka. Reaching the waterfalls will not be an easy task but it is one that is worth every ounce of effort put into it. They are best experienced during the monsoons as they lose their force during the dry season.

Many tours are organized over this time so you can choose to go as a part of a group. Some tours even have overnight camping options. But remember to go well-prepared to ensure a good experience, especially if you are going on a self-organized trek. The lush green jungle and the beautiful waterfall sending up their forceful sprays are a sight to remember long after you have left Dudhsagar behind.

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