Goa is an enchanted holiday destination. It’s where the Portuguese made their mark during the Age of Imperialism, and where the hippies of the 60s found refuge and the freedom to pursue their laidback lifestyle. This province on the west coast of India is a place where people really know how to relax; the site of the eternal holiday.
Endless hours by the sea is mandatory on a Goa holiday, and there are many spots to choose from: white-sand Sinquerim Beach; shell-studded Bambolim Beach; beautiful Vagator Beach; Baga Beach with its fishing areas; and Arambol Beach for dolphin-watching.
Goa is for the birds, and bird-watching is a popular pursuit. Eagles, woodpeckers, ospreys, kestrels, and doves are all easy to spot. The Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is also recommended for more intense avian spotting.
The local art scene abounds with folk paintings of scenes from Indian epics, terracotta statues, and intricate gold jewellery. Crafts such as carved rosewood furnishings and brass pieces are a good addition to the home. To learn more about Goan culture, make a trip at Ancestral Goa, a village recreated to evoke the Goa of yesteryear.
Spice is the essence of every Goan dish, as are coconut, rice, and seafood. Try the sour Ambot tik curry, Racheiado, fish stuffed with fiery sauce, and Rissois, fried pastry with prawn filling. In the rural areas, the clay pots used for cooking add a distinct smoky flavour.
End a Goa holiday by joining one of the many Goan festivals. Zatras are feasts, temple visits, and processions dedicated to local divinities. Many Goans are Christian, and the four-day Carnival before Lent is a big celebration, where floats and costumed individuals take centre stage in a parade. Greater still is the importance of the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, their patron saint.
Goan music has a distinct character. It is the product of 450 years of Portuguese rule and native traditions. Experience this unique blend at the Monte Music Festival in Old Goa.