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Goa Travel Tips

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Located on India’s southwestern coast, much of Goa’s shoreline is speckled with small resort towns thanks to the stretches of pure, palm-lined sands. While Goa’s sun-dappled beachfront brings teems of tourists to the state year-round, don’t forget that the surrounding countryside is littered with wonderful cultural and historic sights, from the towering churches and temples of Old Goa to the arty hubs in Panaji.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

Thanks to its tropical climate, Goa boasts year-round warm temperatures. The hottest month is May, where fierce heat combined with high humidity can make for unpleasantly muggy days - so if you don’t fare well in hot weather, that part of the year is best avoided. Monsoon season can run from June to September - if travelling then, expect sudden and torrential rainfall. The best time to travel is during the winter months, between November and February, when you’ll enjoy warm sunny days without the humidity or rain.

 

Not to Miss

 

Those seeking a stress-free holiday of lazy sun-soaked days should visit the uncrowded and peaceful Agonda beach, ideal for couples and families - but don’t be surprised to find a few surfers hanging out too. For a more bouncing beach-spot that offers boat-tours and seafood restaurants, head to Palolem. If you’re after an afternoon of inspiring arts, check out Panaji, and catch a show at the Kala Academy. History-buffs and lovers of architecture should visit Old Goa - the state’s historic city - and see its Basilica and Church of Saint Cajetan.

 

Getting around

 

Goa International Airport, based in Vasco da Gama and more commonly known as Dabolim Airport, offers a limited number of international flights, but plenty of domestic links. If travelling from overseas, it’s likely you’ll fly to Mumbai and connect to Dabolim, which takes just over an hour. Once here, it’s best to take a pre-booked taxi to your destination, and many resorts offer airport pick-up service. The easiest way to explore Goa is by rental car, or - for the adventurous - rental motorcycle.

 

Cuisine

 

Fresh seafood is a staple of Goa’s cuisine. You’ll find beachfront shacks, restaurants, and bars which serve up sumptuous catches, from kingfish and cod to tuna and shark. The shellfish is equally bountiful, with tiger prawns and lobster being common. These dishes come with rice, and are often garlanded with garlic and other signs of the Portuguese influence. It’s not all seafood, however. Expect to see a range of classic Indian curries and delectable desserts, such as the light, coconut-flavoured Bebinca pudding.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Goa was once under Portuguese rule, which left behind a strong Catholic belief system, so as well as seeing plenty of Hindu festivals, expect to see the major Catholic dates being celebrated too. Goa’s larger towns and cities can get very busy during festival periods - particularly the start of Lent - so it’s best to check dates and plan ahead. Be aware that the smaller shops adhere to serious siesta time - usually from mid to late afternoon - and that Panaji tends to be very quiet after 9pm.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 1.87 million

Spoken languages: Konkani, Marathi, English

Electrical: India runs on 230V, 50 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +91 832100