Welcome to Goa!
Located on India’s West Coast, the state of Goa, India, is known as the country’s party capital. The beautiful coastal area of India was once a Portuguese colony with a rich and diverse history. By Indian standards, Goa is small with a population of just under 2 million. Since the 1960’s Goa has seen an influx of people visiting from both inside India and from abroad, to take in its gorgeous beaches and laid back way of life.
Goa was big in the 60s, with hippies from all over the world flying into the Goa Airport, to learn yoga and spend time relaxing in this easy-going, laid back section of India. Goa is different than the rest of India, mostly because of its Portuguese rule and its seclusion from the rest of India for over 450 years. These are all things that make Goa unique and a worldwide local knows this. This insider’s guide will show the unique parts of a city and what makes it interesting.
Worldwide Local Tip: Visitors to Goa should keep in mind that Goa is not a city on its own but really more of a collection of villages and towns, dispersed throughout the area. Some places may have a considerable distance between them so keep that in mind when you’re going from place to place, and consider your method of transportation when you’re out. Choose your Goa hotel wisely to maximize your experience.
Where to Begin
Now that you’re in Goa, you’ll want to experience some of the best things it has to offer. Start your journey by visiting one of Goa’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A worldwide local knows that getting to know and experience the history of a place is important to understand the culture. The Basilica of Bom Jesus was built in 1605 and is one of Goa’s most popular churches. The Church holds the remains of St Francis Xavier who is known as the “Apostle of the Indies,” by Roman Catholics worldwide. The Basilica is one of Goa’s biggest testaments to its colonial past and is a massively, beautiful architectural feat with an ornate altar and hand carved doors and statues.
Worldwide Local Tip: Although Roman Catholicism is still a part of Goa’s cultural landscape, the Basilica of Bom Jesus has a modern art gallery inside. Featuring over 30 late twentieth century paintings, it makes it a great place to check out the culture and history of Goa, as well as art.
Hippie Culture in Goa
Goa was always known as a laid back place, especially after its colonial years. The area became popular during the hippie movement of the 1960s, and although the ’60s have long passed, the free-spirited culture of Goa has remained. To get a glimpse of that free-spiritedness, check out the Artjuna Garden Cafe and shop. This local spot is a great place to hang out and get to know some of the locals and other travelers. The shop is located in an old Portuguese Villa and serves healthy food in a sprawling garden full of hammocks and mango trees. The lifestyle shop attached to the cafe is a great place to pick up some locally made jewelry or handicrafts and it supports the local economy.
Worldwide Local Tip: The laid-back culture at Artunja is a great place for people traveling solo, and those looking to meet some people. They host movie and event nights often, and it’s a quintessential spot for both locals and tourists looking for a spot to hang out. Show up, grab a smoothie and take out a book from their free library and lounge under the mango trees.
The Goa Beaches
Goa is known for its beaches, and there are a lot of them. You don’t need us to tell you that you should definitely visit them, as many of them as you can. Because of the gorgeous Goa weather, going to the beach is a given. A worldwide local looks for things that are a little more off-the-beaten-path. If you’re looking for something unique to do and are a lover of Indian food, check out the Sahakari Spice Farm. The farm has an impressive range of fruits, spices, medicinal herbs, and everything in between. The large plantation is spread over 130 acres of lush green space. Learn about India’s most famous spices like cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon, as well as locally grown fruit like papaya and jackfruit.
Worldwide Local Tip: The Sahakari Spice farm also hosts an on site restaurant that serves traditional Indian and Goan food, cooked with spices and ingredients harvested from right on the farm. Make sure to wrap up your day with a meal or two here, as the profits go to supporting the farm and the food is delicious.
Have an Amazing Time in Goa!
Goa is rich with a lot of amazing things: beautiful beaches, a laid back, easy-going lifestyle, and incredible nature. Goa itself might not be totally off-the-beaten-path, but a worldwide local knows how to make the most out of those lesser seen areas.