Goa is known for its scenic beaches, but there is a lot more to do while in Goa. Whether you are a beach lover, party animal, a heritage lover, a diehard foodie, adrenaline junkie or family, there is something for everyone. In fact, so diverse are the offerings that it is impossible to cover them all in a single trip unless you plan a staycation. Here is our list of 12 things to do in Goa:
Have some beach fun
Goa boasts of lots of fun in the sun and surf moments, with sun-kissed beaches along the entire Arabian Sea coast. The beaches have shacks where you can leisurely enjoy a drink as you watch the waves caressing the shores and the palms gently swaying in the breeze. You can get your hair breaded, a tattoo made, dance on peppy numbers, try adventure sport or just simply stroll the length of the beach.
Seek thrills of water sports
If you are the adrenaline junkie or the sort seeking thrills, then do try the adventurous water sports on the beaches. There are numerous options to try like jet ski, parasailing, banana boat ride, kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving. The beaches of Baga, Calangute, Benaulim, Grand Island are good options for watersports.
Dive into heritage at the UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Churches and Convents of Goa built between 16-17th centuries by the Portuguese were conferred the UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1986. It is for them that Goa is often referred to as the ‘Rome of the Orient.’ Included in the list is: The Basilica of Bom Jesus, which has St. Francis Xavier’s remains, Sé Cathedral de Santa Catarina with a golden bell, the simple Saint Catherine’s Chapel is a must-visit. Other notable monuments are: The Church of St. Francis of Assisi made in mixed architectural styles, Church of St Augustine with its crumbling 45 feet tower, and Church of Saint Cajetan inspired by the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
Feast on fish, fish and more fish
With the sea everywhere, it is no surprise that seafood is a staple both for locals and tourists. Kingfish, prawns, crabs, lobsters, mussels and if you’re the adventurous foodie then squid are the options. Some popular dishes are fish curry or prawn curry with rice, Crabs Xacuti, Kingfish Rava Fry and others. If you are confused about what to eat and want to savour a little bit of everything, then the Goan Fish Thali is a good option.
Shop till you drop at a flea market
The flea markets and shops near the beaches are a favourite for shopping. Whether it is the boho-chic clothes, chunky jewellery, bags and hats or Mario collectables, there is a vast array to pick and choose from. Depending on the day of the week, you can explore the flea markets as they don’t function all seven days of the week. Anjuna flea market happens every Wednesday and is the most popular.
Enjoy a Mandovi river cruise
If you want to see the Mandovi river merging into the Arabian Sea with some song and dance thrown in, then the Mandovi River Cruise is apt for you. The cruises leave from Santa Monica Boat Jetty and Panaji jetty in Panjim in the evenings. The hour-long cruises have DJ Music and folk dance performances. If you are a nature lover, then just watch the scenic coastline and enjoy the sunset.
Go trekking on a fort
Since Goa was a Portuguese colony, it has several forts that were constructed to protect foreign invasion. Chapora Fort popularly known as the ‘Dil Chahata Hain Fort’ where the movie was shot is famous. Located on a hill and it provides a fantastic aerial view of the beach. Fort Aguada which has a lighthouse, Reis Magos Fort, Senquerim Fort are some of the other noteworthy forts of Goa.
Go on a heritage walk
To get a glimpse of Goa as a Portuguese Colony, you can go back in time on a heritage walk. Local trivia, anecdotes and stories will be shared as you explore the heritage. Several heritage walks are available like the Fontainhas Latin Quarters. You will get to admire heritage homes in vibrant colours. The Old Goa Heritage Walk around Goa’s former Capital, Devar Island Walk and many more walks are available.
Admire dolphins on a Dolphin Cruise
The pristine blue waters of Goa ensure that one can see the dolphins on a cruise. It’s exhilarating to watch these beautiful mammals flip and swim in the waters. Most dolphin cruises start in the early mornings when waters are calmer, and the possibility of seeing the dolphins is higher.
Visit a Spice Plantation
With fertile soil and the Western Ghats, Goa has a lush green forest cover. Do plan a visit to a spice plantation where you will observe the spices, herbs and fruits growing. The medicinal and culinary uses will be explained, followed by a traditional simple meal using the local spices. You can even pick some of the local produce at a nominal rate.
Get a temporary tattoo done
No sooner do you park yourself on the beach that tattoo artists will approach you to do a tattoo. They will show you a catalogue of designs to pick and choose. The temporary tattoo lasts for a couple of weeks. It is a safe bet, especially if you don’t like the idea of a permanent tattoo or are unsure of the design.
Party and try your luck at the Casino
If you are a party animal, then check out the beach parties or the pubs and night clubs where you can ignite the dance floors until the wee hours of the morning. It is legal to gamble in Goa. So, if you want to make a fast buck or try your luck, then the casinos of Goa would be your go-to place. The Floating Casinos near Mandovi River attract a lot of tourists.