Goa, India

Voyage to the Portuguese Colony

I have always loved Goa, even before I visited. One of those places you just belong to in your imagination. Last year, husband and I made a sudden plan to visit Goa in July since we were occupied with multiple things in the preceding months and were moving to the US in August. 

While people strongly opposed the idea of visiting Goa during monsoons, I still went. Off-season traveling has its own benefits. Though I did witness torrential rains and was drenched completely on more than one occasion. Still, I relished every bit of Goa as the monsoons transform this place into a stunner!
Blog - Reis 5Goa is frequented by millions of people across the globe and doesn’t need any introduction. Generally, people only talk about beaches, booze and party with respect to Goa which I think is unfair because Goa has much more than that! So for the greater good, I have collated a list of must-do-see-eat things in Goa.
  • Kala Academy – Located in Panjim, this place is a mecca for art lovers. On the recommendation of a friend I visited this Academy and ended up spending around 2-3 hours strolling across the campus. They regularly host a variety of programs catering to different interests and you can buy tickets to watch their shows.
Although I couldn’t watch any show or attend an exhibition, I loved sitting endlessly staring at the river right behind the campus. Your creativity accelerates when you are studying art at such a spectacular academy.
  • Divar Island – Standing distinctly in the middle of Mandovi River, Divar Island tends to take you to another world that’s completely disconnected from the noise of North Goa. Ferries, which are free, run every 15 minutes from Old Goa to take you to this oasis where you can just roam around to admire the vast natural and architectural beauty. Here the houses came right out of a fairy tale.

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  • Old Goa – The moment you step in you would come across a lot of historic structures, cathedrals, gigantic trees and a whiff of fresh air! I was definitely intrigued because of my interest in history which led me to examine the magnificent structures of Se Cathedral & Basilica of Bom Jesus thoroughly.

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    Blog - Old GoaAfter exploring the historic sites, we started on our quest for food and stumbled on Sanman, a plain restaurant run by the Goa Development Corporation. This place was over-crowded by tourists but it was worth a stop with all the sumptuous delicacies they managed to serve. I devoured merrily and was content post the meal.

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  • South Goa -I wouldn’t get into the age-old debate about how South Goa is better than the North, but would just point that you must visit this part of Goa to understand how locals live here. Maybe that’s how North Goa was in the good ol’ 80s, untouched by commercialization. The beaches are pristine, clean & crowd-free and if that’s the kind of beaches you prefer head to South Goa. Apart from that, the villages in South Goa are splendid with narrow roads & lush-green fields all across and you would find little adorable eateries everywhere.
  • Baga River – While going back from Baga beach we took the road that runs by the Baga river and loved it more than the beach. The narrow strip of river by the road offers a picturesque view where you can dine at one of the many restaurants for a Venetian flavor in the atmosphere. 
  •  The Fisherman’s Wharf –  I tried Masala Crab for the first time in my life here and was hooked! The burst of spices & flavors enticed me so much that I forgot all etiquette of eating at a public place. Looking at my embarrassed face and hands full of masala, the servers lifted my spirits by saying that there’s no civilized way of eating a mean crab. Such a relief!
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    Although its expensive by Goa standards, yet you must visit this place not only for the food but also for their amazing service and ambiance. And, did I mention that they made one lethal Long Island Ice Tea?!
  • Fontainhas – An old quarter in Panaji which retains its Portuguese influence to this day, and that piece of information drew me to Fontainhas. Its all about the pleasing, vibrant houses which adorn the streets and help you understand the architectural inclination of the erstwhile rulers.

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Mario Miranda’ depiction of Fontainhas
  • Reis Magos Fort – This Fort’ restoration work has been quite well-taken care of as compared to the other historical structures in India. Also, the lady at the ticket counter was extremely knowledgeable and briefed tourists about the maneuverability inside, exit points, safety measures, and other specific details if you ask. One of the chambers in the Fort houses the work of Goa’s famous cartoonist and illustrator, Mario De Miranda while another stores the before and after pictures of the restoration work along with historical facts.
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  • Hire a Scooter – This is a must if you wish to discover the tiny villages of Goa through narrow alleys or take a detour to just explore some quaint neighborhood while going somewhere. Some of the roads are single lane and not wide enough for cars so it makes sense to hire a scooter. Also its best to explore Goa at a slow pace while embracing the cheerful atmosphere around.
At every street you would find multiple shops renting out scooters for INR 200-500/per day (Less than $10/day) and you even don’t need to find a Gas station for fuel, every other grocery store sells petrol in a bottle.
Word of Caution: Stay away from the boat ride offered by Paradise Cruise at Mandovi river. They play loud obnoxious music in the lower deck and take one small round of the river at an irritating-to-the-soul dull speed.

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Do leave a line if you need any information about Goa and I would try my best to help.

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56 thoughts on “Voyage to the Portuguese Colony”

        1. Hey….although its too late now, I still did some research for your stay in Goa during Christmas close to Palolem beach. Few properties that you could consider – Jayan’s Boutique Suites, The Nest Palolem and Hotel Castle House!
          I am sure you must have booked something by now, in case you haven’t you may check these.

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  1. I have been to Goa so many times during my college days when I was studying in Pune. Its incredible destination in India. I had so many beautiful memories with my friends out there.

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  2. I had no idea about Goa’s existence before your post haha. It seems to be such a fascinating place i wish i could visit one day. Lovely photos. x

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    1. Its really mesmerizing during the monsoons! If you haven’t visited India, I would strongly recommend a trip there and you would genuinely be awed!
      Thanks for stopping by Tiina 🙂

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  3. Wow Goa looks very colourful in all of your photos! I’ve always wanted to hire a scooter and travel around a place like this, so if ever I go, I’ll be sure to do so, and at less than $10 a day!

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    1. Goa is very clean, thanks to the locals and administration! About peaceful, I would say there are various pockets which are still untouched by commercialization else it can get touristy! And, the place is best enjoyed on a scooter.

      Thanks for stopping by Vik!

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  4. Whenever we have moved I always take advantage of seeing the sites before I leave and it sounds like you did too! I love hearing about all that is there! I think hiring a scooter would be so fun and The Fisherman’s Wharf sounded yummy!

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  5. I LOVE Goa, and I love every bit of it! I’m not into the hippy stuff but am just like you, loving the Indo-Portuguese houses, the colours, food, beach, the old roads and ruins. I hear that travelling in Goa during the monsoons is the in-thing now.

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    1. Glad that we have similar taste 😀 ! When I went last year, South Goa was at least devoid of tourists and I hope it remains so :P, let the hippies flock during winters. North Goa was a bit touristy, but nothing to be bothered about since there’s nothing happening on the beaches so I completely enjoyed the serenity.

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    1. I always miss Goa, I think I will never find something close to it anywhere! I will retire in Goa only 😛
      And, you must go to Kala Academy, its so soothing and considering the artist that you are, I am sure you would love it!

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