Palm tree–lined tropical beaches with warm, turquoise waters. A rich colonial heritage dating back to the 15th Century when Portuguese explorers first reached the coast. Historic Christian churches and ancient Hindu temples. When it comes to travel destinations in India, North Goa is truly one of the country’s hidden gems. If you’re planning to travel to Goa for the first time, here is some information and advice so that you will get the most out of your trip.
Goan Cuisine is marvelous
The local cuisine is heavily influenced by the various cultures who have either visited or colonized the region since the Middle Ages. The tasty (and spicy) dishes you will encounter are a fusion of Arab, Portuguese, Malaysian, Konkan and Chinese flavors, the most popular being Goan fish curry, pork vindaloo, and sorpotel.
Don’t forget to visit the flea markets
North Goa is famous for having dozens of flea markets. Keep in mind like in every developing nation, the locals believe in bargaining and negotiating prices. This means that you can play the bargaining game when purchasing such items as handicrafts, foods, and carpets.
Make sure you have plenty of cash on you
Like the rest of the country, North Goa is safe with regards to having very little crime. The reason why you are encouraged to carry cash is due to the lack of ATMs and even modern banking institutions in the region. Also, most beach bars, restaurants, and shops don’t have credit or debit card machines.
Surf and sand everywhere
The beaches of Goa are so enticing. But before you peel off to your swimsuit and spend the day relaxing and swimming, keep in mind that because this is in the tropics, the sun is very strong. The last thing you need is a nasty case of sunburn or sunstroke to ruin your vacation. Apply high amounts of SPF sunscreen and always wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
North Goa beaches also have a reputation for strong rip currents, which make the waters dangerous during monsoon season. Fortunately, there are lifeguards on duty during the day who provide warnings if the sea is too rough to swim in.
Fun activities to do in North Goa
If you get bored laying on the beach, consider going scuba diving, windsurfing or parasailing. Since the 1970s, North Goa has also had a hippy/New Age style culture built by expats who established yoga retreats near the beaches as well as in the hilly regions. You can also spend a few hours in one of them if you feel the need to unwind.
See the entire region, not just the beaches
In North Goa, you’ll experience the finest in south Indian culture. If it happens to rain, spend the day indoors at local museums or visit a wildlife sanctuary where tigers, Indian lions and many types of animals native to the region are taken care of. Travel outside the towns into the countryside to visit spice plantations and Goan villages that reflect the region’s colonial past with Portuguese–style houses.
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