Why choose a long stay holiday in Goa?

A Guide to Off Beat Goa Travel

Mention the word “Goa” and scenes of lazily swaying palms, golden sands, dread-locked-beer-swilling-hippies, dance parties and yoga retreats probably come to mind. This beachside jewel of India was established as a firm favourite on the Hippy Trail of the ’70s, and the rest as they say… is history.

As a destination that is often the first taste of India for holiday-makers and travellers, I had been hesitant to come here on my travels to India, but ultimately we wanted to find out: Is it possible to still enjoy Goa? (Keep reading for the answer

Where to Stay in Goa

This guide looks to highlight accommodations that are having a positive impact. From eco resorts in Goa, to family-run homestays, to sustainable glamping (luxurious camping) we’ve included some of our favourites.

Geographically this guide covers a few spots in North Goa, and principally South Goa. We cover central Goa – for good reason (in our opinion). Central Goa and the areas surrounding Baga, Calangute, Majorda, and Colva beaches have become the most mass-touristed; they are popular with groups of men on “lads weekends”

Things to Do in North Goa

Things to do in Panjim

Whether you have just a few hours or a few days in Panjim, we found that Panjim has plenty of charm. Take time to wander around Panjim’s Fontainhas pausing for photos of the colourful buildings and sip a fresh lime soda on one of the cafe’s balconies away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. The Gallery Gitanjali at the Panjim Inn is home to a wide range of art works from international painters. 

Wander further north for a good look at the Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, a walk that will take you alongside the Mandovi River promenade where you can see a range of shipping – from the moored casinos on the quay to the huge cargo ships that dock. Stop by Cafe Tato’s for a delicious Goan style Pau Bhaji. 

Dolphin Watching

If taking to the water is your thing then it is also possible to take a dolphin watching trip. Many fishermen will approach you on beaches with offers, or you can find operators in most resort towns. Unfortunately dolphins have been adversely affected by many boat operators chasing down dolphins and getting too close: be vocal about the need to respect a good distance between the boat and dolphins. For further information on responsible dolphin watching as well as diving, Terra Conscious are a good source of information and offer longer-term volunteering placements. T

Places to visit in South Goa

South Goa Beaches

These beaches are very different from the North Goa beaches. Beaches in the southern part of the state have fine white sand. On a dry day, when you put your foot in the sand here, you almost feel you have put your foot in a pile of silk. Your foot just sinks in the smooth texture of sand here. The sand is not exactly white but quite close to it. The best times to visit the beaches are early morning & evenings. You can go for a long walk or jog or just relax. There are several watersports available for those interested. Explore some food by the beach shacks.

South Goa Beaches

Beach Landscape

When you fly out of the state, especially when you go south, if you are sitting on the right side, you can see the long straight-line beach. This 20 km or so stretch of beach is known by various names along its length. Most beaches derive their name from the village located next to them.

Popular Beaches

The most famous beaches of South Goa are Palolem, Agonda, Mobor, Betul & Colva beach. Beaches along the south are all tourist attractions and one’s place of stay and availability of vehicles to commute matter. Colva Beach is best known for water sports. It is a good place to go parasailing – the view from the top is beautiful, to say the least. Utorda Beach is a quieter beach, just walk a little north of Colva Beach and you will find yourself almost alone with very few shacks around.

While the beaches are the preferred destination for travelers, they are best visited early in the morning or in the evening. So what to do for the rest of the day? There are many interesting places to visit in South Goa within an hour’s drive. Know about them and plan your travel well and explore them as well

Waterfalls of South Goa – Places to visit in South Goa

If you happen to be in the state during monsoon months i.e. June to September most beaches are kind of inaccessible. This is the time to head to the hinterlands in search of hidden waterfalls. While most waterfalls need a bit of trekking, here are a few that you can see without much effort.

Kuskem Waterfalls

Hidden deep inside the Cotigao National Park, the Kuskem waterfall is a lovely waterfall. It is a seasonal waterfall, hence best to visit as soon as the monsoon ends or during monsoon breaks. You need to hike just a bit to reach it. For directions though you must depend on the villagers who live inside.

Kuskem waterfalls, Kuske, Cotigao

Kuskem waterfalls, Kuske, Cotigao

Dudhsagar Waterfalls

The most famous waterfalls of Goa, Dudhsagar Falls need no introduction. However, remember these falls are best seen from a train. Unfortunately, there are not too many trains that take you there and bring you back. A visit to the Dudhsagar Waterfalls location is possible only after monsoons and the opening date for tourists is determined by the forest department of the state. It essentially is about safety and only forest department jeeps will ferry tourists to and fro from the Mollem village.

Dudhsagar Waterfalls with a passing train

Dudhsagar Waterfalls with a passing train., Image courtesy Shutterstock
Dudhsagar Waterfalls as captured from a train

Landscape view of Dudhsagar Waterfalls - Places to visit in South Goa

Landscape view of Dudhsagar Waterfalls

Netravali Waterfalls

Visiting Netravali Falls requires a bit of trekking and a guide. Plan a visit accordingly.

Netravali Waterfalls

Wildlife Sanctuaries – South Goa Sightseeing

The state is blessed with abundant nature – be it rivers, the ocean, islands, or nature reserves. Nature nurtures biodiversity. It is a perfect place to spend time with nature and for activities like birding.

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary & Zoo

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary & Zoo visit ensures that you get an opportunity to see dense forest areas in the hinterlands, some animals in the zoo, many birds, and if lucky some wild animals too. However, we recommend that you look for crocodiles on the banks of water bodies.

Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

Cis our favorite walking place in the wilderness. Walk, go to the top of the trees, and see the forests from the top.

Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary & Mollem National Park

You can visit this sanctuary when you visit Dudhsagar Falls.

Museums to visit in South Goa

These museums preserve & present the heritage of the state in their unique ways.

Goa Chitra & Chakra Museum

A tribute to the wheel and the ethnographic part of the state. Visit this Museum to get a perspective of the then-precious wheels that enabled mankind to travel once upon a time

The heritage of the state in all its simplicity can be seen at the Bigfoot Museum. Do you know the world’s largest Cross Collection is in Goa?      Museums to explore

Museums to explore

Naval Aviation Museum

The Museum hosts some of the flying machines & naval history. You can see a model of INS Virat here.

Hinterlands, Dams, Botanical Garden – Places to visit in South Goa

Hinterlands scene of the state - Places to visit in South Goa

Hinterlands scene of the state

The state is home to small dams like Anjunem Dam or Amthane Dam. The southern part of the state though has a unique dam – Salalulim Dam. Built with duckbill spillway technology this is a semi-circular dam with no gates. The excess water just flows into the river that in turn takes it to the sea.

During monsoon season you admire the dam like a waterfall.

Salaulim Dam & Botanical Gardens

One of its kind duckbill spillway salaulim Daam is a vast lush green campus. Head there if you like some serene moments. The botanical gardens are also worth a visit for the interested.

Budbudi Tal or Bubble Lake & Spice Farms

Mysteriously bubbles arise from this small temple pond if you clap. Curious about the Budbudi Tal visit it. Next door is a spice farm with homestay provisions. Netravali Falls is also nearby to this place.

Butterfly Conservatory

A personal initiative of a physician couple, Butterfly Conservatory is home to several butterflies. Visit if you are interested in butterflies and their conservation.


The region was full of temple once upon a time. Most of these now live in the Ponda region. We have designed a small trail of the most famous temples of Goa that you can do in half a day easily.

We do recommend the Mud Festival of Devaki Krishna Temple – it is the most fun festival that we  have ever seen anywhere. 


Portuguese era houses

Chandor was the ancient capital of Goa. There is not much that is left of that era, but it is still home to large palatial houses of the Portuguese era. Some of these houses like Menezes Berganza’s house are open to the public. 

Rachol Seminary

One of Asia’s oldest & largest seminaries. The Architecture of the complex is also interesting. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Sign in

Send Message

My favorites