Goa, India

Girls Bikini Candolim Beach North Goa India
Candolim Beach - North Goa, India
Goa, India (2/7-12/2013) – We loved the beautiful beaches and wonderful food of Goa and would go back again.

Beach Shack Restaurant Goa India
Pat with Feet in Sand 
at Beach Shack (Restaurant) - Goa, India
Experiencing Goa’s beaches and resorts in southeast India is a pleasure we highly recommend. You just feel happy here near the ocean, great beaches, beach and town restaurants, shopping, etc. Enjoying great beaches and enjoying good Indian meals for $3 and beers for a $1 with your feet in the sand was a pleasure for us.
Wonderful Colors of India
Wonderful Colors of India!

Being one of the only Americans visiting in Goa, we felt a little like Vasco del Gamma, the early Portuguese explorer who was the first European to explore this area. Goa’s beautiful beaches are well discovered now busy with European vacationers... and for all the right reasons!

Candolim Beach Lounges North Goa India
Candolim Beach Lounges - North Goa, India
Please read this blog post to see our tremendously wonderful wide-ranging experience that can be had in Goa where we stayed in three places in both north and south Goa, tent on the beach to 5-star resort, and ranging from a beach town to remote resort.

Wayne Dunlap Boat Soneca Cola Beach North Goa India
Wayne Helping with Boat 
- Soneca Cola Beach, South Goa, India
Wonderful Goa Seafood Indian Dishes Food Beach
Wonderful Goan Seafood & 
Indian Dishes on the Beach!!
Located in southeastern India, Goa is extremely popular for its wide palm tree lined white-sand beaches, many festivals, and distinctive Indian cuisine featuring fresh seafood. It is a place where Europeans find an affordable place to escape their cold winter and Indians come to party. In the 1960’s, Goa gained a reputation for being a drug-using hippy party place. Although you can still find some of this culture in remote places, today’s Goa is much more conventional but still lovely.

started our visit in north Goa at the beach town of Candolim. North Goa is more crowded and the beaches and Candolim was bustling with people from all over Europe but not overpacked. We met friendly people from Great Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Ukraine, and Scandinavia who came to Goa with direct charter flights. North Goa offers more nightlife than south Goa.

Fortune Select Regina Hotel Candolim Goa india
Fortune Select Regina Hotel 
- Candolim, Goa
Entertainer Candolim Beach North Goa India
Entertainer - Candolim Beach, 
North Goa, India
Candolim is a vibrant beach town with beautiful wide sandy beaches and good beach restaurants (called beach shacks) where you can find lounge chairs and umbrellas and enjoy very nice Indian (and other) food with your feet in the sand. We stayed at the Fortune Select Regina (see photo), an upscale peaceful oasis from what some would call a rather chaotic town. We liked the energy of the town and also enjoyed escaping it – a nice combination of beach town amenities and tranquil retreat. With a great view of the Goan countryside, nice pool, and wonderful breakfast, the Fortune Select Regina is located about 15-minute walk to the beach and shorter walk to the main street where there are plenty of restaurants and shops.

Some previous visitors we met from England recommended the Bayview Shack restaurant on the beach just north off Beach Street - about a 30-minute walk (short cheap taxi ride) up the main road from our hotel. We agree that they have good food and included lounge chairs & umbrella. In Candolim, you should also definitely go to a wonderful restaurant called the L’orange Restaurant.

Goan Fishermen at Sunset Soneca Cola Beach North Goa india
Goan Fishermen at Sunset 
- Soneca Cola Beach, South Goa
After a few days in north Goa’s Candolim, we were off to south Goa. South Goa is less crowded with long sandy palm-lined beaches uncluttered by the droves of people and rows of beach shacks you see in the north. South Goa is quieter and more laid-back.

Soneca Cola Beach South Goa India
Soneca Cola Beach - South Goa, India
Tents on Soneca Cola Beach  South Goa India
Tents on Soneca Cola Beach 
- South Goa, India
We began our stay at a fun adventurous place - a tent on the beautiful beach at Soneca Cola Beach (see photo). These hand-made tents from northern India’s Rajasthan region were what the rulers of India used on their excursions. They are complete with your own restroom & shower and furnished with hand-carved antiques from the era of the Maharajas (Emperor) – pretty cool for the adventurous traveler.

Wayne Swimming Lagoon Soneca Cola Beach Goa
Wayne Swimming in Lagoon 
- Soneca Cola Beach, Goa
Pat Dunlap Hanging Out Soneca Cola Beach
Pat Hanging Out - Soneca Cola Beach
Soneca means 'siesta' which is exactly what we did when we got there. What a relaxing tranquil place! Pat took an afternoon nap in a hammock and Wayne just crashed on the sandy beach under the shade of a palm tree. Our single day stay at Soneca Cola Beach went by fast swimming in the warm ocean, taking a boat ride to see dolphins and the beautiful surrounding beaches, swimming in a fresh water lagoon, and enjoying meals and lounging around watching the stunning beach. Sleeping in our tent was fun listening to the ocean waves while falling asleep.

Lobby Ramada Caravela Beach Resort Varca Beach South Goa india
Lobby at Ramada Caravela Beach Resort 
- Varca Beach, South Goa
Manicured Gardens Ramada Caravela Beach Resort  Varca Beach south goa india
Manicured Gardens of Ramada Caravela 
Beach Resort - Varca Beach
After a day of ‘roughing it’ at Soneca, we moved on to our upscale 5-star resort, the Ramada Caravela Beach Resort (see photos) in south Goa. Located on the soft white sands of the more remote Varca Beach, with its 80-feet high atrium lobby built in classical Portuguese architectural style, this beautiful hotel is spread over 24 acres of manicured gardens and a nine-hole golf course with a wonderful breakfast served every morning. After spending a day relaxing on the beach on fabulous seaside lounges with nice music, you can spend the afternoon around the huge garden pool area (one of the largest swimming pools in Goa). We enjoyed lunch and dinner at Sea of Pearls Beach Café right on the beach just south of the resort serving yummy Goan seafood and other Indian dishes (see photo).

Varca Beach South Goa India
Varca Beach - South Goa, India
Varca Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa – a place to come to relax and enjoy the beach with palm trees and calm warm ocean water (see photo). You can walk for miles on clean soft white beaches with a few beach shacks for relaxing and having good Goan meals.

For those who want more than a wonderful beach experience, Goa’s history offers Portuguese-influenced cities (i.e. Panaji, Old Goa, Chandor) to explore as well as interesting nature excursions. Also, we highly recommend visiting the absolutely stunning beaches of the nearby 
Maldives (click here to see).

Indian Family Swimming Varca Beach South Goa India
Indian Family - Varca Beach, 
South Goa, India
Some history... Goa was a Portuguese territory for about 450 years. It was the first part of India to be colonized by Europeans in the early 15th century and was the last to be turned back to Indian control in 1961. Due to various invasions by different civilizations, Goa has a distinctive blend of cultures including ethnic Indian Konkani and reminiscent Portuguese. Although Goa gained independence relatively recently, you do not see many Portuguese people. You do see the distinctly European architecture and well laid out cities that the Indians have become to appreciate. Also, Goa is India’s richest state with the highest GDP per capita.

Travel tips... We recommend using Avion Holidays (avionholidays.co.uk) who worked hard to help us organize our customized trip to southern India, Sri Lanka (click here to see), and the Maldives. The best (and busiest) time to visit Goa is during the winter between mid-November and mid-February. India has three main seasons - hot and humid Summer (March to May), Monsoon (June to September), and Winter (milder summer). Goa's primary industry is tourism handling 12% of India’s foreign tourists. Winter and summer are Goa’s main tourist seasons. In the winter, tourists come from abroad (mainly Europe) to enjoy the warm weather. In the summer time (in Goa, the rainy season), tourists from India come to spend their holidays.

Playing Cricket Varca Beach Goa India
Playing Cricket on Varca Beach - Goa, India
Staying healthy in India... Most visitors choose bottled water that can be purchased reasonable cheaply. When buying water from street vendors, make sure the lid is sealed and not refilled with tap water. Make sure you rinse your toothbrush with bottled water and keep your mouth closed when showering. It is also wise to be careful what you eat. Outside of major tourist hotels and restaurants, particularly risky things to stay away from are raw leafy vegetables and egg-based dressings like mayonnaise, and minced meat. To be safe, you should stick to boiled, baked, fried, or peeled goods.

Please see our other 6 travel blog posts about incredible India:

Taj Mahal, India

Cremations on Ganges River - Varanasi, India

Mumbai (Bombay), India

New Delhi, India (Capital) 

Jaipur (The Pink City), India

Khajuraho (Kama Sutra Temples) - Orchha, India 

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  1. Fantastic info and pix. I have heard great things about Goa and your article is wonderful.

  2. Interesting reading your experience visiting Goa India, and some great tips! I have heard it is quite a chaotic place and there is a huge range of choices for accommodation in India in general. The Ramada Caravela Beach Resort looks like quite the place! I would love to travel around India and Goa is definitely one of the places I plan to visit.

  3. I would love to visit Goa. I had heard how beautiful it is; your article cemented that sentiment in my mind! Beautiful photos!

  4. We, too, have heard wonderful things about Goa. Your tips will be very helpful should we plan a visit in the future. The beaches look great, and it's not what one first thinks of when thinking of "India."

  5. Goa is the beautiful place to visit in India. Great sharing of the personal experience.


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