Goan beaches are lovely... I've been fortunate enough to see many gorgeous beaches in my lifetime, but in Goa I was truly impressed.
(The beaches back home in Dubai are dirty and ugly in comparison!)
Especially in the low-season, the beaches are nice and empty - perfect for a relaxing walk that can carry on for hours... the scenery is beautiful, simply stunning, you never know where it may lead you.
We saw many "overly-keen holiday types" out for early morning or late afternoon jogging, but I prefer the relaxed way:
grab your sunlotion, a hat, sunglasses & a camera.
That's all you'll need to capture the essence of Goa's natural surroundings... and you never know what great photo opportunies you'll come across.
"The secrets of the summer I will keep
The sands of time will blow a mystery
No-one but you and I - Underneath that moonlit sky
Take me back to the place that I know
On the beach"
"Forever in my dreams my heart will be
Hanging on to this sweet memory
A day of strange desire - And a night that burned like fire
Take me back to the place that I know
On the beach..."
- Chris Rea, On the Beach
Three animal-loving girls on holiday - of course we had to visit the local animal rescue!
Animal Tracks was opened in 1998 & is a fully functional veterinary clinic with a properly built kennel block housing 90-100 dogs at any given time (mostly puppies) and a purpose built cattery for 50 cats. The clinic has expanded to deal with wildlife & numerous pigs, goats, cows & water buffalo.
Visitors are always welcome to the clinic to see the animals, help with cleaning (and playing with) the cats & kittens, and the dogs always need walks. However, the best help any animal shelter could every hope for is visits from volunteer vets.
The staff were friendly and took their time to show us around & explain their activities to us. The conditions are - compared to Western standards - rather poor, basic & smelly - but the centre is doing what it can and is already making a big difference for animals in the area.
The main aim of the centre is to sterilise, treat and whenever possible re-home the animals or release them back to where they were found. As many people in Goa do not want dogs as pets, or simply cannot afford them, most adult dogs are sent back to the streets after being treated & sterilised... the operations will prevent further generations of unwanted puppies being born in the future.
The animals are all vaccinated against rabies, and dogs are then given an collar from the shelter: so if you see dogs with IAR collars, rest assured that they have been neutered/castrated and are rabies-free.
the IAR also provides this free service for those who cannot pay & obviously for the stray animals. DONATIONS ARE OF THE ESSENCE!
The centre also fights for the rights and survival of India's wildlife:
Horrendous cruelty is inflicted on elephants, monkeys, "dancing bears" and snakes.
Please NEVER give money to anyone with performing animals!
Head with a Cobra Sculpture...... Hmmmm? What do you think? Could it be someone's incarnation of Shiva.
This fantastic Little Beach is 22 km north of Panaji. In the Small Indian State of Goa. Vagator Beach is about half way up the 30 km coastline stretch of Northern Beaches of Goa that covers the most popular hotspots of Goa and India tourism.
Vagator by day is more salubrious and laid-back than Anjuna. Relatively secluded, The Three little beaches that make up Vagator are situated on the crescent shaped Caisua bay, along the Chapora river basin, in the shadow of the ruins of Chapora Fort.
Vagator is one of the most beautiful beaches of Goa, and India, laying on inviting sandy coves, between coconut palm shaded rocky headlands. Generally peaceful, in peak season it attracts day-trippers, and during the night typically boisterous Goa beach parties are a regular feature, especially at Disco Valley between Vagator and Little Vagator, and at Banyan Tree, east of Vagator. Not to mention, The Hill Top above Little Vagator Beach. Fun Fun Fun.
On the cliff above Little Vagator Alcove offers delicious location, ambiance and food & drinks. Restaurants in Vagator dish up tasty seafood, continental dishes, health foods and fruity shakes.
Little Vagator and Ozran (Spaghetti Beach) are two gorgeous small Goa beaches just south of Vagator. Spaghetti Beach is nestled at the bottom of a palm-covered cliff. Both have been discovered by youngsters on a Goa holiday seeking beaches in Goa to call their own. Here is where you'll find the sculpture here of Lord Shiva on a rock, creatingly carved by a long-staying visitor.
Give Vagator a Go. Its a Fantastic Little Beach.
The more people are found lying on the Goan beaches, the more you'll see fruit vendors with big baskets on their heads trying to make some business.
They're generally not too pushy; they simply inform you of the variety they have and then they move on.
Some people may be concerned about the hygiene of the fruit knife, the basket or the vendor's hands - but we had pineapple & little bananas quite a few times and our tummies were fine :-) Especially when it's fruit that you have to peel, you're pretty safe anyway.
A bag of pineapple cost about 5 Rupees - but of course you'll always get the occasional wise-guy that thinks he can make some extra money from the "dumb tourists":
(we saw a Russian couple that got ripped-off by a different fruit-guy, paying 40,- Rupees for the same!)
Why not try a day trip to Mapusa? Its the main market town for the North of Goa. There's nothing that special to see...but if its your first trip to India you'll get a good feel for what a small town is all about. The Market is open every weekday...and is alive with the hustle and bustle...with a mixture of aroma's swirling around.
The southern stretch of Morjim is known as Temb and every year, normally November onwards, is the place that these rare beasts come to lay their eggs. The Goan Government has set up a nature sanctuary to protect the turtles. So give the area a visit, but just be sensitive to the turtles...by the way its more luck than judgement to see a turtle, as they turn up at all times of day & night.
The area of Ponda is where you will find most Hindu temples in Goa. Sri Ananta Temple, Sri Manguesh Temple, Sri Mahalasa, Sri Devaki Krishna Temple, Sri Navdurga At Madkai are just some of the temples you can visit if you spend a morning or an afternoon around the Ponda area.
Hire a taxi and the driver will take you to the most well known temples, waiting for you and then will leave you in your hotel in your return. Be sure to agree a price before departing.
Most holiday makers tend to rush south for a night or two at Palolem...whilst I agree its a great little cove...its got far too many people! I much prefer Benaulim. Its changed a lot, but still has an aura about it...a colourful local fishing fleet...a couple of shacks...and empty sands!
Why not try a trip into Madgaon? Its a big bustling city with lots of green spaces, a mad elevated roadway...and theres a skytrain system under construction. Theres lots of great cafe's...try Marliz on Municipal Gardens for great cakes & coffee!
THis beach is wonderful, it is a long stretch of fine sand fringed with palm trees. You can stay in a "coco hut" which are shacks on stilts ( you gotta do it!) there is also a restaurant or two on the beach where you can sample some of the typically excellent indian cuisine on offer in Goa
Catch the Siolem to chopdem ferry and drive north to towards Arambol, drive through the palm laden lanes(about 15-20 mins) and look for a place called Morjim , the lane starts to go up a hill with a cutting (you are on the right road) then is straight all the way down with fields then palm trees down to the beach (on the left) keep an eye open for a little hand painted sign `GOPALS`, drive over the field through the palms. Gopal and his family run the beach bar and have tree houses for rent , very nice too is his food , great place to relax for a few days and have the beach more or less to yourselves and within 15 mins of arambol
we took a boat with some locals to the mangrove, they were excellent at spotting the crocs, scared the pants off me at first poking the crocs with sticks to get them to move or run around! They supplied us with food and drinks for the day,and when we ate and drank it all they stopped off and bought us some more!
The crocs were amazing as was the mangrove and the rest of the wildlife in the area, do not miss this for anything!
Goa's life and beauty lies in the villages.
While you are in North Goa, take a trip to some of the villages Assagao, Saligao or if you have the time take a trip to Diwar island. You have to cross Mandovi river from Ribandar, on the way to Old Goa. The old Goan houses are fascinating. It's a shame to see most of them are poorly maintained and in shambles. Very few are well maintained and if you are lucky, you could get a chance to visit one of the local homes and have a look inside. Don't miss it!! it's worth trying..!!!
The last remaining temple from the 13th century Kadamba dynasty.
Impossible to get to without your own transport, but wonderfully isolated and desreted. There were two worshippers there whe we visited and no tourists in sight (apart from us). We visited on the way to Bondla.
Red Hot Salsa is the name associated with Tony and Debi. They moved to Goa in January 2000 and set up a registered company with the aim to bring Salsa to the people of Goa.
Tony and Debi run regular classes at various venues in Goa. Anyone from the age of 16 years upwards is welcome to come to learn to dance.
They have Goan students, European students, Indian students as well as students from Africa, America and Australia.
All have one common aim, to learn to dance so they can then use their skill wherever they go.