Posted 23 December 2022
Goa and Winters The Perfect Holiday Cocktail
On the southwestern coast of India, Goa - one of the most charming holiday destinations - is visited by bachelors, solo travellers and couples every year in large numbers. The culture, climate and tourist spots make it a popular getaway in winters.
Konkani is the official language of Goa. However, many people also speak Marathi in the state. After staying under the rule of the Portuguese for more than 400 years, the culture of Goans is a beautiful combination of the West and the East. The same amalgamation can be seen in the architectural styles spread throughout the state. The celebrations of Christmas and New Year attract thousands of tourists from around the globe to the beaches of Goa.
The traditional art forms of the state include Fado, Mando, Dekhnni, Corridinho, Dulpod and Fugdi. Western musical instruments like guitar and piano are popular in family gatherings, weddings and casual celebrations. Theatre is another most appreciated form of art in the state. One can witness the richness of Goan cuisine, which includes a variety of sumptuous fish delicacies cooked in coconut oil, vinegar, chilli peppers and spices. Eggs and pork dishes are also famous in the region, along with Feni, a locally brewed alcoholic beverage prepared by fermenting fruit juice from cashew trees.
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Here is how you can prepare your perfect winter holiday cocktail while in Goa.
Places to visit in Goa
- Anjuna Beach: To experience the fervent celebration of New Year, there is no better place than Anjuna Beach. The exhilarating and lively performances make this North Goan beach one of the most visited places every year. Shacks on the beach offer a variety of delicacies and beverages. A few of the attractions are water sports, the mesmerising sunset, techno music played at the Portuguese styled cafes and an old Goan tradition of burning of the old man effigies during the New Year’s eve.
- Cidade De Goa: Situated on the Vainguinim Beach, this resort captures the vibes of Goan culture and offers the tourists the choice to enjoy an array of water sports. It remains booked during the peak time in winters, and therefore, you must make an advance booking if you wish to enjoy festivals here. A few water sports that travellers enjoy here are water biking, parasailing, canoeing, windsurfing and more.
- Casinos: What could be a better way to enjoy a night in Goa than visiting casinos here. The ones on the ships and boats docked in River Mandovi are the most popular. Some of the most played games include Sic Bo, Blackjack, 3 Card Poker, Mini Flush, Money Wheel, Baccarat, 5 card poker, Roulette and more.
- Cabo De Rama: Situated on the Mumbai-Cochin highway, this is one of the most famous places in South Goa. Offering a stunning view of the Cabo De Rama beach, the ruins of an old Portuguese Fort make it a perfect place for spending time with family, friends and loved ones.
- Sinquerim Fort: The breathtaking view of the sunset and gorgeous Portuguese architecture of this fort make it one of the most visited places in Goa. The beach beside the fort offers a relaxing space to unwind during your holiday. There are budget-friendly eateries and luxury accommodations in the vicinity that make it the perfect place to spend your vacation.
- Rivona Caves: Tourists explore these caves for a laterite rock inside it which once served as a seat for a Buddhist Monk. There are eye-catching Buddhist paintings and sculptures engraved on the walls of the cave. With a unique layout and a stunning view overlooking the sea, the place is one of the hidden gems in Goa.
- Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary: Renowned as the second-largest wildlife reserve in the state, it offers vivid sights of fauna. It offers a perfect place for hiking among rocks, tall trees, ponds and marshes. Adventure and wildlife enthusiasts have often come across animals like Indian Bisons, sloth bears, Malabar crested eagle, laughing hyenas and monkeys.
- Arambol Beach: Housing a small fishermen village, this beach hosts late-night parties, presents a lively flea market and offers an opportunity to enjoy watersports. The Bohemian and Hippie cultures attract many tourists from the world.
- Cumbarjua Backwater Canal: The backwater cruise ride in this unexplored Cumbarjua Canal is an adventurous ride. People have often spotted crocodiles on the banks. It is a one-of-a-kind experience with serene views of the lush greenery all around.
- Our Lady of the Mount: Situated on a small hill, this Church is the best way to escape the hustle-and-bustle of Goa. It is one of the best places to witness the beauty of a full moon, and it offers a panoramic view of coastal towns.
- Harvalem Falls: Nestled in the lush jungles of Goa, this is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state with milky water that offers a scenic view. Travellers can also visit the Arvalem Caves and Rudreshwar Temple that lie in the vicinity of the falls.
The list of other places to visit in Goa includes Galgibaga Beach, Cola Beach, Bogmalo Beach, Bamanbudo Waterfalls, Butterfly Beach, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary & Mollem National Park, Butterfly Conservatory of Goa, Chorla Ghats, Carambolim Lake, Mobor Beach, Pequeno Island, Kakolem Beach, Betul Beach, Velsao Beach, Dona Paula Bay, Ashwem Beach and Fort Tiracol.
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Festivals to attend during winter holidays in Goa
- Sunburn Festival: If you like to groove to the beats of the craziest music, this festival is the best place to visit in Goa during winters. The event is held on Vagator Beach and hosts thousands of people at one time. The fest continues through the night and has an entry ticket. It is organised in the last week of December.
- Francis Xavier’s Fest: To commemorate St. Francis Xavier, a grand feast is organised every year. Here, tourists learn about the Goan culture. It is a large-scale event that involves many festivities. It is organised in the first week of December.
- Goa Tribal Festival: If you are in Goa to explore the vibrant culture of the state, then you must attend this festival. It features the heritage and indigenous culture of tribal communities. The tasteful and exquisite handicraft and artwork attract people from all across the globe. The festival is hosted in the second week of January.
- Supersonic Festival: Started by the famous DJs in India, this is one of the most popular festivals in Goa after the Sunburn Festival. Artists from around the world come here and enjoy a crazy night of fine techno music. It is organised in February.
- Goa Sunsplash: It is the biggest reggae music festival in India that attracts tune lovers from all over the world. It is organised on Ashwem Beach in the second and third week of January.
- Mando Festival: With splendid performances, this festival depicts the cultural heritage of Goa. Men and women dress in contrasting costumes and dance to the rhythms of mud percussion instruments and violin.
- Art of Literary Festival: Goa Art & Literature festival attracts poets, authors, artists and writers from India and beyond. It is usually organised in December and bibliophiles often meet their role models here.
Things to do in Goa during your winter break
- Hot air balloon ride: With a stunning aerial view of Goa, this is one of the most sought after activities among tourists and locals. The balloon flies at a height of 2,500 ft above the ground.
- Mandovi river cruise: To celebrate winter vacation in Goa, a cruise ride in the Mandovi River offers an exquisite experience. It includes dinner and an entertainment show. It is a 2 hour long ride that starts with a mesmerising view of the sunset.
- Dolphin spotting: The coastline of the Arabian Sea gives tourists this amazing opportunity to witness dolphins. You can take a boat far away into the sea and spot a school of dolphins frolicking in the blue waters.
- Water sports: Adventure junkies find Goa one of the best places to experience the thrill of watersports. The list includes windsurfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, parasailing, jet skiing, kayaking and wakeboarding.
- Tour of spice plantation: Goa is famous for its spice plantation and it offers a unique experience to tourists partying around the state. The tingling aroma can rejuvenate your senses and help you learn about the cultivation culture of the region.
- Club hopping: Goa is famous for its starry nightlife. With many clubs near the beach, you can hop among the parties and spend all night dancing to your favourite music.
- Cycling: Chorao Island has unexplored tracks that travellers and locals often like to discover while cycling. Avid bikers like to often visit the island to undertake this activity. It has a stunning landscape boasting coconut trees and golden grass.
- Sunbathing: Goa has many beaches that offer multiple opportunities to soak up in the sun and enjoy the serene view of waves crashing with the seashore. Tourists often go swimming, enjoy delicious snacks on the beachside shacks and make sandcastles.
Tips to travel to Goa in the winter season
- Make bookings in advance
- Carry a pullover in case you wish to travel at night
- Check latest guidelines/restrictions imposed by local government
- Choose a place near the beach for your stay
- Pack essentials like high SPF sunscreen, hat and moisturiser
- The best way to explore Goa is on a two-wheeler
How to reach Goa?
- Air: Goa Dabolim Airport handles both domestic and international flights. It is served by IndiGo flight routes to reach the destination without hassle. You can catch flights to Goa from New Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Indore, Lucknow, Chennai and other cities.
- Railways: Goa has two railway stations – Vasco-da-Gama and Madgaon. You can catch a train from New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and other prominent cities in India to reach one of the best holiday destinations in the country.
- Sea: Situated on the coast of the Arabian Sea, it is no wonder that you can enter Goa via the sea route. A cruise is available from Mumbai to Panaji that makes the journey memorable.
- Road: Goa is well-connected to the rest of India via smooth road networks. You can book a bus, hire a cab or rent a car to reach Goa from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and other nearby cities.
How to get around in Goa
Goa has multiple options that help you go around and explore the tourist spots without hustling. You can use the service of motorcycle rickshaws. It is a travel-friendly choice. You can also hire a cab or auto-rickshaw if you are travelling with a group or family. When in Goa, you can hire a bike and go around exploring clubs, beaches and tourist destinations. If you have to travel to nearby islands, a ferry ride is the most convenient and fun option.
Lying in the tropical region, Goa remains hot and humid throughout the year. However, the state experiences pleasant weather with temperatures ranging from 19°C to 32°C.
Best time to visit Goa
The best time to visit Goa is between November and February. If you want to enjoy several festivals, December is the perfect month to plan your holiday here.
Goa is a wonderful place to visit with family and friends. Now that you have caught up on the travel guide and tips, it is time to plan your vacation, which will remain in your memories for life.
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