The very thought of beach destinations and most people would come up with the name ‘Goa’! But let’s take a look at what other attractions Goa has to offer the avid tourist… In fact, the Goa experience begins right from the moment we catch a glimpse of vibrant rustic homes (like Mario Miranda paintings) in every conceivable rainbow hue with Mangalore tiled roofs that line both sides of the meandering road, along with swaying coconut trees even as one head to the hotel.
Things to do and see:
Hot air ballooning :
Since few thing in the world could compare with a balloon ride even while offering for a great selfie opportunity and memories to last a lifetime, we could avail of the chance to take a hot air balloon ride, which is now available for tourists in Goa. Cruising at heights of about 3,000 feet, the ride offers a panoramic 360 degree aerial view of the lush green countryside and golden brown beaches either during sunrise or sunset. The balloons reportedly take off from Chandor in South Goa and the wicker baskets can accommodate around 12 people, including a pilot who controls the balloon’s ascent and descent using a propane-fuelled burner. The balloons that take half an hour to inflate are launched around 7 am and after the hour long ride is over, the pilots will on request will give certificate to verify person has completed the flight.
White water rafting:
The white water rafting trip begins from Earthen Pot restaurant in Valpoi, North Goa and is carried out on Mhadei river every year during the monsoon from July to September. Though the around three-hour trip and 10 km white water stretch is apt for adrenaline junkies, it is safe for families. After an exciting ride we can buy photographs of the trip from the tour guide.
This would be perfect for those who love to see marine life in their aquatic surroundings or magnificent corals amid World war 2 shipwrecks.
There are many waterbased theme parks that offer fun and frolic for the entire family. The rides are open on all days except Mondays.
Water scooters accommodating two people on a ride are readily available at Dona Paula, Majorda and Candolim beach and speedboats that can achieve speeds of to 30-40 miles an hour are available in some places.
Some of the sun-kissed beaches…
Calangute: The seven-km long ‘Queen of Beaches’ located 15 km from Panaji also offers para-sailing opportunities.
Vagator: Adjoining Anjuna beach and about 22 km from Panaji, the 30 km stretch is one of the most photographed and much sought-after for midnight parties.
Anjuna: Located about 18 km from Panaji, it is famous for its weekly Flea market, where one could buy souvenirs.
Aguada: It is the location of one of the most famous landmarks, Fort Aguada, which is about 14 km from Panaji.
Morjim: This Olive Ridley turtle nesting site is about 28 km from Panaji. Bambolim: Located about 7 km from Panaji, it is perfect for lounging on a bamboo chair in the shade of a palm thatched umbrella or coconut trees even as we look out at the open sea in the company of our loved ones and with only the sound of crashing waves.
Betul – About 18 km from Margao, one could catch sight of a carpet of silvery scaled fish stretched out for some distance along the white sand in this fishing village. Another attraction is the Portuguese fort located atop a hill.
Goa offers much more than just beaches and the best time to visit is from October to March. Its allure is to be seen and experienced to be fully understood. In a few more days it will be time to celebrate Christmas and usher in the New Year- what better place to spend it than Goa.