The state of Goa is located in the western part of India but because it was a Portuguese colony for almost 500 years, it’s visibly different from the rest of the country.
It has a population of approximately 1.5 million inhabitants and attracts an estimated 2.5 million visitors each year. A minority Catholic population (25%) is due to the state’s Portuguese roots, while the rest of the population follows the traditional Hindu caste scheme.
Goa is a fascinating mix of history, Portuguese influence, Hindu culture, architecture, beaches and local holiday celebrations. Since the 1960s it’s been an important tourist center marked by important transformations through the years. It was once a meeting place for hippies and expats. Later it became a destination for pampered European tourists, and today Goa is a destination that attracts seminars, conferences, medical tourism, and offers a spiritual sanctuary with Buddhist retreats and yoga.
Nevertheless, Goa remains a relaxing and festive destination, not the least of which is due to its long and uninterrupted line of beaches (21 miles) bordering the Arabian Sea.
Goa’s climate is tropical, hot and humid year round, with a maximum temperature of 95 degrees F. The monsoon rains arrive in June and last through September. The winter is very pleasant with an average temperature of 77 ° F.
What to see
Its capital Panaji is a charming city, the third largest after Vasco de Gama and Margao. Panaji means “Land that never floods,” and the capital is unforgettable for its concrete buildings with balconies and roofs of red tiles, its churches, cobbled streets, and the promenade along the river Mandovi with its Portuguese influences.
For those looking for peace and tranquility, this fishing village in the north of Goa boasts the state’s best beaches. Accommodations are small and simple.
Experience colorful side with a visit to the Anjuna market where you can buy local handicrafts, and take in the snake charmers, fakirs and hippie jugglers. Take note, the market is only held on Wednesdays starting at 9 am.
Must do’s in Goa
- Visit to Goa’s churches and convents some which have been declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO in 1986.
- Chat with Goa’s residents, who are known for their quiet manner.
- Stop by La Vieja Goa, where you’ll find famous 16th century temples in baroque style. The fort’s almost in ruins. Goa’s cathedral is the largest in India.
- Don’t miss Goa’s beaches. Each has a different personality, perfect for the young backpacker, the hippie or for those seeking the exclusivity of a luxury hotel.
- The spices and flavors of Goa’s cuisine will surprise the most adventurous palate. Try the rice, fish and seafood, as well as the curry and India’s unforgettable spices. The spicy pork “Vindaloo” is stellar dish.
- Take time out to hear some of the Portuguese fado music with its melancholy touches.
Experience this exotic destination with your Royal Holiday membership choosing among the four following hotels: