Why Goa Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List

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Goa, with its bargainous winter sun prices and relaxed hedonism, has been drawing in a loyal crowd for decades now. It’s a destination that marries sun-kissed sands with cheap drinks, a great foodie scene and intricate temples and churches to explore. We’ve rounded up the reasons why you should add India’s smallest state to your travel bucket list.

The beaches

When English winter hits and most of us are sat shivering in dark offices and chilly front rooms, Goa’s beaches remain blissfully hot. With average temperatures of 27°C in December, the Goan people are lucky enough to enjoy almost perennial sunshine. What better way to make the most out of the sunshine than with a trip to the beach.

Luckily, Goa has an awful lot of beaches – Calangute and Baga beach are the busiest but there are plenty of more hidden spots to explore. Candolim beach is one of the longest and is blessed with golden sands, whilst Anjuna is famous for its night time parties and bars. Further afield, the beach of Mandrem (pictured below) has white sands littered with beach shacks, and is famed for its turtle population and dolphin watching opportunities.

a picture of Mandrem in Goa

The Wildlife

For a small state that is popular with tourists, Goa is extremely well endowed with wildlife. Even if you stay in the popular resorts of Candolim, Panjim or Baga you’ll be likely to see the furry face of a monkey or the slippery tail of a dolphin. If wildlife is your passion, then there are plenty of picturesque spots to discover.

The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is Goa’s largest wildlife park and is graced with verdant green scenery and one of India’s tallest waterfalls, the Dudhsagar Falls. This pretty spot on the border of the state is home to a whole host of creatures including the elusive leopard, slender lorises and malayan pythons. Elsewhere, it’s frogs galore at the Cotiago Wildlife Sanctuary and slow moving crocodiles call Cumbharjua their home. Those looking to see dolphins have a broad variety of choices across the coast, there are boat trips out of Palolem, Anjuna and Varca (amongst others) designed to try and spot these majestic creatures.

picture of a crocodile

The Festivals

Here at dealchecker we’re used to festivals where you can never be sure whether to pack sunscreen or wellies and a fleece. Goa doesn’t exactly have that problem and there are a number of festivals which make the most out of the driest months between October and May. Both Sunburn Festival and Hill Top Festival provide unbridled hedonism and thumping music. Previous headliners at Sunburn Festival include Martin Garrix and David Guetta.

Those looking for a little more culture might prefer to check out Goa’s Carnival which takes place every February. This event features intricate floats, fire eaters and lots of lively singing and dancing.

picture of a festival

The Nightlife

It’s hard to talk about Goa without mentioning its nightlife. Revellers flocked to Goa in the 1970s to forget their worries and dance many a night away beside the sea. Ever since, people have come seeking a good time and the chance to sample the unique night life on offer here.

Anjuna Beach is home to the famous beach raves and full moon parties that the state is known for – you can expect strong drinks and an anything goes attitude. Baga is home to a number of upmarket bars on the Tito’s Road stretch where you can buy a fancy cocktail or two before moving on to dance. Perhaps the most famous of Goa’s drinking establishments is Club Cubana, or the nightclub in the sky – perched atop a hillside this bar has incredible views and free-flowing drinks once the entrance fee has been paid.

picture of a beach bar

The Hippy Vibes

In the 1970s the travellers who ventured to Goa were free-spirited and many of them remained long after they had planned to leave. Long sandy beaches and a hugely warm culture can help to lure a visitor in. Today’s Goa has been influenced heavily by these early partiers and there are remnants of this lifestyle almost everywhere you turn.

The Anjuna Wednesday Flea market is at the core of this – it’s a mish-mash of cultures, there are local residents selling intricately woven rugs and holidaymakers who never left flogging handcrafted jewellery. When the sun dips below the horizon, a night time economy begins and there are bars on the beach and full moon parties to entice people to stay. This atmosphere has spread and nowadays you can stay in a temporary shack on Palolem Beach or take part in a yoga or tai chi class in Arambol.

picture of anjuna market

To sample the delights of Goa yourself, compare: Flights | Holidays