Best time to visit: December, January, February
Average high: 31˚C
Average low: 23˚C
Price of meals: 1/5
Holiday type: Adventure / Beach / Culture / Family / Party / Romantic
The region of Goa, in the centre of India’s west coast, is popular among winter-sun seekers for its sprawling, sandy beaches and reliable weather, and late-night partygoers for the vibrant and energetic nightlife. However, scratch the surface and Goa reveals stunning nature, adventurous activities and cultural exploration to appeal to any holidaymaker.
First and foremost, we recommend basing yourselves close to the region’s picturesque beaches. Palolem is one of the most popular for its wide-open space and a wide selection of water sports, although Bogmalo Beach is an excellent place for swimming and sunbathing. These beaches are also replete with numerous sports, adventurous activities and nature tours to enjoy, including jet skiing, parasailing and dolphin watching. At night, some of the beaches transform into outdoor party venues, although there are also clubs and casinos in the nearby towns.
Besides tourism, Goa also has a healthy spice industry. There are two spice plantations in Goa (Sahakari is the most economical) where you not only learn about the trade but will have a chance to try different foods and interact with the wildlife. There are also numerous wildlife sanctuaries in the region where you can bathe with elephants and sight monkeys, tigers, butterflies and other exotic animals. Adventurous explorers can challenge themselves to challenging hikes, while couples looking to relax may prefer to indulge in a romantic cruise for the perfect way to watch the beautiful red sunsets.
Goa also has its fair share of culture and history to show off, especially from its era as a Portuguese province. The ruins of Cabo De Rama are a great opportunity to combine a visit to the beach with some culture and an amazing view of the cape, while the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On Fridays, head to Mapusa for an impressive market and a chance to interact with traders from all over the region.
Goa is reliably warm all year, averaging in the high twenties even in the coolest months. In fact, March, April and May can be too hot and many of the local beach businesses close for the off-season. Then, from June until mid-November, monsoon season means the high winds and heavy rainfall can make it difficult or even impossible to view many of Goa’s beautiful natural scenes. By December, the rain has passed and the cool wind from the Arabian Sea keeps the temperature comfortable.
One of the greatest delights in Goa is eating out. Meals are spicy and exotic while being almost 80 per cent cheaper than UK prices. A simple meal for one will rarely cost more than £3 and a three-course meal for two averages only £11. Beer averages at £1 but even the most expensive bars are unlikely to charge more than £2. Coffee can vary quite a lot, from 60Rs (60-70p) to 150Rs (£1.65). A bottle of water rarely costs more than 20p.
Winter need not be that gloomy time of year with dark days and wet nights. Swap the fireplace for blue skies and sunshine and the gloves and scarf for shorts and sunscreen by booking a winter getaway ...
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