A Local's Guide to Goa

A Local's Guide to Goa

This guest post was written by Rachel Jones

Goa has been hoppin’ since the hippies came here, stripped their clothes, and burnt their passports to live free and wild on the beaches of Anjuna. To this day, people come to explore that side of life, and although it’s not quite the same, it’s a place that tends to bring out the life in anyone.

There aren’t many “activities” in Goa. It’s all about partying and hanging out at the beaches. If you want some things to do and don’t like hanging at the beach, I racked my brain to create a list of 50 possibilities you can read there. For a great party line-up check “What’s up Goa” to see a list of who is playing and where.

Getting Around

Upon arrival, you can get a “government taxi” from Panjim to Anjuna for about 1200 Rs. You’ll want to rent a scooter/bike or a car if you can drive manuals as taxi’s to get around is quite an expensive endeavor over time. You can expect about 1000 Rs per day for a car or 200 Rs per day for a scooter on rental. Petrol is very affordable. India is quite possibly the hardest place in the world to drive. Be sure to avoid hitting any animals here which are often on the roads and keep in mind no one follows road rules.

The state itself can be driven from top to bottom in 3 hours. In a nutshell, partiers should stay in the beach towns Arambol or Anjuna in the North and those who want peace should consider Palolem or a smaller beach town in the South. You can easily take day trips all over the state.

Food

There are incredible restaurants in Goa thanks to an influx of expats who stay year-round.
Goan: I love Anand Bar, which is a little touristy but fast service and great local curries. Try the Kingfish rava fry and the butter garlic prawns as well as a chicken xacuti with rice.
Japanese: Sakana in Chapora is very popualar for their Chicken Katsu and sushi rolls.
Health: You can have a delicious mixed salad here at Natti’s Naturals and not worry about getting sick, which is not the case all over India. She makes great acai smoothies as well. It’s a great place to meet people.
Fine Dining: The food at Go With the Flow never disappoints. They are bringing in a new chef for next season (October 2016) so we should see some new items on the menu!

Shopping

One of the greatest things about staying a while in Goa is getting clothing tailored. If you bring along a few of your favorite dresses and buy some fabric in the market, you can have a tailor copy your dresses so you have another! There are some shops you won’t want to miss though.

TIA: located in Arpora, this shop carries a few Goan brands, most of which are run by foreigners who do unique trendy designs. This is the best shop to buy bikinis.

FARA: This shop is in Ashwem and Arambol and makes fantastic breezy flowy clothing that is flattering on anyone. I adore their designs.

Hotels

If you want something 5 star you’ll want to check into the Alila Diwa in South Goa where you can relax. If you want a beach shack, eco-friendly vibe, I suggest Jamboree Creek in Mandrem which offers a variety of classes and has a fantastic cafe. For a villa to rent for a group, you cannot beat Coco Shambhala in Nerul. If you’re on a budget and want a hostel, you can check out Vagator’s Jungle hostel.

Goa has a lot to offer for the luxury traveler as well as a budget backpacker and the areas of town all vary immensely. If you want to enjoy Goa it's important to find a hotel that suits you so you are around like-minded people since it's a place for both families and partiers alike. Make sure to enjoy all Goa has to offer beyond the beach and parties as it's on the edge of a dense jungle with wonderful adventures waiting. There's something in Goa for everyone and you don't have to try very hard to find it!

Guest blogger: Rachel Jones is an American who left a career in nursing to live on the beaches in Goa India 3 years ago. Her award-winning website gives advice on the 30 countries she's been to and has become the go-to site on India travel. Her blog Hippie in Heels like it’s name is a contradiction, combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and girly travel. You can follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Showaround: Thank you, Rachel, for being our guest blogger!