Goa is a state in India unlike any other. Formerly a Portuguese colony, Goa is a place with rich history, beautiful Portuguese architecture, and amazing seafood. Also known for its pristine beaches and fantastic nightlife, Goa is one of India’s top tourist destinations and a trip to the beautiful state is necessary for any traveler seeking a relaxed and low key vacation filled with plenty of activities to pass time and history to learn.
Goa uses India’s standard form of currency, the rupee. Rupees are also used in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives, and Indonesia.
Prices for food, drinks, accommodation, and shopping, are relatively cheap all across Goa. One could get by eating quite comfortably on around 1000 rps a day, which is around $20 or £10!
Check with your local exchange bureau for up to date currency conversions. Or visit Xe.com for an accurate converter.
The official language of Goa is Konkani but the majority of locals you’ll come across will speak English as well. However, it’s always useful to learn a few Konkani phrases here and there, as it’ll help you when trying to bargain for lower prices in the markets.
Traveling in and around Goa is actually fairly easy and you have a number of options to choose from.
Bus: There are many types of bus systems that operate throughout Goa. The majority of buses you’ll find are actually run by private companies and they’ll take you from major locations in Goa to the more rural areas.
The state also operates a large bus system through the Kadamba Transport Corporation, and it offers services from parts of Goa into major cities outside of the state, some of which include Mumbai, Bangalore, and Pune. For these buses, it is best to book through a travel agency or at the offices outside of the Kadamba stations.
As for traveling within cities, buses are plentiful, frequent, cheap, and will get you to just about anywhere in close proximity.
Head out of any rural village and you’ll find different sorts of taxis everywhere. In many cases, you can hire a taxi for an entire day for a pretty fair price. Expect to pay around 1500 rupees and your driver will take you wherever you need to go and wait for whenever you’re ready to move on.
Also, if you’re traveling anywhere by yourself, it’s useful to take advantage of motorcycle (or scooter) taxis. Goa is the only state in India that allows for this and motorcycle rides are often much quicker and a lot more fun (albeit a tad bit dangerous). You’ll be able to recognize motorcycle taxis by the yellow on the front of their tires.
Of course, there’s the standard rickshaw, which you can find all over India. Short journeys will only cost you around 50 rupees while longer ones only go up to around 100.
However, what’s necessary to know about all of these taxis is that you must negotiate your prices in advance! Rarely will the meter be working so before you step into any kind of taxi, set a price with the driver (sometimes called a pilot) before driving off anywhere. Don’t be afraid to haggle! It’s a useful skill to hone while in a country like India.
Hiring a Bike:
It’s also possible for you to rent your own bike or motorcycle. Technically, an international driving permit is not necessary but it’s recommended, just in case you get stopped by the police while driving. Bike hirers are all over Goa and they won’t be hard to find, so if you’re more interested in exploring on your own, this is probably one of your best options.
As in the rest of India, Goa is subject to monsoon weather. Monsoon season lasts from June to September, and if you’re traveling around that time, be prepared for lots and lots of rain. However, monsoon seasons also means discounts on many adations.
Because of it’s location in a tropical part of the world, Goa is constantly hot and humid; be prepared for mosquitoes as well. On hot nights, it’s best to sleep with a mosquito net, just to be safe.
Goan food is unlike any other food you’ll find in India. Heavily influenced by its Portuguese history and the amount of port towns that exist, Goan cuisine is well known for its seafood. Because Catholicism is so prevalent in the state, there are also a number of unique meat dishes that you won’t be able to find in many other places in India. If you make the trip to Goa, here are the foods you can’t leave without trying:
1. Fish, Rice, and Curry
Goa’s most famous and popular dish, fish, rice, and curry is often eaten by locals and can be found at pretty much any Goan restaurant. A good combination is rice, shrimp curry, and recheado fish fry.
2. Goan Sausage
Goan sausages are a variant of the Portuguese sausage called choriz and a visit to Goa cannot be complete without it. You’ll be able to recognize them by their bright red color, smoky scent, and spicy, spicy taste.
Sorpotel is a dish made with liver, tongue, and various other kinds of meat. Ingredients are chopped and cooked in a vinegar sauce until they turn into a thick and flavorful stew. Sorpotel is typically eaten with sannas, a sweet rice cake that compliments the spices of the stew.
A typical dessert or snack in Goa, Bebinca is a baked and layered pudding that you can find in any Goan restaurant. Bebinca takes a lot of skill to create and there are typically 7-16 layers in just one serving!
Feni is a cashew liquor produced only in Goa and isn’t sold anywhere outside of the state. Made from cashew fruit or coconuts, feni is quite strong in comparison to other alcohols so if you’re feeling adventurous, just try it with some ice and you’ll notice it’s nutty taste. Most people, however, just drink it in cocktails.
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