Goa: It’s Not All About The Hippies
Today Goa is mostly popular due to Arambol, its world-known hippie enclave that’s becoming more and more touristic with each passing year. Yet, there’s much more to Arambol than meets the eye, and there a lot of fun and interesting things to do in Goa apart from spending hours at the amazing white-sand beaches (which, we admit, are in abundance).
Goa is a place with a wide array of eateries that range from posh Indian cuisine restaurants to cozy European cafes with cappuccinos and croissants for breakfast. If you want to get a taste of real Indian cuisine, go to Mapusa, which is located a few hours from Arambol. Panaji, the capital of Goa, has some of the best restaurants. Yet, there are local eateries that have words “100% pure veg” in their name, and they can be found throughout all of Goa. These places often serve a great variety of Indian dishes like masala dosa, curry rice, palak paneer, chai and many more. In Arambol, visit the legendary “Double Dutch” café and “Happy Banana” for some of the best smoothies ever.
Explore Goa’s markets
Saturday Night Market in Anjuna is one of the biggest and most colorful events that happen each Saturday during the high season. It’s a great place to shop, eat and listen to music. It’s one of the biggest music venues in Goa and you can find some rare and stylish goods there. Day Market takes place in Arpora every Wednesday and offers a great variety of clothes, souvenirs and foods. Yet if you want to get cheap fruits and vegetables and shop where all locals do, go to the market in Mapusa that’s located near the bus station.
Travel around Goa for the local sites
There’s plenty to see in and around Goa including Divar Island and Chorao Island. If you rent a bike or scooter you can travel to attractions like Dudhsagar Falls which offers a picturesque view of water falling over a bridge with trains traveling by. They are most beautiful during the monsoon, but it is still a great sight in winter. Yashwantgad Fort, also known as Redi Fort, is a spectacular ruin entangled in plants and trees. The Paradise Beach located nearby is a beautiful secluded line of white sand with almost no visitors. Go to the north of Goa to enjoy the fascinating colonial architecture of the Old Goa.
Music and concerts
Goa has an incredibly rich music scene with concerts ranging from world music fusion to Indian-esque music played by artists from all over the world. As the high season comes, Arambol, Anjuna, Vagator and Arpora get busy with all kinds of performances and shows. A lot of musicians are drawn to Arambol and its creative community where new bands form in the blink of an eye. Swedish guitarists, Russian singers, French drummers – Goa has it all! In Arambol “Ash” is the go-to place for interesting shows and festivals. You should also check out places like “Once in Nature”, “Twice in Nature”, “Jungle Dance” and “Naked Space” for a variety of events.
Explore your inner world
Depending on your budget and style of travel, you can enjoy a great variety of activities that involve yoga, dancing, contact improvisation, different breathing techniques and massage. If time is not a problem for you, then think about spending 10 days in peace and quiet at one of Vipassana centers where your days will be filled with meditation and calmness. Arambol has also become a real contact improvisation hub and you’ll find a lot of people who practice this kind of dancing. Yoga classes are also in abundance (not only in Arambol, but also in the nearby villages like Mandrem).
Ivanka Yurchenko is a writer and photographer with a passion for traveling. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, she spends a lot of time exploring the vibrant local culture that is filled with all kinds of events like music festivals, yoga retreats and art gallery openings. She enjoys writing about her travels to inspire other people to go out and see what the world has to offer. She left a job at marketing and went exploring Myanmar, India and Nepal. Now Ivanka is striving to become a great photographer to share the beauty of the world with as many people as possible.