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Things to do in South Goa

Discussion in 'Goa' started by SherryS, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. SherryS

    SherryS New Member

    I am going South Goa with my family and friends for a 14-day vacation. Us youngsters don't really want to be with the adults all the time, and would rather explore the place and do things. In our own time, we want to do our stuff and need to know from the public what things to do in South Goa.

    It doesn't necessary have to be things that only youngsters can do, it can be anything, so give all your suggestions and the information you have.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi, welcome to the forum!


    The less touristy side of Goa is the southern part of it, aptly named South Goa. While the state is known for its happening parties in the north, for those looking some solitude, the south is the place to be. With its golden sand beaches, South Goa attracts mostly the couples and families. Sometimes, lone travellers looking for some tranquility can also be spotted around the southern region. Despite being the less touristy side, South Goa has a number of activities that one would find enjoyable as well. Parties? Well, the south also has them, although lesser in number and quite different in approach. Water sports? Check again, because South Goa has a plethora of water sports that one can indulge in too. Wildlife trips, heritage tours and other adventure activities are also available in the south. Stepping away from the rambling, on we go with listing the best things that one can do while in South Goa.

    Things To Do in South Goa

    1. Enjoy a bird's eye view of the Arabian sea with parasailing - Ever dreamed about flying like a bird, with the clear blue skies almost within your reach? Well, since we don't have the technology for that yet, the next best option is parasailing. With parasailing, the adventure lover is strapped unto a parachute, which is then attached to a speed boat. As the speed boat runs into the clear blue water of the sea, the parachute climbs up and up in the air, giving one an almost flying-like experience. The best part about this water sport is that it requires no prior training nor experience at all. Before the lift, the instructor might give you some guidelines to follow but that's about it. The entire activity lasts for around five minutes, which would cost around a thousand rupees, at the most. Many operators offer this activity around South Goa, like in Bogmalo Beach, Colva Beach and Majorda Beach. For reliability and safety though, the Rajbag Beach, close to Canacona, is considered as the best for such aspects. The parasailing operators here are experienced and guarantees the safety of all tourists who'd like to try this activity.
    • Where - Bogmalo Beach, Colva Beach, Majorda Beach and Rajbag Beach
    2. Test your balancing skills with water skiing - This water sport is not for the faint-hearted individuals. It involves adequate balancing skills, along with enough upper and lower body strength. Essentially, in concept, water skiing is the same as skiing, but the former is done on calm waters. Further, a tow boat would run along with the skier while he or she is holding on to a rope. With every turn of the boat, the water skier must balance himself on either a solo ski or two skis. This fun but adventurous water sport can only be done on calm waters. In South Goa, the popular venues for this sport are Arossim Beach and Mobor Beach. This activity costs around Rs. 600 to Rs. 1,200 per session, depending on the operator you choose. Make sure you follow all safety precautions and also wear a life jacket, even if you do know how to swim.
    • Where - Arossim Beach and Mobor Beach
    3. Where the wind will take you with wind surfing - This water sport was invented in the early 20th century, which is mainly a combination of sailing and surfing. The equipment consists of a board with fins on its sides and underneath it, as well as a rig, also known as the sail. Though the water sport is not that difficult to learn, it does require some practice to get that hang of controlling the sail along with balancing on the board. There are a few operators in Mobor Beach offering this activity, along with equipment rental and courses. However, they are not always available so if you have your own equipment with you, you can just bring that to the beach and enjoy wind surfing as well.
    • Where - Mobor Beach
    4. Explore the underwater with scuba diving - Basically, there are two diving spots in Goa, one is located near Mormugao and Bogmalo and the other is located in Murdeshwar in Karnataka. The former is known as the Grande Island and is easily approachable by a boat ride from Bogmalo Beach. The latter is known as the Netrani Island and is approachable by a boat ride from Palolem Beach. Grande Island is closer to the beaches of Goa and has a nice variety of underwater marine life. It has several sites like the Jetty, Suzy's Wreck, Bounty Bay, Sail Rock and many more. You can cover all of these sites within a day or two. Corals, groupers, sting rays and puffers flock to the different sites. On the other hand, Netrani Island is located a bit further from the coast of Goa. It has several sites too like the Pebble Beach, Nursery and Bomb Rock, from which you can spot groupers, corals and pelagic fishes in. Prices for scuba diving vary depending on the operator, but it's around Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per session.
    • Where - Grande Island and Netrani Island
    Scuba Diving (Image from Gunjan Upreti)

    5. Try them all out, other water sports in South Goa - The main beaches for other fun water sports in South Goa are Colva Beach, Palolem Beach and Mobor Beach. Various water sports like jet skiing, banana boat riding, speed boating and water scootering are available in these beaches. Usually, the more crowded beaches have facilities for such water sports. If you venture further into the south, or into remote beaches, facilities for water sports would become very limited. Rates are usually per session though they are more affordable as compared to four previous water sports mentioned above.
    • Where - Colva Beach, Palolem Beach and Mobor Beach
    6. An enjoyable dolphin spotting trip - This is an activity that the whole family or group can enjoy. The waters of Goa is home to the near threatened specie of dolphins, the Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphins. This type of dolphin enjoys swimming along shallow depths of water, which is why they can be easily spotted in a dolphin safari trip in Goa. If you're lucky, you might also spot the Indo-Pacific Finless Porpoises, another threatened specie of dolphins residing in the coastal waters of Goa. As compared to the former though, they are more shy and elusive, plus they have a stark black colour. There are various dolphin safari trips around the state, but in the south, you can try this activity out from the Cavelossim Beach or Palolem Beach.
    • Where - Cavelossim Beach and Palolem Beach
    7. Explore the jungles of the south - A refreshing change of pace would be exploring the jungles of the south, specifically the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. The wildlife sanctuary is huge and even with a day, you won't be able to explore most of it. Unlike other sanctuaries, there are no set jeep safaris, canter safaris or bus safaris here. You can bring your own vehicle but a more eco-friendly way of exploring the park is by bicycle. You only need permission and you can explore the sanctuary, of course, after paying the entrance fees. Though you won't be able to see any of the big cat species here, the wildlife sanctuary has a wide diversity of plant and smaller animal species. Venture into the Bela Lake, where you might be able to spot wild animals taking a drink for relief from. Or you can reach the tree house watch tower, climb it and spot animals from a distance. There's even a seasonal waterfall, best visited during monsoon season, that one can trek to reach here. Various poisonous snakes, pythons, spiders, birds and butterflies reside in the wildlife sanctuary.
    • Where - Canacona (Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary)
    8. Waterfalls trekking, an adventure awaits - A trek through lush jungles that would finally take you to reach your main destination, powerful and ice cold waterfalls. Does this sound like your idea of an adventure? Well, you're in luck, because South Goa has a number of waterfalls that you can trek to reach and enjoy. The first is the Dudhsagar Waterfalls, located on Rivona, close to the border of Goa with Karnataka. This waterfall is approachable by a train ride from Goa, then a jeep ride, before finally embarking on the 20-minute trek proper to reach the base of it. The Dudhsagar Waterfalls is renowned for its milky white appearance especially after the monsoon season. However, the trek to reach the waterfalls is very challenging, as you need to pass through slippery rocks and dense forests, it's not recommended for people with small children or elderly with them. A lesser explored waterfall, the Tambdi Surla Waterfalls, is another must visit. The trek to reach it is even more difficult, as you'd pass through bigger streams and ascend higher. However, unlike the former, this waterfall is more pristine, has less crowds and can give you more serenity. Both these waterfalls are located in the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary in Sonaulim.
    • Where - Sonaulim
    Dudhsagar Waterfalls (Image from Chhaya Methani)

    9. Party all night long - If you do enjoy partying but doesn't want to venture outside of South Goa, there are a few places that you can visit for that. First is the Colva Beach, where the famous Full Moon Party happens. These parties happen usually during or after a full moon. It is perhaps the most crowded party in the south and also the most lively. There are free-flowing drinks and foods, music surrounds the beach shores and both local and foreign tourists just have a blast enjoying the wild scene. On the other hand, if you're more of a laid-back party person, try out the Silent Noise Parties in Palolem Beach. There are three venues for this, all are on Palolem, the Laughing Buddha Bar (Every Tuesday), the Alpha Bar (Every Thursday) and the Neptune Point (Every Saturday). In this party, headphones are given to guests and they can groove to the music at their own pace, there are live DJs, or you can even bring your own music. There are also some bars around South Goa that one can visit for a more formal setup for partying like Aqua (Mobor), Ziggy's (Colva) and Adega Camoens (Benaulim).
    • Where - Colva Beach, Palolem Beach, Mobor Beach and Benaulim Beach
    10. A heritage tour of the south - South Goa also has its fair share of historical sites that one can explore. First is the region of Rachol, a short distance away from Majorda. Rachol has a long history behind it, having been ruled by Muslims, Hindus and the Portuguese in the past centuries. The primary attraction here is the Rachol Fort, built by the Muslim Bahmani dynasty but was later conquered by the Hindu Vijayanagar dynasty. In later years, the fort was conquered by the Portuguese as well. Though only the ruins of the fort remain today, specifically its gateway and moat, it stands as a testimony to the great wars that were fought between the different empires that conquered it. Close to the fort is Asia's oldest seminary, the Rachol Seminary, which still functions as a seminary even today. It exudes serenity and has various wall murals depicting scenes from the Christian life. Then, you can also visit the Cabo De Rama Fort in Canacona, which is another interesting historical site to explore. Who built the fort isn't exactly clear but some scholars believe that it was King Sambhaji, a Maratha king, that did so. Thereafter, the fort was conquered by the Portuguese who made renovations to the fortification. The fort is mostly in ruins, with some parts of its walls and bastions remaining. The old St. Anthony's Church, with its blue and white facade, is located inside the fort as well.
    • Where - Rachol and Canacona
    11. Learn about Goan history with these museums - There are some museums around South Goa that one can explore as well. First is the Goa Chitra, located in Benaulim in Salcette district. The founder of the museum is Victor Hugo, who collected all these artefacts throughout the years. The museum can give you an overview of the development of Goa as a state over the years. The museum is divided into three sections, namely: the Dom Martin Art Gallery, the Goa Chakra and the Goa Chitra proper. The Dom Martin Art Gallery highlights the different paintings collected by Victor Hugo, depicting various scenes of Goa. The Goa Chakra showcases the various modes of transports throughout the years in Goa. And finally, the Goa Chitra highlights the Goan agricultural sector and lifestyle developments over the years. Then there's the Bigfoot Cross Museum in Loutolim, founded by Maendra Jocelino Araujo Alvares. This is a combination of both Portuguese heritage and authentic Goan lifestyle museum. The museum has a section featuring a traditional village or rural life in Goa, complete with various sculptures that depict the lifestyle of the locals back then. It is also famed for the largest laterite sculpture in the world, that is of the Saint Mirabai. Other themed museums such as the Indian Naval Aviation Museum in Mormugao and the Retro Cars Museum in Nuvem are also worth visiting.
    • Where - Benaulim, Loutolim, Mormugao and Nuvem
    Goa Chitra (Image from Victor Hugo Gomes)

    12. An adventurous trek to the Devil's Canyon - The Devil's Canyon is a little known trekking trail, also located in Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, in Sonaulim. The river gorge has an interesting back story to it, about how a human tricked a devil into giving him the river's fishes. Once the devil found out about the trickery though, he cursed the river and since then, no fish was able to survive in it. Aside from the back story, the Devil's Canyon is made infamous due to the drowning incidents that occurred here. The trek to reach it is steep and even if you reach the gorgeous river gorge, swimming here can be quite dangerous. You can still enjoy the beautiful view though and wonder about the legend surrounding the place.
    • Where - Sonaulim
    13. For your spiritual and religious side - You can also visit several churches in South Goa. One of the oldest churches in the region, the Church of the Holy Spirit, is located in Margao. The pure white facade of the church looks quite dainty and elegant from the outside. Originally, a Hindu temple stood in the present structure's location even before the 16th century but it was destroyed by invaders. By the last quarter of the 16th century, a newer structure was built which is the present church that locals use today. The interiors are equally elegant, with murals in the walls, a well-defined altar with the statue of the Holy Spirit and even an ancient organ in the top floor. In Colva, you can visit the Our Lady of Mercy Church, which also features a pure white facade. The church was consecrated in the 17th century and holds a statue of the Infant Jesus. Last but definitely not the least is the Shri Mallikarjuna Temple, located in Canacona. The temple features a brown and white facade, though it is fairly small. It is dedicated to the Lord Mallikarjun, an incarnation of the Lord Shiva. Its location is amidst lush greenery, which only adds to the serenity of the temple.
    • Where - Margao, Colva and Canacona
    14. Go for spice plantation tours - There are various spice plantations around South Goa where you can enjoy a leisurely tour in. The Tropical Spice Plantation is a popular option. The tour package is comprised of the tour proper, a welcome drink and even a lunch. The tour takes you around the different spices of the plantation like peppers, cardamoms, cashews, beetle nuts and nutmegs. There's even a small watering hole in the plantation where ducks and geese have made it their home. The tour is for about Rs. 400 and the delicious lunch of Goan cuisine is the perfect way to end it. Then, there's also the Sahakari Spice Farms, where you also have the same tour package, of touring the spice plantations and also a lunch buffet thereafter. The difference being that you would be taken through the process of making cashews into liquor, the local brew named Fenny. Both of these spice plantations are located in Ponda, a few kilometres away from Panjim.
    • Where - Ponda
    15. Play with the elephants - Also located within the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is the Shanti Elephant Camp. This is now the only elephant sanctuary in the state, as others have subsequently closed due to certain animal rights issues. The Shanti Elephant Camp is just a small resort, with a few cottages, a kitchen and some animals like elephants and camels. The elephants here are well cared for and you can enjoy playing with them, bathing them or even feeding them. Many animal lovers are against riding elephants though this activity is still done in some instances. Despite this, the elephant camp prides itself for the proper maintenance and care of the elephants within the sanctuary. If you'd like, you can even stay the night here, enjoy some nature trailing and get to spend more time with the majestic giant creatures.
    • Where - Sonaulim
    16. Beautiful mansions to explore - With a rich Portuguese past, Goa is teeming with mansions that are perfect examples of the colonial era architectural styles. One of which is the Palacio Do Deao, located in Quepem, a few kilometres away from Cavelossim. The heritage mansion has a bright yellow facade and brown roof, complete with the bordered windows, reminiscent of the Portuguese style of architecture. Renovated recently, the mansion now features a unique blend of both Portuguese and Hindu styles in architecture. The present owners have dedicated their lives into renovating the mansion and showcasing the rich heritage of Goa through it. You can also visit the Figueiredo Mansion, with over 400 years of history behind it, located in Loutolim, now owned by Maria de Lourdes Figueiredo de Albuquerque. Though the facade is largely Portuguese, the interiors are a grand mixture of Chinese, European and Japanese influences. There are also other mansions that you can visit around Margao and Chandor.
    • Where - Quepem, Loutolim, Margao and Chandor
    Menezes Braganza House in Chandor (Image from Sandra Dsouza)

    17. Try out any of these adventure activities - The newer Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary in Verlem in South Goa is a vast jungle but with lesser animals within its premises. However, the wildlife sanctuary is known for the best canyoning experience, in its Upper Sauri Canyoning Trail. The trail is about three kilometres long before you reach the canyoning spot proper. As you descend from the rocks into the cold river water, all doubts and weariness are left behind. You can also venture into Sanvordem, a few kilometres to the east of Margao, where the NV Eco Farm is located. For a group of friends or a bunch of cousins, the adventure park has a number of adventure sports that you can try out. Some of these adventure sports are rappelling, zip lining, wall climbing and Burma bridge crossing.
    • Where - Verlem and Sanvordem
    18. Venture into the unexplored beaches of South Goa - Maybe you're a bit tired of the crowds, why not venture into the hidden beaches of South Goa? A boat ride away from Palolem Beach and you would reach the lesser known Butterfly Beach. The beach is located on an island between Agonda and Palolem. Its name was derived from its butterfly-like shape when viewed from above. You can also reach it by foot or trekking though it takes about two hours to reach. The water here is a turquoise blue, with golden powdery sands. Though there are no beach shacks, you can just bring your own snacks and beverages to enjoy a full day here. About seven kilometres away from Cabo De Rama is the Kakolem Beach, yet another hidden wonder of South Goa. The beach can be reached by road from the village of Cola or you can opt for a more comfortable boat ride instead. With the interspersed rocks strewn along its powdery shores, the beach is as picturesque as a postcard photograph. The Galgibaga Beach, close to Canacona, is another must visit beach. It is protected because it is a nesting ground for the Olive Ridley turtles. Spotting the turtles can be very difficult but you can enjoy the serenity of the place still.
    • Where - Butterfly Beach, Kakolem Beach and Galgibaga Beach

    Aside from its beautiful beaches, South Goa has tons of activities that one can enjoy as well. Sightseeing, waterfall trekking, jungle safaris and spice plantation tours, you can do all of these and more when in South Goa. Don't be afraid to stray away from the usual tourist routes, explore unexplored regions or attractions. Good luck and I hope this guide helps you!