North Goa is a territory of free morals, a favorite place for hippies, the birthplace of trance music. People come here for a budget beach vacation, getting to know all kinds of spiritual practices and amazing beach parties.
North Goa is one of two districts of a small Indian state, the area of which is 1736 km², and the population according to 2011 data reaches 818 thousand people. It was founded on May 30, 1987. The administrative center is the city of Mapusa.
In contrast to the quiet and respectable south, loved by people of the older age category, it is the main refuge for yogis, downshifters, informals, party people and representatives of various philosophical movements. This is an inexpensive, fun and noisy part of the state, in which life does not cease, day or night. It is here that such world famous events are held as:
- India Bike Week (weekly motorcycle exhibition),
- Goa Tattoo Festival (tattoo festival),
- Freaks on Parade (Freak Parade),
- original beach parties dedicated to the unusual goan trance.
But even if you are unable to attend any of these events, do not rush to be upset – you will always find numerous bars, nightclubs and discos that delight you with cheap drinks and a rich entertainment program. By the way, most of them close in the morning.
How is North Goa different from South?
As you may have guessed, North and South Goa are like two sides of the same coin, the difference between which is noticeable even to the inexperienced traveler. If the southern part of the state is represented by large hotel complexes offering holidays on the “all inclusive” system, then in the north you will find a huge number of budget hostels, small cozy “three rubles” and very simple bungalows located on the beach.
The prices of food, rides and entertainment in the northern part of the state are almost the same as in the southern part. But in terms of cleanliness, the first one loses noticeably – the features of the local contingent are affecting. There is a difference in the sand: if it is yellow and small in the south, then in the north it is larger, mixed with clay and volcanic ash, which gives it a rich gray tint.
As for the North Goa resorts, they are almost always very noisy and crowded, and therefore poorly suited for a quiet family vacation with children. By the way, you will have to look after the kid yourself – in the north, in contrast to the south, there are no special children’s rooms, and it is difficult to hire a nanny. And another important difference – the northern part of the state is incredibly popular among immigrants from the countries of the former USSR, so many locals speak Russian well.
When is better to come: weather and climate
Despite the fact that the weather in North Goa remains warm all year round, the best time to visit this resort is considered to be from November to March. At this time, dry, calm and stable sunny weather is established on the street, which contributes to a pleasant and quite varied rest. At the same time, the peak of the tourist season is the New Year and Christmas holidays, which many European tourists prefer to celebrate under the scorching tropical sun. Finding more or less decent housing at this time is extremely difficult, so it is better to book a room in a hostel or hotel in advance. But in the summer in this part of India it is not very comfortable – strong monsoons and almost constant rains will not allow you to go to the beach.
North Goa Resorts
To understand where it is better to go to North Goa, we give a brief overview of the most popular resorts.
The crowded bustling beach, the center of the nightlife of the state. Located 18 km from Panaji, it has good transport accessibility and a large selection of housing for every taste and budget. The coastline is quite narrow, dotted with small cliffs and sharp pitfalls, which you can easily run into during the surf.
Despite the lack of toilets, changing cabins and other basic amenities, Anjuna is one of the most visited resorts in the north of Goa. The “fault” is the daily goa trance parties, a huge number of beach cafes and restaurants with live music, two nightclubs that appeared here along with the first hippies, and, of course, a bazaar working on Wednesdays. We will talk about it again.
A popular resort, surrounded by picturesque high hills and having two water pools at once – the Arabian Sea and the local river Juari (you can also swim in it). There are a lot of cows, dogs and people in Vagator, so it’s not possible to meditate calmly here.
The beach infrastructure includes restaurants, small shops, toilets and changing cabins. Sun beds and umbrellas are, but belong to cafes. Smooth entry into the sea and the absence of stones are overshadowed by strong undercurrents, so those who are not too confident in their abilities should better not go into the water. Among the most famous attractions of the resort include the ruins of Fort Chapora and the head of the god Shiva, carved in stone.
More detailed information about the resort of Vagator is collected in this article .
It is one of the most developed resorts in North Goa. It is a real beach town, which has everything for a good holiday – a lot of chain hotels, restaurants and cafes, sunbeds and masseurs, spa, discos, bars and nightclubs. Previously, noisy beach parties were regularly held here, which lasted until the morning, but due to the actions of the police, the scale of these events has recently decreased significantly.
The coastline of Calangute cannot be called the cleanest, moreover, almost the entire local population comes here during the Indian vacation season (May and October). True, this does not bother the many vacationers. Quite the contrary – the presence of the Indians makes Calangute even more colorful. One of the most visited places of this resort can be called the Kirkar art gallery, in which evenings of national Indian dances are held once a week.
Arambol Beach , the length of which reaches 3.5 km, is one of the longest on the coast of Goa. Life here is in full swing: in the mornings, many fishing boats go to sea, in the afternoon, many vacationers sunbathe and swim, and with the onset of the evening, they hold a fire show, organize public festivities and walk fighting bulls.
The main advantages of Arambol include a smooth entry into the sea, a wide line of shallow water and the absence of stones. True, stray dogs and humpback cows, walking along the entire coast, can spoil the vacation experience, but they have long been an integral part of any Indian resort. Arambol is pretty clean. Umbrellas and sunbeds belong to beach necks. Among other entertainments, one can single out a trip to the lake with soft clay, which has unique healing properties.
Morjim is a famous resort of Goa , the developed infrastructure of which contributes to a complete and comfortable stay. It has everything from toilets, showers and sunshades with sunbeds to cafes and restaurants offering a rich entertainment program. Morjim beach is relatively clean, entry into the water is smooth, rocks and strong undercurrents are absent. In addition, professional rescuers work throughout its territory.
The coastline, stretching for as much as 3 km, can be divided into 2 parts – Morjim beach and Turtle beach. If the first is intended for numerous European tourists, the second, which is a protected area, is equipped for Ridley’s olive turtles, which are under state protection. It is there that they lay their eggs and hatch offspring.
Well, the most important feature of Morjim is a large number of Russians. And we are talking not only about vacationers, but also about those who live here on an ongoing basis. Most of the guesthouses, shops, necks, souvenir shops, bars, villas and restaurants belong to them. Probably, for this reason, vacation prices here are much higher than in other areas of the state.
Being one of the longest resorts in North Goa , Baga is divided into several sections, each of which has its own distinctive features. So, the area near the mouth of the river of the same name boasts creaky sand, developed infrastructure and a spontaneous fish market, where fishermen trade directly from boats. True, it is not very clean, so most visitors opt for the beach from Calangute. It is in this part of Bagi that the bulk of the necks offering local, European and Mediterranean dishes are concentrated. What is in the middle is in demand among the local population, which for some reason cannot swim, but aggressively climbs into the water right in its clothes.
The coastline of the resort is quite wide. The bottom is soft and sandy, the depth grows gradually, but the sea is quite uneasy, therefore, professional lifeguards monitor the safety of vacationers. The territory is cleaned daily. Umbrellas and sunbeds belong to restaurants. There is a toilet on the beach, but changing cabins and showers have not been built here.
Without exaggeration, Candolim can be called the most calm and respectable resort of the district. The beach is covered with yellow sand, sun loungers are everywhere, shops, restaurants and cafes work. The descent to the water is quite steep, but there are no rocks or stones. Consistently high waves favor snorkeling, surfing, sapboarding and other water sports.
The territory of the beach is protected not only from tramps and beggars, but also from pestering street vendors selling all kinds of things. Among the local attractions, colonial architecture buildings, a pond with giant red lotuses and a stranded ship called the “River Princess” deserve special attention.
Overview of the most popular beaches of North Goa is completed by Mandrem, a small secluded beach, characterized by a smooth entry into the water, a soft and gentle bottom, as well as a clean sea for India. There are no stones and debris. The sand is soft and pleasant. There are umbrellas and sun loungers, changing rooms, a toilet, restaurants and cafes. The only big minus is the presence of strong undercurrents that can knock down even an experienced swimmer.
Noisy parties at this resort are few. Most vacationers prefer to meditate, do yoga and watch the chic Goan sunsets. Well, the main distinguishing feature of this place is the many small islands formed by two shallow rivers and interconnected by picturesque bridges. Other famous attractions include a huge banyan tree, the ruins of a shrimp factory and several ancient temples.
More details about Mandrem are collected in this article .
Sights of North Goa
Holidays in North Goa will be incomplete without visiting ancient architectural monuments, historical sites and numerous natural attractions that amaze with their genuine beauty. Each of these places is unique in its own way, but perhaps the greatest tourist interest is Old Goa, an ancient Portuguese city located a few kilometers from Panaji. Being the historical center of the state, it has a huge number of churches, temples, chapels and monasteries, erected during the Portuguese conquest of India.
History buffs will certainly be interested in the two-tiered fort of Aguada, another creation of the Portuguese located near the resort of Candolim. The fortress operates as a museum, it has a small restaurant and several souvenir shops. If you wish, you can climb the observation tower of the lighthouse, which offers excellent views of the sentinel towers and high impregnable walls. The capital of the state, the city of Panaji, deserves no less attention, the most visited objects of which are the Fontaine district, the Hidalcao palace, the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, the Hindu temple of Maruti, the casino on ships and Azad Maidan square.
Wildlife connoisseurs will appreciate the many natural attractions, the most important of which are the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, located on the pristine island of Chorao, and a tropical spice plantation that is located 6 km from the city of Ponda.
And, of course, one cannot fail to note the famous flea market, located in the vicinity of Anjuna and offering customers goods for every taste. If before that you did not quite understand what you can buy in North Goa, then after visiting it the answer to this question will be obvious – that’s it! And in order not to spend more than what is supposed to, stop at those purchases that really pay off (Indian cosmetics, spices, tea, leather products, jewelry, local rum, home textiles). Even the most budget travelers should go to Anjuna’s flea market. Firstly, there is not only possible, but also a bargain. And secondly, even without buying anything, you can have a good rest, get a lot of vivid impressions and fully enjoy the local flavor.
For a more detailed description of the main attractions of the entire state of Goa, see this page .
Ranking of the best hotels in North Goa look at the first line here .
When you are planning a vacation to North Goa, listen to useful tips that will make your vacation in one of the most popular resorts in India even more enjoyable:
- It is better to wrap money and documents in a plastic bag, put in a purse and fasten under clothes. It is not worth carrying large amounts with you – it is better to give preference to bank cards or traveler’s checks, which can be exchanged almost anywhere.
- When traveling by train, do not leave your luggage unattended. In extreme cases, attach the suitcases to the seat with a special chain – this will save you from robbery.
- While resting on the North Goa, do not drink tap water and refuse to add ice cubes to your drinks.
- Be sure to bring your emergency card with you. It should include not only your name and age, but also basic medical information (blood type, allergy to certain drugs, serious diagnoses, etc.), as well as the phone number of a close relative, who can be contacted in case of an emergency .
- Never take food or drinks from strangers. Indian swindlers often euthanize travelers with the aim of further robbery.
- When planning to have fun “to the fullest”, do not forget that the possession, use and sale of prohibited substances is a criminal offense. Everyone who is caught with soft or hard drugs will receive not only a $ 140 fine, but also 10 years in a maximum security colony.
- Do not give alms to numerous Goan tramps – in fact, these are not beggars at all, but a gang of professionals who work with easy money.
- Always monitor the cleanliness and dryness of your legs, do not go barefoot – so you can not catch parasites or a fungal infection.
- Do not sunbathe topless or completely without clothes – nudism in Goa is prohibited.
- Before using a camera or camera, make sure that the ban on shooting does not apply at this place.
Comparison of North and South Goa, viewing the best beaches and cafes: