Curated strictly for cool-hunters, these six unusual experiences are in equal parts fabulous as they are charming. Welcome to extraordinary Goa.
These truly unique Goa experiences were published originally in the Open Magazine issue dated 27th March. They are updated here with images, video and contact details.
Kerala House Boat Cruise – Laid Back Waters
Many consider River Chapora’s backwaters cleaner and more beautiful than even those in Kerala. Whether true or not is subjective, but why not enjoy the best of both – with a lunch, sunset or overnight stay on-board a luxurious Kerala House Boat ‘Laid Back Waters’ where you can connect with nature, hear the sounds of birds and watch local fisherman carry on with their day while sipping on a flute of your favourite bubbly.
Book the cruise with Sunset Gateways : Lyndon Alves (+91-832-243-7231)
Bird Watching with Rahul Alvares
With an abundance of lush vegetation, almost 420 species of birds can be seen during cooler months in Goa. Rahul Alvares, who’s better known for his snake-wrangling skills, has spent many a winter visiting various corners of Goa to curate three wonderful bird watching itineraries where you can join him and a small group of enthusiasts to see Golden Mantled Leaf birds, Plum Headed Parakeets, Purple Sunbirds, Jungle Babblers, Blue Tailed Bee-eaters to name a few.
Check out Rahul’s inspiring photoblog here . For bookings, call him at +91-988-196-1071
Trekking to Dudhsagar Water Falls
One of India’s most splendid waterfalls, Dudhsagar gushes down from a height of 310 meters with milky white waters. Surrounding pools and natural habitats provide excellent opportunities for rock climbing and swimming, or just spending a day with your very own gourmet picnic and chilled beer.
Several travel companies offer treks to Dudhsagar Falls. Check Goa Tourism website or Thrillopillia’s website to find a tour suitable to you.
Diving in the warm, safe Arabian sea
For those searching for an introduction to diving, there is no greater spot in India than Goa. The visibility may not compare to Lakshadweep or the Andamans but the variety of marine life with coral, rocky pinnacles and shipwreck sites are fantastic ways to start your diving journey. The history buff in me was rather piqued when I read about the British raiding commandos who blew up 4 spy ships (3 German and 1 Italian) in the 4th year of WWII. One of the commandos wrote a book titled `Boarding Party: The Last Action of the Calcutta Light Horse’ which in-turn inspired 1980 Hollywood movie Sea Wolf. Legends speculate that around 600 shipwrecks dot Goa’s seabed, swallowed by corals and silt, including the wooden remains of Shivaji’s small naval force that wrecked havoc and plundered European merchant ships for gold, ivory and other precious cargo.
This stunning video is courtesy : T.E.N Scuba
Dive Goa’s Ajey Patil (SSI and PADI certified) runs one-day beginner courses with international standards of expertise, equipment and safety. The other notable operator is Barracuda Diving India whose owners – Vankatesh Charloo and Karen Gregory – are PADI certified and SSI Dive Control Specialists.
Tiger Spotting and White Water Rafting in Mhadei
A fairly recent addition to Goa’s several wildlife sanctuaries, Mhadei is quickly becoming one of the best places to spot the Bengal Tiger. In addition, the monsoon provides ample opportunity to enjoy white-water rafting, hiking and other adventure sports.
Saving the best for the last is a drive to the pine-crested, turtle-nesting Galgibaga beach at the southern most end of Goa. Deserted but for two simple shacks, Surya’s is British chef Jamie Oliver’s go-to-spot in Goa. Or so we’ve been told.
A parting thought
Goa is a rare gift. Whether it be it’s history, its natural resources or the people who live here – this state is exceptional in every way. In the normal course of life people like me, who live in the state, don’t really share these unusual experiences. We fear how tourists will treat these gems of nature and crown jewels of Goa. But, it is my belief that discerning travellers know how to respect their environment. They understand that nature’s great bounty needs to be preserved and cherished. And if you are reading Open Magazine, or this blog for that matter, you are discerning as it gets. So no fear, atleast here.
With this post, the three part series on Goa’s most extraordinary experiences come to an end. For those who may have missed the earlier parts, do find them here :