Goa during peak season
Goa during peak season Reviews
Goa - A Year Round Paradise Nov 06, 2011
I'm constantly asked about Goa by friends, about when is the best time to go, what are the prices,where to eat, how to travel.. yada, yada,yada and mostly I'm asked if I can help sort them out.... (DUH) well yes..
Yes I can help, that is not a problem but I will need some info right? In terms of your date of arrival in Goa, what you'd like to do and the duration of stay, then I can get something going for you.
Telling me you intend coming here sometime in the next year and asking for information on prices 1 year from now is... a) Not very helpful b) Not very helpful and c) Not very helpful if you get my drift :) If I could see that far into the future I'd be a seriously rich fortune teller to the rich and famous by now!
Firstly Goa is awesome, anytime of the year, It all depends on the frame of mind you arrive with and the season. The only thing you need to bring with you to GOA is your sense of adventure.
Yes it is incredibly hot and humid in summer (Feb - June approx) sometimes climbing all the way up to between 32-35 degrees in the shade. (maybe more)This phenomenon is mostly because of the big hot bright yellow disc in the sky commonly referred to as THE SUN, that beats down mercilessly on us(but sometimes it's just the beautiful people on the beach that get the temperature scorching...sic!:) )and the seemingly endless expanses of sand that we all insist on laying upon and cooking ourselves in the above mentioned heat :).
But there is respite for the truly wise (After the first sunburn everyone gets to be truly wise) in the form of a hammock slung in a shady spot, soft retro music wafting on the breeze, a full stomach of sumptous spicy portuguese/goan home cooked food and finally incredibly cheap, Cheap, CHEAP CHILLED BEERS or a pitcher of frozen magarithas.
The combinition of these should have you zoning out in oh....about 15 mins. tops! Pricing during the summer varies from average to slightly expensive depending on where you are. The summer brings in the domestic tourist like ants to a picnic and so a lot of the popular beaches / attractions are still pricy as they are swamped with the indian crowds willing to spend.
The monsoons are very.....well how exactly do I say this....Ah yes - 'WET'. It is torrential rain after all. Goa then just explodes with color and greenary all around and yes the mercury dips to bearable levels. This is a lovely time to travel to the interior sections of Goa. The sea is NOT an option during this time as the waters get really rough and the currents are just wicked. Pricing though at this time (June - October approx)are at their lowest and the place sort of winds down for a 4 month long siesta. However all is not lost...it is Goa after all and there will always be a nice place to eat and somewhere to party but you will just have to look a lot harder.
Finally peak season (more popularly known as 'The european charters are coming so lets make a killing' season)or what we fondly and I'll admit, mistakenly refer to as Winter (October - February approx).
Well there is a bracing nip in the air late evenings to early morning but mostly I feel it's the best time of the year for daytime travel.
Yes Goa does get really steep in terms of pricing at this time being the HOLIDAY season and all that jazz but not necessarily. The type of accommodation you go for will dictate the price as well as it's proximity to the beach.
How do you intend to travel? Do you ride a bike or drive? Renting a bike to get around is by far the smartest, easiest, fastest and cheapest way to commute in Goa as public transport is limited to the local over crowded buses or the motorcycle taxis and other private taxis/rickshaws with the last 2 options being priced as per the state of mind of the driver at that point in time, the time of day and where you are :)
In short if they know they have you by the short hairs you’re going to pay ‘big price small distance’. Post 8:30 p.m. or so public transport is non-existent and then you are at the mercy of the private taxis only with the minimum rates being anything from Rs. 500 upwards at night. If you don’t ride a motorcycle as yet I do suggest you learn, even a non geared bike will do. If you do ride then you are completely sorted for your holiday in Goa.
A lot of people ask for Basic accomodation - please define that for me. Seriously!!!
When you say basic accommodation what do you mean. A spot on the floor maybe?? Come on be a bit specific at least.
You can get a room with a common bath for about Rs. 150/- a day. With attached bath for Rs. 250/- a day (no hot water) and so on. In most cases it’s a tiny room, sometimes really tiny (Not big enough to swing a kitten so forget about the cat), with 1-2 single bed/s and a fan. If lucky a mosquito net is provided although it’s getting harder to find rooms like this in the Baga / Calangute / Candolim area as everyone here has upgraded since there is too much money to be made and people want comfort. And if you do get these rooms then the pricing is steep.
Cleanliness, comfort, security and hygine of the above mentioned rooms are all subjective which isin't to say you cannot find a good deal if lucky.
I am accompanying this post with some photographs of a place I recently stayed at… run by a local Goan couple who surely have an idea of style and taste. Amazingly comfy, clean and value for money. It's away from the beach so there are no scenic views but it is a great deal IMHO. They have a 'B.B.B.' deal for Rs.999 which is Bed, Breakfast and Bike…trust me that is a sweet deal. They are located in Saligaon which is about a 7-10 min ride away from Baga. Very quiet , very nice. Clean bathroom, spacious bedroom, another room with a spare bed that also doubles as the dining room as such, Hot & Cold water, Cable T.V., Microwave and refrigerator.
Their logic is simple, in Goa you will travel and you will rent out some form of transport so if you’re going to rent a bike anyways you might as well stay a bit off the beaten track and therefore they give you the bike as well as part of the package…cool huh?
Average rent for an automatic scooter is Rs. 150-250 a day depending on season, Geared motorcycles are between 150-500 per day depending on the model of the bike and the season. All prices can be negotiated depending on the duration of hire but at no time will the cost drop below Rs. 150/- per day during season (Oct – Feb with December commanding peak and sometimes just plain stupid rates) If you stay for more than a week I’m sure you’ll can try working out a better rate. (Rates may be subject to change in the future so don't hold me to these as they are indicative only)
Places always asked about are Anjuna / Baga in the North and both are great in their own ways.
Baga at one point in time was the hippie capital of Goa but that seems so long ago I’m beginning to think those days were just hallucinations…lol….
Really seems like it was such a long time ago, now it’s just another seriously overcrowded beach with little or nothing left of the charm it once had. I honestly don't mean to sound like a complete wet blanket but I've seen Goa change over the last 20+ yrs from when I was the only person on the beach that had NO shacks to now where you hardly find a decent spot to park your sun baked weary arse and that to on a weekday...the weekend is just downright miserable sometimes. Plus in the evenings you have every shack pumping out music to attract customers and drown out the neighbouring shack's music...which isin't always a good thing.
I am posting a recent photograph of Baga that I took just a couple of months back. It’s now overrun with Indian tourists trying to ogle the foreign tourists and the waters are chock a block with water sport activities. Baga has also been smothered by commercialism with shops, hawkers, boutiques, bars, restaurants, massage 'parlors', ayurvedic 'spas' etc etc etc popping up faster than a kid with an attack of chicken pox and some places are just like that...sores .
I for one have given up on Baga and I prefer to reside away from the Baga / Calangute / Candolim stretch which is just too much like being back in a noisy city, with mindless shopping and the noise of traffic and I try to get a room away from the madness yet somewhere close enough to access this wild life if and when I feel like it. Hey it’s really not all that bad and you can seriously have a blast with the right company but I just don’t like to stay in the middle of this mess. For those who like the constant buzz then Baga is surely the place to be.
Cut to December this place further snowballs into a total riot with half of Bombay descending on Goa to escape the city and avoid the same old faces, JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE WITH THE SAME IDEA, which ends up with re-unions of everyone from Bombay who left to escape the same faces to begin with.
The party people are out to celebrate and everyones out to fleece the party people so it's a workable equation LOL but it just isn’t like it used to be any more.
I was in Goa for New Year a couple of years ago and it was so quiet because of security concerns I was wondering if I had stepped into another dimension. I mean apart from the regular places that were jammed to the gills, the shacks on the beach, which is where the parties should have been thumping, were actually shutting down from 1 a.m. onwards….That was just sad.
Prices were being randomly quoted depending on how you looked. If your skin color tends to lighter shades you basically pay more….But the good news is now we Indians get the same treatment as well…EVERYONE PAYS MORE ...hehehe so we all get the shaft equally now :)
The party scene has picked up again during December but sadly in my opinion the quality of the people here leaves a bit to be desired....toooooooo many stags hoping to get lucky with the foreign tourist.
Anjuna on the other hand has not yet gone as bad as Baga and is really enjoyable. There are chilled out places to stay and some of the parties that happen here go on till the wee hours of the morning if the fuzz don't get a 'whiff' of the buzz :) :) :). There are a lot of places to stay here as well and a family friend has rooms for rent though I’ve not stayed there yet but I will sometime soon and review the place as well. In the interim I can find out about the rates and get back to anyone interested.
Anjuna also doesn’t get too much of the commercial tourist staying here, although busloads of them visit during the day to check out the famed TOPLESS BEACHES about which they will have all been sadly misguided (Anjuna / Vagator were pretty much the topless beaches about 20+ years ago......now everyone's moved to a secret location..... I know where and i'm not telling :))
Anjuna houses more of the foreign tourists, some looking to get away from it all and a really quiet time or for the hard trance, dance parties although a lot of this has shifted even further north to Morjem Beach. Over the past few years as the Anjuna parties became legend and more people started coming here the parties got diluted and they moved.
But now it’s sort of stable again.
Another great place to stay is Mandrem…… away from it all with shacks right on the beach. Booking of these however isn’t easy as the shacks only come up every season which begins in October and are pulled down by May. So advance bookings are tough, staying here is either at a resort or one of the many rooms available for rent a little off the beach.
Just FYI I have a place of my own in Goa at Vasco and relatives scattered all over but I hardly ever stay with them preferring to explore as much as I can every time I visit which is why I keep finding these sweet deals and have travelled this much.
Plus I’ve lived and worked in Anjuna as a bungee master for 8 months in 1999-2000 so yeah Anjuna has a lot of nice memories. Mostly I just keep exploring Goa during the day, I hop onto my faithful two wheeled steed and travel any and all roads less travelled only getting back in the evenings to down another cold one or if the vibe and company is right to PARTY hard :)
The other place talked about is Palolem and South Goa in general, well the entire South Goa stretch will seem like a different world after the North. There are still a few beaches out here that are only accessible by trekking down a cliff or by taking a boat. The crowds away from the few prominent hotspots are much less and the tourist demographic changes to the more relaxed laid back youngsters and slightly older more affluent type. A lot of the 5 star deluxe hotels are located on this stretch. Yet you also find some cheap accommodation here just like in the north as I’ve mentioned earlier.
The beaches are clean, awesome and you can still get stretches in between where it’s just you and on occasion no one else. Palolem is slowly becoming the Baga of the south, it is still a stunningly gorgeous place and well worth a visit but staying there during season is like staying in Baga. My suggestion as always is to stay a little before Palolem and you can still have a blast. Varca and Colva are also really nice places with great restaurants and shacks on the beach and a lot less crowded, but they are quite far from Palolem. Then there is also Agonda beach, Butterfly beach and Cabo De Rama to visit plus the secluded Cola Beach…all incredibly beautiful - I could go on and on about the beaches so I’ll stop now and save some for future posts.
Where to eat? Ahhhhhhhhh another topic close to my heart / stomach :) Well most every place in Goa has at least one restaurant that stands out from the rest. I go for anything new and different, flavor and authenticity win out over price and quantity thought that is a judgement call and I really coulnd't care too much about what a place looks like or it's location. If the food is good I’ll squat in the middle of the street and eat with my hands if necessary. Ok that sounds sad but who cares, I am passionate about my food and drink among other things… lol.
I will have to post some more later on places in Palolem cause they are seasonal so will find out from my pals who live in Goa and visit the beach more often than I do or I'll just make a few more trips myself.
In Colva there is Boomerang which is right on the beach and a little further ahead at Benaulim beach is Little Tiger. Good ambiance, lovely crowd, great music, right ON THE BEACH and smackalicious food.
In the north you have Bean Me Up in Anjuna which is vegetarian and health food, delish but a bit pricy.
Curlies for the wild parties and good food (read STEAK)-- well good steak by Goa standards at least, plus a couple of other places. I will get back about those.
In Baga there is Jamie’s… fine dining Italian Style and a must try is the Wasabi Bloody Mary...
Britto’s, also at Baga which is an old fav…excellent Goan food though they seem to be slipping a bit on quality as of late and the menu seems to have shrunk.
Infantaria and Souza-Lobo’s for a great English / American breakfast plus other meals at Calangute.
Sublime in Saligaon again for fine dining and some of the best unique seafood in Goa i'd say, (upscale prices but not exceedingly exp)and a host of other places but we’ll get to those in time…. Some places you can only be taken to cause if I attempt to give directions you’d probably end up in another country and 'I really am very good with directions'.
Ok I think I’ve rambled on enough…. Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or PM me and we can take it from there.
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