Weekend Read | Offbeat Guide To Goa: Beyond Booze, Beaches, & Boogie!


Goa might be an idyllic vacation spot for many but have you dug beneath the surface and explored with a non-touristy lens?

Goa is not a place, it is an emotion. It is true, there are no sad days in the city. Blame it on the crystal clear beaches or the 'susegaad' spirit, Goa runs in every vacationer's blood. But in a place where booze, birds and beaches co-exist, it is about time we take a closer look at this nature's gem. If Goa was a human, it probably would be overwhelmed by all the ravers and tourist! The sunshine state has been begging to be explored a little more, perhaps by individuals who favour privacy over buzzing parties, exclusivity over anything else. And if you fall into any of these categories, then here's a handy guide that'll unleash a brand new face of Goa. Think luxury villas, rejuvenating ayurvedic retreats, hot air balloon rides and vegan cafes! You'll be surprised at the beauty of those unchartered territories that are begging to be explored a little more. Here are five activities that are a far cry from the usual suspects and in turn will also enrich you other than just your social media feed.

Stay at Coco Shambhala

Forgo the usual and live in the most luxurious villas at Coco Shambhala. Situated in Nerul Bardez, the place is all about celebrating the essence of indulgent living in the tropical haven of Goa. Since the place is super exclusive, be warned to book months even advance to avoid any disappointments. It has a collection of 4 luxury vacation villas in Goa, which are set in a tropical garden with a freeform jungle swimming pool in the midst and is a mix of architecture, design and service. Whether you are looking for a romantic retreat or just need a quiet time for yourself to reconnect with nature, the stay at Coco Shambhala will be worth it!

Photo Credit: Coco Shambhala

Explore Fort Tiracol

Located in the northern tip of Goa and on the mouth of the Tiracol River, this 17th century fort became an important part of the Portuguese Maritime defences. It is now converted into a luxury hotel and is perfect for those who want a slice of history while lounging around in their luxurious suite. You can have a drink or two at the very famous Tavern restaurant and lounge bar or just sit by the Verandah-a garden alfresco cafe which is located inside the property.

Photo Credit: Fort Tiracol

Hot Air Balloon ride at Assolda

Looking for some adventure without actually jumping off a cliff? How about a hot air balloon ride? If you are done with the usual explorations of the beachy city then head to Assolda in south Goa for a one-hour-long hot air balloon ride. There are a couple of time slots available for booking (morning and evening) and each ride can accommodate up to 11 people. The balloon flies up to 900 feet and is probably the most picturesque way to explore Goa from the clouds.

Photo Credit: Thrillophilia

Eat At Artjuna Cafe

Sure, we all love that fresh catch of a lovely red snapper and squids on our plate but to truly experience Goa, you should take a look at their burgeoning vegan cafes. Give your carnivorous feasts a miss and explore the freshness of vegetables and colourful buddha bowls at Artjuna cafe. Go to the beautiful garden cafe after a morning walk and absorb the beauty of the gorgeous sand art and colourful lamps that dominate the decor of the place. Their Mediterranean menu and freshly squeezed juice are particularly a crowd favourite!

Photo Credit: Artjuna Cafe

Go For An Ayurvedic Wellness Experience at Devaaya Retreat

If all the above activities are ticked off your list, then it is time you give your body some much-needed relaxation by jetting off to Divar Island and into the lush surroundings of Devaaya Retreat. Their ayurvedic programmes range from 15, 22 to 30 days and are perfect for when you have a little more time at hand and want to relax your mind and body.

Photo Credit: Devaaya Retreat

It is about time you consider this beach paradise as a self-enriching experience rather than just a tourist spot. It is our responsibility as citizens of India to withhold the hidden gems of the country. For now, let’s start with Goa!

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