Prices and How much you will have to budget for a vacation rental property in Goa

With the variety of accommodations available for vacation rentals there are a number of price points at that  a renter can explore.  This though is dependent on a variety of factors such as the type of accommodation, the locality, the amenities and the season. Prices also differ according to the type of lease or the period of stay you plan for. Low cost accommodation is also available in backpacker hostels that are popular among budget travelers and are in demand across the beach belt of the state. Here we explore then prices of properties and the costs incurred while you rent a vacation home.


Locality

The locality is definitely the driving force behind the rents that are charged. Areas such as Candolim, Baga and Calungute are prime spots with vibrant nightlife, great food, bars and plenty of shopping having demand for accommodation all throughout the year. Rents for villas here begin at around Rs. 55,000 a night and also can reach Rs. 1,50,000 a night.  Most of the visitors here are vacationers that travel in groups and want an exclusive property to themselves. Hotels on the other hand can range any between Rs. 4,000 a night to Rs. 25,000 for non-peak season rates.

For those considering a year long lease, there are very limited options in these areas as most independent homes are let out for short weekly stays. A deposit which is a usually in the range of Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 30,000 is requested by the homeowner which is refunded at checkout.  Areas such as Morjim and Mandrem are best suited for long stays and homeowners here are a lot keen to sign long term 11 month leases.  Rents for independent homes begin at around Rs. 40,000 onwards.

The age of the properties also determine the rental prices. A modern home in Anjuna for example will cost Rs. 65,0000 per month, an older home in the same locality would be priced at around Rs. 40,000.


Seasonal rates

The tourist season in Goa begins in the month of September and continues till May with the peak season being in the months of November and December. Most Europeans visit until January-February. February onwards witness a rush of domestic tourism.  Vacation rental rates keep shifting as per these seasonal trends. Demand for independent villas is the most during peak season therefore the prices soar during this time. Most homeowners would prefer short-rentals during this time and hence the chances of a long-term yearly lease is unlikely during this period. If you are hunting for a yearly lease the best time to avail rock bottom rates is just when the season is about to end or by the onset of monsoon which is during the months of June.  For short term rentals the best approach to availing a good deal is booking a place at least 4-5 weeks in advance.  This will also give you the upper hand to also negotiate the price.


Type of property

Goa has to offer a variety of properties types depending on the type of vacationer you are. Backpacker hostels are available in many parts of the coastal areas with breakfast served along with an open kitchen. On an average backpacker hostels would be priced at Rs. 800 per day onwards. Most backpacker hostels are independent homes converted to hostels.  Studio apartments are also popular for single travellers. Studio properties are generally attached to apartments with independent access or are also available in independent homes. There aren’t many high-rises with these offerings however you will come across these as well.  Independent houses or villas are also popular among travellers visiting in groups looking for short stays or for the European travellers looking for a 6 month to a yearly lease. Hotels are all over the place with room rents as low as Rs. 1500 onwards for single occupancy. Rates vary according to amenities and the starred rating of the property.


Security Deposits

Security deposits are requested by most of the homeowners whether it is a short term stay or whether a 11 month lease. A three month deposit is the standard term of a deposit for a long lease. For short term stays it could vary from any where between Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 50,000 depending on the amenities and age of the property. The amount of deposit isn’t usually mentioned when the rates are quoted for the property and is usually discussed when payments are made. Ensure you budget for the deposit as it will be a compulsion when a property is booked.


Broker’s fees

Brokers charge a single month’s rent as their fees for locating the property. This fee is typically charged for a eleven month lease. In addition to this there is also a fee for putting together the lease papers that are signed via a public notary’s office which generally range between Rs. 2500-Rs.5,000. As a side note, you would also have to fill-in the tenant verification form with the local police station as well. Your real estate broker will assist you with this as an add-on service if you need assistance.


Utility bills

Electricity and water bills are the basic utility bills that you will have to cover each month. Electricity bills are dropped off each month while the water bills arrive once every quarter. Enquire with the homeowner on how to make these payments both offline as well as via an online mode. In addition to this you will also have to budget for cable bills which are monthly,  on an average that will cost Rs. 500 onwards. An internet connection will cost you a minimum of Rs. 500 depending on the type of connection you opt for. If you live in an apartment, there are society maintenance charges for gardening, security and common lighting bills that would be a minimum of Rs. 1,500.  Domestic help is also commonly available for everyday cleaning, they are hired on a monthly basis for an hours work and charge a minimum of Rs. 2000 onwards.  There are also people available to wash you cars or bikes on a monthly basis charging a minimum of Rs. 1000 a month.

Preferred locations for vacation rentals with the pros and cons

Preferred locations for vacation rentals with the pros and cons

One of the most preferred locations for a short as well as a long stay, Goa ranks high amongst the list of places to rent a home for a vacation. Its culture and way of life besides its beautiful beaches and landscapes are some of the main reasons for many choosing to flock down to this part of the world. There are a number of options available to stay at from studio apartments to exotic villas offering the best of amenities to a luxury traveller to the necessities of a backpacker. In this article we shed light on the best cities to stay at while you plan your stay. Undoubtedly it is the beach belt that is widely sort after, however there is a large population of travelers that choose to stay in a number of variety of neighborhoods in the vicinity to the coast. 

Topping the list is the ever vibrant localities of Anjuna and Vagator. One of the most of popular locales for European tourists, Anjuna and Vagator has a number of backer-packer hostels, luxurious hotels and also gorgeous independent villas and Portuguese structures. The areas are well known for its night markets, flea markets and trance music. Plenty of super markets, fantastic cuisine and plenty of pubs make for great nightlife. The vibe here is a touch apart from the other towns and beach areas which is why so many are drawn to live here. The stays here are a more for short periods and also many foreigners prefer to stay away from the noise and entertainment and opt for quieter locations.  Although there a number of listings on the outskirts of these locations prices are  higher as there is always steep demand for properties offering short stays. The way of life in these parts are more towards lazing by the beach and hitting the club scene at the night.

Next on our list is Calangute and Candolim, which are the highly commercial in terms of everyday life. There are plenty of high rises here, more of hotels and very limited independent structures. These areas are excellent if you are looking to party it out all night or simply go bar hopping. Popular among the domestic and also numerous western tourists, these areas are densely populated and visited by many for shopping, eating and bars. Accommodation that is available are tight-sized as there in terms of room space and there are a lot more hotel rooms and studio like apartments that are available. Candolim does have  exclusive villas that are rested away from the noise and sounds of the area, hideouts that have access to the beach and are mostly listed in the luxury segment class.

Mandrem and Morjim are next on our list. A landscape that has intentionally not been commercialized, these areas are away from the crowded tourism and commercial activities. Accommodation here is mainly available in homestays and independent villas. A similar way of life is towards the sleepy villages of Assagao and Siolim both of which are away from the beach, a good 20 minute drive away.  These localities are less populated with people, away from the noise and a lot cleaner as well. Since the beach is about 8 kms away, the rents here are a whole lot lower as compared to other areas. All the basic essentials are readily available as there is a flourishing local population residing here, it does though lack the pubs and clubs, something that attracts many to opt for a vacation rental in these areas.

Saligao and Verem are also localities that offer a majority of independent homes as vacation rentals. You will find a mix of aged homes as well luxurious beach front villas here. Saligao has a number of Portuguese homes with gated properties. Many of the homes here have been refurbished as well with modern décor and amenities. Price points are a lot more relaxed here as there also are a number of listings available most suitable for yearly stays. Verem is situated along the banks of the river Mandovi  nestled in a sleepy fishing village that isn’t populated away with high rises.

The villages of Siapem and also Pomurppa are other hideouts that also make out list of places. Both are promising areas that offer country-side living  amongst paddy fields and away from the hustle and bustle. Accommodation types available here are apartments and independent villas. There aren’t a lot of hotels here and also the nightlife is very limited. The rent expectations here are atleast 35% lower than areas such as Anjuna and Vagator. Siapem is fast evolving as hotels such as the Hilton are now in operation. Siampem has a riverfront and Pomurppa on the other hand has a beautiful lake.  We have a variety of listings that you can explore in these areas for your vacation home!

How to rent a vacation home in Goa

How to rent a vacation home in Goa

Start you house hunt for your vacation home in Goa by browsing on multiple listings websites such as ours. Although there are a number of popular sites such as AirBnB with a numerous listings, a whole lot of owners refrain from listing their properties there due to the high commission fees that they have to pay for these platforms.

There are a number of sleepy villages and beach properties that you can explore therefore the location that you would prefer is the foremost aspect to be considered. Anjuna and Vagator are the most prominent locations that are always sort after. Although these localities are crowded they have an excellent vibe and there are a number of guest houses, backpacker hostels and villas that are available. If you are concerned about prices read our article on the cost of vacation properties across a number of locations across the state. Head towards Siolim and Morjim and the rents are a lot cheaper, the villages a lot quieter. You are away from the hustle-bustle of the city life and are given to explore plenty of paddy fields and swaying palms.

The time of the year that you will arrive is also crucial. Monsoons arrive during the months of June and last until October. The heavy downpour can last for days.  Old styled Portuguese homes or aged properties may be susceptible to leaks causing damage and flooding. If you plan to stay for a longer period speak to the home owner on the condition of the roof and how to go about it in terms of payments and repairs incase there is a leakage. Also account for humidity during this season. Your appliances and electronics may need adequate care at aged properties.

If the house is near a paddy field and surrounded by trees, likeliness of snakes around is never a surprise. Adequate trimming of shrubs and bushes, branches that touch the property and ensuring all the doors and windows seal shut properly must be checked before moving in. For those choosing a beachside house and plan for a yearlong stay, keep in mind that the salt in the air will ruin your appliances and electronics.

Prices of properties vary from locality to locality, season and holidays etc. Check property pricing article that explores this top at length. Independent homes range anywhere between Rs.45,000 to about Rs. 1,50,0000 per month. On an average the cost of modern home would be around Rs. 65,000 with all modern amenities for a year-long monthly lease. Short stays prices are always higher and are mainly dependent on factors mentioned above.

Next comes the deposit made to the homeowners. Typically the going rate is three month’s rent in as a deposit and a months’ rent in advance.  Remember it is very normal negotiating in Goa so you need not accept a price or a deal upfront without negotiating for it. Every homeowner is different, the asking could also be two months or less depending on the tenure of stay or the expectations of the homeowner. With the amount of deposit upon, remember to ask the homeowner for a receipt for it and if possible do a direct bank transfer rather than a cash transaction. Further, this amount must be mentioned in the lease agreement as well specifying the amount, the mode of payment, transaction details such as the transaction number, number of the bank etc. and also the date. The process for refund must be clearly discussed with the homeowner in advance specifically the deductions for if at all must be clarified in advance. Lease agreements are generally signed over a 11 month period, if the period of stay is under three months or even less generally a deposit and the advance rent should suffice.

Most properties welcome pets, especially if the property is an independent home or villa. The same is also the case in gated communities as well however if the property resides in hotels (timeshare properties for instance) there could be restrictions on having pets around.

We would strongly recommend to budget for up-keep of the property if the stay is a yearly. The budget is completely dependent on the age of the property and the type of property it is. Things  like the A/C’s, invertor batteries, fans,

microwaves etc. are yours to look after. It is best that you get these inspected together with the homeowner before you move it as it is very unlikely that the landlord would repair it during the lease.

In a standard home with a property age of 8-12 years there would be old furniture that has been aged with the home itself. Almost always it isn’t the best to live with. Buying the essentials such as the couch or a futon and a king-sized bed is always something that is needed in most cases. Modern homes come with newer furniture’s and decor not requiring changes. 

The air-con is must have appliance to own especially if you are visiting during the months of March until May. If the place does not have one, then it you may want to consider installing one.  Additionally the usage of the A/C’s does have an impact on the electricity bill. Electricity bills on an average would be around Rs. 10,000 during the summer months and around Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 5000 without its use.

Another must have appliance is the water-purifier. Tap water isn’t recommended for drinking purposes. On an average these would cost roughly about Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 12,000. If you don’t wish to purchase one, the other option is to boil water over the stove before it is consumed. If you opt for a furnished villa or house discuss with the homeowner for it to be a part of the appliances made available.

Most homeowners will provide you with a LPG cylinder that you can connect to the stove. We would still recommend purchasing an induction cooker as getting a refill to a cylinder is cumbersome process and has to be through the homeowner itself.

Domestic help is commonly available only a monthly basis ranging between Rs.2000-Rs. 4000.  They coming in for an hour each day for tasks such as washing the dishes, mopping the floors, etc. They don’t perform certain tasks such as taking care of the pets, ironing or sometimes washing the clothes. Dishwashers and ovens are not a part of a majority of the households here so if you fancy one of these appliances you would have to purchase them yourself. Power cuts occur every now and then for which a invertor is needed to power up the fans and a few light points in the house.

Gated communities have their own security guards which make the place a lot safer as entry to visitors are closely checked. Crimes for burglary are reported every now and then so it is recommended that you are at least on minimum alert of your belongings and the property. Lastly, an internet connection is a must for every home, most modern homes are equipped with one however older properties may require a new connection. Connectivity is lot better these day as there are number of providers that offer fiber lines which are excellent. Although, this is also dependent whether they have an existing line passing in the locality.  Costs begin as low as Rs. 500 amonth.

Benefits of a Vacation Rentals

Benefits of a Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals for villas in Goa are a choice of many due to the multiple advantages it has over a hotel. Although the choice of many is to straight-up consider staying in a hotel, many travellers have discovered the  benefits of staying at a vacation rental. Here is our list of some of the most popular reasons of opting for a rental property at your next vacation.

1. Laundry:

A very essential benefit to have! Most vacation rentals have washing machines and dryers in them. This gives travellers the advantage to travel light and save on excessive baggage fees on airlines. Additionally, this facility comes in as an inclusion without having to pay extra for it. You have all the freedom to run the laundry whenever needed, as and when needed. You may have to pick-up detergent from the local supermarket. The same facility at a hotel would be priced exorbitantly.

2. In house cooking facilities

Having the facility to cook your favorite meals whenever your heart desires is such a nice thing to have especially when you are travelling with kids. It is huge money saver when compared to eating out and also a lot healthier. There also is the advantage of not having to keep upto pre-determined timings such as those set in hotel’s for their buffet meals. Eating out each day can impact your budget as well.

3. Availability of space

The availability of having ample amount of space is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of vacation rentals. The extra room can give you the feeling of having a cozy “home away from home” instead of being cooped up in a small space. Kids can spread out and the adults can sit back relax and lounge around in the amount of space that is available.

4. Being cost effective

You would be surprised to find that a vacation rental can be a lot more cost effective in comparison to a hotel for smaller groups and families, at times even cheaper than a hotel in the same neighborhood.

5. Flexibility of variety

There are a number of listings on the market each different from each other at a number of price points. Depending on the type of vacation you plan to have – by the beach, in the city or even away from the hustle bustle of city life, and your preferences for the stay the variety of options are endless.

6. Enjoy the comforts of home

Vacation rentals provide the feeling of being at home. Multiple rooms, plenty of space, a fully functional kitchen and spacious bathrooms will make you “feel” at home. This makes it easy to get accustomed to a new place and get comfortable.

7. Plenty of Privacy

With independent entrances and balconies you don’t find yourself sharing the space with others. You are a lot more relaxed that you have the entire space to yourself and can unwind without being disturbed.

8. Keep the crowd at bay

Being with the crowd at all times is the last thing on your mind while taking a break. Unlike a hotel atmosphere, especially during peak season when other holiday-goers also pour in make the experience a little overwhelming. The much needed privacy gives you quality time with your loved ones without having to deal with other guests, long lines, noise and other disturbances.

Things to keep in mind before booking your vacation rental

There is no doubt that trend for vacation rentals is on the rise. Travelers are now more inclined towards privacy. Finding a vacation home may sound easy but it does require time and research to find the right place. There are so many factors to be considered other than the rental itself; how far from the beach, city center, supermarkets, neighborhood etc. The rental; how big or how small, what is the up-keep?, what are the facilities? and so much more. Here is the list of the top things to remember when going about finding the right vacation rental for you.

1. Commence your search early

The tourism season in Goa begins from the month of October and continues until March. The month of December is considered as peak season. Depending on the time of the season availability does decrease due to high demand. At the same time, last minute bookings are a lot more expensive than advance bookings. Save yourself the stress and panic of rushing into a last minute listing and make a decision to book at the earliest. Keep in mind that the good ones book-up fast and getting your hands on a last minute booking may not be helpful in finding a good listing.

2. Reach out to people that have traveled

It  always helps when you have first hand information about the listing in particular. Although this may not always be practical getting information on the locality and the proximity to stores, supermarkets, medical facilities, pubs and restaurants will help you make a better decision while vacation house-hunting. There are a variety of travel websites (if at all you don’t know of anyone in person) that this information is available at, it is definitely does take some amount of work but not having basic information would lead to difficulties.

3. Reading the contract

In the moment of excitement in landing the property, people often forget to look at the details of the rental property. The contract includes terms of payment, usage of the facilities, restrictions of use etc. If duration of stay is longer read the details about payment of bills for the phone, internet, power and cable as well. Keep in mind to allocate a budget for these expenses. Add-ons for housekeeping, kitchen supplies etc or anything also forms a part of the contract.

4. Room to negotiate

There is always room for negotiation on a number of properties especially if the duration is over a 30 days. If the rent isn’t negotiable explore the possibility of an extra day or two at a discounted price. If the villa is still available during particular holiday or event chance are  that a discount can be worked out.

5. Security Deposit needs to be made

All our rentals require a security deposit to be made before check-in which needs to be accounted for in the budget before shopping around. Although these deposits vary from property to property it primarily depends on the number of days that stay is planned for. Discuss with the homeowner on the process of returning the deposit and the conditions against it.

6. Discuss the housekeeping situation

Housekeeping varies from property to property. The period is dependent on the inclusions you opted for before signing the contract. Many listings have a chart on the timings that the housekeeping staff is available.

7. Photograph the villa on day one

Highlight defects, damages and also keep a record of what the place looks like when you occupy it. Documenting this will ensure that you have proper record to fall back on increase of any disputes or claims.

Accommodation

Accommodation in Goa

The beautiful state of Goa has a reputation for itself for being  a premiere holiday destination in India. When anyone thinks of a tropical vacation in India, Goa comes on top of that list. Known for its delicious food, vibrant nightlife and breathtaking beaches the state has been attracting vacationers from all parts of the world.

There are a variety of accommodation options available here. You can look at tents by the beach if you fancy living by the shores, serviced apartments to make you feel at home, rental villas if you are traveling in groups as well as all the famous starred hotels all over the place. Finding accommodation is very easy as there are a variety of options available to meet all budget ranges. Many homeowners also list their homes on platforms such as AirBnb which also is witnessing plenty of demand. Accommodation options are also available around wild life sanctuaries located towards the eastern region of the state.

Hotels

Hotel accommodation is the most preferred type of accommodation among holiday goers. Hotels are generally preferred for 3-4 nights stay on an average. A majority of these properties offer breakfast inclusive of their tariffs. Keep in mind that the closer you plan to stay by the beach the higher the prices are for staying in these areas. A few mentions of four starred properties in Category A listings include the Grand Hyatt, Part Hyatt, Taj Aquada, Taj Cansaulim, Hotel Mariot and the Leela. In Category B, properties such as the Alila Diwa, Radision Blu, Holiday Inn and Ramada Caravela are noteworthy mentions. Category C is a broad category and covers resorts such as Cidade De Goa, Novotel, Planet Hollywood etc.

Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartment are popularity available in options of single bedroom apartments, single room with kitchenette, and complete sized 2 bedroom apartments. Serviced apartments are typically available in apartment complexes lacking all the comforts of luxury. These listings often have restrictions in terms of the number of people allowed, keeping low key, disturbance with neighbors etc. A majority of these listings will not be present around the beach areas but there are number towards the city center.

Villa’s

Villa rentals are the choice of many holiday goers traveling in small groups or families or simply for those who would like to enjoy privacy. A number of villas are available just by the beach which are the most sort after. This segment is divided in a 3 broad categories; the luxury segment, standard offerings and budget listings.
Hostels: Hostels are also widely available, majority of which are seen around the coastal belt of north Goa. Hostels are generally nested in 3 or 4 bedroom villas with bunk beds. A common bathroom and kitchen is typically a part of the listing. Hostels are excellent for solo travelers and for travelers on a budget.

Beach Tents

For those looking to explore the outdoors there also are beach tents options available. There are found just by the beach and are usually temporary structures. These tents are available with all basic amenities that include a double bed, an AC and a bathroom.
The north of Goa is where most of the tourism is at and it can get really crowded during the peak of the season which is December. Planning and booking your accommodation early is a good idea as places fill up fast, the more limited the options get the higher are the prices are. Accommodation in Goa is highly in demand during the season that begins in the month of September and continues till January.

If you are visiting by air, the airport is located in Vasco and it would be an hour and half cab ride to the northern beach belt. By railway you can halt at either Corlim or Tivim, both of which are in the north part of the state as well. By road you can enter the state from Sawantwadi as well as Belgaum.

The vacation rental market in Goa

The vacation rental market in Goa

Vacation rental properties in Goa have been in huge demand over the last few years. This demand primarily flows from the tourism in the state. Vacationers have found it much more economical and comfortable to book a villa for their stay while in Goa. The open spaces, the spacious rooms and private pools have made it an attractive offering for travelers in groups or families.

Most of clientele to vacation rentals are tourists that are for looking more a small sized hotel room coupled with the comforts of a hotel itself. Crowded hotels bring about long ques and crowd at hotel’s facilities, something that people don’t prefer when the visit.

Local businesses were quick to capitalize on this boom in tourism and were quick to list their offerings in the market. Villas are now being converted into commercial spaces to cater to the huge volume in demand from the tourism industry. The variety of offerings now include your own chef, concierge services, spa treatments, yoga lessons, as well as housekeeping mainly in areas such as Morjim, Baga, Calangute, Vagator and Anjuna. Rentals for the entire year are also sort after by corporate businesses houses that have the place leased throughout the year. Towards the south of the state areas such as Majorda, Colva, Mobor and Utorda are areas where vacationers like to stay. Majority of the demand is by the beach or around its vicinity. These listings are more suited to a beach lover and a party-goer.

The mid to luxury listings is where the focus on comfort and luxury is paid attention to. Well decked up interiors with art hangings, mood lighting, comfortable beds, relaxing areas, large screen tv’s, well maintained furniture, marbled floor, well maintained landscapes and well kept upholstery are some of the many facets seen at a higher price point. Professional in house servers, chefs and housekeepers are included in the listing. A private car along with a chauffeur can also be arranged.

Listings at off-beat locations such as Old Goa, Assagao, Pallolem and Siolim have also been sprouting lately. The vacationer shopping for these locations are specifically looking to keep away from the hustle and bustle of the city life and detach from the crowds. The advantage of the listings in these areas is the availability of wide open spaces and plenty of greenery. Properties in these areas are also a lot spacious and a lot more private.

Vacation rental are popular in the North of Goa due to the region being the hub of tourism, most of the villas listed in the south of Goa are for a yearly basis as the type visitors here tend to say for longer period which is the complete opposite of the market in the North of Goa. As hotels get pricier each year, villas have filled a market segment for vacationers.

Most of the demand for rentals come from small groups and families. Off late homeowners are also promote their properties for yoga clinics, small workshops, weddings and also spa holidays. There also is the luxury segment that many homeowners also promote their villas for. This clientele includes celebrities and business class and corporate CEO’s that wish to enjoy the luxuries of a holiday. Most offerings also have flexible kitchen timings for their meals as per their guests preferences. Late breakfast’s, exclusive delicacies, barbecues and more are among the facilities that can be availed.

3BHK property in Saligao

Why Book your villa with Amarya Group?

Amarya Group offers a wide selection of vacation rentals in Goa . If you are planning  to visit this part of the world on a holiday, renting a villa would be a much better holiday experience as compared to a hotel and we strive to offer you the best. Our listings  are spacious and are built on a minimum area of 280-300 m2 on an average for a ground-plus-one structure.

  • Wide selection of properties to choose from ready to accommodate families to large groups.
  • Properties are available across of Goa most in prominent holiday locations.
  • Most listings can be made available as a vacation rental as well as a yearly rental.
  • Listings that are available with us are fully equipped with everyday requirements such as a washing machine, functional kitchen, AC’s etc and are ready to move into.
  • Group bookings are also available to accommodate small groups and also for commercial workshops, intimate weddings, parties etc.
  • Our listings also have also feature private swimming pools, open spaces and concierge services.
  • Our rentals are fully furnished and are exclusively yours to use when rented.
  • Flexible Check-in and and Check-out timings with prior approvals.
  • Prior check-in with the necessary documents available at a number of properties.
  • Facilities such as a chef on call, spa services and sightseeing tours available.
  • Pick-up and drop from the airport available.
  • Enjoy the peace, quiet and privacy.

Our rentals  are very comfortable to relax in during your holiday or even for a long stay. Our listings aren’t cramped up spaces, no queue’s to the breakfast buffet and most of all the peace and quiet, which you often see at a hotel. A stay whether on a holiday or a short stay is recommended for vacationers looking for a comfortable experience.  Most properties available are three to four bedrooms and in the area of 170-220 m2 and we have an inventory of 40-45 listings at all times.

We offer a number of properties in the coastal belts that make great vacation homes for holiday goers across the globe. These listings are available on a daily as well as monthly. Homeowners were quick to realize  that people prefer staying in a villa due to the many advantages when compared to a hotel and thus there are a number of homeowners that list their homes on the market with us.

Booking these properties in advance is advisable as these get occupied in a rush for peak season  dates which are from October until March.  If you are not here for a holiday and are looking a for a longer stay you will have to sign a lease agreement and also put down three month deposit in advance besides the monthly rent. We provide complete paperwork for registration at the local police station, lease agreement paperwork and signing.

Pricing varies from location to location.  North Goa areas of Candolim, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator and Morjim are the most expensive as compared to other parts of Goa. Rents begin at around Rs. 40,000 a month and can even go up to Rs. 1,50,000 for luxury villas. Properties are in great demand especially as a vacation rental and demand has been rising steadily every year.

Investing in rental properties also yields profitable returns on investments over a investment horizon of 3-4 years. Revenue generation is quick as you can tourism growing each year.  Investing in the right areas is critical in determining the right returns. Zero-ing in to a location populated with tourism ensures rental income as well as liquidity from the market as real estate in Goa in these areas is in great demand.

We have a wide variety to choose from and you can begin your search here!

Goa

A sense of the past can add lustre to the landscapes and resonance to the personalities you meet in Goa. Even by the hoary standards of India, Goan history is especially lengthy and romantic, crammed with clangourous battles, colourful characters and intriguing riddles. Pirates and pilgrims, slavers and saints – all have left their mark. Today’s sleepy villages once served successive Hindu, Arab and Portuguese rulers as the hubs of world-spanning empires. Hermitage caves of Jain and Buddhist ascetics are barely an hour’s drive from the rubble of the Portuguese inquisitors’ sinister black castle. As an axis enclave in British India, Goa saw its share of World War II spying. Scuttled Nazi merchant ships still lie at the bottom of Panaji harbour. Some of the stranded German crewmen stayed on, marrying locally.

Early Settlers

There is nothing new in that: beguiling Goa has ensnared sojourners since the Early Stone Age. The first inhabitants seem to have migrated to the coastal plain over the highlands of the Western Ghats, leaving a trail of palaeolithic axes and cleavers along the route of the present day rail line. Successive overland migrations came also along the coast, first from the south and later from the north.

Most early immigrants were is still a subject of scholarly wrangles. Judging from the totemic cults that still persist in Goa and the distinctive ethnology of such surviving ‘aboriginal’ people as the Kunbis, the original settlers may have been tribes from the Deccan to the north, Malabar to the south, or even as far away northeast as the Brahmaputra valley in Assam. Or they may have been Dravidians displaced by the Aryan advance from Central Asia. The Aryans themselves seem to have found their way into Goa in early times in the form of the Gaud-Saraswat’s, a band of Brahmins who cut themselves off from their caste when they compromised their vegetarian scruples by eating fish to tide over a 12-year famine. Other Aryan incursions may have been by sea after the decline of theMahabharata-era city states of Saurashtra in Gujarat.

Sea venturers came from farther afield, too. For a ship setting out from the mouth of the Red Sea and then drifting along the prevailing currents, the most natural Indian landfall would be Goa. As early as 2000 BC, Sumerians knew it as a trading station called Gubi. Phoenicians, Persians and Arabs ventured there as well. These successive layers of immigrant tribes and cults hardened into a caste hierarchy that has proved resistant to all subsequent religious and cultural overlays. Even in Catholic churches today, Brahmin and Shudra Christians rarely sit together, much less intermarry. But a more humane legacy is also traceable to Goa’s early history – the millennia-old system of primitive communalism that survived as the basis of village organization right up to the end of Portuguese rule.

Village Communes

Each village, or ‘gaum’, was a self-contained unit of farmers and artisans. Every villager contributed to the commonweal according to this hereditary role. Property was communally held and allotted by the council of elders, which met weekly. All council decisions were unanimous since each member wielded absolute veto power. Services and public works were paid for out of the community fund. Historians theorize that such a system could have evolved in the tightly knit pioneer communities of prehistoric times. The trim and landscaped hamlets of Goa today, so full of amenities compared with the rest of India’s villages, attest to the stewardship of the village councils, or communidades as they were called in Portuguese. After the merger of Goa into the India Union in 1961, however the newly ascendant politicians dismissed the communidades as a hoax designed to perpetuate the ‘elders’ as a hereditary landed class under the guise of communal ownership. Land reforms parcelled out ‘gaun’ property among residents. Whatever the merits of the communidades and the land reforms statistics show that Goa’s agricultural self-sufficiency has declined over the past 30 years, while migration both of Goans leaving the state and outsiders coming in -has gathered momentum. And once-communal Goan lands in the vicinity of prime tourist spots or booming cities have become some of India’s most hotly traded real estate. Not that either urbanity or the ‘hospitality industry’ are exactly new to Goans.

Nearly 2,000 years ago Divar Island was already renowned monasticism. By the second century, the riverside port of Chandor was already important enough to rate a mention by the Greek geographer Ptolemy. With the decline of Mauryan rule in India (third century BC), Chandor became the capital of local Bhoja rulers. Sixth-century Goan seafarers ranged as far as Bali and Sumatra, where some place as a pilgrimage site, while Arvalem was a centre of Buddhist monasticism. By the second century, the riverside port of Chandor was already important enough to rate a mention by the Greek geographer Ptolemy. With the decline of Mauryan rule in India (third century BC), Chandor became the capital of local Bhoja rulers. Sixth-century  Goan seafarers ranged as far as Bali and Sumatra, where some  place names still commemorate the Bhojas.

The Kadambas

Channdor was to change hands repeatedly among such dynasties  change hands repeatedly among such dynasties as the Mauryans, Chalukyas and Siliharas. For all these dynasties, though, Goa was only a sideshow to their main power-plays in the Konkan and the Deccan. It was not until the tenth century, with the rise of the Kadambas, that Goa regained centre-stage status. Even then it was largely by default: only after their ejection from their original stronghold in Mysore did the Kadambas shift their focus to the seaward side of the Ghats.

The Kadambas were of impeccable pedigree, claiming descent from a three-eyed, four-armed demiurge who had sprung up from the ground where Lord Shiva had let fall a drop of sweat during one of his cosmic exertions. More to the point, the Kadambas specialized in breeding exquisite princesses and allying themselves through marriage to neighbouring royalty. But their fortunes had been in eclipse for nearly three centuries prior to their Goan adventure.

After consolidating his hold over Chandor, the founding Goan Kadamba dynast set out with a hundred-ship armada on a thanksgiving pilgrimage to Somnath in Gujarat. He had got no farther than the mouth of the Zuari River, however, when his entire fleet was swamped by a sudden storm- something to visualize on your modern-day  Cortalim-Agassaim ferry trip to liven up the otherwise sleepy boat-ride. The disaster proved fortunate in its way, since the Kadambas were rescued  by the colony of Arab traders from the riverside settlement of  from the Hanjaman-nagar. The alliance thus forged helped establish the Kadamba kingdom as the pre-eminent maritime power of its day. The Arabs used Kadamba patronage to make Goa the hub of their far-fung commercial network embracing 14 ports from Bahrain to Java.

Goa Vellem

Today, the Zuari has silted so far upstream that the docks of Goa Vellem (as the place is now called) stand high and dry and overgrown .Palm plantations cover the rubble, although road courses are still discernible. Farmers here routinely turn up ancient carved stones. They are often incorporated into the gingerbread style of architecture of local mansions, while a trove of excavated memorabilia can be viewed in the museum of the nearby Pilar Monastery. But only the massive tank of the goddess Chamunda’s temple survives in situ to give an idea of the scale of the Kadamba capital.

The apex of Kadamba power was achieved under the reign (1052-80) of Jayakeshi I, who had himself proclaimed Lord of the Konkan and Emperor of the Western Seas. After his death (by self- immolation, according to legend, due to his inconsolable grief over the death of his pet parrot), the Kadamba rulers found themselves increasingly preoccupied with trying to avoid vassalage to either the Chalyukans or the Hosyalas, who were fighting it out for overlordship of the Deccan. Eventually, by the 13th century, they fell prey to an upstart warlord house, the Yadavas of Devgiri, and Goa reverted to marginal status in the polity of the times.

Muslim Invasions

So it was a trade-rich and relatively defenceless Goa that faced the depredations of the Tughluqs, the first Muslim invaders of the Konkan, around the start of the 14th century. With the break-up of the Tughluq kingdom, Goa fell to one of its offshoots, the Bahmani sultanate, which was locked in a drawn-out combat with the Hindu Vijayanagar empire. Anti-Hindu pogroms got so bad that the tutelary deity of the Kadambas, Saptakoteshwar, had to be plucked out of his temple on the island of Divar and buried in a rice field.

It did not stay there long, though. Saptakoteshwar was unearthed and restored to his temple by a Goan Saraswat insurgent, Madhav Mantri. At the head of a Vijayanagar army, he reclaimed much of the Konkan and ruled, as viceroy, a Goa several times bigger than the modern-day state. For most of the 15th century, Goa remained a Vijayanagar outpost, squarely on the line of confrontation with the Bahmanis.

Goa s Muslims – mostly Arabs and local converts engaged in the horse trade – chose to abandon Hindu-dominated Govapuri (whose harbour was already silted, anyway) in favour of the Mandovi River port of Ella. But Govapuri still remained the base for a Vijayanagar ‘navy’, under the ‘admiralty’ of a Kadamba heir, which occupied itself mainly with piratical depredations upon Haj pilgrims. This practice so affronted the pious and scholarly Bahmani vizier. Khwaja Mahmud Gawan, that he finally extirpated the Vijayanagar coastal enclave after a two-year siege of Goa’s seaside forts.

Gawan lost no time in razing Goa’s Hindu temples. Devotes either buried their gods once again or carried them along on their inland exodus to the highlands around Ponda. These hills remain Goa’s Hindu heartland to this day.

Gawan’s enemies at the Bahmani court got the sultan to order his assassination on the basis of forged incriminatory letters. Deprived of its able vizier, the sultanate promptly disintegrated. Goa fell to the share of Yusuf Adil Shah, a Persian princeling who had been sold into slavery as a result of court intrigue, bought in Ormuz by Gawan and adopted by him as a son.

Although headquartered in the Deccan fastness of Bijapur, Adil Shah was sufficiently taken with Goa to consider moving his capital to Ella, the Muslim enclave established in Vijayanagar times. The city he laid out there with its palaces, artisans’ quarters, s rds and riverfront docks – turned out to be the template fort of his Portuguese successors.  Even the building that now houses the state secretariat in Panaji was originally built as a beach villa for AdilShah.

Enter the Portuguese

After Adil Shah’s death, his successors began to lose their grip on the outposts of their demesne. So it proved no challenge for the Portuguese expeditionary, Afonso de Albuquerque, guided by a Vijayanagar scout, to take the city in March 1510 with a fleet of 23 ships and 1,200 troops. Two months later, however, the Portuguese Commander of the Indian Ocean had to vacate the city (with as much loot and as many harem beauties as could be conveniently carried) before Adil Shah’s avenging troops from Bijapur.

Albuquerque waited in the harbour mouth for reinforcements and by year end, finally clawed his way back to Ella (or Goa City, as he had re-christened it), rather more strenuously than before. Two Old Goa churches commemorate the battle: the well-preserved Our Lady of the Rosary and the eerily overgrown Our Lady of the Mount.

What the plaques and frescos do not recount, is the general massacre of Muslim citizens that was ordered once the city was recaptured. Albuquerque saw himself as a crusader in the mediaeval tradition (no wonder, considering how recently the last Moorish enclaves had been expunged from Iberia). His professed mission in Asia was to destroy Islam and expand Christendom.

But that did not keep him from pursuing Portugal’s maritime trading advantage at the same time. The year after he established himself in Goa, he set out to forge more links in the chain of Portuguese dominion-Malacca and the Spice Islands. He was on his way to establishing a bastion at Ormuz when he took ill and turned back to India, only to find on arrival that he had fallen from favor in Lisbon and bitterest rival was now installed as the governor of Goa. He was so ill by the time he sailed up the Mandovi, that he had to be carried to the deck in a chair for a last glimpse of his Dourada (Golden City).  He died before the ship could dock at Goa.

By ranging so far from the Mandovi’s shores, Albuquerque left Goa a richer legacy than any he could have achieved had he stayed put: a widely cast eastern empire for which the Golden City served as entrepot. By the late 16th century, nearly 300 ships a year plied between Goa and Portugal carrying spices, perfumes, gems and gold. The shoals of Goa’s coast are to this day littered with promising wrecks, according to the marine archaeology department of India’s National Institute of Oceanography in Dona Paula.

Profits from this entrepôt trade quickly created a boom town that rivalled Lisbon itself in  ostentation. The hieratic hulks of Old Goa’s churches, incongruously looming nowadays out of an unpeopled meadow on the riverbank, attest to the baroque giandiosity of the Portuguese colonials’ self-importance. No trace remains of the dense tangle of lanes that once enmeshed these monuments. Nor of the throbbing street-life, crowded with fishwives, fidalgos, freebooters and slaves, cutpurses, clerics and opulent courtesans, as described by contemporary diarists. The city boasted the oldest and best hospital in Asia. It also required three jails.

Portuguese Rule in Decline

Portuguese power in the world began to wane towards the end of the 16th century, when a botched and pointless Morocco campaign so decimated the Portuguese nobility that the country fell under the sway of the Spanish crown. By the time sovereignty was regained in 1640, Lisbon’s moment of maritime glory had slipped past. Upstart imperial challengers the British and Dutch carved out Far Eastern empires of their own, usurping Goa’s pre-eminence as Europe’s entrepot in Asia. The calibre of Lisbon’s men in Goa also orated. From a band of vigorous (if somewhat piratical) adventurers, the Goa administration deteriorated into a bloated bureaucracy with more perks than vision. Meanwhile, the Indian scene around them had drastically altered.

The Vijayanagar and Adilshahi factions, whose rivalries the Portuguese had so long exploited, had finally withered away. In their place, the Konkan and Deccan were to be galvanized by the newly militant Maratha power under the guerrilla general, Shivaji. In 1668 he ousted the feudal lords of Bicholim and Pernem and parked himself for a few weeks in the temple of Saptakoteshwar, on what was then the border of Portuguese Goa. But before he could mount an assault on the European enclave, he had to rush back to defend his own capital against Muslim attack.

Shivaji’s son 25 years later we so far as to capture Bardez and Salsete. All the Portuguese viceroy could think of doing was to drag out the relic of Francis Xavier and prayerfully convey the baton of military command into the saint’s one remaining hand (see page 113). This seemed to work: the very next day the Marathas lifted their siege and dashed off to combat a sudden attack on their rear by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The Mughal distraction, it turned out, gave Goa nearly a half-century of peace from the Marathas son, 25 years later, actually went so far as to capture In fact, the Marathas indirectly aided the Portuguese in annexing their next territories: Ponda, Quepem, Sanguem and Cancona. The raja of the area, harried by troops of the Mysore adventurer Hyder Ali, sought Portuguese help in exchange for territory. Hyder’s vengeful attacks on the Goan coast were scotched when the Marathas and British ganged up on him back in the Deccan, and Ponda  remained in the Portuguese fold. Sawantwadi, a petty fiefdom to Goa s  north, also made the mistake of inviting in the Portuguese to fend off their  rivals: The territories of Bicholim, Satari and occupied, the size of the Portuguese enclave trebled and the present day boundaries of Goa established by the time the misguided raja that he had been double-crossed.

Portugal’s allies against the Sawantwadi raja in 1788 had been the fiery Rane clans of Satara. But throughout the following century, these same Ranes were to revolt periodically against Lisbon’s viceroys, too, over such issues as taxes and military conscription. This derring-do earned the Ranes a Robin Hood reputation at the time and an ex post facto cachet as Freedom Fighters since the merger of Goa into the Indian Union. Resistance to Portuguese Rule As much as to the martial prowess of the Rane’s, though, these revolts owe their impact to the deteriorating strength of the Portuguese. By the turn of the 19th century, the city of Old Goa had to be abandoned.

Its port had silted and its population had been decimated by successive epidemics. A new capital, far less grand, was established in Panjim (now Panaji). Britain was already firmly in control of India, andPortuguese mercantile fortunes had so declined that the Goa administration was no longer even self-supporting In the early decades of the current century, iron ore mining in north and east Goa emerged as the new mainstay of the economy grant mineworkers tipped the colony’s demographic balance from a Catholic to a Hindu majority. New Hindu fortunes were built on ore sales to Japan and the smuggling of all kinds of imports into India.

Goan Catholics, once beneficiaries of the thriving entrepôt trade were now reduced to exporting manpower: aristocratic Goan families cut a swathe in the arts and professions of India, while more plebeian Goans worked as clerks, cooks, mechanics, musicians and seamen.

Throughout these economic upheavals, Lisbon still hung on to its colonial enclave out of sheer force of habit (and, perhaps, a tinge of reverence for St Francis Xavier). Then, too, the motherland was preoccupied with its own political upheavals: overthrow of the monarchy, a sequence of parliaments and a short-lived republic. In one of these political convulsions, Goa was first promised and then denied a limited autonomy. The Goan protest movement against the 1918 betrayal was led by the crusading journalist and social reformer, Luis de Menezes Bragança, who is still revered as a kind of Goan Nehru Menezes Bragança went on courageously protesting colonia injustices even after the establishment of the Salazar dictatorship in Portugal. But Salazar was not one to be moved by liberal appeals to conscience. Nor by non-violent, pro-independence demonstrations by Gandhian satyagrahis (adherents of the policy of non-violent resistance), nor by diplomatic appeals for a negotiated settlement with independent India after the British left the rest of the country in 1947.

Finally, Indian Prime Minister Nehru ran out of patience in 1961 and sent in the army. Once again, the Portuguese viceroy appealed to St Francis Xavier but this time the ploy failed. Ignoring Salazar’s orders to defend the colony to the death (and thereby earning himself eventual condemnation for treason), Governor-General Vassalo de Silva surrendered virtually without a shot.

Getting To, From and Around Goa

Getting There

Entering or leaving Goa from elsewhere in India still has the feeling of crossing an international boundary. Border guards man gateposts on either side of the state line on major approach roads, logging the particulars of all passing vehicles into massive ledgers. Customs officials at Bombay’s steamer wharf check disembarking passengers from Goa for smuggled booze. Coming over the ghats from Karnataka, rail passengers have to switch from broad-gauge to metre-gauge carriages.

By Air

Paradoxically, perhaps the smoothest approach to Gioa is for those passengers who actually do come directly from outside India on one of the growing number of international flights that land at the state’s Dabolim Airport. Foreign airlines are vying for landing rights there to cater to Western package tourists. So far only Lufthansa comes straight to Goa with its Condor flights en route to Kathmandu. But others, including British Airways and Swissair, plan to have Europe to-Goa routes soon. As long as international flights to Dabolim are relatively few and largely limited to foreign holiday-makers, the airport is likely to remain the most convenient port of entry into India, free of the overload and the inquisitorial screening of overseas Indian returnees that choke up the international arríval terminals elsewhere in the country. Be sure, though, to avoid the direct Air India flight from Sharjah, which caters to guest-workers from the Gulf prime targets for the dilatory ministrations of the customs men.

Domestic flights link Dabolím with Cochin and Trivandrum in Kerala, Bangalore and Hyderabad in the Deccan, as well as the main metropolises of Bombay, New Delhi and Madras. Pick-up buses deliver high-rolling tourists to the five-star hotels, but there is no public airport bus, and the taxis at Dabolim like to gouge out fares as high as Rs100 to Panaji. To escape their clutches, catch an airport cab a yellow-painted taxi-cycle to Vasco, just four kilometres (2.5 miles) away, which is well connected with the rest of Goa by public transport and metered taxis.

By Boat

If you are not pressed for time and your itinerary takes you through Bombay, the steamer link is more leisurely than air travel. Cabin class on the Goa Ferry is luxurious in a faded sort of way, and a bargain (upwards of Rs300 per berth with slight variations, depending upon cabin amenities). But cabin reservations are hard to come by especially during the peak winter season. If all else fails, try a direct appeal to the passenger services department of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI, Bombay tel. 2022933, tlx. 011-2371, attention Jagdish Seth, Executive Director, whose brief includes passenger services). The northbound steamer trip is prettier than the southbound, since the ship plies closer to the coast and calls at the picturesque estuarine ports of the Konkan by daylight, rather than at night. The trip in either direction takes about 24 hours.

Bus and Rail

Quicker and cheaper, albeit less bus ride from Bombay. Night coaches also run between Goa and gracious, is the overnight (14-hour) Bangalore, Mysore or Mangalore (due south on the Karnataka coast). Private bus companies maintain offices on the main plazas of Panaji. Margao and Mapusa. The air-conditioned video coaches, which show Hindi movies during the journey, are costlier and less restful. Shorter bus hauls over the ghats take you to Londa or Hubli, where you can catch trunk-line trains.

The metre-gauge railroad, which goes only to the south side of the Zuari estuary, is no more than a spur line off a spur line: it links up at Miraj with the picturesque, but poky, Maharashtra Express of the Central Railway. Long-distance rail travel times from Goa can be daunting: nearly a full day to Bombay or Bangalore, two days or more to Delhi, Madras, Cochin or Calcutta. Most of these trips entail several train transfers and long stretches without air-conditioned carriages or sleepers -not recommended for any but the most  intrepid Indrailpass travellers.

Getting Around

Getting around within Goa can be an adventure. Better not to schedule your day with too much precision, since the timetables of most public conveyances can be rather elastic. Allow even more latitude if your itinerary takes you across the Mandovi River, since the collapse of the Nehru Bridge at Panaji now obliges travellers to queue up for ferries, at least until completion of the new bridge (optimistically scheduled for 1990). But, despite its uncertainties, travelling around Goa is relatively hassle-free for the relaxed, flexible visitor. There is not much risk of getting stranded in the hinterland or starving too far off the beaten track: English-speaking informants and reasonable pub food are likely even the remotest villages. Inter city buses are cheap and frequent and packed often to bursting with generally friendly and chatty people, Express buses run from Panaji to Mapusa in the north and Margao to the south. From these hubs, you can catch local buses to the beach as well.

Scores of vehicle terries link the islands that dot the Mandovi estuary, plying at intervals of 10-30 minutes, Porries also cross the Zuari, Sal, Chapora and Tiracol rivers. Longer haul launches, like those from Dona Paula to Vasco or up the Mandovi to Bicholim, depart only once or twice a day: check with the main ferry wharf in Panaji for day trips to secluded coves and offshore islands. The boatmen will help you catch and cook your picnic. Rates are highly negotiable, but a general rule of thumb is Rs.13 per kilometre (0.6 mile) of sailing distance to cover petrol plus Rs.12 per hour of the boatmen’s time.

For a look at the back-country Goa, try catching the local train from Vasco.  They depart virtually any hour of the day and run through the beaches at Velsao or Cansaulim, the pretty Latinate town of Margao, the mansions of Chandor or the Dudh Sagar waterfall. At major bus stands stands, ferry slips or train depots, you are likely to be met by a fleet of scooter rickshaws wherever you are headed in the vicinity for one or two rupees per kilometre, agree on fares beforehand, and yellow-painted motorcycles which will take you are headed in the vicinity for one or two rupees per kilometre.  Agree on fares before hand.

If you are interested in longer forays, after-dark junkets, or just quick spontaneous jaunts to choice restaurants, you will need your own transport. Bicycles, available for hire at about Rs20 per day get you from village to village without marring your appreciation of the sounds and smells that make Goa so special. But cycling gets pretty sweaty around midday and your range is limited.

To roam further afield, you can rent motorcycles and scooters ranging from 50cc putt-putts to 250cc Czech-designed Yezdis. Day rates start at around Rs.70, with discounts negotiable for longer term. A month’s use of a Yezdi currently goes for under Rs. 1,000 during peak season in the hippy Mecca of Anjuna. You pay for your own petrol. Also for maintanence, so be sure to check the condition of your bike before renting. Bike shops specialize in rentals in the main towns, as well as the more touristy beachside villages.

Individuals, too, are often quite willing to rent their own personal bikes. This can turn out to be the best bet for shorter terms. To find one, just ask around bars, petrol pumps and shops.

To avoid bureaucratic hassles, better arrive with an interim driver’s licence endorsed for motorcycles. Bigger bikes are RECOMMENDED FOR EXPERIENCED RIDERS only. Goa’s twisty roads are no place for leaner cyclists. Nor for daredevils: you share right of way with shambling cows, scurrying chickens, snoozing dogs, lumbering lorries and creaking ox-carts.

No self drive autos are available, so if your party is too large or too nervous —for motorcycling, you other independent transportation option is to charter a chauffeured tourist car. Per kilometer rates run to Rs.2.25-2.50 (still cheaper than the Rs.3 per kilometer charged by yellow-top taxis), and often a flat day rate can he worked out at about Rs.250. Some of the drivers are personable and knowledgeable enough to double as tourist guides. Ask your hotel to introduce one.

Getting To, From and Around Goa

Getting There

Entering or leaving Goa from elsewhere in India still has the feeling of crossing an international boundary. Border guards man gateposts on either side of the state line on major approach roads, logging the particulars of all passing vehicles into massive ledgers. Customs officials at Bombay’s steamer wharf check disembarking passengers from Goa for smuggled booze. Coming over the ghats from Karnataka, rail passengers have to switch from broad-gauge to metre-gauge carriages.

By Air

Paradoxically, perhaps the smoothest approach to Gioa is for those passengers who actually do come directly from outside India on one of the growing number of international flights that land at the state’s Dabolim Airport. Foreign airlines are vying for landing rights there to cater to Western package tourists. So far only Lufthansa comes straight to Goa with its Condor flights en route to Kathmandu. But others, including British Airways and Swissair, plan to have Europe to-Goa routes soon. As long as international flights to Dabolim are relatively few and largely limited to foreign holiday-makers, the airport is likely to remain the most convenient port of entry into India, free of the overload and the inquisitorial screening of overseas Indian returnees that choke up the international arríval terminals elsewhere in the country. Be sure, though, to avoid the direct Air India flight from Sharjah, which caters to guest-workers from the Gulf prime targets for the dilatory ministrations of the customs men.

Domestic flights link Dabolím with Cochin and Trivandrum in Kerala, Bangalore and Hyderabad in the Deccan, as well as the main metropolises of Bombay, New Delhi and Madras. Pick-up buses deliver high-rolling tourists to the five-star hotels, but there is no public airport bus, and the taxis at Dabolim like to gouge out fares as high as Rs100 to Panaji. To escape their clutches, catch an airport cab a yellow-painted taxi-cycle to Vasco, just four kilometres (2.5 miles) away, which is well connected with the rest of Goa by public transport and metered taxis.

By Boat

If you are not pressed for time and your itinerary takes you through Bombay, the steamer link is more leisurely than air travel. Cabin class on the Goa Ferry is luxurious in a faded sort of way, and a bargain (upwards of Rs300 per berth with slight variations, depending upon cabin amenities). But cabin reservations are hard to come by especially during the peak winter season. If all else fails, try a direct appeal to the passenger services department of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI, Bombay tel. 2022933, tlx. 011-2371, attention Jagdish Seth, Executive Director, whose brief includes passenger services). The northbound steamer trip is prettier than the southbound, since the ship plies closer to the coast and calls at the picturesque estuarine ports of the Konkan by daylight, rather than at night. The trip in either direction takes about 24 hours.

Bus and Rail

Quicker and cheaper, albeit less bus ride from Bombay. Night coaches also run between Goa and gracious, is the overnight (14-hour) Bangalore, Mysore or Mangalore (due south on the Karnataka coast). Private bus companies maintain offices on the main plazas of Panaji. Margao and Mapusa. The air-conditioned video coaches, which show Hindi movies during the journey, are costlier and less restful. Shorter bus hauls over the ghats take you to Londa or Hubli, where you can catch trunk-line trains.

The metre-gauge railroad, which goes only to the south side of the Zuari estuary, is no more than a spur line off a spur line: it links up at Miraj with the picturesque, but poky, Maharashtra Express of the Central Railway. Long-distance rail travel times from Goa can be daunting: nearly a full day to Bombay or Bangalore, two days or more to Delhi, Madras, Cochin or Calcutta. Most of these trips entail several train transfers and long stretches without air-conditioned carriages or sleepers -not recommended for any but the most  intrepid Indrailpass travellers.

Getting Around

Getting around within Goa can be an adventure. Better not to schedule your day with too much precision, since the timetables of most public conveyances can be rather elastic. Allow even more latitude if your itinerary takes you across the Mandovi River, since the collapse of the Nehru Bridge at Panaji now obliges travellers to queue up for ferries, at least until completion of the new bridge (optimistically scheduled for 1990). But, despite its uncertainties, travelling around Goa is relatively hassle-free for the relaxed, flexible visitor. There is not much risk of getting stranded in the hinterland or starving too far off the beaten track: English-speaking informants and reasonable pub food are likely even the remotest villages. Inter city buses are cheap and frequent and packed often to bursting with generally friendly and chatty people, Express buses run from Panaji to Mapusa in the north and Margao to the south. From these hubs, you can catch local buses to the beach as well.

Scores of vehicle terries link the islands that dot the Mandovi estuary, plying at intervals of 10-30 minutes, Porries also cross the Zuari, Sal, Chapora and Tiracol rivers. Longer haul launches, like those from Dona Paula to Vasco or up the Mandovi to Bicholim, depart only once or twice a day: check with the main ferry wharf in Panaji for day trips to secluded coves and offshore islands. The boatmen will help you catch and cook your picnic. Rates are highly negotiable, but a general rule of thumb is Rs.13 per kilometre (0.6 mile) of sailing distance to cover petrol plus Rs.12 per hour of the boatmen’s time.

For a look at the back-country Goa, try catching the local train from Vasco.  They depart virtually any hour of the day and run through the beaches at Velsao or Cansaulim, the pretty Latinate town of Margao, the mansions of Chandor or the Dudh Sagar waterfall. At major bus stands stands, ferry slips or train depots, you are likely to be met by a fleet of scooter rickshaws wherever you are headed in the vicinity for one or two rupees per kilometre, agree on fares beforehand, and yellow-painted motorcycles which will take you are headed in the vicinity for one or two rupees per kilometre.  Agree on fares before hand.

If you are interested in longer forays, after-dark junkets, or just quick spontaneous jaunts to choice restaurants, you will need your own transport. Bicycles, available for hire at about Rs20 per day get you from village to village without marring your appreciation of the sounds and smells that make Goa so special. But cycling gets pretty sweaty around midday and your range is limited.

To roam further afield, you can rent motorcycles and scooters ranging from 50cc putt-putts to 250cc Czech-designed Yezdis. Day rates start at around Rs.70, with discounts negotiable for longer term. A month’s use of a Yezdi currently goes for under Rs. 1,000 during peak season in the hippy Mecca of Anjuna. You pay for your own petrol. Also for maintanence, so be sure to check the condition of your bike before renting. Bike shops specialize in rentals in the main towns, as well as the more touristy beachside villages.

Individuals, too, are often quite willing to rent their own personal bikes. This can turn out to be the best bet for shorter terms. To find one, just ask around bars, petrol pumps and shops.

To avoid bureaucratic hassles, better arrive with an interim driver’s licence endorsed for motorcycles. Bigger bikes are RECOMMENDED FOR EXPERIENCED RIDERS only. Goa’s twisty roads are no place for leaner cyclists. Nor for daredevils: you share right of way with shambling cows, scurrying chickens, snoozing dogs, lumbering lorries and creaking ox-carts.

Two hours by motorcycle or three hours by bus from Margao is Chauri. headquarters of Canacona taluka. which boasts a string of idyllic sandy coves along its rocky coastline.

The nearest of them, Palolem, an easy walk from Chauri, has a couple of seaside bars and accommodation for paying guests in the homes of local toddy tappers, but the main business of the town remains fishing and feni-running. The smuggling boat, a dhow-like sailing craft, leaves every Wednesday night after an uncharacter­istically frenetic bout of loading activity on the part of the locals. A floating colony of Western castaways lives au naturel on an island at the end of the beach. Agonda, just north of Palolem, has been selected as the site of another five-star hotel. For the present, though, it is a kilometre-long (half-mile) stretch of virgin, palm-fringed beach backed by a friendly village with a grand, white 300-year-old church.

Similarly stunning beaches run the entire ten-kilometre (six-mile) length of the coastline of Pernem taluka at the northern end of Goa. This is Hindu country, so it is best not to rile local sensibilities by skinny-dipping. Beach-front accommodation is almost non-existent, but there is nothing to stop you from sleeping under the stars (as long as you look after your belongings; even here there arc still enough foreign visitors to make burglaries a consideration). Or you could stay at the clean and very economical resthouse run by the state tourism department in the romantic ruin of Tiracol Fort, linked to the Querim end of the beach by frequent ferries.

Sights in Goa

The first thing that strikes the eye about Goan architecture, at least in the more Europeanized parts of the state, is its monumentality. The most obvious examples are the massive church buildings now stranded on the empty grass plains or overgrown hillocks of Old Goa, like shipwrecks on some green seabed.

But even in the less deserted surroundings of the villages of Bardez and Salsete, the parish churches seem outsized compared with the pastel shop-fronts and colonnaded bungalows nearby. It is as though the masonry  itself was planned with missionary intent — hectoring, aggressive sermons in stone.

Lest the point is lost on passer-by, crosses and chapels dot the roadsides, hilltops, river banks, seashores – and naturally arresting landscape feature. No coincidence, this: proselytizing Christianity made a conscious policy of usurping the sites previously occupied by Hindu and Muslim shrines.

Food and Drink in Goa

One advantage of a ’creole’ cuisine like Goa’s is that, no matter where you come from, it is bound to taste exotic. Freshly arrived Western tourists are struck by the Oriental pungencies of turmeric and cumin, not to mention some of the hottest chilli varieties anywhere. But if your visit to Goa comes at the end of a long stint in India, you will find the local flavours curiously ‘Western’ and a refreshing change from the increasingly homogenized masala that is becoming the standard restaurant fare all over the rest of the country.

Ingredients, especially seafood, tend to be fresher and less overcooked in Goa. Pork, a rarity elsewhere in India, is a staple of the Goan diet. Coconut milk and sometimes vinegar figure in the sauces to take some of the bite out of the curries and make for a richer, more complex flavour. Goan cooks arc more liberal with spices like nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Along with rice, the local cuisine features leavened breads rather than the unleavened flatcakes common elsewhere in India. Steamed dumplings, called ‘sanaa or ‘odo’  are also Goan favourites.

Subtler than most run-of-the mill Indian cuisine Goan cooking also requires a surer hand in the kitchen. No wonder that_Goan, cooks are of export standard. Chefs figure prominently  among the emigrants Goa has been sending for generations throught the sub-continent and around the world.

They predominate in the galley of merchant ships  and the kitchens of five-star hotels. They  are adaptable to any cuisine from Chinese to Continental to Mughlai. But like other Goan expatriates, they are prey to gastronomic nostalgia.

Each year in the pre-monsoon months of May and June, when ‘it rains Goa flock home expressly to take care of their ancestral homesmore than alternately eat and snooze. But that is more than enough for the true cognoscenti. Early summer is when the shrimps, lobsters and fish are abundant, the cashews and coconuts arc ready for brewing into fresh feni liquor, the mango season is at its peak. Kids are on holiday from school and the Church obliges with a concentration of feast days, providing ample occasion for banquets.

In the expansive mood of one of these feasts — or Mardi Gras, or Christmas, or even just a village wedding — you might be lucky enough to land an invitation to a Goan home. That is by far the best place to sample the state’s classic cuisine. But even if nobody happens to take you home for dinner, you can still get a pretty good sense of the delicacy and ingenuity of Goan dishes just by visiting local tavernas.

For Goans, unlike most other Indians, are convivial drinkers. Every urban neighborhood and backwater village keeps two or three bars well patronized. Some of them boast three-page menus just to help wash down the feni. Featured items might include:

sorpotel. a vinegary stew of pork and pig’s liver. The deluxe version, called cabidel, also adds pig’s blood.

chorizo, the local variant of sausage, usually served in a red sauce. xacuti, a high-octane curry smoothed out with coconut milk, cloves and nutmeg.

vindaloo-style pork or fish, prepared in a piquant gravy. oyster guisado, a tomato-based soup. steamed prawns, often in a yogurt-and-mustard sauce. This preparation also works well for lobster.

cabidela de pato, dried duckling slowly simmered in an earthenware casserole. According to the classic recipe, the duck should be plied with vinegar before slaughter and later simmered in its own juices. Tamarind features in the spicing.

Other men items may be less excotic-sounding but are equally appetizing, In season you cannot go wrong with seafood. Beach front lean-to restaurants have enough to sense to serve it simply-steamed, fried or baked. Mercifully, these places have srpouted up just down the strand rom several of the five star hostelries, offering denizens of these golden ghettos a needed respite from mediocre and over-priced hotel food.

To wash down your meal, Goa produces a line of distinctly Iberian-flavoured wines under the Adega da Velha label. The whites  tastes like cherry and the reds like port. For drier palates stick to Golconda, alternatively  you can also try Caju-Feni

Cashew feni is belter as an aperitif than as a drink with food. It has a heavy, oily taste that clashes with some dishes. Uracco. the start-of- the-season distillate of young cashews (available only in the pre-­monsoon) is lighter and more suited for table use. Coconut feni is also cleaner-tasting and more versatile. Ginger feni goes brilliantly with seafood. Drink it ice cold. Caution: feni can pack a wicked morning- after wallop. So can toddy, the sweet-sour undistilled palm wine that is the base for coconut feni.

Wherever you dine in Goa. be sure to save room for dessert. Better restaurants and tearooms boast a variety of pastries and puddings, including the classic Portuguese flan. But the undisputed queen of Goan sweets is bebinca, a multi-layered concoction of flour, eggs, coconut milk, butter and sugar that aficionados find irresistible, although it is as heavy as an ingot. For lighter appetites, mangoes round off a meal perfectly. Three Goan mango varieties are prized throughout India: Alphonsos, Fernandinas and Malcoradas.

Beaches of Goa

Beaches are why most tourists come to Goa. yet it is more than sun and sand that makes for the special cachet of this tiny stretch of coast. True, the broad, golden, palm-fringed expanse of shoreline, uninterrupted for miles on end. is as enticing as any beach on earth.

But no more so, intrinsically, than nameless strands up and down India’s scraggly coastline, let alone those of neighboring countries from Pakistan to Sri Lanka to Indonesia. But in many of these places, the beaches are either remote and inaccessible or teeming with fishermen, pilgrims and touts. Goa avoids either extreme. Villages live in close proximity and benign indifference to the seashore, offering basic amenities and diversions, but otherwise leaving holiday-makers to their own devices. Or at least, that is how it has been for the 30-odd years that Goa has been on the tourist map. The ‘creole’ culture of the Place has been sufficiently pliant, yet firmly enough rooted, to resist successive onslaughts of flower children, five-star jetsetters and busloads of newly affluent Indian families from neighboring states.

Nowadays, however, the strain is beginning to show, especially at some of the more established beach resorts, whose reputation is finally etching up with them. Cops routinely riffle through knapsacks in the tourist huts of Anjuna. Calangute and Colva, searching for drugs.  Burglaries are on the rise, as much attributable to long-staying foreign beach bums as to affluence-dazzled villagers. Prude squads periodically prowl the beaches, forcibly clothing nude swimmers in a headline- tabbing byplay to political rivalry for control of Panaji’s new-fledged statehouse. (Goa achieved full statehood only in 1987).

Two hours by motorcycle or three hours by bus from Margao is Chauri. headquarters of Canacona taluka. which boasts a string of idyllic sandy coves along its rocky coastline.

The nearest of them, Palolem, an easy walk from Chauri, has a couple of seaside bars and accommodation for paying guests in the homes of local toddy tappers, but the main business of the town remains fishing and feni-running. The smuggling boat, a dhow-like sailing craft, leaves every Wednesday night after an uncharacter­istically frenetic bout of loading activity on the part of the locals. A floating colony of Western castaways lives au naturel on an island at the end of the beach. Agonda, just north of Palolem, has been selected as the site of another five-star hotel. For the present, though, it is a kilometre-long (half-mile) stretch of virgin, palm-fringed beach backed by a friendly village with a grand, white 300-year-old church.

Similarly stunning beaches run the entire ten-kilometre (six-mile) length of the coastline of Pernem taluka at the northern end of Goa. This is Hindu country, so it is best not to rile local sensibilities by skinny-dipping. Beach-front accommodation is almost non-existent, but there is nothing to stop you from sleeping under the stars (as long as you look after your belongings; even here there arc still enough foreign visitors to make burglaries a consideration). Or you could stay at the clean and very economical resthouse run by the state tourism department in the romantic ruin of Tiracol Fort, linked to the Querim end of the beach by frequent ferries.

Sights in Goa

The first thing that strikes the eye about Goan architecture, at least in the more Europeanized parts of the state, is its monumentality. The most obvious examples are the massive church buildings now stranded on the empty grass plains or overgrown hillocks of Old Goa, like shipwrecks on some green seabed.

But even in the less deserted surroundings of the villages of Bardez and Salsete, the parish churches seem outsized compared with the pastel shop-fronts and colonnaded bungalows nearby. It is as though the masonry  itself was planned with missionary intent — hectoring, aggressive sermons in stone.

Lest the point is lost on passer-by, crosses and chapels dot the roadsides, hilltops, river banks, seashores – and naturally arresting landscape feature. No coincidence, this: proselytizing Christianity made a conscious policy of usurping the sites previously occupied by Hindu and Muslim shrines.

Food and Drink in Goa

One advantage of a ’creole’ cuisine like Goa’s is that, no matter where you come from, it is bound to taste exotic. Freshly arrived Western tourists are struck by the Oriental pungencies of turmeric and cumin, not to mention some of the hottest chilli varieties anywhere. But if your visit to Goa comes at the end of a long stint in India, you will find the local flavours curiously ‘Western’ and a refreshing change from the increasingly homogenized masala that is becoming the standard restaurant fare all over the rest of the country.

Ingredients, especially seafood, tend to be fresher and less overcooked in Goa. Pork, a rarity elsewhere in India, is a staple of the Goan diet. Coconut milk and sometimes vinegar figure in the sauces to take some of the bite out of the curries and make for a richer, more complex flavour. Goan cooks arc more liberal with spices like nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Along with rice, the local cuisine features leavened breads rather than the unleavened flatcakes common elsewhere in India. Steamed dumplings, called ‘sanaa or ‘odo’  are also Goan favourites.

Subtler than most run-of-the mill Indian cuisine Goan cooking also requires a surer hand in the kitchen. No wonder that_Goan, cooks are of export standard. Chefs figure prominently  among the emigrants Goa has been sending for generations throught the sub-continent and around the world.

They predominate in the galley of merchant ships  and the kitchens of five-star hotels. They  are adaptable to any cuisine from Chinese to Continental to Mughlai. But like other Goan expatriates, they are prey to gastronomic nostalgia.

Each year in the pre-monsoon months of May and June, when ‘it rains Goa flock home expressly to take care of their ancestral homesmore than alternately eat and snooze. But that is more than enough for the true cognoscenti. Early summer is when the shrimps, lobsters and fish are abundant, the cashews and coconuts arc ready for brewing into fresh feni liquor, the mango season is at its peak. Kids are on holiday from school and the Church obliges with a concentration of feast days, providing ample occasion for banquets.

In the expansive mood of one of these feasts — or Mardi Gras, or Christmas, or even just a village wedding — you might be lucky enough to land an invitation to a Goan home. That is by far the best place to sample the state’s classic cuisine. But even if nobody happens to take you home for dinner, you can still get a pretty good sense of the delicacy and ingenuity of Goan dishes just by visiting local tavernas.

For Goans, unlike most other Indians, are convivial drinkers. Every urban neighborhood and backwater village keeps two or three bars well patronized. Some of them boast three-page menus just to help wash down the feni. Featured items might include:

sorpotel. a vinegary stew of pork and pig’s liver. The deluxe version, called cabidel, also adds pig’s blood.

chorizo, the local variant of sausage, usually served in a red sauce. xacuti, a high-octane curry smoothed out with coconut milk, cloves and nutmeg.

vindaloo-style pork or fish, prepared in a piquant gravy. oyster guisado, a tomato-based soup. steamed prawns, often in a yogurt-and-mustard sauce. This preparation also works well for lobster.

cabidela de pato, dried duckling slowly simmered in an earthenware casserole. According to the classic recipe, the duck should be plied with vinegar before slaughter and later simmered in its own juices. Tamarind features in the spicing.

Other men items may be less excotic-sounding but are equally appetizing, In season you cannot go wrong with seafood. Beach front lean-to restaurants have enough to sense to serve it simply-steamed, fried or baked. Mercifully, these places have srpouted up just down the strand rom several of the five star hostelries, offering denizens of these golden ghettos a needed respite from mediocre and over-priced hotel food.

To wash down your meal, Goa produces a line of distinctly Iberian-flavoured wines under the Adega da Velha label. The whites  tastes like cherry and the reds like port. For drier palates stick to Golconda, alternatively  you can also try Caju-Feni

Cashew feni is belter as an aperitif than as a drink with food. It has a heavy, oily taste that clashes with some dishes. Uracco. the start-of- the-season distillate of young cashews (available only in the pre-­monsoon) is lighter and more suited for table use. Coconut feni is also cleaner-tasting and more versatile. Ginger feni goes brilliantly with seafood. Drink it ice cold. Caution: feni can pack a wicked morning- after wallop. So can toddy, the sweet-sour undistilled palm wine that is the base for coconut feni.

Wherever you dine in Goa. be sure to save room for dessert. Better restaurants and tearooms boast a variety of pastries and puddings, including the classic Portuguese flan. But the undisputed queen of Goan sweets is bebinca, a multi-layered concoction of flour, eggs, coconut milk, butter and sugar that aficionados find irresistible, although it is as heavy as an ingot. For lighter appetites, mangoes round off a meal perfectly. Three Goan mango varieties are prized throughout India: Alphonsos, Fernandinas and Malcoradas.

Beaches of Goa

Beaches are why most tourists come to Goa. yet it is more than sun and sand that makes for the special cachet of this tiny stretch of coast. True, the broad, golden, palm-fringed expanse of shoreline, uninterrupted for miles on end. is as enticing as any beach on earth.

But no more so, intrinsically, than nameless strands up and down India’s scraggly coastline, let alone those of neighboring countries from Pakistan to Sri Lanka to Indonesia. But in many of these places, the beaches are either remote and inaccessible or teeming with fishermen, pilgrims and touts. Goa avoids either extreme. Villages live in close proximity and benign indifference to the seashore, offering basic amenities and diversions, but otherwise leaving holiday-makers to their own devices. Or at least, that is how it has been for the 30-odd years that Goa has been on the tourist map. The ‘creole’ culture of the Place has been sufficiently pliant, yet firmly enough rooted, to resist successive onslaughts of flower children, five-star jetsetters and busloads of newly affluent Indian families from neighboring states.

Nowadays, however, the strain is beginning to show, especially at some of the more established beach resorts, whose reputation is finally etching up with them. Cops routinely riffle through knapsacks in the tourist huts of Anjuna. Calangute and Colva, searching for drugs.  Burglaries are on the rise, as much attributable to long-staying foreign beach bums as to affluence-dazzled villagers. Prude squads periodically prowl the beaches, forcibly clothing nude swimmers in a headline- tabbing byplay to political rivalry for control of Panaji’s new-fledged statehouse. (Goa achieved full statehood only in 1987).

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