There is a very clear division: if you want a quiet and respectable vacation, go to the south of Goa, and if you crave entertainment, new existential experiences, and are unpretentious in everyday life and like to save money, you are welcome to North Goa. This paradise was opened to the world by hippies in the 70s – then Anjuna Beach was their haven. Even the legendary Liverpool Beatles contemplated sunsets here and plunged into shanti on the ocean.
The administrative center of North Goa is the city of Mapusa. The name Goa itself comes from the Sanskrit Govarashtra, which means “country of shepherds.” It is not surprising that the calling card of this place is peaceful cows on the beaches. Fans of North Goa will tell you about the incredible energy of this part of the coast, the spirit of freedom, the opportunity to break away to the fullest and succeed in finding yourself. Opponents (of whom there are also many) will talk about poverty, licentiousness and unsanitary conditions. Both are right, from their own points of view. One thing is indisputable: Goa is really an amazing place, and in order to form your own idea about it, you need to visit it yourself at least once.
Resorts of North Goa
According to CachedHealth, Tiracol is the northernmost beach of Goa, still untouched by civilization. Fort Tiracol rises above the deserted beach. Lovers of peace and solitude come here.
There is no busy traffic in Arambol either, but there is a long beach and many cozy cafes on the coast, where ethnic concerts are held in the evenings. The sand is soft and white, and the road to the beach is lined with huts of locals selling souvenirs and clothing.
Morjim is called the “Russian village”, and quite deservedly: about 80% of tourists here are from Russia. Local merchants diligently replenish their vocabulary with the Russian words “look”, “how are you”, “cheap” and “buy an elephant”. Beach cafe employees know who Yegor Titov is, the head of the local police comes to the opening of a Russian restaurant, and the menu clearly and in Russian says: “pancakes, borscht, dumplings.”
Anjuna is the real center of life in Goa. The most famous nightclubs “Dolce Vita” and “Paradise” are open there, there is a lively beach, and on Wednesdays there is a popular Anjuna Market flea market in the resort, where you can buy Indian souvenirs, clothes, silver and much more. Next door is Vagator Beach – not as “quick” and loud as a neighbor, but you won’t get bored there either.
Baga is a small picturesque beach with several hotels. Its main advantage is the Baga River, in the waters of which children love to swim. For some time now, a Saturday evening market has been held here (not bad, but far from Anjuna).
Calangute, once the local “capital” of hippies, is now gradually becoming the center of attraction for ordinary commercial tourists. This beach cannot be called the best, besides, many will consider it too crowded and noisy, but here tourists will have no problems with accommodation and food.
Candolim attracts with its respectability and calmer atmosphere compared to Calangute. You can even say that it is more like the southern beaches. Two high-quality hotels of the Taj Group chain have even been built there. The disadvantage of the beach is a rather steep descent to the water.
Sinquerim is popular with foreigners because it is spacious and not too crowded. The minus is the same as that of Candolim – a steep descent to the water.
Mandrem is a small picturesque village in the northern part of Goa, located between the two beaches of Ashvem and Arambol, considered one of the best on the northern coast.
- Is it possible to go from North Goa to South
- What is the difference between holidays in North and South Goa
Communication and Wi-Fi
In North Goa, as in many other tourist regions, it is more profitable to use local mobile communications. Several mobile operators operate here – Vodafone, Idea, Airtel, Aircel. The rates and coverage area are about the same for everyone. You can buy SIM cards both in the offices of mobile operators and in small shops – travel offices.
At Dabolim Airport, buying a SIM card will cost more than in neighboring towns.
To apply for a starter package, you need a photocopy of your international passport – the main page and the page with a visa (can be done on the spot). Prices – from 800 INR (450 INR goes to the account). Mobile Internet is connected additionally using USSD or SMS requests and is paid separately – approximately 150 INR for 500 Mb of 3G Internet. So far, only 2G and 3G standards are in effect in North Goa. You can replenish your account in cash or cards (recharge voucher) in travel offices, as well as via the Internet.
If the Internet is needed one-time, for example, then you can use Internet cafes, of which there are many in North Goa. The cost is 72 INR per hour. Wi-Fi is not always available in cafes and shacks, and it is also rare to get free and stable Internet in hotels and guesthouses.
Diving in North Goa
Fans of underwater beauty will be interested in diving in North Goa. The underwater world of the Arabian Sea (part of the Indian Ocean) is rich and diverse, so it is worth devoting at least a day to diving. Here in the underwater depths you can see not only coral reefs and bizarre fish, but also sunken ships. Usually, divers are taken to neighboring islands for diving – visibility is better in the open sea. There are two diving centers in North Goa: DiveGoa and Goa Diving, and you can also find private instructors in beach cafes. Price for 2 dives (amateur level, without special training) plus equipment rental – from 7200 INR.
What to bring
From Goa you can bring a lot of interesting authentic gizmos, which are the embodiment of national color. First, clothes and accessories made of cotton: canvas bags, covers for yoga mats, Holi-dyed T-shirts, tunics, Aladdin pants, scarves and stoles. Home textiles with embroidery: bedspreads, pillowcases, mats – for those who like to bring oriental motifs into the interior of their home. The main market of North Goa – “Anjuna Market” is open from early morning until 19:00. There are also night markets in Arpora and Baga, which are open from 18:00 to 1:00. And the Friday market in Mapusa is famous for its affordable prices for food and souvenirs.
Do not be shy to bargain – sellers usually discount the price by 2-3 times.
Knitted sweaters and jackets from Nepal also deserve attention. In the markets of North Goa, a lot of beautiful jewelry is sold – bronze and silver items decorated with turquoise, jasper, carnelian. As original souvenirs, you can buy musical instruments – singing bowls or Indian drums. We advise women to take a closer look at Ayurvedic cosmetics (Biotik, Swati, Patanjali), cosmetic oils such as coconut and almond can be bought especially cheap here. It is also worth bringing Indian tea, spices and local Old Monk rum from Goa, which, despite its cheap price, is of excellent quality.
What to try
Indian cuisine is quite different from European cuisine, so travelers in North Goa will have a chance to try a lot of exotic dishes. In general, India is a paradise for vegetarians. And lovers of protein foods should choose chicken dishes. For example, “tandoori chicken” is a national Indian dish, which is a specially marinated chicken baked in a tandoori oven. There is also a delicious dish “momos” – something between dumplings and manti with vegetables, chicken or shrimp as toppings.
Almost all the food here is spicy and spicy – this is partly due to the hot climate – a lot of pepper and spices are added so that the food does not spoil longer.
Perhaps the most insipid dish is chapati wheat cakes (there are a couple more varieties – roti and naan). They are dipped in spicy sauces, flavored with cheese and garlic. All kinds of dishes with “paneer” – local homemade cheese – are very popular. It is grilled in spices (“panir tikka”), and stewed with nuts and dried fruits, and also added together with vegetables to rice (“panir dilruba”) and salads.
And, of course, the proximity to the ocean allows you to enjoy all kinds of seafood here. We recommend trying the soup with seafood, cream and herbs (seafood soup).
Cafes and restaurants in North Goa
There are plenty of restaurants and cafes in North Goa – for every taste and budget. Many establishments offer Indian, Asian, Russian and even Mediterranean cuisine. We advise you to choose Indian – it is still authentic and very diverse.
Prices in Goa have grown, but they are not sky-high – the average bill for two in a cafe is 700-1000 INR. But here you can and should bargain!
The Sri Restaurant & Bar restaurant is very popular with tourists – it is located in the village of Arpora, next to the Anjuna beach. The institution has gained fame for its excellent cuisine, relaxing atmosphere and friendly attitude of the staff. Here you should definitely try king fish – fish baked on the grill and served with vegetables and lime. And for desserts, we recommend mango ice cream. The average check is 2000 INR for two. Those who miss Russian cuisine will love the dishes in the Bora Bora cafe (in Morjim) – it has a Russian owner.
We advise real romantics to visit the Gekko cafe in Arambol. It is worth coming here to enjoy the sunset: at this time, tables are moved closer to the water, candles are lit and a cart with freshly caught seafood is rolled out.
In almost all cafes in North Goa, waiters understand Russian to a reasonable extent, many menus have translations of dish names into Russian.