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Goa is famous for its white sands beaches, mesmeric sunset and for the easy-going nature of is inhabitants the small indian state of goa. Just over a hundered kilometers from north to south, has been renowned as one of asia most irresistibble destination since the portugues navigator vasco de gama sailed down the malbar coast in 1498. In search of christians and spices” he found neither, but he fort he established further south at cochin resulted, twele years later, in the erstwhile muslim port and its hinterland becoming a portugues colony, which it remained until 1961 a decade later, the overlaind trail reached the konkan coast, bringing with it the annual influx of backpackers that wood soon make the state synonymous with hedonstic hippy holidays.
Since then, goa has largerly shaken off its reputation as a drop out zone, but the tens of thousand of visitors who flock here each year still do so primarily to relax on the region`s beutiful beaches. Lapped by the balmy waters of the arabian sea around two dozen stretches of soft, white sand indent the goan coast, from spectular 25 km sweeps to secluded palm backed backed coves, the level of development on them varies widly, and while most are these days line with shack cafes and new hotels, it`s still possible to sidestep the tourist scene. Indeed, the fable strands showcased in glossy hoiday brouchers are only a small part of the picture.
A short foray from the coast will take you into the state real heart, the densely poppulated alluvial strip inland – a lush patcchwork of paddy fields, cocunut plantation whitewashed churches and gentely mandering rivers, where the pace of the life has altered littile for centuries. Further east the jungle covered hills of the westeren ghats seprate goa from rest of the india. Scattered with tiny thatch roofed sattelment and isolated communities of forest dwelling frmers are directe descendants of the region aboginal peoples.
The product of 450 years of portugues domination goa is a uniwue blend of east and west that is at once exotic and strangely familiar: christmas and carnival are celebreated as enthusiastically by the third precent christian as the diwali and durga festival are by the mainly konkani speaking hindus. The state`s seperate identity is discrenible in numerous other ways too, most visibly in its latin influenced architecture, but also in a fish- and meat rich cuisine that would be anathema to most indians. Another marked difference is the pereflance of alcohol. Bear is cheap, and six thousand or more bars arround the state are licensed to serve it, along with more traditional tipples of feni, the local hootch, and toddi, a derivative of palm sap.
Thanks to the fecund tropical climate of the region, and the well watered soil of its seaword side, goan farmers grow a wide arry of crops, ranging from rice, the main staple, to cashew, areca and fruit forv export . on the coast itself, coconut cultivation and fishing are still the main sources of income. The relatively recent discovery of iron in the hills to the east has also generated considrable revenue, and the economy is further fuelled by the streams remittance cheques sent home by expatriate goans working in bombay and the gulf sates. The consequent higher standard of living has, invetibaly, who today comprise around a third of the total population.
Goa`s other big money-spinner is, of course, torism lured in the c1960s by the locals apparently permissive stance on drink, drugs and nudity not to mention abunadant cheap food and accomadation the first foreigners to lake an advantage of the new satate`s pristine beaches were hippies as the region fame spread, however, the unconventional minority was gradually squezed out, leaving the more accessible stretches of coast line near panjim free for devlopement for mainstream tourism. Coastal villages that were ramshackle fishing settelment less than a generation ago have metamorphosed into ritzy westeren style resort, complete with concrete hotel campuses swimming pools and rows of parasols that vie for room on the dunes with old wooden outriggers and thatch huts. The alternative contngent has meanwhile fled up the coast, ditching pink floyd along the way in favour of hard edged, chest thumping techno music. The legendary full moon parties have survived though. Despite numerus police crackdowns, and continue to attract thousand of revellers, espesially arround the christmas/newyear period.
Three decades of tourism and industrial devlopment have inevitably taken their toll on the envoirnment. And green issues now a days features prominently on the political agenda. In recent years, much anger has been directed toward a handful of porpusebuilt luxury hotels which have been accused of ignoring environmental laws and tapping scarce supplies of ground water, chopping down cocunut trees and even displacing vilaagers we have tried to reflect such conceren in the guide indicating which hotels have beentaken to task by the green loby, and what you can do to minimize the impact of your presence in this part of the world.
If you are never travelled in asia before, goa may come as some thing of a shock. Its beaches certainly conform to the glossy holiday brouchers image, but once outside the tourist spots many first time visitor are surprised to find themeselve in workday rural india . where bullock carts far outnumber cars, rice is planted by hand, and where the majority of villagers draw their water from a communal well, subsiting on an average annual wage that is fer lower than the cost of a flight from europe. don`t however, let this deter you from venturring off the beaten track in goa. The littile frequented corners of the states are likely to yeild some of the most memorable moments of your trip. Combining beutiful scenery with the chance to encounter a way of life that is worlds away from the headlong commercialism of the beach resort.
Where to go
Which beach you opt for when you arrive largerly depends on what sort of holiday you have in mind. Heavelly devloped resort such as calangute and baga. In the north, and colva, in the south, offere more “walk in” accomodation, shoping and tourist facilities than elsewhere. Even if you don`t fancy crowded bars and purpose built hotels, it can be worth heading for these centeres at first, as finding palaces to stay in less commercialized corne is often difficult. Anjuna, vagator and chapora, where accomodation is generally more basic and harder to come by are the beaches to aim for if you have come to goa to party. To get a taste of what most of the state must have been like twenty or thirty years ago, however, you will have to travel further afield to arambol, a sleepy fishing village and hippy hang-out in the far north; or to agonda and palolem, near the karnataken border, where tourism has yet to make much impact.
Foremost among worthwhile attraction away from the coast are the ruins of the portugues capital at old goa nine kilometers from panjim a spraw of catholic cathdrals convenets and churches that draws crowd of christian pilgrmige from all over india. Another popular day excursion is to anjuna Wednesday flea market a sociable place to shop for souvenirs and the latest rave gear. Further inland, the thickly wooded countryside arround ponda harbours numerous temples, where you can check out goa`s peculiar brand of hindu architecture. The taluka of salcete, and its main market town, margo is also littered with wonderful portugues mansions churches and seminaries, whose gabled baroque facades nose tantalizingly above the tropical treeline. In addition. Wildlife enthusiast may be tempted into the interior to visit the nature reserves at molem. In the far east of centeral Goa and cotigao in the south which harbour fragile population of rare animals.
With so many tempting beaches temeing beaches, markets, monuments and nature reserve with in state, it is no surprise that few visitor venture accross the goan border into neighbouring katnataka. But beyond the shelter of westeren ghats mountains. The parched plateau lands of the deccan trap sprawl east over the apex of peninsula india, dotted with a string of industrial cities, and or more intrest to visitor, the decaying remanants of older capitals. Among these one of the most spectucular archeological sites in south india, the ghost city of hampi. Strewn over a vast area of boulder hills, the capital of the formidale vijyanagar dynasty was razed by muslim invaders in 1565. And today, weed chocked places, temple and discarded statues are virtually all that remains of this once opulent metropolis. However, a visit here will give you a vivid insight into the extravagant art and culture of pre-colinial. Hindu india, while the ten hour journey to the ruins can be an adventure itself.
For this reason we have include a detailed account of hamppi in chapter four, around goa, which also features the highlights along the konakn coast, the lush alluvial strip running south from goa in the shadow of the sahyadri hills. Previously accessible only by a winding pot-holed highway, this regioun can now be painsely reached by train from goa on the new superfast konkan railway. The high point of any trip through coastal of karnatka has to be the ramshckle hindu pilgrimage town of gokarm, site of several ancient shrines and a crop of unspilt beaches. India highest waterfall spectular jog falls, 154 km from goa, also lien within reletively easy reach of the coast, hidden deep in the jungledraped shaydri range it is possible to string these two together in a trip of three to four days, but with a week to spare you will be able to spend time exploring rarely visiting fishing villages and forest areas along the way, expriencing at first hand an india that`s a far cry from the tourist enclaves of goa.

When to visit
The best time to come to goa is during the dry. Relatively cool winter months between late october and early march. At other times, either the sun is too hot for comfort, or the monsoon rains make life miserable for everyone expect the fisher and hotelior, who get to shit around all day snoozing and playing backgammon. During peak season from mid december to the end of january, the weather is perfect, with the tempreture gauge rarely nudging above a manageable 32 C finding a room or a house to rent at that time, however particluarly over the christmas and new year fortnight when the tariffs double, or tripple – can be a real hassle.

Hotels on Calangute Beach

Neelams The Grand
Casa De Goa
Highland Beach Resort
Nizmar Resort
Osborne Holiday Resort
Resort Do Tio Carmino
Aldeia Bello Resort
Sharanam Green Resort
Santiago Resort
Sunkissed Resort
Cary’s Hotel
Silent Retreat
Tangerine Resort
Villa Goesa Beach Resort
Somy Resort / Brisa Leisure Resort
Santo Antonio Resort
Diyana Holiday Resort
Alor Resort
Avantika Resort
Silent Resort
Hotel Linda
Senhor Angelo

Hotels on Baga Beach

Riverside Guest House
Nazri Resort
La Calypso Paradiso Getaway Resort
Beacon Court
Colonia Santa Maria
Lua Nova
La Baga Beach Resort
Cavala Resort

Hotels on Colva Beach

Silver Sands Beach Resort
Colva Beach Resort
Graciano Cottages
Colmar Beach Resort
Sea Queen Resort
Star Beach Resort
Vista De Colva
William’s Beach Resort
Colva Condos
La Ben Resort

Hotels on Vainguinium Beach

Cidade De Goa
Hotels on Arpora
Lagoa Azul Resort
Sun Village
Marinha Dourada
Resort Mello Rosa
Resort Aldeia De Goa
Abalone Resort
Sodder’s Renton Manor

Hotels on Cavelossim Beach

Dona Sylvia
Dona Sa Maria
Hathi Mahal

Hotels on Utorda Beach

Galaxy Beach Resort
Hotels on Sinqurerim Beach
Taj Fort Aguada Resort
Taj Holiday Village
Taj Aguada Hermitage
Hotels on Candolim Beach
Phoenix Park Inn Resort
Kamal Beach Resort
Sunset Beach Resort
Lui Beach Resort
Casa Seashell
Don Hill Beach Resort
Ave Maria Guest House
Victor Exotica Beach Resort
Dona Alcina Resort
Aguada Holiday Resort
Xavier Beach Resort
Alor Grand Holiday Resort
Hotels on Arossim Beach
Heritage Village Club
Hotels on Mobor Beach
Leela Palace
Jose Holiday Home
Holiday Inn
Gaffino’s Guest House
Hotels on Miramar Beach
Marriott Resort

Hotels on Betalbatim Beach

Coconut Grove
Nanu Beach Resort
Hotels on Bogmalo Beach
Bagmallo Beach Resort
Coconut Creek
Hotels on Dona Paula Beach
Dona Paula Beach Resort
Hotels on Varca Beach
Renaissance Resort
Colonio Jose Menino
Club Mahindra
Varca Palms
Hotels on Benaulim Beach
Lotus Suites
Carina Beach Resort
Hotel Failaka
Hotels on Velsao Beach
Horizon Beach Resort