by Mibu Minami
Holiday destinations have taken a dramatic ‘change of course’ in the past year to say the least. For those of us remaining in India, seeking a safer and uncomplicated holiday Goa has become, quite naturally a favorite destination spot.
For the moment (March 2021) there are no test requirements prior to boarding a flight to Goa (from Delhi) and other than a self-health declaration form with the airline and wearing protective attire (mask, face-shield and disposable gown) on the plane, the process is overall easy. Additionally, traveling back to Delhi from Goa is also hassle-free with no previous test requirements.
My family and I took advantage of being in India during these restrictive times and traveled to Goa twice in the last 4 months. The first trip to the northern part of Candolim and recently to the quieter beach area down south, in Palolem. Goa may be a small state, but it has a coastline that stretches 160 kilometers, boasting over 30 beaches each unique in character. Our holidays in the north and south turned out to be very different experiences.
It seems Goa airport is the focal point of distinguishing north and south Goa as well as understanding that the North is busier, more tourist friendly with a vast selection of top-rated restaurants and resorts, while the south is speckled with beach coves, 5-star luxury hotels and small boutique hotels and cafes.
Monsoon season in Goa begins around mid-May and continues until September (it rains a lot throughout the season) but from October to March the temperatures stay between 20 to 30C degrees making a perfect time to visit.
The food scene in Goa is, in my opinion, just SPECTACULAR! I speculate that Goa attracts highly skilled chefs who after years working at hotels restaurants around the world… I may be wrong, who knows, but really, it is that good! Given that it is by the sea, the seafood is fresh, and a variety of local wines not sold in Delhi are available and reasonably priced. Heaven on Earth!
Palolem is known for its beautiful white sand beach lined with rustic beach front bungalows and calm waters. We booked a sweet bungalow at Art Resort Goa set right on the beach. Nothing fancy but for us, it was a dream stay having direct access to the beach and enjoying the sunset from our little balcony.
There are a few gems in Palolem as well. A favorite in this area is the European bistro Ourem 88. Thinly sliced beef carpaccio with fresh rucola, stuffed calamari, fresh sea bass cooked to perfection, tiramisu, these are some of the wonderful dishes and desserts I tried, and I must admit I was surprised to experience such refined quality of food in a remote beach neighborhood. The atmosphere is low key, charming decor with special attention from the
We also loved Jaali Boutique and Café close to Patnem beach, right next to Palolem. A stylish oasis surrounded by lush greenery, the organic chilled ambience of this outdoor café and boutique is simply amazing. Healthy and unique menus with a vibrant selection of cocktails and DJ sets creates a lux mood. The boutique has an online shop as well.
A few stand out boutiques in Palolem was apparel and home décor shop Bunti, located close to the main market and the newly opened Endiapan created by Ayumi from Japan (Imagine my joy meeting a fellow Japanese living in Palolem!) You can feel Ayumi’s sense of great style and friendly vibe in the shop and she serves Japanese tea as well as homemade style sushi once a week (times may vary).
Candolim and areas further north in Goa have a greater selection of wonderful restaurants and cafes. Drop us an email if you would like more recommendations.
Art Resort Goa: https://www.art-resort-goa.com/
Ourem 88: https://www.facebook.com/Ourem88/
Jaali Boutique and Café: https://jaaligoa.com/pages/cafe