Stretching 106 lazy kilometers along the the coastline of the Arabian sea is the small state of Goa, India. Coconut palms line narrow roads twisting through villages and paddy fields speckled with whitewashed chapels. Sun lingers late into the day as local women sell coconuts and fresh fruit while kids run barefoot under the shade of mango trees. Getting completely lost on a journey to the next stretch of sand is where the adventure is found in this Portuguese influenced haven.
From North to South Goa the balance of old and new remains. Recent development has spawned the usual resorts and bars but if one knows where to look, slow food, untouched beaches and tucked away laid back beach shacks await. All seasons are equally beautiful in this lush state but make sure to check for seasonal rates and weather as it changes from month to month.
Location: West India region of the Konkan. Bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north and by Karnataka to the east and south. The Arabian Sea forms the western coast.
Coordinates: 15.4989° N, 73.8278° E
Population: > 1.187 million
slow food, untouched beaches and tucked away laid back beach shacks await
Where to Eat
La Plage – French food at its finest in Goa.
Cafe Nu – Hidden gem. This place is the best in evening candle light. Outdoor. Good music. Great food. Make reservations.
Thalassa – Greek food and good drinks overlooking the Arabian Sea. Best place to go early, arrive at sunset. Good scene.
Deliciuex – Farmers sandwich! Figs, goat cheese, honey, spinach, homemade sourdough. Best hangover brunch spot. Good coffee.
Oltre Marino – Italian cuisine almost touching the sea. Down the hill from Thalassa.
Bean Me Up – Brunch/lunch spot. Try their Indian breakfast for a twist on the paratha.
Artjuna – Best sandwich/coffee place in Arjuna. Gift shop spot.
Sakana – Make a reservation. Best sushi in Goa.
Borsch aka Dont tell mama – Russian owned outdoor tiki bar. Ask for the daily special drink. Served in a jar, usually homemade local fruit concentrate and Russian vodka. Good vibes.
What to Do
Ashvem Beach – My favorite beach in north Goa.
Banana Surf School – Good crowd for day time hang out.
Marbela – Day time sun bathing spot or evening drink hangout spot.
Wednesday day market – Anjuna (traffic gets crazy so try to go early on) or ask the driver to take a short cut.
Saturday night market – Great independent designers, vintage finds, and djs.
Bazaar – Boutique, haircut and coffee near La Plage.
Where to Stay
Yab Yum Resort – No sign board. Tucked away along the beaches of north this is such a beautiful boutique resort. Organic food and natural surroundings with nice cottages. Call for directions.
Watermans Village – Best spot for meeting cute surfers from around the world. Good vibe over all. Cute coffee shop/art.
Aquatica – Boutique hotel opposite the beach. Comfortable rooms away from the action.
Ashley Walch is a designer, writer and cinematographer sharing her time between Brooklyn, Mumbai, and Goa. She is the owner of Esther Design house, currently working with artisans in rural Rajasthan and is co-founder of Paper Tiger Films. A skilled sidestepper of open storm drains and advocate for cities with little or no personal space, she’s happiest when creating things and sharing conversations in unusual places.