Goa: Road Less Travelled

Let me categorically state here that Goa is our chilling backyard, our go-to vacation spot and our love for Goa and everything Goan is never-ending. It’s not hard to digest given that Goa is so close to Mumbai. And so, on yet another vacation to our favourite haunt, Rahul and I decided to take the road to Goa.

Since it was our first ‘road trip’ to Goa, we obviously wanted to make it an amazing one! We took the usual route passing through the various ghats from Mumbai to Karnataka. We had a wonderful few hours of driving till this point and it only got more awesome here on. After passing by the city hustle-bustle of Hubli and Belgaum, we decided to take the route through Mollem and Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuaries, which is a 34-km stretch of nature combined with smooth roads.
So picture this, the shade of trees, windows rolled down and pleasant breeze passing through. Forests on either side with random sounds of nature and no cars buzzing around us.

Once in Goa, we headed straight for some relaxation to a beach-shack. We try to find new and secluded beaches each time and this time we picked Patnem. We spent the evening enjoying some live music at the shack and then strolled the length of this unfrequented beach. We also hit up some other new beaches on this trip – Benaulim (where you will find even the local crowd being all touristy!), Varca in South Goa, which is almost a virgin beach and Small Vagator in the North where all the pretty people who have gathered to dine at the best restaurants land up later on!

The best part of the trip though was yet to come. Going back in time to Portuguese Goa – Fontainhas, we spent the evening sauntering through the streets of the hidden Latin Quarter. In Panjim town right after the North-South bridge is the beautiful area of colourful heritage houses that have maintained an old-world charm. If White Town in Pondicherry caught your attention, then this part of Goa will surely amaze you.

The area is stuck in time and so are its residents. A beautiful white Chapel in the heart of the neighbourhood, chatty old ladies enjoying their evening tea on the porch, an old couple playing the violin at their window, cats purring outside houses and time moving as slowly as possible while you stand in the middle of this colourful colony and soak it all up. To get a feel, I would say just take some time off from the beach on your next trip and head here for a couple of hours instead.
P.S. they also offer rooms in these traditional houses. I know where I’m checking in next time in Goa!

On this trip we discovered one of the hidden treasures of Goa but we definitely haven’t got enough of it. We will be back again to explore this beauty. Until next time!

Itinerary

Day 1: We drove from Mumbai early morning and reached Patnem, Goa by evening.
Our stay was at Om Shanti Beach huts.

Day 2: We checked-in to Club Mahindra Emerald Palms, Varca and explored the resort. Their Spa and Jacuzzi are exquisite. We spent the rest of our time at Benaulim beach. Colva beach is also close by.

Day 3: We drove to North Goa, Small Vagator. I had been wanting to dine at Antares by Sara Todd. The food was superb and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset at the beach.
We drove to Fontainhas, Panjim on the way back to Varca beach to explore the area, and to capture some of the Portugese vibes.

Day 4: The drive back to Mumbai from Goa was even better than the onward journey, spotting the exclusive Goan sunrise and the exotic woodpeckers in Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary. Keep your eyes peeled for these. Definitely the route for your next road trip to Goa.

We took a quick break at the White House Cafe just before Kolhapur. Recommended for some yummy food and a well-deserved break.

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