Travel Diaries - India (Goa)

Our first stop in India was beautiful Goa, famous for its beautiful beaches and chilled out vibes compared to the north and it definitely didn't disappoint. We spent 6 days in sunny Goa and moved around every 2 days which is easy enough by taxi or by local buses. We did find that taxis in Goa were pretty expensive compared to everything else but it's the most convenient way of getting around and the price of food and drink evened everything out.

WHERE TO STAY

CASA DA GRACA in Goa Velha

Instagram: @casadagraca

We arrived here straight from our flight and after missing our connecting flight we were so happy when we walked through the grand doors to find a pure heaven. Casa Da Graca means House Of Grace and it should be in the dictionary as the meaning of this. From its beautiful interior to its stunning pool it really did offer everything. The staff also make you feel so welcome and special. We had dinner here both nights and they customised our dinner to our tastes (I'm veggie and Ben's very fussy!). The first night we had continental and the second night we felt more brave and had an amazing curry which was unreal, the flavours could not be faulted. We hoped the food would be as good for the rest of the trip but we think this is wishful thinking! The rooms are all named Creation, Peace, Compassion & Devotion. We stayed in Compassion which is a poolside room with beautiful bohemian details. Tiled floor, four posted bed, rain shower and lots of little touches that make it such a tranquil haven. The first day at Casa Da Graca we chilled by the pool as it was too nice not to lay and enjoy it and the second day we went out in the morning to see the old Portuguese churches in Old Goa and to Mapusa Friday market which was lively and bustling, the staff made us an itinerary for the day including a lunch stop at Cafe Bodego which was beautiful and arranged our driver. We did not want to leave this place, from watching the sunset over the lake with Freshly made biscuits and Chai tea to our candlelight dinners by the pool we left feeling like we had no cares in the world thanks to Anara and the team at Casa Da Graca for the most perfect few days.

An hours taxi ride from Casa Da Graca was our second stop Vivenda Dos Palhacos which was in an area called Majorda. It's quite a small place but with long white beaches and a lot of places to eat. We were greeted by the 3 dogs at the entrance who we fell in love with, and the house was so beautiful decorated and grand with only a handful of individual rooms to suit your taste. The beds were super comfy and the air con was a dream after a long day at the beach. The pool always looks very inviting with the grand white structure and palms blowing in the background. The bar area is so nice in the evenings, although we didn't eat here the menu looked great every night if you don't fancy wandering out and the staff were always friendly. Breakfast has something for everyone continental and Indian, the coffee is very good! If you get to chat to the owner Simon he is full of wisdom about India if you have any questions. They have a list of recommendations to eat in the booklet so we chose Martins Corner on the first night which was a multicuisine menu, we walked there which was pretty scary in the dark along the side of the road so would advise a taxi although it was an adventure! We both had curry, the paneer and vegetable fried rice was particularly good! Overall we had a great few days in Majorda, it was nice and chilled and no hassle and could not fault the hotel!
Instagram: @bhaktikutir I was so excited to go to Palolem as I had heard about the beautiful beaches and colourful beach huts. Our final place in Goa Bhatki Kutur is a health and nature resort with daily yoga and meditation. It was so beautiful walking through the jungle to your individual wooden hut with al fresco shower and toilet which we really enjoyed after checking for bugs first! The huts are beautiful with a cute porch area which have comfy chairs, hammocks, swinging chairs and everything you need to be totally zen. If you like being at one with nature this is your place as we slept in our mosquito net we saw all the critters around and heard all the sounds at night which was a great experience and one that hopefully might cure my fear of bugs... for now! Everyone staying there seemed super chilled and when we're leaving they were having a communal dinner, so a great place to meet new people if you're travelling alone or in pairs! Palolem Beach is incredibly stunning and full of life, we ate at the beach front everyday which has something for everyone and is so nice to enjoy a cold beer watching sunset.

When planning our trip to India I didn't realise how big India is and how long it takes to get around. I would of loved to have had longer in Goa as we have been recommended Agonda, Arombal and the market at Anjuna so you really have to do your research before you go and know the areas you want to visit and how long it takes to get there. Currently writing this on our 15 hour train journey to Kerala which is our next stop before we head up north to Rajasthan. Goa was everything I expected and more, they say everyone comes to Goa in the south as it's so chilled and no hassle and it really was that. A perfect start to India with incredible beaches, friendly people and good food. We will definitely be back!

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