The state of Goa in western India is the place to go for relaxing winter getaways. Regroup on the beautiful beaches along the Arabian Sea's coastline, embrace the ambiance and scenic views during your stay.
Temperatures are ideal from mid-November to mid-February, usually 28 degrees Centigrade during the day. Leave the ice and snow behind to mix and mingle with an international, cosmopolitan group of fellow discerning travellers. For a great time go to one of the many nightclubs or the eclectic Goa Festival in February to celebrate the joyous culture with food, fashion and extravagant parades. If you seek serenity, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on the western point of the island of Chorao or other wildlife sanctuaries are available.
Konkani, an Indo-Aryan language, is the official language of Goa. Hindi and Marathi are also spoken by natives and visitors. Christmas/New Year, Carnival and Ganesh Carturti, the Hindu festival honouring the elephant-headed god, require making reservations for travel and accommodation early to fully appreciate all the activities. Prices in Goa are usually lower than those in the capitol area of New Delhi. Inexpensive thali, an Indian and Nepalese meal of varied dishes, cost around 150 rupees. Dining in a more elaborate restaurant will cost about Rs 400.
For transport from Dabolim Airport to the city centre check the taxi rate board after landing. Generally travelling to Panjim to visit the State museum is about Rs 700. Going to Anjuna for sightseeing will be about Rs 1,000 and to go to Agonda to explore the many beaches is around Rs 1,500. Use your bartering skills when negotiating with non-prepaid taxi or auto (rickshaw) drivers. Staying at hotels that offer basic lodging will be around Rs 700, mid range accommodations start at Rs 2,500 and the more luxurious rooms and suites will be about Rs 4,000. Wherever you stay, keep in mind most businesses are closed for siesta in the afternoons between half past one and half past three. In Panaji, Goa's capital, shops shut down around eight.
More Goa transportation options The least expensive transport is the motorcycle taxi. Kadamba Transport Corporation bus fares start at an economical Rs 3 for 2 kilometres and Rs 1 for each kilometre further. Travelling all around the state cost between Rs 8 and Rs 15 depending on distance travelled.