Goa: the ultimate affordable exotic getaway

Over the past decade I have frequented Goa about 6 times. It is one of my favourite destinations for an exotic beach holiday with tonnes of personality that gives great value for money. This beautiful state in western India has something to offer everyone; from beach parties to festivals, yoga retreats to family-friendly beach and cultural experiences, not to mention kind and friendly people.

If you like the convenience of having many options of big hotels, spas and a large variety of restaurants and bars nearby, Candolim and Calangute will tickle your fancy. It’s a lively area that provides everything from shops to dental practises and plenty of opportunities to tailor-make some new clothes or visit one of the many beach shacks.

Old Indian bathhouse

No trip to Goa is complete without a visit to one of their flea markets. This is the place where you can showcase your talents for haggling. And I’m a haggling enthusiast! Everything is on sale from food to spices, handicrafts, bags, scarfs and so much more. Rosalia picked up some lovely bangles and a fan made of peacock feathers.
Some of the most popular markets are Anjuna Market which is held on Wednesdays, Baga beach has a market on Saturdays but The Saturday Night Bazaar in Arpora is my favourite.

Anjuna market

Goan cuisine is world renowned and very tasty. Fish curry is to die for but every menu has a large variety to suit everyone’s tastebuds. There are also many health-food spots and vegetarian restaurants where we love to try a wide array of delicious local vegetables, dahl (lentil stew) and chapatti’s.
If you fancy some upmarket East Asian food “Republic of Noodles” in Candolim superb with stunning decor.

Republic of Noodles

I tried a new profession while I was there… anyone for a juicy mango?

Taxis are inexpensive, giving you the freedom to travel safely all over Goa on the many excursions available without having to rent a car.

For short journeys we love a tuk-tuk

A visit to the fifth largest waterfall in India, the Dudhsagar is a lovely daytrip. Also the Spice Plantation is highly recommended, family friendly and you learn all about your favourite spices. The tour ends with a delicious Indian buffet and an optional visit to the nearby elephant sanctuary where you can bathe an elephant.

Rosie prefers to admire animals from a distance…. unlike her mommy

Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO world heritage site in the old town of the capital, Panjim and is well worth visiting .

Spice plantation tour

Goa is famous for it’s stunning exotic beaches. The most beautifully secluded beach is Agonda, it is peaceful and has a few nice shops and restaurants, the Simrose Restaurant is my favourite for sunset dining.

Strolling to the end of the bay on Agonda Beach

We spent a few days in Dunhill Beach Resort in a lovely little beach cabana, it’s new and clean with great reviews and doesn’t break the bank. Make sure you go on a little boat trip to see the dolphins in the lagoon.
For the ultimate destination hotel, I totally fell in love with The Leela in Cavelossim. This is India’s only beach and riverside luxury resort. Although it’s pricey, it’s worth every penny with fantastic facilities, world-class restaurants and an immaculate private beach.

My Indian princess at the Leela Goa

Dinner at the Leela Goa

November to February are considered the best times to visit Goa with monsoon season lasting from June to September.