Like beautiful music that fills up your soul and transports you to some other place, South Goa takes a hold of your very being and takes you to another dimension of reality; one that’s filled with the beauty of nature, magic made by human hands and abundant positivity. The region’s exquisite architecture, its museums, parks and party hangouts, inviting restaurants and the gentle hospitality of the people make it one of the finest holiday destinations in India. And there is a wide array of hotels in South Goa that vacationers are spoiled for choice. If you thought South Goa is all beaches (only cleaner than North Goa!) here are some other amazing options for things to do in South Goa:
Things to do in South Goa for Couples
1. Relax on a Cruise
If you are looking for a perfect romantic getaway in South Goa, then book yourself a private luxury cruise. Admire the beautiful seascapes with a dreamy sunset in the background while sailing to the coastline. Not only this, but you can also enjoy some delectable Goan cuisine and drinks along with local music and entertainment on the voyage. The sightseeing cruise and dinner along the Mandovi River is considered a top thing to do in South Goa for couples.
2. Indulge in a Relaxing Massage on Patnem Beach
The tranquil Patnem Beach in South Goa is a favourite among peace lovers. And it is not just the raw beauty of the landscape that calms you; the beach is also home to a number of spa parlours that ensure a rejuvenating experience. The spa treatments ranging from Ayurvedic to full body deep tissue massages will relax your senses and leave you feeling re-energised.
3. Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
Not just sports enthusiast, but couples will also get their fill with the range of activities to do in South Goa. It is one of the best destinations to try hot air balloon over the sea. Get a bird’s-eye view of Goa’s pristine coastline and if you are lucky spot dolphins. The ride will take you as high as 2500-feet above ground and is organised by trained professionals to ensure safety.
4. Soak in the Architecture
Although most of South Goa today is dotted with modern-style buildings, there’s a wealth of Old Portuguese-style architecture in its many churches and mansions. Mostly built by the Portuguese rulers and noted wealthy families of the times, these structures hold hundreds of stories within them for you to uncover. If there is only time for one thing to do in South Goa for you other than baking on the beach, do this! Visit the famed Braganza House in Chandor; home to two (warring!) factions of the Braganza Family; for its eye-popping collection of antiques and bric-a-brac from Macau, China and Europe, a large ballroom filled with gilded mirrors and a European-style garden that has seen better days yet is worth a look. Visiting old churches for their architecture and stories and just the feeling of immense calm is another favourite thing to do in South Goa. You may visit the Church of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Cross Church in Quepem and the magnificent baroque Basilica of Bom Jesus that is home to the mummified (and very slowly decaying) remains of Saint Francis Xavier.
5. Admire a Scintillating Sunset on Agonda Beach
Sunset lovers can hit Agonda Beach which is surrounded by low-lying hills on both sides. The southern end of the beach in particular has a rounded hill and many rocks. One can climb up the rocks and see the sun set right into the Arabian Sea. This makes it a picturesque sight for nature and photography enthusiasts.
6. Take a Spice Plantation Tour
If you are in Goa, a tour of a spice plantation is a must. Many different kinds of spices are used in the delicious Goan cuisine. Some of these spices are native to Goa alone. A spice plantation tour is a great way to know the history of Goa in terms of spices. It also allows visitors to know some interesting facts about different kinds of spices used in Goan dishes. You can also buy fresh spices from these plantations.
7. Shop Till you Drop
A big favourite and a really critical part of our list of things to do in South Goa is to shop. Souvenirs, sarongs, bags and baubles…flea markets that pave the way to popular beaches are filled with all these and more. But don’t stop there; visit the local produce markets for awesome fresh food and exotic fruits like avocados that are now grown locally! Hang around and chat with the shop owners for some fun stories to take back or stop at a local tea shop to just sit, sip your cardamom tea and watch the world go by at a lazier pace than you’d ever see in the city. How’s that for an awesome thing to do in South Goa?
Things to do in South Goa with Family
8. Rachol Village Walk Tour
This walking tour takes the visitors through the village of Rachol situated on the banks of river Zuari. The place is home to the remains of the Rachol Fort, Rachol Fort Gate and Our Lady of Snows Church. The church is believed to be the first one in the village. The tour ends with a visit to a local bakery where you will be greeted by the smell of freshly baked bread. The Rachol Village Walk Tour is ideal for visitors wanting to get an up-close and personal look at a Goan village.
9. Beach Camping
Do you fancy camping in the open air, under the stars, overlooking the sea? Then, try it in Goa. South Goa offers many camping sites where you have a view of the mesmerising sea in absolute serenity. Cola Beach is a famous site for camping in South Goa amid a lush green landscape and sandy dunes. You can also indulge in fishing, scuba diving while camping at Cola Beach. The camps also provide essential facilities like a washroom, Wi-Fi, etc. for a comfortable camping experience.
10. Visit the Big Foot Museum
Dedicated to the rural life of Goa, Big Foot Museum was founded and is run by the artist Maendra Alvares. It is located in the village of Loutolim in the sub-district of Salcete. A visit to this place allows one to get a sneak peek into the inspiring past of the Goan culture.
11. Visit a Wildlife Sanctuary
The region is home to three beautiful wildlife reserves – Netravali, Bhagvan Mahavir and Cotigao and visiting one of these would be one of the best things to do in South Goa. You could pick any of these but we’d recommend spending a day at the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, some 10 Km of Palolem. It is the state’s second-largest wildlife reserve and is home to a host of animals like the Indian Pangolin, mouse deer and brilliantly plumed birds like Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and the Malabar Trogon. Monkeys, snakes, frogs and insects are plentiful and the thick flora is a treat for the eyes.
12. Sample the Local Cuisine
Goa has a very distinct cuisine that is mainly based on fresh produce, influenced by both Konkani and Portuguese styles of cooking. One of the best things to do in South Goa would be to treat yourself to this gastronomic explosion. The region is punctuated with eating houses of both the mom-and-pop variety and the elevated restaurants and cafes. Try Palacio Do Deào in Quepem, Zeebop by the Sea in Utorda and the Fisherman’s Wharf in Salcette for fusion delights. Go for the Golden Goan Fish Thali at Anantashram in Vasco or traditional Goan fare like caldeirada and feijoada at Nostalgia in Raia.
13. Visit Exquisite Temples
South Goa is home to some of the most astounding Hindu shrines in the state and visiting some of them should figure on your list of things to do in South Goa. The Shantadurga Temple in Aquem, Tambdi Surla Mahadeva Temple in Surla and the famed Sri Damodar Temple in Loliem are much visited. With beautiful architecture that is a mix of both Indian and Portuguese styles, these temples are worth a visit.
Also Read: Budget Trip to Goa
Activities to do in South Goa
14. Rock Climbing
Since South Goa is blessed with excellent rock faces, one can find a quick dose of adrenaline rush and indulge in the activity of rock climbing. Even beginners can try this activity. Once you are thorough with the technique of rock climbing, you can participate in rock climbing. Thereafter, you will descend the rock face using a doubled rope coiled around the body and fixed at a higher point. Agonda Beach is a popular rock climbing site where you can climb a 30-metre seaside cliff. The picturesque seaside setting makes the experience of rock climbing even more spectacular. An exhilarating activity to pursue with your partner, this experience is among the thrilling things to do in South Goa for couples.
15. Canyoning at Upper Sauri
For an ultimate dose of adventure and thrill, experience canyoning at Upper Sauri in South Goa. The Upper Sauri Canyon is a chain of six waterfalls and narrow gorges with a rocky surface in the backdrop. The thrilling activity includes a 40-minute jungle walk to access the canyon, 7-8 jumps, and 8-metre abseils. You must remember to carry your wetsuit, helmet, canyoning bag and harness to the site. Summer is the best time to indulge in this adventure sport.
16. Beach Hopping
One of our favourite things to do in Goa is to explore and discover new beaches. There are so many beaches in South Goa that don’t figure on the regular tourist maps. Unspoiled, un-peopled shores that range from just a couple of miles to larger ones are just waiting to be discovered and the best way to find them is to ask the locals. While Patnem and Palolem beaches are quite popular (and clean too!) you must also visit Talpona Beach in Canacona Taluka or the close by Galgibaga Beach. You’d be hard pressed to find more than 10 people at a time here. Kakolem Beach is a surprise with its clean sands and groves of coconut trees. Arossim Beach near the small village of Cansaulim is perfect for enjoying some solitude. Or just head out and explore, perhaps you could find a brand new beach absolutely no one know about?
Also Read: North Goa vs South Goa
17. Try Water Sports
With all that water around you, it would be hard not to play in it, right? And we don’t mean just splashing around in the sea. We’re talking serious water sports here. One of the most fun things to do in South Goa is to get an adrenalin high with water sports like jet skiing, bumper rides, banana boat rides and parasailing. Most beaches have water sports facilities along with trained guides and operators. All you need is a valid credit/debit card and the spirit of adventure for a thrilling experience.
18. Go Trekking
South Goa is a paradise for trekkers and a great boot camp for non-trekkers too. Its lush green countryside contrasted with the glimmering blue sea, clean air and the quietness that often takes city dwellers by surprise are all the perfect ingredients for a day out on foot exploring. You could pick a national reserve like the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary or the Tropical Spice Plantation in Ponda. You could go hiking along the Arabian Sea (and unearthing hidden gems) or hire a bicycle and just wander aimlessly. Sometimes that can be more rewarding than reaching a destination!
19. Dolphin Chasing
Well, not so much chasing as hanging around on a boat in the middle of the sea to spot a pod of sprightly dolphins doing their thing…that would be our number one thing to do in South Goa! Why? Because it involves early morning, a lazy boat ride and of course dolphins. Boats are hired out at most beaches and enquiring at the local shacks or your hotel will get you one. Carry a flask of coffee and make it a morning to remember.
Things to do in South Goa at Night
20. Attend a Full Moon Party
South Goa is certainly quieter than North Goa, but the nightlife party scene in South Goa is as lit as its counterpart. A full moon party at Colva Beach is not something to be missed. Full moon parties showcase the true spirit of Goa and are generally organised either on the day of the full moon or after a day of the full moon. From tourists to locals, party lovers can be seen grooving to the loud techno music at these parties, which usually last until early morning. Definitely, an activity to do in South Goa without fail!
21. Party at Leopard Valley
If you want to party on a Friday night like never before, then you must hit Leopard Valley. Hidden in the village of Agonda with greenery all around, Leopard Valley is one of the best nightclubs in extreme Goa. The place boasts of the biggest open-air arena where you will get to groove to the best of trance, electro, techno and acoustic music. The 3D laser lights and fire pits along with excellent food and drinks add to the charm of this place and contribute to a visit to Leopard Valley being among the coolest things to do in South Goa at night.
Do you have your own list of things to do in South Goa? Share it with us and we’ll come up with a part II to this blog! for more read – places to visit in south goa