Goa, synonymous to golden sand beaches, water sports, beautiful churches, great shacks, casinos, pubs, private parties, and what not is a perfect destination for every travel enthusiast. Goa is one destination which caters tourists of every age group. It never fails to amaze you with its truly fun spirit. Goa is one destination that tops everyone’s travel bucket list. When I say, everyone, I mean everyone, and that includes you too New Mommy. No wonder it’s a fun place, best travelled with friends but it can be great fun with your little one too. You too can have a ball in Goa with your bundle of joy. Wondering how? Well stick around with me and before you will know, all your doubts will vanish in thin air.
Goa is a tourist-friendly destination. Tourists flock here almost all year round. But October to March is considered the best time to visit the party capital, as the weather gets pleasantly cool and comfortable. However, the monsoon is an ideal time for nature and leisure loving tourists who want to enjoy the beauty of this place in solitude and less commotion.
The Goa that we have often heard about – sizzling nightlife, happening night markets, and the glitz & glamour is, indeed North Goa. South Goa, on the other hand, is renowned for its luxury resorts, serene and uncrowded beaches. The more explored and frequently-visited coastline of Goa stretches from the North of Fort Aguada up to the borders of Maharashtra. And hence, the beaches of North Goa are more popular and loved by local and foreign tourists.
Now, let’s throw light on the factors that make Goa, an ideal destination for our Momzvoyage clan.
- Accessibility –
Goa is easily accessible by road, train, and air. If you are travelling by road, the advantage of having your car will save you from the hassle of booking Taxis every day. Air connectivity to Goa is really good, connecting it to all the major cities of the country.
Travelling in and about Goa is equally easy. Private taxis are readily available almost everywhere. And the charges are the same everywhere, thanks to the taxi drivers association. One can even rent a car or a bike, at nominal fares for the desired period.
On hiring a taxi, no wonder one has to compromise on the privacy part, as there is a taxi driver with you all the time. But for us, it was a win-win situation, as our driver was very friendly, eager to show us around and knew all the routes that saved us from heavy traffic. So if you don’t wanna end up navigating through unknown jam-packed roads with babies on board, hiring a taxi with a driver can be a lifesaver.
When it comes to Goa, there are umpteen options of family resorts and hotels to choose from. Try to go for a resort that is kids friendly and has a private beach. If you just wanna enjoy the weather and beach and don’t want to step out of your resort, then South Goa would be ideal for your stay. But if you wish to explore this beautiful place, North Goa, even Panji, would serve the purpose well.
During my last visit to Goa with my family, we stayed at Goa Marriott Resort and Spa, Miramar, Panjim and we had an amazing time there. My daughter enjoyed the most and hasn’t gotten over her last trip yet. She remembers names of all the staff members of the restaurant we used to dine in and the staff of the kids’ room. She enjoyed the kids swimming pool and all the games in the kids’ playroom. The staff are very amicable, caring and cooperative. Their approach towards their younger guests is worth appreciation. They even provide for excellent baby sitters. So if you want to spend some quality time with your better half, then counting on the baby sitters can be of great help.
3. Attractions – Goa attracts tourists of all age groups as there are umpteen options for everyone.
- Numerous beaches, some brimming with people and some serene and deserted, all are beautiful in their respect. If you enjoy drinking, pulsating music, water sports, beach parties, and mouth-watering seafood delicacies, all against a perfect backdrop, then Baga will never fail to satisfy you. Calangute and Anjuna, are all nice beaches but then again a little crowded. But if you want to soak in the sun in peace, then Vagator, Miramar, Morjim(famous for turtles nesting places spread over the beach), Colva, Palolem beach are ideal for you. Dona Paula beach, 7 km from Panjim, is where two main rivers of Goa meet the Arabian Sea. It’s a picturesque spot, delivering a beautiful view of the Zuari river and Mormugao Harbour. Arambol Beach is one beach which is sparsely crowded and is perfect for lazing around.
- Casinos – Big Daddy, Deltin Royale, Deltin Jack, Casino Pride, Casino Carnival, Chances Casino, are some of the best casinos of Goa. The best part about good Goan casinos is that they all have a well-equipped kids room and a team of babysitters and nannies. I have tried using the kids’ room of Deltin Royale, and Casino Pride 2, and trust me the team of babysitters there is exemplary. The kids’ rooms are equipped with beds, cradles, stuffed toys, TVs, video games, board games, etc. The nannies ensure that your little bundle of joy is equally pampered. Most of these casinos offer complimentary dinner buffet as well.
- Shopping – For the shopaholics, the Panjim market is a great place. And Goan flea markets are a street shoppers dream come true. Chilled beer, warm chocolate waffles, junk jewellery, dresses, handcrafted art pieces, souvenirs, tattoos, good music, scarves, hammocks, or spices, the Goa flea markets have it all. Anjuna Market- every Wednesday from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm (famous for live performances by bands of various genres).Arpora Saturday night market(famous for cuisines from all over the world).Mapusa Friday market. “Le Souk” located on the Ashwem beach(remains open throughout the season). It’s an open-air beachside bazaar, where both local and international luxury designers, display their wares in huge tents in the shade of coconut groves.
- Forts – If you are fond of historic and majestic seaside gigantic forts, Goa will not disappoint you. Aguada Fort(has a lighthouse too), Corjuem(small yet majestic), Chapora Fort( famous for some shots of Dil Chahta Hai), Cabo Fort, Reis Magos Fort(now a prison) are some of the famous forts of Goa.
- Churches – The stunning churches of Goa, speak of its beautiful Portuguese history. Out of the numerous churches, I have tried to jot some of the best churches of Goa here.
- Bom Jesus Basilica located in old Goa is a UNESCO heritage site, which hosts the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. It’s a beautiful church and you can hire a guide to give you details about the church.
- Se Cathedral is the largest church in India.
- Church of St. Francis of Assisi, is the only church in Goa with a museum containing artefacts, sculptures and paintings.
- Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, is one of the oldest churches of Goa, located in the heart of Panjim.
- Church of St. Cajetan, located in Velha, is one of the most beautiful churches of Goa.
- Dudhsagar falls – Dudhsagar falls, located in Sonaulim, is 60 km by road from Panjim. It’s a four-tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi river with a height of 320m and falls into Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s revered as one of the most scenic waterfalls in India. Caution for mommies with little ones, as a visit here also includes a trek of 1 km.
- Bird spotting – Bondla Wildlife sanctuary, Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife sanctuary, and Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary are ideal destinations for wildlife and birds enthusiasts of all ages.
4. Available Services – Services that we require as a family tourist, are all readily available. Banks and ATMs, Pediatricians, Car hire for self-drive, chauffeur driven taxis, shops for basic requirements and serious shopping for shopaholics, restaurants, serving cuisines from all parts of the world. Yes, you read that right. Goa is a state where you can savour delicacies of a variety of cuisines without much effort.
The Goan dining scene is truly dynamic and vibrant, as there are umpteen options to choose from. One can find everything, from laid-back street-food sellers and seaside shacks to candlelit high-end multi-cuisine restaurants, serving almost everything under the sun. Russian, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Goan, Chinese, European, North Indian, South Indian and what not. And the beauty of these restaurants is that they serve local wines, beers, and liquor of all sorts day in and day out. And they have a variety of non-spicy food options for the little ones too.
Some of the best restaurants and shacks(tried and tested) of Goa are:-
- Fisherman’s Wharf(Panjim),
- Thalassa (Vagator),
- Cafe Chocolatti(Candolim),
- Mum’s Kitchen(Panjim),
- Pool Bar, Goa Marriott and Spa(Panjim)
- Waterfront Terrace and Bar, Goa Marriott and Spa(Panjim),
- Simply Grillz(Panjim),
- Tuscany Gardens(Candolim),
- Chulha Grand Hyatt(Bambolim),
- The Black sheep Bistro(Panjim)
- Purple Martini(Anjuna)
5. Activities – There are countless activities for you and your kids that will surely give you memories to cherish for a lifetime.
- Dolphin spotting – Sinquerim, Morjim, Cavelossim, Coco and Palolem beach are some of the beaches, where dozens of boatmen and fishermen line up to take you into the Arabian Sea for a minimal fee for some wildlife spotting. You can even go to Butterfly island. It’s secluded, serene, and unexplored by the masses. So enjoy a beautiful sunrise, spot some sea urchins, rare fishes and of course dolphins.
- Watersports – Scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, flyboarding, parasailing, water ski, banana ride, jet ski, water zorbing, and whatever water sport you wish to try, Goan beaches have ample vendors to set you on adrenaline-pumping rides.
- Clubbing – During the peak season, many shacks on the famous beaches(like Baga, Anjuna, Candolim) organize parties at the night hours. Also, the list of good clubs in this party capital is endless. Some of the best clubs of Goa are – Club Cabana, Club Mambos, Club Titoz, LPK, Leopard Valley, Sinq, and Silent Noise club. (Babysitters service can be availed by parents for some party fun when the little ones doze off after a long tiring day).
- Cruising – To charm yourself with the mesmerizing beauty of this paradise, you must go cruising in Goa. The experience of sailing down the river is truly enthralling. One can choose from a variety of river cruises during -daytime, sunset and moonlight, each allowing the thrill of sightseeing and cultural entertainment. Enjoy the mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets sparkling the sky or go in backwaters of Goa on any of these cruises – Catamarans, yachts, houseboats, Dinner cruise, Casino Cruises.
We took a two hours Yacht ride, which sailed in the waters of Mandovi river in the evening. We were spellbound by the captivating sunset, the beautiful shades of the sky, and its reflection in the water. Though it was a little expensive, the breathtaking sunset, serene river, spectacular view of the shore at twilight with our favourite music in the background and the beautiful sky made every penny spent worthwhile.
- Waterparks – If your kids are scared of the waves but love playing in the water, then fret not. You can visit Splashdown water park in Arpora and also Blue whale water park near Royal Goan beach club. Your children will have a blast in these parks, trying out the water slides, pools, flumes and a dance floor that’s perfect for kids parties.
- Planetarium – Introduce your children to the marvellous world of cosmos through the Goa Science Center and Planetarium, in Dona Paula. Make them see beautiful, moving images of space and be awestruck by the vastness of the space. Watch a 3D show together that takes your family through simulated space conditions. The science park features many installations to stimulate curiosity and learning among the little wonders. It’s a lovely place for a family to spend time together, so make sure to include it in your itinerary.
Hope you find this blog informative enough, to help you chalk out a detailed itinerary for your next family trip. There is so much in Goa, that waits to be explored. So please don’t hesitate to share your experiences and the places and things you feel I ‘ve missed mentioning here.