Chorao Island – Goa’s Best Kept Secret

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Adventurous, exciting, memorable, relaxing, rejuvenating- Goa can be anything you want from your ideal vacation. However, besides what you see and what you know about Goa, India’s favorite beach destination has more to it than what meets the eye. And hidden in its greenery and beyond the waves are little secrets of ancient treasure. One such best-kept secret (not so much of a secret anymore) is the Chorao Island. Replete with antiquated churches, colonial homes, and cemeteries, the island is steeped in history and still emanates the old vibes.  

Reaching Chorao Island

Located 5 Km northwards from the capital city of Panjim, the Chorao Island is a historic Portuguese settlement along the Mandovi River. You have to take a ferry from Ribandar to reach the island. The ferries are well equipped to haul a car and other smaller vehicles. The island is also connected to the nearby towns of Mapusa at 10 Km and Vasco at 50 Km. So, if you are traveling from any town or village within Goa, you can hire a car to reach Chorao.

History of the island

The Chorao Island is the largest (in land area) among all the 17 islands of Goa. As much as the island is connected to history, it also has a mythological reference to its existence. It is said that this piece of land emerged from under the water when Yashoda, Krishna’s mother threw away a handful of diamonds into the sea. And hence, the island was named Chudamani (precious stone) in Sanskrit. Later when the Portuguese noblemen landed here, they named it to suit their nobility and lifestyle and called it the Ilha Dos Fidalgos or the Island of Noblemen. Further to suit their linguistic ability, they transformed the name to Chorao.

Exploring Chorao Island

The highlight of Chorao is its widespread bird sanctuary, which is the largest in Goa. The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary spreads across 178 hectares of natural land. Surrounded by dense mangroves from the inlets of the sea, this natural reserve is home to numerous species of birds like kingfishers, coots, egrets, pintails and more. You can also spot some random wild animals and Goan crocodiles along the swamps. The best way to tour the sanctuary is on a canoe or a local dingy.  

Take a ride through the countryside. As you walk/drive through the palm-lined roads of the Charao village with its clusters of mud houses and thatched roofs, you could feel as if time has stopped here, centuries ago. The distinctive Portuguese architecture with white-washed churches and the colorful homes with intricate woodwork speak of the island’s rich heritage. And, all this amidst sun-kissed greenery, makes this island look like right out of a picture post-card.

The quaintness of the Chorao Island also extends to its temples and churches. Majority of the churches on this island date back to the 16th century, when Portuguese arrived here and established places of worship for their people. The most prominent one of all Catholic Churches is, St. Bartholomew’s Church. Built in 1569, this church reflects a classic Neo-Roman architectural style with multiple spires and subdued façade, but still emanates an aura of old grandeur.

Another noteworthy place of worship is the ‘Our Lady of Grace church’ with its spotless white façade with a blue bell tower. For those who want to unexplored the unknown, there is also a small village chapel, which is not named but is frequented by the local villagers.

There are also a few ancient Hindu temples on the other side of the island. One of the most famous ones being Saptakoteshwar Temple at Narve.

With a strong influence of the ancient Saraswat Brahmins to Portuguese noblemen, the Chorao Islands still hold onto its heritage and make this tiny settlement a must-visit place in Goa.

The Best Goa Tour Itinerary For 2018

Goa, more than just a travel location, an experience to be witnessed

A supremely elegant location for experiencing a richly exotic time with your loved ones and friends, Goa, is popularly known as the land of sun, sand and sea. It holds within itself a treasure trove of awesomeness. From beaches to crystal clear blue skies over sparkling seas, this is one of the most majestic destinations for everyone. Be it a college-going student or a newlywed couple, Goa always amazes everyone.

We get to explore the magical possibilities mother nature holds within her lap here. A perfect location for witnessing some of the best varieties of food, particularly seafood, Goa offers a large number of opportunities to explore a range of spices and flavours of food. But, it is always recommended to dig a little deeper and try to know more about this amazing place. Otherwise you may get to lose the view of some of the lesser known but elegant places that should have been included in your bucket list. Hiring a cab in Goa while travelling through the richly profound ecosystem makes you realize the level of comfort the atmosphere of Goa offers.

The public modes of travel are also available, but don’t offer the luxury and liberty of visiting places that are off the chart of the most popular places to visit in Goa. This simply leads to the loss of opportunities that let us indulge into the rich ecosystem of this place. A perfect example of this case can be seen while visiting the Kakolem Beach. Also known as Tiger Beach, this is one of the most picturesque beaches of Goa and you would surely be needing your own vehicle or hire a local cab to reach this place. Another significant location in Goa is Arvalem Falls, which is located in the Northern part of Goa through which milky water ascends. The Rudreshwar Temple, located near the Arvalem Falls is another picturesque location worth looking forward to. One of the best things about travelling here is the availability of the car rental service in Goa. Local car rental options are very flexible and you can easily customize your itinerary according to your own wish.

 

A Closer Look At The Underrated Gems Of Goa

There are a number of magnificent locations in Goa that are lesser known, but offer a splendid experience. Availability of local car rentals makes it easier to explore the grandeur of all these underrated but awesome terrains. Travelling here is quite economical and it can be easily understood from the fact that Goa taxi rates are nominal and don’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Goa is well known for some of the most beautiful beaches across the globe, but one more thing that easily catches the eyes of the visitors is the traditional cultural heritage of the place. Cabo De Pama is one such heritage. The essence of this old fort lies in the stillness and the complete solitude it offers to the visitors through its magnificent marvels. You can quietly sit here and just look at the horizons beyond the blue waters of the Cabo De Pama Beach.

This is an amazing location for lovers of art and architecture. The age-old Portuguese ruins and old cannons can still be seen here. Another fort widely known for its mesmerizing architecture is Fort Tiracol. One unique feature of this fort, apart from its unmatched beauty is the amazing way in which 7 rooms have been constructed inside it, each named after a day of the week. Located off a cliff, the fort gives a breathtaking view of the mighty Indian Ocean. The fort which is now converted into a hotel provides an experience of a lifetime with its classy elegance and luxurious facilities.

For the lovers of nature, particularly wildlife, Mollem National Park is the place to be. Here you can easily spot Leopards, Sloth Bears and Gaurs, amongst the other enormous variety of flora and fauna. Well known for its hiking and trekking trails, this place is a vividly popular destination among the adventure seekers. And if you used to be a kid who ran after the butterflies, Butterfly Conservatory of Goa is the perfect destination for your dreams to come true. Here you can get a glimpse of more than 130 species of butterflies along with numerous amazing flora and fauna. Carambolim Lake, one of the most exotic freshwater lakes located along the paddy fields in the interior Goa, is a home to lots of migratory ducks, jacanas, moorhens, harriers, pipits, wagtails and kingfishers.

 

Hire A Cab In Goa, And Travel With Comfort As You Don’t Have To Worry About Your Commute.

It has always been a widely discussed topic as well as a source of dilemma among the travellers as to whether they should visit North or South Goa first. The answer to this question is non-specific, but diving deeper and taking an insight of the weather conditions and the travelling destinations of both the places can go a long way in helping the people decide which option suits their comfort level. The car rental services in Goa are economical and the taxi fare is nominal. You can easily use them to reach your specified destination. Talking exclusively about the climate, both parts of Goa carry a tropical weather, but the Southern part of Goa is less humid than its Northern counterpart. Hence, in terms of weather, South Goa definitely has an advantage over North Goa.

Talking about the beaches, the northern beaches including the Baga Beach, Anjuna Beach, Calangute Beach and Vagator Beach are full of life and are well known for their jazzy parties, adventurous water sports and mouth-watering seafood. One can never get over the charm of these beaches after visiting even once. The beaches are usually crowded throughout the tourism season. On the contrary, if you wish to be surrounded by peace, the southern beaches namely Palolem Beach, Majorda Beach and Butterfly Beach are just the ideal spots for you for you.

Visiting South Goa allows you to experience incredible tranquility and view the world with a new perspective. Strolling through the sparkling sands lets you immerse yourself in your own true self and think about the life you are leading. Speaking specifically about the architecture, Goa offers equally mesmerizing architecture in both parts. In the north, Church of Saint Antony’s and Church of Saint Lawrence are vividly popular, while in Southern Goa, we can encounter the marvels of Our Lady of Hope Church, Rachel Seminary and Velim Church. The level of detailing in both parts is equally fabulous even when the southern architecture is a bit newer than its northern counterpart. Goa is famous for its culturally exotic lifestyle hubs, particularly the markets. While the North Goa market is famous for its flea markets, South Goa is known for an exclusive collection of valuable items.

 

Reaching The Most Celebrated Travel Destination Of India

Goa is easily accessible from every corner of India as well as numerous International locations. Dabolim Airport is nearest to the state capital Panaji and is situated at a distance of 26 km from there. This Airport is well connected to the rest of India with daily flights from Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Goa Airport to Calangute taxi fare is genuine and is considered as the best option for arriving at Calangute from Goa Airport. The railway stations connecting Goa with the rest of India are situated in Madgaon and Vasco Da Gama.

The government undertakings that regulate bus services such as KSRTC, MSRTC and KTC are available on a regular basis and connect you with Madgaon and Panaji. A number of cabs are available from different locations and it is easily viable to hire a cab here in order to reach your destination. A number of private bus agencies such as Neeta Tour and Travels, Paulo Travels and Naik Tours and Travels offer the facility of daily bus services from all the major states. Taxi rates of Goa can be searched online and further information regarding them can be collected from local tourist offices. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the beauty of this place and experience every minute is to hire a cab and take a stop wherever you feel like. Every destination you arrive at offers a picturesque view through the magical vistas of sun, sand and seas.

Goa: A guide to beaches for some alone time

Tourism in Goa has blown out of proportion in recent years, mainly due to all the hype it has generated as a hippie destination. All the erstwhile pristine beaches have become overcrowded, with beaches in Calangute, Anjuna, Baga and even Palolem not recommended for those seeking solitude. Fortunately, this coastal state is teeming with other, lesser known beaches which are still relatively untouched. They are easily accessible too, as isn’t too difficult to book cabs in Goa.

Let us take a look at some of the best beaches in Goa that haven’t been drowned in the tourism wave.

Butterfly Beach

Image credit: Travel Triangle

One of the best beaches in the state, Butterfly Beach is definitely deserving of its pretty name. It has  relatively long, unexplored stretches of sand, mostly because of its remote location. Butterfly beach is around 35 km from Margao, to the north of Palolem Beach. One can’t get there if they just book taxi in Goa, since the beach itself is not accessible by road and you can only reach it after a two hour trek through the forest. However, if you’re looking for total privacy, Butterfly is the place to go to.

Galgibaga Beach

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Galgibaga is famous not for its party vibes, but for another, much more beautiful reason. It is the seasonal nesting and hatching site of the Olive Ridley Turtles. It is generally regarded as the cleanest beach in Goa, and is located 18 km south of Cancona. Food options might be limited though; the beach is lined by very few shacks and a number of coconut trees. Galgibaga beach is well worth a visit if you’re looking for private experience in crystal clear water and glistening sand.

Cola Beach

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Another secluded beach in South Goa, Cola is the ideal place for an escape from the hustle and bustle of mainstream beaches. Situated 15 km north of Palolem, signboards lead the way to this lesser known paradise by the sea. This beach also has an exotic lagoon- lined by coconut trees, beach huts and Rajasthani style tents.

Sinquerim Beach

Image credit: Thrillophilia

Situated adjacent to the well-known Fort Aguada and just 13 km from Panaji, Sinquerim is another stretch of unspoiled, virgin sands. The beach is the perfect place to relax and enjoy one of the best sunset views that Goa has to offer. It also has a few adventure activities, including scuba diving, water skiing, fishing and wind-surfing. The quaint little eateries close to the beach serve delicious drinks and fresh snacks.

Lovers Beach

Image credit: smallbudgettrips.com

As the name suggests, this is one of the most romantic beaches in the state of Goa. It is located north of the more mainstream Betalbatim beach, and is technically an extension of the same. Despite its proximity to Margao (6 km), the beach always wears a deserted look except for the odd couple. There are no shacks or hotels near this beach and the only way to get here is via private transport. The convenience of Goa car rental has made travelling here that much more simple.

The party scene in Goa is great, but sometimes one needs solitude by the beach to contemplate and revitalise. These are not the only untouched beaches in the state, with Arambol, Betalbatim Cabo De Rama beaches being some of the other options. They are sure to appeal to all those seeking an alternative to the loud and overcrowded mainstream beaches, so make sure to check them out!