Goa, although very well known as one of the best party destinations of the world, has a face that most people who visit it are not familiar with.
Beyond all the luxurious hotels, upscale bars and vast beaches, the interior of Goa is much more lively, soothing and relaxing, and only the seasoned backpackers get to experience this when they visit this Indian location.
I can straightaway list 4 things that you should never do if you're tripping to Goa:
Never stay in a upscale hotel.
Never waste all your time in the never ending line of beaches.
Never spend all your nights in the upscale bars and pubs.
Never hire 4 wheelers.
Now, those may ridiculous to most, but here's the deal:
Staying in Hotels
Ever heard of the beach shacks along the beaches in North Goa? Beach shacks like Tantra offer ultra cheap options for accomodation- right on the beaches, and offer the best food you've ever eaten. Not to mention the peace and calm of the sea. Don't you think it would be stupid to hole up in some costly hotel towards the city area away from the beach?
Spending Less Time at the Beach
This is the truth- 95% of tourists believe that Goa is all about beaches and booze. Partly because Goa has a rich Portuguese-infused culture, and because the port was the focal point of several colonialisations before Indian Independence, there are a vast number of beautiful historical monuments spread across the length of North and South Goa. And they're beautiful.
Partying in the Upscale Bars
Do you know what Goa is most famous for? Rave Parties. Outdoor Rave Parties. And they aren't seasonal. All year long the more secluded beaches in North Goa, a plethora of rave parties take place outdoors (mostly after 5 pm). Most of them are jam packed with foreigners, so you're in good company too.
Cars and Jeeps
The moment you step foot in Panaji (the Goan capital), you're going to be bombarded with a ton of guides who'll offer great deals on car rentals. But hear this, and hear it well- you're shutting down the beauty of Goa with those windshields and hoods. And not just that. The beaches can get pretty crowded, and parking a car can get pretty maddening during peak season. Bikes and scooters are available for bargain rental rates. And nothing beats riding through the Goan roads during the monsoons.
I've made these mistakes the first few times I visited the party capital of India, but ever since I discovered that the true essence of Goa lies in the hippie lifestyle, I've never looked only towards the shacks, the rave parties and the Feni.