15 Non-Touristy Places in Goa, India | Solo Female Travel
You can never have enough of Goa. Period. Last year I travelled to Goa for a week, and still, I returned home with a heavy heart. I think anyone who has been to Goa will testify with me that Goa has much more to offer than what it seems. People in the state are very down-to-earth, mellow, and slow-paced, which adds more calm to the entire aura.
I talked about 22 interesting things to do in Goa in my previous blog, but here, I bring you a piece of my heart as I talk about 15 non-touristy places in Goa. At these hidden gems in Goa, I found myself lost in its beauty, and at the same time, left a bit of my heart in its tropical forests.
Panjim Market, Calangute, Baga, beaches, and forts will always be in your typical itinerary but, as you travel to the mystique land of India, I urge you my darlings to see beyond the bright streets and beaches in your visit. In 2021, explore the unexplored, untouched and unspoiled secret attractions of Goa. From lush green valleys to sun-kissed beaches, from unbelievable sunsets to its coastal side, find your little paradise in Goa this year.
1. Chorla Ghats
Yes, you are in for a perfect adventure. It is located 50kms north of Panaji in the outer skirts. Untouched by society, it offers you breathtaking landscapes and waterfalls simultaneously. It is also a horizon point where you can see sea and mountain marrying each other in all their beauty. An absolute treat to eyes! The best way to get there is by private car as there are hardly any commercial vehicles or buses on the route. And that’s all the more reason to take the road less travelled. The ideal time to visit here is during the Monsoons and winters. As it is situated at an elevation in the Western Ghats, you will find yourself amidst the clouds. I was also wooed by the natural biodiversity, rare species, and wilderness this place has to offer!
2. Rivona Cave
Can you believe that there are still caves preserved in their natural habitats? As we live more closely in our studio apartments and cosy homes, we seem to have lost touch with what it means to be one with our natural homes. The art to enjoy time in Rivona caves is to sit down and observe. Imbibe the energy and feel the oneness. This cave is situated in the village Rivona of South Goa. There is a popular belief that Buddhist monks used these caves for meditation. You can also see many human-made features and drawings on the walls of these caves as they take you down memory lane. The best way to reach here is through the road, and as it is not a regular place where people reside so I will suggest you return home before it gets dark.
3. Sinquerim Fort
The fort was built in 1612 and is located at Candolim, 15 km away from Panaji. This magnificent structure once used to be the port to receive goods from Europe, and it also served as the protective wall from the invasion from Dutch and Marathas. Sinquerim Fort is one of the famous landmarks in Goa’s history, and you should visit here to see the hype yourself. In short, history geeks and photographers will find their solace in this fort overlooking Sinquerim beach.
I witnessed the magic of nature by this lake. Netravali is situated in the remote village of Netravali, Sanguem Taluka of South Goa. You can see bubbles rising in the entire lake as you clap, tap, or shout because of the presence of Methane gas present at the bed of the lake. I went here for a short day trip, but I still can’t stop talking about its natural beauty! The locals in the area very warm and friendly too. You can also get a natural pedicure in Netravali Lake as it is filled with fish and aloe vera. The best time to visit here is during the Monsoons as you can have a fuller view of the greenery and Water Lake.
5. Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Named after a famous ornithologist, Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a less known place in Goa. It is located on the Island of Mandodri River and is home to extinct and exquisite bird species. You can reach here early in the morning by Ferry and catch a view of all the birds as they start flying around. This visit took me back to childhood when I used to bird watch and spot different species in the migrating season. It was very nostalgic to me! You can also carry mosquito repellant if you have sensitive skin. And the fun part is you can have the opportunity to feed the birds after taking permission from the officials. Again, nature lovers and photographers will like this mini-trip to feed their souls!
Isn’t it better if you come prepared and informed? Please read my blog What you need to Know before travelling solo to Goa.
6. Ruins of St Augustine Church
Situated ahead of Basilica of Bom Jesus, you will find this ancient church towering 46 metres high. It was built between 1597 to 1602 but was shortly evacuated in 1835 after the Portuguese government began to evict their religious policies. Between all the chaos, the maintaining of the church was neglected, and its main vault collapsed. Later on, the Church bell was shifted to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Panjim, and it remains there to date. I think it is a marvellous site for some personal time. You can also take some beautiful portraits for your Instagram feed!
7. Vanxim Island
Visiting this beach was the highlight of my trip. I cannot stop emphasising how serene and comforting this place was. I will not shy away from calling it a pearl of oceans. However, you must start early in the day as it takes two hours from North Goa to reach the Ferry terminal. From there, you can hop on a Ferry and sail through the Mandodri River to reach Vanxim Island. Alternatively, you can also take a ferry from Divar Island.
This is known to be an Island of Fishermen, and you can certainly spot why it is called so. As you will walk by the beach, you can see small Portuguese houses built nearby. You can also visit the Church of Santo Cristo and cemeteries here. And the best part is only a small population of villagers resides here, so you get a sense of having the entire sea to yourself!
8. Grande Island
Stick to its name and grandly enjoy your vacations here! It is rather sad to see how unexplored this island is. It is one of the most amazing discoveries of Goa. Head here to enjoy marine life, sunsets, and lots and lots of Coconut and Palm trees. This island is not aloof but rather is managed very well to conduct water sports and underwater experiences. And the best way to reach here is to take a direct Ferry from Panjim. Grande Island is secluded and less crowded, so if you want to fall in love with nature, this is your call. You can also try going snorkelling, scuba, swimming, or sit back and watch the sunset. On your way to the island, none other than dolphins will be accompanying you, so make sure you do not miss them!
I know you will have your own sets of doubts as you travel to these non-touristy places in Goa. To eliminate your cloud of queries, read my blog 12 Reasons Why India is Safe for Solo Women Travellers.
9. Harvalem Falls
Situated on the Southwestern coast of Goa, Harvalem Falls is best when visited in the Monsoon period. This waterfall is 70 meters high and makes a perfect backdrop for your next display picture. You can also turn your adventure side and take a dip in the water, and swim. There are local shops nearby from where you can purchase handicrafts and little antiques. You can also visit Rudreshwar Temple, Carambolim Lake, and Pandava caves as these are in the close vicinity of the waterfalls. The easiest and quickest way to get here is through a car or a taxi as it will only take 30 minutes.
10. Cumbarjua Backwater Canal
Are you tired of the beaches? Try kayaking at the backwaters of Cumbarjua Canal. This place is as unexplored as unheard it is. Also, it should genuinely top your list if you want to visit the offbeat places in Goa. You can reach here through NH 48 and chill with crocodiles in not so close proximity, of course! It is also ideal for enjoying the sun while riding in the thick mangrove forests. Hence, be prepared to make adventure and thrill as your best friends, and sail through this once in a lifetime experience. I heard about this place from a local, and I cannot thank her enough for sharing her favourite spot with me and making it mine too!
Also, don’t forget to go kayaking and catch crabs! You can get back home and request your Airbnb host to prepare Goa’s iconic dish, crab vindaloo! It is drool-worthy if you’re a fan of spicy food!
11. Keri Beach
Have you heard of white sand in Goa? Visit the northernmost beach to witness this white beauty. Situated between the shacks and tall trees, Keri beach offers the best views for sunrise and sunset. Watch waves of the Arabian sea crashing through the Keri beach. I promise you that this beautiful the fusion would blow your mind away! You can also carry a book, a pair of headphones, a water bottle, and a hat to kick start your day by this beach!
12. Pomburpa Spring
Goa is known for Yoga that helps in healing your body and mind. Adding more to its charm, so is Pomburpa Spring. It is known for its natural medicational water bath. Can you believe it? A medicated natural water spring! The best time to visit here is during the Monsoons as the water level will be at its peak, and you will be able to make most of it. Usually, men and women suffering minor ailments visit here to take a dip in this holy water. You can reach here by its Ferry terminal and further walk into the town to reach the springs.
13. Fort Tiracol
It is a place for all the design and architecture lovers! Built-in the 17th century, this fort overlooks the Indian ocean and demonstrates rich heritage and culture in its existence. It is a little twisty to reach here, and that is why it is unexplored. But trust me, dear; it is all worth the pain! It has seven rooms, each named after a day of the week, and you get to visit the one depending on which day you are visiting. Each room has its spectacular view, meaning and Vastu (traditional Indian system of architecture) attached to it. It is now converted into a hotel, which ensures its regular maintenance. You can reach here by taking a bus from Panaji Bus stand to Keri and further take a Ferry from Keri beach to Tiracol Fort.
Unwind your spirit in at Mandrem. It is a yoga wellness centre where retreats and festivals for spiritual wellbeing are conducted. The best time to visit here is during March and April. It is situated in a remote village of Mandrem where the motto is to find peace. You will also get to see a different side of Goa here. Away from bright lights, night clubs, and wines. At Mandrem, it is all about connecting with yourself purely and sincerely!
15. Savoi Plantation
The spice plantations are some of the non-touristy places to go. You can walk through the fresh aromatic plantation and learn about various spices. Savoi plantations and Sahakar Spice Farm are some of the famous plantations! Let me tell you an interesting fact. Goa residents produce black pepper, nut palm, cashew, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, and betels using traditional methods and modern equipment in their backyard.
Every journey of miles starts with a single step. So make that effort and travel. You are a free spirit, my girl, and it is high time you fly like one!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.