Life in Goa and beach hopping in North

We stayed close to a beach

Technically, we had been to Goa before to visit the Dudhsagar waterfalls in monsoon as well as a brief stopover at Palolem beach. When an invitation to be a #TreeboTripper came along, we chose their resort near the Calangute beach in Goa – things don’t get more “at the heart of it all” than this.

“Water

Which exactly were our reasons for apprehension. “Resorts” are a far cry from how we prefer to travel – as close to the local people as possible.

We strive to stay as away from the “tourist hubs” as we can. And here we were, midway between two massively popular beaches in Goa – Calangute and Baga.

“Pink

So why did we choose a resort in such a popular place? Several reasons. Travel has taught us to keep an open mind. Embrace change. Get out of our comfort zones. That’s exactly what we were doing by choosing to stay in this Treebo resort property. The photos had looked warm and inviting. “The sea is so close, how much time will we spend indoors in any case?”, was our back-of-the-mind thought.

Our stay at the Treebo Santiago resort

“Swimming

Rarely does it happen that we are torn between staying indoors or stepping out. When this happened in Goa of all the places, we knew we were in a special place. At the Treebo Santiago Resort, we faced this exact dilemma.
To be in a “resort” and yet feel at home? On our first day itself, we realised that wasn’t a paradox. It was our experience at the Treebo Santiago resort. Everyone – from reception, housekeeping to the restaurant management made us feel like we belonged there.

“Catching

“Breakfast“Breakfast

The resort took it upon itself to ensure we had our share of healthy food with fresh fruits and salads as part of the vast breakfast spread. The day before our visit to the Dudhsagar waterfalls, we told them we wouldn’t be there for breakfast the next day. We were leaving before dawn. That night, they stocked our fridge with packets of juice, chocolates et al.

“Live

“Dinner

The pool was inviting, the live music every night relaxing and the food mouthwatering. But our most memorable takeaway from our stay are the people who made the Treebo Santiago our home in Goa!

Yes, there was loads of action at Baga and Calangute

We knew Baga and Calangute wouldn’t be a tranquil time. Anything that’s popular in India cannot be quiet! The crowd and vendors both overpower you the moment you get there.

“A

“Sunset

Being prepared for this helped us to not get annoyed. And surely, as we walked a little further away from the main entrance, the crowds thinned down. We found a spot to be by ourselves, tune out the noise and see sky flare up as the sun dipped into the Arabian sea. We had finally, seen our first sunset in Goa!

“Life

“Two

Later in the evening, we had a quiet dinner at one of the shacks on the beach. The trick is to walk further north from the Calangute beach to Baga. Between “no beach’s land” after crowds of Calangute recede and before the blaring music of Baga starts are the elusive just-you-and-the-waves shacks.

Adventures in the sea in Goa

We tried out an all-in-one tour. Dolphin viewing, kayaking, snorkelling, fishing were all part of the agenda. Lunch and chilled beer included.

“Water

“Sandeepa

This essentially means you are out in the sea for a few hours. Standing on the top deck of the boat has this “in the middle of nowhere” feel to it, no matter where you are. Nothing else that’s part of the tour beats this being under the open sky, surrounded by water scenario.

“Kayaking

The activities that we got to do on the tour were just about average. We kayaked a bit around the boat itself. Everything else was too crowded to have enjoyed. The dolphin sighting was a pale comparison to the whale watching in Puerto Madryn or the wildlife tour to Islas Ballestas.

“Views

The staff on board were all adept in the sea water. But they didn’t seem to have the professional training required to handle someone who isn’t comfortable being out in the water. We failed to get a sense of security from them.

“Water

This wasn’t just the case with this particular tour. We saw a few more similar boats in the water. They all seemed to have the same operating style.
We would love to see a professionally run tour out in the waters of the Arabian sea someday. Where the young local boys and girls, who are inherently experts at being at sea are also trained to handle others who aren’t. A naturalist on board who could educate us about the marine life in those waters. A local historian who could shed light on the history of the landmarks we cross.

There’s a long way to go from the prevalent tours to the ones we would love to experience. Hope is what we have.

Local life on the beaches of Goa

“Fresh

“Fishermen

“Fishermen

Obviously, there’s a sizeable fishing community in Goa. Mornings at most beaches see few people. It’s also the time for some fishing action.

Strolling at the far end of the Baga beach, where the Baga river merges into the sea, we saw a series of fishermen’s boats returning with their catch. A mad frenzy ensued. Anchoring the boat, opening the nets, disentangling the fish (it was all mackerel), shooing the crows away. Entire families came to the boat to collect the fish. In a matter of minutes, mountains of mackerel were sitting on the beach.

“Fishermen

“Fishermen

At every beach we went, we loved walking to these far ends where the fishermen folk “park’ their boats. There’s always a genuine slice of life to be experienced here.

“Fishing

“Fishing

Top tips for beach hopping in North Goa

  • Mornings at the beaches are a quieter, more relaxing time. Mornings are also when you can see the locals of Goa out for a run or a walk.

“A

  • Calangute-Baga road is a good option to stay if you want to go beach hopping instead of just lounging on one beach in Goa.
  • The beaches further north from Calangute-Baga like Anjuna and Vagator, more so the Morjim-Ashvem-Arambol stretch are especially spectacular.
  • “Vagator

    “Vagator

    “Coastline

    More travel stories from Goa and other beaches in India

    Majestic Dudhsagar waterfalls and magic of Castle Rock

    Day in trivandrum kovalam beach kerala

    What is your favourite experience from Goa? Let us know in the Comments.

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    Sandeepa and Chetan. Married. Indians. Exploring Travel as Lifestyle. Featured by National Geographic, Yahoo. We hope that through our travel stories we inspire others to make their dream into a reality.

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