I and Priya have visited Goa a couple of times but this time it was a mixed bag. And in this bag you will find a beautiful sleepy Portuguese town, a bustling ride me the happy road and some mouth-watering authentic Goan cuisines. Goa is like a fridge where everyone comes to chill. But it wasn’t like this until the nineties when the state saw a surge of tourists. In Goa, there are three distinctive ethnicities; Christians, Hindus, and Muslims.
The state is so peaceful and democratic that because of its acceptance, it got imagery of sleepy town. The society is divided into three groups:
- The entrepreneurs who make money out of the rave parties, pubs, clubs, and shacks.
- The deniers are laid back locals who find this sudden change a threat to their ethnicity and culture.
- And the third is the authorities who are in the middle and kind of mind their own business.
This time we wanted to visit a different Goa away from the parties and luxurious hotels. So this time we were staying in a homestay.
Staying at a 500 years ancestral Portugal mansion
We were staying at the Cancio’s House in their ancestral Portuguese mansion dating 500 years old in Aldona and is perfectly restored by the Amarals. We were staying at their outhouses. The stay was unlike our previous stays and the experience was like never before. The place is very quiet and we used to wake up to the birds chirping early in the morning, every day. Our hosts were Roberto and Raquel, we can never forget their humble welcome, hospitality and especially Raquel’s cooking. Priya got a chance to learn some new baking skills from Raquel and I get some amazing Oatmeal muffins every now and then. This generation is putting concentrated efforts to restore the Goan-Portuguese heritage and preserve their culture.
Uncovering the beaches of Goa like never before
The best thing about Goa is everyone can have their share of happiness here. The beaches of Goa are frequented by many travelers from across the world and trust me it’s not that difficult to find your spot of solidarity. But we weren’t here to re-discover a beach but find our own small spot of solidarity in the beach paradise and we knew exactly where to find it. Roberto was kind to lend his scooter and we had Google maps to help us explore. We had information about the beaches from several blogs, all of them seemed similar to Coconut trees, beachside shacks to gulp our favorite drinks and sun. And if you are fond of some authentic international cuisine in a fancy restaurant then you should head towards Ashvem beach. The only difference we observed was the horde of foreigners in Arambol and the love birds in Vagator. Heres a list of beaches that you will find useful: List of beaches.
Taking a dip in the beautiful Arvalem waterfall
I never knew there was a beautiful waterfall in Goa. Arvalem falls is about 20 Kms from Cancio’s, near Sanquelim. It’s not jaw-dropping like Doodhsagar but it is interesting as it cascades down from a 50-meter rock. It is away from the bustling town and beaches, we did not find many people there. It is near Rudreshwar temple and invites many pilgrims and devotees, who come to pray and find peace. So if you are looking for a spot of solidarity here then you may plan accordingly.
Visit Goa responsibly
Yea, I know its a bit out of the way but after staying with a family that is here from generations, I could make out how divided the locals are in their opinions. But if you are planning to stay with a local family then you should understand their limits and boundaries. Here are a few tips that you should consider:
- Respect their privacy. Spend the first day to observe the family’s way of life and the areas that are off-limits.
- Take as many selfies and pictures as you can but when you take theirs be kind and ask for permission.
- Avoid drugs, alcohol, and drinks in the premises unless they allow you.
- After all, we were there to enjoy our stay as a local with a local family and not in a hotel. Earn their love and respect as you would with your’s or your friend’s family.