When thinking of Goa, the first thing that would come to your mind would be the beaches, the buzzing night clubs, partying at Tito’s, lazing at the beach shacks, indulging in Goan food and taking a few sips of Feni every now and then. But if you are a real traveller and are looking to explore the off the beaten paths of Goa which hardly anyone knows about, well, lucky for you, because this time we decided to venture further into the unknown places and ended up discovering the most gorgeous offbeat places in Goa. From hidden waterfalls, a secret lake, to quaint villages with turquoise blue lagoons and ancient caves, Goa is a treasure trove of magical experiences!
What comes to your mind when you think about North Goa? Beaches like Baga, Calangute, Anjuna and Vagator, right? But, did you know that just a few kilometres away from Arambol Beach lies a beautiful, secluded secret lake which will offer you the much-needed peace you are looking for? Yes, it’s called the Paliem Sweet Water Lake.
A 20-minute walk through the Arambol cliff market takes you this lake. The hypnotic sight with the roaring seashore on one hand and a lake surrounded by hills is certainly a sight to behold. You can take a dip in here since it is a freshwater lake and then sunbathe on the sun beds, so don’t forget your swim-wear!
Of the 6 wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary is the most spectacular and largest one that covers 240 kms of moist deciduous forests. As we all know, this sanctuary is home to the mighty Dudhsagar Falls, which is one of the tallest in India. But what if I told you that there’s another spectacular waterfall as beautiful as Dudhsagar just 2 hours away from the area? Excited much?! It’s called Tambdi Surla Waterfall! It is an ideal trekking spot for the adventurer and nature lover in you. Picture white as milk water gushing down powerfully in a valley of green with mist all around. Too much wanderlust vibes once you make it to the valley!
The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in the Valpoi region is another hidden gem in the state. The best part about this sanctuary is that it is not only to the endangered and rare species, but to numerous waterfalls as well. There are number of activities that you can do here to feed the wanderlust in you. From white water rafting in the Mhadei River to experiencing the adrenaline rush while trekking through the trails of the hilly regions around the wildlife sanctuary and exploring the hidden waterfalls, there’s something for everyone here.
The Chorla Ghat region in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary with its hills and waterfalls is a world away from beaches and parties that Goa has come to be synonymous with. The place itself is nestled in the Sahyadri mountain range, the ride takes you through expansive fields, lakes and quaint old bridges — and teleports you to a different world altogether. The main attraction of the area is the Anjunem Dam which is located along the Sanquelim-Belgaum roadway. Take a dip in the natural pool — surrounded by the majestic green mountains, the swim will elevate your soul. The area also boasts of several small and big waterfalls — a small trek will lead you to the Twin Vajra Waterfalls, an unforgettable experience.
The drive through the verdant rainforests of Western Ghats brings one to the charming Netravali village in Sanguem taluka. Located in this village is Goa’s bubble lake, popularly known as Budbus or Budbudyachi Tali. This name is derived from the bubbles that rise continuously to the surface in various places in the lake. Strangely enough, they also appear to respond to certain sounds and rise faster if you clap!
Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, the sights of rural Goa are very rustic with old portuguese style houses, lush greenery everywhere and hidden streams and lagoons. Take a bicycle and explore the quaint villages of Valpoi, Bicholim and Canacona for a beautiful morning ride, indulging in the local ambience.
South Goa offers you a number of hidden beaches that you can explore on your ‘offbeat’ trip to Goa. Just a few kilometres from Agonda Beach, lies a secluded and serene beach called the Butterfly Beach.
An unexploited paradise, this semi-circular bay is where you can spot millions of butterflies flying over the hilltop. The beach is mostly accessible by a ferry ride from the nearby beaches or through a short 4 km trek through the dense forest, which only adds to the charm. It is also one of the few places in Goa to sight the playful dolphins.
Another favourite beach in South Goa would be Cola Beach. While most visitors to South Goa flock to the beach towns of Palolem and Agonda, just a few trickle into the elusive Cola Beach. It’s one of the remote beaches of Goa that is suitable for those seeking a place for complete peace and relaxation. One distinctive point that separates Cola beach from others is the fresh water lagoon on its sea shore that is connected to sea. You can dive, swim, jump and just enjoy up to the core. One can also do kayaking and fishing here.
Staying for sunset in Cola Beach is a must. Goa generally offers gorgeous sunsets, but here in Cola beach, it’s extra special!
Goa can be full of solitude and tranquillity or energy and vivacity, depending on how you want to explore the place. So, if you want to explore off the beaten paths and get lost in the lap of nature, this is the ultimate list for you!