Nestled on the west coast of India, with the Arabian Sea lazily licking its shores, lies the beautiful destination Goa. Goa is not your typical India; there is a calm aura that surrounds it, making it vastly different than other cities that one typically thinks of as Indian.

A vibrant combination of east and west cultures, Goa has become a wildly popular tourist destination in recent years. Having been a Portuguese colony for nearly 500 years, the European influence can be seen everywhere: in the architecture, in the cuisine, and in the attitude.

Gorgeous beaches, verdant hillsides, exotic animals, spectacular architecture, and colourful history are just a few of the things that make Goa a truly special place.

There are plentiful lodging choices in Goa, especially in the way of beach resorts. There are also plenty of comfortable and quaint bed and breakfast inns and guest houses, and even holiday rentals if you are inclined to live like you are at home while on holiday. Most accommodations offer beach views and access to plenty of dining, sights, and activities.

Pousada Tauma is located in Calangute. This beautiful hotel has won awards for its outstanding service. It has its own immaculately-kept private beach, verdant and lush grounds, comfortable rooms, and excellent food. It is the perfect place for a romantic getaway or a family holiday.

Travelling on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice service, comfort, or amenities. The Bougainvillea Guest House features spacious and comfortable guest rooms, excellent service by the friendly staff, access to activities, and a delicious daily breakfast. Perfect for families looking for a tropical holiday without breaking the bank.

For a luxurious getaway, The Leela Goa wins all high marks. Spacious, modern, and comfortable rooms with all the trimmings, gorgeous gardens on the property, quiet beaches mere steps away, a relaxing spa, golf course, and an excellent restaurant are among the amenities guests enjoy at this award-winning resort.

The dominant cuisine in Goa is a sort of Portuguese/Indian fusion that is heavy on rice, fresh seafood, curry, and tropical flavors.

As with any good seaside town, little beach shacks line the beaches, serving up the very best and most delicious representation of Goan cuisine. Those have to be taken advantage of during a visit to Goa.

Pousada on the Beach, facing the Adriatic Sea in Calangute, is a highly popular restaurant nestled among the small snack shacks. The setting is perfect, removing guests from the beach bustle and providing a comfortable environment in which to enjoy a meal. Specializing in seafood and many Goan favourites, it is worth the outing.

For excellent curries, as well as other Indian classics, there is no better place than Olive House, located in Mandrem. The service is second to none, and the food is even better. Visit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For light and healthy vegetarian options, Blue Planet Cafe gets rave reviews. Located in Agaonda, Blue Planet Cafe is a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the effort of getting there. Enjoy fresh and crisp salads, tantalizing hummus, fresh fruit juices, and tofu stir fry dishes.

The beaches are simply amazing in Goa. Some are crowded, but many are peaceful and relaxing, perfect for an afternoon nap, reading a book, and collecting your thoughts. Among the best beaches are Agonda Beach, Mandrem Beach, and Goa Cavelossim Beach.

There are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had in Goa. Scuba diving is available from October through May, when you can also enjoy kitesurfing, jet skiing, and paragliding. Take a thrilling jeep ride up to the beautiful Dudhsagan Falls, where you can swim in the waters with giant carp.

Visit Old Goa, and experience the old world Portuguese influence in Goa. Take in the sites of Fort Aguada, the Shri Mahalasa Temple, the Fontainhas, or the Cabo de Rama Fort, and experience the rich cultural history of Goa.

Shop till you drop at the Mapusa Friday Bazaar or the Margas Market. And enjoy the lively nightlife at the local beachside bars.

The best time to visit Goa is from late October through early April. June and July is the rainy season, and less crowded, but still beautiful.

The most crowded months are December and January, when the hotel rates are highest as well.