There was a time when Goa had a peak season and an off season. Now, the state is a popular tourist destination all year through. While winters have its charm with the beaches, monsoon comes with its own romanticism. But when it comes to the question ‘what to do in Goa’, the answers are usually similar – eat, drink and sprawl out on the beach during the day and party at night. Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with that highly indulgent plan, there is a lot more to the state to explore and experience. From a cuisine that goes well beyond the pork vindaloo and prawn curry to heading out to the quaint Divar Island that’s accessible only by ferry.
Offering such delicious and interesting insights into one of India’s most preferred states by tourists – local and international – is the new Airbnb Goa Insider’s Guide that encourages travellers to ‘Live There’. The 31-page booklet has been curated by insiders and local influencers who give you the dope on what to do, what and where to eat, where to go and get away from the bustle as well as where to find the right ‘it’ crowd. From the art connoisseurs to the gourmands, there is a Goa for everyone to discover and experience, and these guys nudge you towards discovering these hidden gems.
The insiders include celebrated artist and owner of the Museum of Goa Subodh Kerkar, legendary ad film-maker Shantanu Sheorey, model-turned-chef Joey Matthews and renowned fashion designer Wendell Rodricks, among others.
Along with these, the booklet features seven luxury homes (of the 4,000-plus Airbnb properties in the state, arguably its largest market in the country) curated by celebrity interior designer, Gauri Khan. From a 200-year-old beautifully restored Goan villa across 2.5 acres to a romantic retreat on a hill-top in Calangute, “the villas, mansions, and homes…are a breathtaking combination of Goan heritage and modern day amenities,” said Khan in a statement. The guide will be available at Airbnb homes across the state.
Goa has seen a 19.5 per cent increase in domestic and international visitors to over 6.3 million tourists, according to Goa tourism’s 2016 statistics. “Goa has fast become one of our key markets, and the exponential growth we have seen in the state is a testimony to the growing inclination of travellers to explore destinations on their own terms,” said Amanpreet Bajaj, country manager, India, Airbnb, at the guide launch.
Spice Markets: Joey Matthews shops for garlic and turmeric at the Mapusa spice market.
The perfect gift: Everyone gets a cashews or feni, Wendell Rodricks suggests the traditional Kunbi Sari, worn by tribal women before the advent of the Portuguese, dyed in red and black, and women in small and large checks.
Food trail: You’ve done the Tito’s and Britto’s, now try the Chicken Cafreal at Hotel Mondova and Ross omelette in Panjim or Margao.
Art for the heart: A rather recent addition to the Goan art-scape is the Museum of Goa, a contemporary art space that showcases works with a Goan connect and young artists.
Evening gig: Artist Tanaaz de Souza suggests heading out to Arambol Beach for live jam sessions by travellers and local music lovers, while travel writer and photographer Nolan Mascarenhas suggests doing a pub crawl through St Anthony’s, Cavala, Titos, Cape Town Cafe, Cohiba, Sinq and Showbar.
The author was in Goa courtesy Airbnb India.