Today I am all excited about my first travel blog , which is about 10 things to do in Goa in December!
Based on my travel experience to Goa in December 2017 , I am sharing my experiences and the places that I visited and come up with 10 recommendations.
Going to Goa is now practically on the bucket list of most of the people in India and around the world, who wants a full-n-full relaxed and chilled out time. Well definitely for me, my hubby and the kids!!! After shifting to Pune in the last 3 years, I have gone to Goa at least 5 times and still want to do more trips.
Goa is a beautiful place gifted with some of the spectacular beaches in India, a pleasant climate, lots of greenery and the coolest people in the country. Goa has now become synonymous with fun and relaxation.
Let me tell you there is no better time to visit Goa than the month of December.
Goa in December is one of the most happening times with the moderate temperature, when most other parts of the country are freezing to death.
What is the big deal of Goa in December?
Goa in December for enumerable reasons – pompous Christmas celebrations, mind-blowing water sports, some of the best Goan food that you can have, for the shacks of Goa, the umpteen number of beaches that you can never get tired of. And of course, for the most happening party life and some of the ultimate flea market.
Till 2015, I would say Goa in December for Sun Burn Festival, which is now sadly moved out of Goa …
So, I set out on a Friday afternoon with my family on this road trip to Goa, to be there for Christmas and experience the “Christmassy” feeling of the city. This is the second time that I am going for Christmas.
“An open road and a favourite playlist is sometimes all that you need”, isn’t it?
We are a family who just love road trips. And when you get to be on the roads, listening to your favourite songs for about 8.5 hours, by experiencing the scenic beauty especially the Amboli Ghats, it is just so refreshing!
The route that we took to Goa was Pune – Satara – Kolhapur – Amboli- Goa(Calangute) – 448 kms
Pune to Goa by car is ideal via Kolhapur, then turn right after Kolhapur towards Amboli ghat. The ghat section takes about 25 minutes. This route is the one we normally take since we always end up in North Baga. The exit point at Maharashtra is Sawantwadi and then you enter Goa.
If you are one of those who love to drive on the roads, Goa is a perfect weekend gateway drive from Mumbai and Pune.
We are always crazy about going to North Goa, especially Baga because the Baga lane is infamous for being sleepless. The town actually comes to life at night with bars and clubs ranging from small time places to ultra-classy in the same lane. Ronil Keys Resorts and Nazri Resort at Baga, have been our favourite always.
However, this time we decided to stay the Calangute side, and chose the Ibis Style Goa Calangute
This place is located 15 minutes from Calangute beach, which gave a designer pool view rooms with balcony. With swimming pools & rooms made for families, couples as well as kids, Ibis indeed made our stay in Goa an unforgettable experience. The rooms were so comfortable that every day after roaming around in the sun, doing water sports, after partying late nights etc, we could come back to the spacious rooms for a good comfortable sleep.
Since free Wi-fi was available all though the day and night, we could happily do our check-ins and be connected in Facebook and Insta feeds too. They had a pretty long breakfast which starts from 7AM till 12 noon. However, every day we had to make sure we grab something before 10. 30 am, as the spread gets limited after that and no live counter is available. The breakfast was pretty decent with a good spread of South Indian and North Indian options.
On the expense front, Ibis is definitely higher on rates, with December being peak season as it charged approximately ₹8500 including taxes, per night.
But there are many other cheaper options in the range of ₹3500 to ₹5500, which I had seen while browsing through airbnb.com and booking.com
Here are recommendations for some of the best restaurants that I had tried last December. Being a veggie, I had some delicious Goan Veg food and sweets. No worries, I am also sharing some suggestions for sea food lovers!
After a daylong non-stop road trip, and checking into Ibis and freshening up, we decided to go to Inferno, which is near the Candolim beach and open during the season October – May. All of us were so hungry and in a mood to just hog an elephant. We ordered some pastas, sizzlers, burgers, drinks and what not. The food was really scrumptious and completely filling our hunger needs. The highlight of this dinner was the King’s beer and the wonderful Goan sweet Bebinca with ice-cream.
Bebinca is a traditional Indo-Portuguese desert. It is a typical traditional sweet in Goa during Christmas. It is also easily available to carry and preserve for a long time or eaten fresh.
King’s Beer is Goa’s favourite and iconic pilsner. This beer is synonymous with the Goa experience. There is even this joke that if your Goa plans have fallen through, sipping on Kings Beer in another state is equivalent to a Goa experience.
The restaurant was so well decorated with beautiful lights and tinsels that gave a complete Christmassy feeling, from the time we landed up. There were huge Christmas trees illuminated with twinkling ornaments and red stars all over the place.
Price range: ₹1,000 for two people (approx.) .
Another mouth-watering food experience that we had was @ Calamari, near Candolim which we went on our second day afternoon for lunch. The speciality of this shack is that it provides “bath and binge’ atmosphere and open during the season October – May. The Sanata Resort, Goas is overlooking the Calamari Shack
This place is a shack, off Candolim beach located at a very peaceful location. When you are in Goa, all you want is to just sit by the beach, have a couple of drinks, good food and some enticing live music, isn’t it? And for that this shack is just perfect and deal. This place again reminded me of Thalassa in Anjuna which was always our favourites of earlier Goa trips.
We ended up there on Saturday afternoon of course with kids, however it has a perfect ambience for a candle light dinner:-)
Unlike the typical shacks, Calamari had a unique, stylish, sophisticated seating arrangements, better service and very genuine and authentic food. As the name suggests, their seafood items were some of the best you can have, but the vegetarian food was equally good and had nothing at all to complain about.
Desperados, the Tequila flavoured beer, was one of the key highlight of this afternoon. Vegetarian Xacutti is a vegetarian Goan dish that I got to have here. It is a healthy Goan stew that combines a variety of spices with the sweetness of coconut milk and the tang of vinegar and tamarind. I was glad and relished having this Goan delicacy. Calamari, Prawns and Goan Fish Curry were the sea food dishes that my hubby thoroughly enjoyed and cherished every bite of it.
The only wrong choice for the afternoon was the Spaghetti which was so dry and not very good for a Continental dish. Guess that was a wrong choice in a Seafood restaurant😊
Definitely worth a visit in North Goa and cherish every moment that we spent there!!
Price range: ₹800 for two people (approx.)
A distinctive Mediterranean feel greets you, as we enter inside Cidade de Goa’s Café Azul. This is an intimate waterfront restaurant overlooking the azure pool, Vainguinim Beach inside the Cidade de Goa resort.
Exuding an understated elegance, the interiors of Café Azul are spaciously done, with floor-to-ceiling windows for an unobtrusive view of the vibrant blue sea and dramatic table settings. What Café Azul had to offer were gourmet recipes from North India, Far East Asia and Italian Cuisines, all bought into Goa.
After the exciting water sports, this place was perfect to hog on some lip-smacking food. The wood-fired pizza oven points to Café Azul’s forte, with its thin crust pizza and pasta being a particular highlight. We being so damn hungry, quickly ordered whatever we could like vegetarian starters, pastas, pizza, rice and fish curry, risotto and desserts, needless to say it was cooked to perfection.
At Café Azul, you experience the perfect leisure spot, the perfect getaway and one of the best places to eat in Goa.
Price range: ₹1600 for two people (approx.) , This resort is up and running throughout the year.
If you want to experience the high-life, you should be at Deltin Royale Casino, the largest riverboat casino in Goa. Our gambling and entertainment adventure began with a powerboat ride out to the glittering casino ship, featuring India’s largest poker room and seemingly endless rows of table games. Dining options range from vegetarian buffet to high-class restaurant, while round-the-clock entertainment is offered across all of the lounges. It was a mind-blowing debut experience for me, to be on the exquisite gaming floors and dedicated Poker and Indian Flush rooms that make it a true gamer’s paradise.
So obviously we are not seasoned gamblers doing this regularly, but the idea was to just experience how it is to be gambling floors and see how people either make tonnes of money or just lose them completely and go negative!! Having reached those luxury floors, we tried our hands on it and ended up making few thousands too!!
But yes, if you are into gambling, Deltin Royale has some of the best offers in December!
Casinos are functional in Goa all through the year, and when you visit one casino in Goa, you get the feel of being in Las Vegas of India.
This trip I can say I visited the quietest and peaceful beach in Goa. Vainguinim Beach, which is 7 km, south of Panaji Centre, is almost a private beach for some of the resorts like Cidade de Goa… It is known for its enormous silver sand, seashore and clear greenish blue waters and attracts a large number of tourists who are usually looking for isolation. However, this beach is also good for people who enjoy swimming and some amazing water sports like parasailing, jet skiing etc.
Over the last few trips, I have visited some of the finest beaches and these are my recommendations to visit in Goa during December
Baga beach is one of the popular beaches in North Goa, which is famous for some of the best shacks, crazy nightlife, beach parties and seafood delicacies.
Referred as the Queen of Goa Beaches, Calangute beach is famous for its golden shimmering sand, lined with shacks which are ideal to indulge in authentic Goan cuisine and drinks.
Candolim Beach, is known for its scenic beauty and serene atmosphere. A perfect place for complete relaxation, this beach is visited by many tourists all around the year.
Vagator Beach is one of the cleanest beaches, known for its rustic beauty and serene atmosphere. The best part is you could enjoy a relaxed stroll along the stretch of the beach with the stunning natural beauty all around you.
Anjuna beach is one of the most famous beaches in Goa, known for its rock formations. The speciality here is the pattern of unusual rock formations, which impart a unique mystical appearance to the beach. This beach is known for its peacefulness.
This beach is located just about 7-km from Panaji and it is called the Lovers Paradise in Goa and has become one of the hottest tourist spot, over the years. People flock to the Dona Paula beach not only to enjoy the sun and the sea but also to indulge in water sports on the clear waters.
When the rest of the country is practically freezing, one of the best things to do in Goa is to take part in water sports, in the warm and soothing sunshine of December. When it comes to water sports, Goa is a paradise offering windsurfing, scuba diving, dinghy sailing and many others at various beaches in Goa.
Obviously, the long coastal area offers a straight-forward opportunity to indulge in all sorts of water sports. A number of government and private organizations including hotels and tour operators conduct regular water sport activities at a very nominal rate for tourists. Seeing our Maharashtra registration vehicle, there were so many guys who were stopping us and giving us pamphlets about water sports that they were offering.
However, we decided to do water sports at Cidade de Goa, since we had one of our friend working there as restaurant manager and it was one of the best places to enjoy. This awesome resort was located in the secluded Vainguinim beach. It was quite a long drive from Calangute, about 23 kms, but once we reached there and enjoyed the experience, realized it was totally worth it!!
Adjacent to Dona Paula, it is a very well-maintained property and all the activities are very safe and above all thrilling and fun. Seeing the water sports options, we were all charged up in the holiday mood, and tried our hands on para sailing and water skiing. Banana rides, Dinghy sailing, Scuba Diving and Wind Surfing are the other water sports available.
Woohoo!! Para Sailing was a mind-blowing experience, when you are hanging on a parachute high above the sky and you have the deep blue water below when you look down. I would say those 1.5 to 2 mins were bliss! And also, I got a chance to get dipped in the sea for few seconds. It is not an exaggeration when I say that the water sports here were much enriching experience than the para sailing that we had done at Pattaya two years back.
Charges – ₹1600 per head for Para Sailing . Water Sports is a seasonal activity from October to May
There is a special charm in the Christmas in Goa that sets it apart from celebrations anywhere else in India. Being predominated mainly by the Christians, Goa, during this time comes alive in a kaleidoscope of colors and revelry.
The feeling of the entire state fully decked up with adorable Christmas trees, lovely stars and bright lights, fireworks, is awesome. We can also see fairy lights, nativity scenes, midnight mass, bonfires and feasting giving such an aura for the Christmas celebrations.
Old Goa is wonderful in December as you get mesmerized by the giant and beautifully decorated churches. There are countless number of stalls selling homemade chocolates and cakes giving the infectious atmosphere of general happiness and merry-making. It was googled earlier and decided to go to Basilica of Bom Jesus at Bainguinim for the midnight mass (place which hold the body of St. Francis of Assisi). With all hopes, it was a long drive all the way about 18 kms to this church from the hotel.
However, it was such a sad sight to see that the church no more holds a midnight mass. It was not even lit up with lights, being Christmas Eve, and was completely pitch dark. This church is now taken over by the archaeology department.
So, the next option for us was Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Panjim for the midnight mass at 12 am. The church is located on a hilltop which oversees the Panjim city. It was so splendidly lit up at nights and the whole lawn was covered with innovative cribs created by the Parish. The exterior of the church proudly displays architectural elements of the baroque style. The interior of the church sees the main altar dedicated to Mother Mary.
Midnight Mass proceedings started by 10 pm and we were at the church by 11pm to grab a seat at the church in advance. We attended the mass for an hour which was in Konkani and English. It was overflowing with both tourists and native Goan Christians, so stylishly dressed.
When you think of Christmas preparations, making a crib is definitely on the to-do list. The best part in Goa is you will find the most creative cribs in every nook and corner of the roads.
After attending the Christmas mass, the next fun activity that we did was crib hopping by driving through Baga, Candolim and Calangute streets.
The joy of driving through Goa roads on Christmas night, sipping cold coffee created some of the most exuberant times.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come. All over the world, those were the moments that people were rejoicing Christmas…
The number of shacks Goa has is countless during the season October – May , and each with a distinguishing factor and . However, this place needs a special mention as no Goa trip is complete without a visit to this amazing shack. I am talking about St. Antony’s Karaoke Club and Beach Shack at Baga beach. This was my 5th trip to Goa and made sure I spent enough time there. We had a peaceful Christmas night with friends, family so well spent here.
Located at the end of Baga beach, this shack has always been full of life, with music, food and drinks.
It is bang on the beach with a good view of ocean. What Anthony’s Shack has got that the others don’t, is night karaoke! And this keeps going on and on till morning! This is a place which my teenager girl loves to go again and again every trip. Yes, she gets to sing as much and as long as she can. She also gets a good audience to listen to her singing and enjoy and appreciate her music, mainly foreigners.
It’s a superb place for anyone who loves the mike and wants to sink their feet in the sand. And the best part is you can enjoy a good meal as well, by or on the beach.
Street shopping is one of the best part of holidaying in Goa. As every time, we were going through the Baga and Calangute streets to buy beach wear clothes, Tee shirt shopping, interesting footwear. Feni Miniatures was something that we had picked up from the road side shops of Calangute. Feni is a drink exclusively produced in Goa. There are two types of Feni – Cashew and Coconut Feni, depending on the original ingredient.
Flea market is something that is very popular especially December being the peak season. Flea market between Baga and Anjuna is definitely a must try. This trip we also tried, some of the malls like Mall De Goa which had exciting sales and offers. Flea markets do happen throughout the year , but most promininet from October to April
Last but of course not the least, few other things to do are club hopping and party until morning.
We have club hopped in earlier trips and these are the names of some of the happening clubs in Goa
The Titos lane leading to Baga beach, named after the legendary Titos, is one of the most happening places. Then there’s this Love Passion Karma, highlighted on the small hill opposite river Candolim which is totally worth visiting!
Cavala at Baga are famous for their Friday nights and for some entertaining live music. If you are looking at more posh places to drink and get high, you must visit Mambo’s club at Calangute. It gives a pretty fabulous feel with electronic music and a really extensive food and bar menu.
If we are in Goa, it has become a tradition to visit one of our friend from Cochin. Living in one of the most peaceful area Saligoa, their house gives the feel of the Kerala in Goa.
This Christmas was no different, as we reached their place for one of the superb lunches. Yummy food with home-made authentic Kerala dishes gave us the feel of being at home. Kappa, Kerala Rice, Beef & other nadan curries were one of the best part of the Christmas afternoon!!
The day after Christmas, it was time to pack our bags with a heavy heart and started journey back home by 2pm. While saying goodbye to Goa, in my mind, I was telling to myself that I will be back very soon. And I am very sure that in the next trip, the city has something new to offer.
Wow, that was a long weekend at Goa in December, which will be close to my heart always, having given such lovely moments and memories…
Goa is all about good fun, entertainment and total relaxation. Every Goa trip has been a distinct unique experience for me, doing different set of activities. And this is that place in India, that I would want to just go, chill, relax and have fun endlessly!!!
Now you know what you have to do next December? Believe me, it is just worth it.10 things to do in Goa in December, a weekend at goa in december, Baga, beaches, Calamari, Calangute, Candolim, christmas at goa, christmas mass, Cidade de Goa, Food, goa, goa in december, goadiaries, goanfood, holiday, holiday in india, Inferno Goa, Para Sailing, seafood, shacks, things to do in goa in december, travel, travelblog, travelblogger, vacation, Vainguinim Beach, Water Skiing, watersports, weekend at goa