In addition to some of these clichéd attractions, South Goa has a host of treasures waiting to be explored by the visitors:
1) Big Foot Museum:
A welcoming break from the usual lounges in South Goa, this unique museum is the brainchild of Maendra Jocelino Araujo Alvares, a local artist. It is a great place to get acquainted with the heritage of Goa. From its typical occupations (such as sea salt making and feni distillation) to culture (folk dances, crafts etc.), an amazing conglomeration of handmade artifacts and clay mannequins display the different facets of Goa. But one thing that steals the show is the stunning 14-feet-long rock carving of Sant Mirabai crafted by the curator himself which won him many accolades.
2) Goa Chitra Museum:
Back when he was a child, Goa’s prominent artist and restorer, Victor Hugo Gomes noticed that its traditional objects such as farming tools were losing ground to their modern counterparts. This inspired him to build an ethnographic museum over a period of 20 years consisting of more than 4000 cast-off objects. It is open on all days of the week except Monday between 9 am to 6 pm. A guided tour of the property enables one to gain entry into the museum.
3) Rivona Buddhist Caves:
A quaint hamlet made up of a handful of hutments and a set of red-stoned caves, this is one of the hidden marvels in Goa. Dating back to the 6th century, these were built by the Buddhist monks and serve as a stark reminder of how far and wide Buddhism had spread. Situated in the quieter realms of Goa, away from the multi-cuisine restaurants in South Goa and other lounges in South Goa, it makes for a tranquil getaway.
4) Tanshikar Spice Farm:
From the fresh fragrance of vanilla to the hot aroma of pepper and chillies, this is a welcoming retreat for all those who are looking for an offbeat experience in Goa. In addition to growing organic spices, beekeeping is also practiced here. After a personalized tour of the plantation, you can head to the nearby Bubble Lake or dine at one of the multi-cuisine restaurants in South Goa located close by.
5) Tambdi Surla Mahadev Temple:
Built in the 12th century, this ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Said to be one of the most ancient temples in Goa, it is an enchanting site set in Goa’s wilderness. Carved out of black basalt stone, it flaunts impressive intricate designs and interiors. An interesting thing about this temple is that it escaped the wrath of Muslim rulers.
6) Portuguese Mansions:
Remarkable Portuguese architecture awaits at South Goa. Just 2 hours away from Margao lies the grandest of Goa’s mansions - The Braganza House in Chandor. This remarkable mansion dates back to the 16th century with it’s west wing being well-maintained to pristine condition. The property is certainly worth a visit to explore its 10,000 sq. ft. expanse and to feast your eyes on the elegant antiques that lie within. The 18th century Palacio do Deao in Quepem would be another mansion worthy of paying a visit and is located within 30 minutes from Margao. This 11,000 sq. ft. mansion is surrounded by lush gardens and styles elements of Hindu and Portuguese architecture.
7) Spice Plantation:
At Ponda, 1.5kms away from Candolim, the spice plantation tours at South Goa offer tourists an enriched cultural experience. If it’s a break from the usual beach routine you’re looking for, this excursion offers you exactly that. Short walks that allow you to bask in nature and gain knowledge of the history of spices, and their usage, are what can be expected.
8) Kayaking Excursion, Sal Backwaters:
The kayaking excursion at Sal Backwaters allows tourists to seize a premium experience of exploring the flora and fauna that South Goa has to offer. Professionals ensure safety measures are followed throughout this excursion and provide the skills required to navigate through the lush green, narrow waterways. One can expect picturesque views that include encountering a variety of birds due to this tour taking place at a popular migratory location; so prepare yourself for excitement with kingfishers, pin-tailed ducks, purple moorhens and more - all within grasp.
9) Paul John Visitor Centre - Distillery Tour:
Located in Cuncolim, the Paul John Visitor Centre has opened its doors to tourists thirsty for a journey through their distillery process. Tourists are walked through the techniques that are involved in distilling their single malt whiskies in copper pot stills. On this tour, visitors gain a rare experience of this process and take in the history of Paul John’s, that have earned them accolades in plenty.
10) Cabo De Rama Fort:
Perched between Cavelossim and Agonda beach lies the architectural marvel that is Cabo De Rama Fort. The fort’s origin connects to the legend of Ramayana whereas per belief Lord Rama, Goddess Sita and Lord Lakshmana had resided, hence the fort was named so. The site offers panoramics of the cerulean Arabian Sea and acts as a splendid sunset point as well. The Cabo De Rama Fort in South Goa is currently in ruins but features a bridge at its entrance that has stood the test of time, it is from here that visitors can set their eyes on age-old iron bastions and canons (with the year of manufacture engraved on them). The beaches adjoining the fort offer multiple dining options at the shacks and the ideal time of the year to visit this destination is between November and March.
11) Netravali Waterfall & Wildlife Sanctuary:
Netravali Waterfalls is an unfrequented spot that proffers the true delights of being enveloped in nature's arms. Nestled in the middle of a dense forest, inside Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, this cascading waterfall is one of South Goa's best-kept secrets. Trek up a scenic path in the sanctuary that will redefine your very idea of greenery, and treat your senses to the unblemished freshness of this enthralling destination. The waterfall surges down the picturesque landscape and collects in a crystal-clear pool at the bottom. Splash around or dip your toes in this lake and embrace the astounding beauty of the locale.
12) Three Kings Church:
Perched atop Cuelim Hill, shrouded in mystery credit to its haunted reputation, the 3 Kings Chapel in South Goa is a seldom-visited location that exudes a spooky charm. Beyond a list of Bollywood movies being shot here, ask anyone in the area, and they will inundate you with stories that startle most visitors. Legend has it that 3 power-hungry Portuguese Kings who locked horns for territory, once convened for dinner on the pretext of a peaceful solution. Little did 2 of them know that it was an ambush. The food was poisoned by 1 of them - King Hogler, who later incurred fury from the supporters of the deceased kings. In fear of losing the power he had managed to amass, he resorted to ingesting the very poison that brought him what he desired. It is said that the spirits of these 3 kings wander around the church, lending an eerie aura to a quintessentially Goan setting.
Palolem, Colva, Agonda and Mobor beaches, amongst others await at South Goa. Adventure seekers are treated to a plethora of exhilarating water sports that include parasailing, scuba diving, wind surfing, jet skiing, banana boat rides and plenty more. The feels of the wind in your hair, the golden sunshine, and the waves of the Arabian Sea are all within your grasp with water sports at South Goa. The best time of the year to to set out for these activities is October to May, between 8am to 5pm.