10 Reasons to Visit Anjuna, Goa

Since “the season” is gearing up around here, I figured it was time for a top ten list.  Well, either that or I’m just in an extra good mood because the sun is out again and I have all clean laundry.  Winning!  Okay, so here’s some of the reasons I thought might swindle your emotions and encourage you to dream about your next trip to paradise.  Brace yourselves. . .

1. Beach Shacks and Restaurants

Imagine lounging in the afternoon in a magical boudoir of cushions and tranquility, drinking a coffee or a fresh fruit juice.  Just.think of how many books you can read or how many cool blogs (wink, wink) you can read surfing the internet. . .all while continental and Indian food is at your beck and call.

2. Sunsets

I know, I know, there’s beautiful sunsets everywhere, but I swear there’s something extra special about the sunsets in Goa.  The pinks and oranges are so vibrant you can almost feel their energy.  Maybe it’s the lush jungle horizon, or the music in the trees, or the sounds of the peacocks calling to their lovers.  You’ll just have to come and see for yourself.

3. Wacky International Dance Parties, Live Music, and Community Events

                                                                     Picture on right taken by Suraj Mohandas of the BimBam Project at Guru Bar

If you’re in the mood to groove, Anjuna (especially) is THE PLACE TO BE.  It is famous for the psy-trance parties where people and DJ’s come from all over the world to participate in having a good time.  These parties are usually on the beach or in some special forests with all kinds of psychedelic decorations.  However, if you’re not into the electronic scene, which I totally understand, there’s an abundance of international musicians performing live all around Anjuna on different nights of the week.  Not only is it entertaining but you get to meet a whole heap of super cool folks from all walks of life.  Goa is quite a little melting pot.

4. Delicious Fruit

I know I’ve already bragged about the mangoes  during the monsoon, but when it’s “the season” there is no shortage of amazing papaya, pineapple, and watermelon.  The grapes and the bananas taste like fruits I’ve never tasted before–so bursting with flavor it makes you realize how bland such things taste in other countries–and the fresh figs must be sent from some Grecian gods.

   5. The BEACH

Oh, the glorious beach.  I know when I didn’t live near the beach I often dreamed of going to one, so I totally understand the sandy wanderlust.  There are many beautiful beaches in Goa  and the Arabian Sea is oh-so-salty so it makes for the perfect floating kind of water.  You can sit under umbrellas and get massaged or drink a beer.  You’ll even have the opportunity to buy some pretty souvenirs (or not) whilst catching some rays.

6. You get to travel to India

Now, maybe you’ve always had a fantasy about coming to the exotic land of mother India, but you’re not quite ready to deal with the culture shock, or the smells, or all of the confronting things you’ve read about or seen in movies. . .

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But, Goa is a bit like India-light.  It’s more laid back and the Portuguese influence changes so many things–food, religion, and the price of alcohol. . .heh heh.  There’s not as many people as compared to other wild places like Delhi and things like traffic and pollution are minimal.  Plus, with this being a mecca for international travelers, the locals are more used to many kinds of people and it makes it less uncomfortable to be different.  In Goa, different is the way to be!

7. Old Portuguese Architecture 

If you’re Catholic, you don’t have to worry about missing mass.  Goa has some of the coolest churches around.  If you just like to admire neat buildings, then there’s plenty of them to see.  There’s nothing quite like riding around through the windy jungle streets and passing by homes and churches that look like remnants of a long lost history.  The vines of Banyan trees dangle above cement crosses and big house porches and the greenest of jungle envelops corners and crevices like the spirits of the southern bayous.

8. Afternoon Siestas

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Not only do you get to relax in various different ways, but how cool is it that it’s culturally accepted, and possibly expected, to take an afternoon nap?!  Um, yes please!  Even if you don’t want to nap, per se, it sure is lovely to take advantage of some extra down time.  Just think of all the things you can do. . .even if it’s doing nothing at all.

9. Cool People

                                   Picture on left of Ping Pong and Coco taken by Sandhya Sanjana

As I’ve mentioned before, Goa attracts people from all over the world.  Artists, musicians, community activists, yoga lovers, doctors, teachers.  You’ll definitely have many chances to meet some of the quirkiest, fun, international people the world has to offer, and who knows, maybe you’ll even make a few new friends.  The world is truly your oyster.

*Ping Pong and Coco host some of the best community events and musical nights all around Anjuna.  They are an abundance of Anjuna history and fun spirits.  Check out my post “Ping Pong’s Legendary Hippie Walk” to see some of the stuff they do.

10. The Chill Inn Guesthouse

The Chill Inn guesthouse is a family run kind of place that is situated down a lovely, quiet street, but only a 10 minute walk to the beach, the famous parties, and the infamous Anjuna Flea Market.  It’s also next to some of the best restaurants in Anjuna–The German Bakery and Mango Shade.  If you’re looking for something comfortable with a home like feeling, then this is the place to be. Everyone at the Chill Inn will make your stay as cozy as possible (minus fancy frills, of course) and welcome you with gracious hospitality.  The Chill Inn Guesthouse is also the only place in Anjuna that offers renting some of the sweetest bicycles around.

*For more information on the Chill Inn Guesthouse, take a look at my post “So, why am I in Goa?“.

If you’ve been to Goa before, what are your top ten reasons to visit?

Anjuna, Goa Tales #7–Ping Pong’s Legendary Hippie Walk

Okay, okay, so there’s beach stuff here, and parties, and the usual “vacation” amenities and things to do. . . but what other stuff is there?  If you’re the kind of person who loves a good hike with stunning views and serendipitous company, then Ping Pong’s legendary hippie walk is the THING to do.  It’s a hike from Anjuna to Baga, which is less than 5 miles by how the crow flies, and 2 hours on the rugged, scenic path we walked instead.

Did I say Ping Pong? Yes, I did.  Ping Pong and Coco are my new technicolor friends.  They live down the street from us and we get to experience their magic from time to time.  Besides the legendary hike, Ping Pong hosts several live jam open mic nights at different bars in Anjuna. . .some of them with views of the ocean, some with delicious organic food.  If Ping Pong and Coco are there, you can be sure you’ve found the right moment.

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They have been coming to Anjuna for decades and host this legendary walk 2 times a season for free. . . anything extra you’ll have to haggle for!  The hike starts near the Chill-Inn and Roadhouse Hostel and Ping-Pong takes you down pathways that wind between old Portuguese homes, mango trees, and then up and over a small “mountain” that overlooks all of Anjuna and the mystical Arabian Sea.

We had around 13 people in our friendly group from multiple countries, spanning many ages, all from different walks of life. . .

The view from the top was amazing.  Most of Anjuna isn’t visible underneath the palm tree canopy.  It still looks like a plot of remote jungle resting near the sea. . .hard to imagine all the happenings under the green.

On the other side of the hill, you can see Baga in the distance and it looks like Cancun compared to our peaceful little Anjuna village.  Making the trek down was steep but with epic views of beauty.

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If you find yourself in the area sometime, I suggest you check out this hike.  It’s a great way to meet new people, hosted by some of the coolest cartoons I know, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!  xo

Anjuna, Goa Tales #3–Something to fantasize

I know there’s a lot of you out there approaching winter.  Summer has become a distant memory and forgotten warm clothes have been resurrected.  For some of you, panic filled thoughts enter your mind like an old friend knocking on the door out of the blue. . .wondering when you’ll see the sun again, how much snow may fall, and how you manage to stay in a place that gets so effen cold. . . Every.  Single. Year.

And then, visions of warmer places become salvation.  You start to fantasize about being on a beach, drinking cocktails, swimming in the warm sea, and taking a break from the marshmallow jackets and freezing nights.

Even if you’re the type who loves winter, I’m thinking of you now, too.

I went on a walk last night and saw so many magical views, I thought I’d tantalize your mind a bit.  If you need some winter salvation, inspiration, or a new dream to dream, here’s some good ideas. . .

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The ocean is calling you……..

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Whether it is the actual ocean, or just something that makes you happy, know that it IS whispering…..and you should listen.

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After my walk, I got blessed by the setting sun. . .

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“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.  Hold fast to dreams, For when dreams go, Life is a barren field, Frozen with snow.” (Langston Hughes)

All of these views are from walking around Anjuna.  Happy dreaming everyone!