Everything about Goa!South Goa Vs North Goa vs Central Goa
Once you are well past the 'Goa or Not' dilemma (see Why Goa?) , you will rather soon hit the question, where in Goa..? South Goa, North Goa or the Central Goa?
Goa is often quoted as 'tiny' state, giving you an illusion that you can see the whole of Goa in one trip. Not very true, if you are on a limited days Goa trip. Remember, it's well over 100km (62miles) to travel from south end of Goa to its north end, taking easily 2½ hours to just to drive through.
Prioritize your interests.Chop your plan to a manageable & realistic scale. Though Goa suffers the standard stereotype, the north, south and central regions are distinctively different, form a tourism stand point.
Let's see the highlights of North, Central & South Goa
Head to north Goa if you are looking for the heart and soul of Goa, the stereotypical goan beach life of the bygone decades.
Well, so where does north Goa begin? For the sake of simplicity, let's call places north of Panjim (Panaji) as North Goa.
This area, especially its beaches are less 'developed' , less mobbed and still offers that rustic laidback charm. Those looking for a more peaceful beach life would find some of the the north Goa beaches around Anjuna refreshing.
Also keep in mind, the very popular Cadndolim beach at the lower part of the north Goa is where the boatloads of packaged tourists are dumped first. And they tends to hang on, probably the cheap booze to be blamed!
If you are in search of sanity, get out of this place, after a quick peek, if you are still curious. No harm. Do not set your base here. Head up further north, where the mass tourism madness give way to a more leisure beach life.
Of course north Goa has a few action packed, party friendly beaches and a few upscale hotels and resorts too. You'll also find a few sea side forts in the north.
Talking about the Central Goa, this where the colonial Goa lived for over 400 years. The legacy lingers on, and is aptly called the Old Goa. Catch a glimpse of the Goan city life, dine at one of the many popular restaurants, visit the numerous heritage sites, the central part of Goa is less of beach and more of history and heritage.
South Goa is all about beaches and more beaches. There is a beach for every taste. Over the the last decade, new beaches has been 'discovered' and the beach tourism is steady tracing the coasts of Goa towards its southern fringes. And of course this is the resorts district of Goa.
You can make superb itineraries for South Goa - even spanning many days - hoping from beaches to beaches along the western coast south of Madgaon or the non beach attractions itinerary sprinkled along the fringes of Western Ghats in the southeastern side of Goa .
If the beach of Goa is not enough for you, extend the itinerary all the way to the idyllic beaches of Karnataka state, south of Goa. Just continue on the NH17, as south as you can go!
Well those who feed had enough of their quota of beaches, can explore the less trodden western region of Sanguem. This part of Goa's southern district is well into the lap of the lush Western Ghats. This mountainous region hides some of the pleasant surprises in Goa.
The greatest advantage of the southern part of Goa is its superb connectivity. The main railway stations of Goa (Vasco & Margao) are just around the top of this area. So is the Goa's Dabolim airport. No wonder short term tourists find South Goa more attractive...
So what's conclusion? It's really a tie between northern beaches and southern beaches. Do some research of the types of beaches, actions and accommodation options you prefer and zero-in your base at one of the northern or southern towns.
In your Goa itinerary keep aside a day's time for the Old Goa in the central part of Goa, for the heritage exploration. You'll connect well with the centuries of Goan legacy.
South Goa map in detail with itinerary path to cover the beaches south of Margao. Colva Beach to Polem Beach distance is about 65km, if you follow the NH17 highway. And it would be about a 100km+ distance drive if you include many of the short detours on in this itinerary. Follow this path to plan your day's itinerary, keeping Margao as the start/end point and cover attractions south of Margao, along the coastline.