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How can you resist a place whose local motto is "Sossegade," which translates to "Take it Easy"? Long a favorite destination for New Age travelers seeking the transcendent good life, these days Goa is more hip than hippie. High-end restaurants and shopping complement the dreamy beach life. Goa's historical atmosphere, shaped by a fascinating mix of Portuguese and Indian influences, is unique. The Portuguese were here for 500 years, and their presence can still be felt in customs like the siesta the Goans take every afternoon. Sossegade!Find Cruises Sailing to This Port
Strong Portuguese influences make Goa unique in India, and many major monuments are within walking distance of each other, making this part of Goa's history easy to explore. The Arch of the Viceroys, built in 1597, commemorates the arrival in Goa of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. St. Catherine's Cathedral, which took 80 years to build, is said to be larger than any church in Portugal itself. And if you're drawn to miracles, the Church and Convent of St. Monica Christon is home to an image of the crucified Christ which is said to have spoken and opened its eyes.
Above Goa, the skies are full of life - bird watching is a rich and entrancing experience here. You can expect to see: white egrets, purple herons, colorful kingfishers, eagles, cormorants, kites, woodpeckers, sandpipers, curlews, drongos and mynah. Although you will see these birds anywhere in Goa, you can get closer to them in the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, a wetland sanctuary that was created to protect the birdlife in Goa.
From the Government Emporia to sidewalk stalls and high-end designer shops, Goa offers a wide array of shopping opportunities. Local handicrafts to look out for include brassware, terracotta, shell work, crochet, carved furniture, bamboo work and paper-mache. Azulejos (attractive Portuguese-style hand-painted tiles and ceramics) offer a unique expression of Goa's diverse cultural influences.
Goan cuisine draws on Portuguese, West Indian, and Arabian influences. Rice with fish curry is a local staple, and coconut and coconut oil are widely used in Goan cooking, along with chili peppers, spices and vinegar. Local vindaloo dishes are often made with pork, a rarity in India. The cashew is a famous local favorite, with some specialty shops selling only cashews. You may want to try the alcoholic drink cashew feni, which is made from the fermentation of the fruit of the cashew tree.
The currency in India is the rupee. Be sure to have a big supply of small currency notes, as change is very hard to find. Most large establishments will accept credit cards, but it is still a good idea to carry Indian currency.
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Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.