For real tour aficionados, Goa is just not the usual beach & booze place. There are also a few offbeat places in Goa to visit for an artistically & intellectually satisfying experience. Listed here are some of the off-the-radar spots which travelers enjoy quite a bit.
1. Cabo De Rama Fort
This South Goa fort is amongst one of the oldest Portuguese establishments. Being quite far away from the popular forts of Aguada and Chapora this is little less popular. But being untouched, it offers fabulous views. The blue sea appears breath-taking from the fort top. There is a quiet beach by the same name nearby, wherein a river flows sideways into the sea. There are seasonal backwater lagoon formations surrounded by coconut palms giving Cabo-de-rama a top choice in the list of offbeat places in Goa. To be precise, it is a swimmer’s and photographer’s peaceful paradise.
2. Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Opposite Ribandar, is the island of Chorao, where a ferry ride brings you to the sanctuary. This is as much a haven for birds as for the mangroves. During the migratory months, birds start flocking the place. They are known to arrive from as far as Siberia. Early morning is the best time to spot the migratory birds in full action by the water. There are guides around to help you with identifying birds on a boat ride around the sanctuary. A delight for the nature lovers, bird enthusiasts, and photographers.
3. Bogmalo Beach
A little strip of beach behind the Dabolim airport, Bogmalo is also located close to the Naval Aviation museum. This usually non-chaotic beach is very popular amongst foreigners in South Goa. Joets bar and restaurant is the most liked eatery here and has a stay facility too. Simply put, it is a place for those who enjoy doing nothing but chilling out.
4. Church of Santa Monica
This 450 year old church located in Old Goa, has recently been thrown open to public after many years of restoration work. It is considered as Asia’s first and largest convent. Opened in June 2016, it is restored by the Museum of Christian Art Goa (MCAG) with financial assistance from the Goa Directorate of Archives and Archaeology. The church has exquisite art work in its altars, pulpit, crucifix, statues, paintings, and other art objects after being worn out over the years.
5. Butterfly Conservatory
Situated close to Sahakari spice plantations in Ponda, this park is an individual effort for conserving butterfly species native to Goa. There are almost 133 species of butterflies documented in this conservatory. On a typical visit day tourists can see 25 species altogether. The visit is like a forest walk through this tropical forest with brimming water streams and endemic plants spread over. The land was known to be a barren place with no water supply but dedicated efforts of a Goan to conserve butterflies has put the project to its recent day shape. A must-go for nature aficionados and camera enthusiasts. Walk timings are between 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.
6. Lamgau Caves
Located about 35 kilometres from Panjim, in Bicholim, Lamgau caves is usually not on the normal tourist radar and it’s also one of the offbeat places in Goa. These laterite caves are quite fascinating and delicate, though now in a decaying condition. The stone appears weathered over the years. A cavern here has a very prominent pavilion with beams and ceiling. Though the structure is incomplete, there is a stone deity, a nandi and a tulsi vrindavan, all considered holy by the Hindus.
7. Wax World Museum
Located close to old Goa churches, this is India’s second wax museum, first one being in Ooty. The place has 30 life-size statues of famous personalities of Indian culture, heritage and religion, delicately sculpted of paraffin wax. The main attraction is the depiction of ‘last supper’, which is 22 feet long and weighs 500 kilos. A museum guide gives details of these in English and Hindi. There is an entry ticket for people and cameras.