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I am going to Goa for business purposes for 15 days, and will hardly get 1 day free. What are the must-see places and must-do stuff in Goa? What should I be carrying along?

I am interested in Museums and Beaches and not clubs or strip-clubs.

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There are 22 beaches in Goa. The major ones that you must visit are:

  • North Goa – Anjuna, Baga, Calangute, Vagator (In a single stretch, you can walk from the first beach to the last), Dona Paula
  • South Goa – Colva, Majorda, Palolem, Cavelossim

Following are some of the most popular hotels and shacks to eat at:

  • Café Mambo : On Baga beach
  • Curly’s : On a corner of the Anjuna beach cut off from the main
  • Tito’s : Baga beach; restaurant-cum-disco
  • Martin’s corner : Majorda.
  • Joet’s restaurant and bar : On a little known beach near Vasco called Bogmalo; around 30 km from Panjim, visit only if you have extra time on your hands
  • John’s Seagull : Again on Bogmalo
  • Bora Bora : Beach shack in Morjim
  • Seafood in any good shack – crabs, squids and prawns are a must-try
  • Lasagna at Vagator beach
  • Mango Tree

You also have churches, museums, wildlife sanctuaries, forts, pubs, go-karts etc.

  • Aguada fort : A fort-cum-lighthouse build by the Portuguese in 1613
  • Chapora fort : This is the fort featured in Dil Chahta Hai
  • Basilica of Bom Jesus : Built in 1605, contains the tomb and the remains of St. Francis Xavier
  • Naval Aviation Museum : A museum dedicated to the history of Naval Aviation in India, probably only one of its kind
  • Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception : This has been shown in many Bollywood movies that are shot in Goa
  • Go-karting near Verna (also has a really good pub at the foot of the hill called King’s pub; economical, good selection of beers, definitely plays if there is any good football or cricket match happening)

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I've been to Goa twice only, so I can't claim to be an expert. You haven't mentioned where you will be located, so perhaps what I'm going to write won't be suitable for you.

The first time I went north; we stayed near Mandrem, which turned out to be a very relaxing area to be, close to the more lively Arambol but with a nicer beach and fewer people around. I also appreciated the fact that you could easily reach Mapusa (where I liked the market very much) and Old Goa. I liked the colonial town, visited the various churches and cathedrals, which are so different from all the temples you normally visit in India.

I agree with Mark Mayo about the Anjuna Flea Market, which I consider an experience even if you don't buy much.

Last Christmas I went south; we stayed in Agonda, which is considered to be a wonderful location; it's true that the beaches in the area are quite large and the palm trees add to their appeal, but the area is too touristy in my opinion, and besides there is very little to do apart from lying on the beach.

I don't know how to answer your last question (what to carry along). I hope that what I've written so far may be of use.

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Well Goa has an almost unbroken 70 km coastline of beaches, so I'd definitely try and fit that in at some point.

If you are after souvenirs, try the Anjuna flea market.

Sounds like you won't have time for diving or kitesurfing etc, so won't worry about that. However if you're at the beach you may see an opportunity for something like that or jet skis, or paragliding.

The Butterfly Conservation Project of Goa is a highlighted tourist attraction, open from 9am till 3.30pm.

Personally I can't go somewhere without trying the local food, and there it's the fish curry, especially the ones found in many beach shacks. Probably best to avoid the Vindaloo if you have a weak stomach.

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Pork Vindaloo is a Goan speciality - a rare treat & nothing like Vindaloos you will find in the UK –  Simon Mar 20 '13 at 11:56

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