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From relaxed pool-side meals and rustic art installations to riding detours and high-octane water sports, this Goan town has it all

There’s a key difference between a tourist and a traveller. A tourist goes mainly by word-of-mouth and likes to visit well-known places, while a traveller, I believe, prefers to discover new experiences. With its bustling water sports scene, local shopping and food havens and a gorgeous six-mile beach, I find that Calangute in North Goa caters to both crowds. My two-day stay is rich with the architecture of the 275-year old Church of St. Alex, the vibrant nightlife along the shoreline and delicious Konkani seafood offerings, among other delights –ensuring that I am back here soon. While uber luxe properties like The Park and Casa De Goa are setting camp here, I find there are options for all budgets in this quaint coastal town.

— Suhas Yellapantula

Cruising along

If you’re someone who enjoys the calm Goan waters then settle yoursel fwith a mug of beer on the deck of one of the overnight cruise boats on the Chapora River for a perfect experience. With dolphin spotting, late-night fishing sessions and delicious food, tour company Thrillophilia promises a night to remember. `10,500 onwards. Details: thrillophilia.com. Additionally, closer north, into the wilderness of the Western Ghats, you can experience white water rafting in the scenic inland locations of Goa. Organised by Southern River Adventures, these rafting trips are available from July to December, and you can waft along in picturesque settings, appeasing casual travelers and adventure junkies alike, if one is to take the founder, John Pollard’s word for it. Details: 8805727230

Setting up base

If you’re looking to stay in Calangute for a decent price and still experience some of the luxuries available in high-end properties, look no further than the Ibis Styles. An upgrade from the usual Ibis Hotels, the 197-room resort is complete with three pools for different age groups, a generous breakfast spread and great internet facilities. “When people think of Goa, they think of relaxation and having a good time in the pool. Normally, having a pool-facing room would cost extra in hotels. That’s the norm everywhere. But here in Ibis Styles, we decided that every room must face the pool, so that nobody misses out on the experience,” shared Nikheel Shirodkar, the resort’s general manager. The premises is split into two wings–Casa, for families with a separate play area for kids and its own pool, and Saal–for a younger crowd on business or with their significant others. “The idea of segregating this into two sections is so that everybody has their own space,” Shirodkar adds. Price: Rs 5,000 ++ for two per night.

New in the hood

Goa’s love for beer is known far and wide. Ditch your regular goan Feni for a freshly brewed mug of beer at the  eighborhood’s latest nightlife destination–Cerveja e mais – Beer and More. Located near Lemon Tree Resort In Candolim, the place offers 45 types of the beverage apart from beer cocktails, mocktails and even beer–infused Portuguese cuisine and pub grub, which is exactly what holiday-goers are looking for in Goa. Details: 09920569576. If you’re someone who never compromises on a delicious Chinese meal, then Fat Panda Goa is for you. Located on the Candolim main road, this offers authentic Chinese food with a Goan twist to it. The burnt garlic rice paired with chicken in hunan sauce is a huge hit here. Details: 9920596445

Rider’s paradise

Bike aficionados often swear by Goa and its rustic locales and seaside driveways, with a number of festivals taking place every year. While heading to the Royal Enfield Rider Mania at Vagator this weekend maybe cutting it too tight, the event is set to return to Calangute in January-February 2017, with enthusiasts from across the country congregating to celebrate their love for the road. Details:
www.royalenfield.com/ridermania

Into the blue

Water sports are a favourite here in North Goa’s largest beach, especially between October and March. Windsurfing is certainly gaining a following, while water skiing, jet skiing and para sailing are also popular along the Calangute-Baga stretch. If you’re a low-risk beach person, the banana tube boat ride is something you can enjoy with your entire family. Sunscreen is a must. `150 for 10 minutes onwards. Details: 9767213322

Art of the matter

It isn’t for nothing that Calangute translates to ‘village of art’ in Konkani. Chock-full of captivating architectural traditions, Calangute is also
home to renowned installation artist Subodh Kerkar. His Museum of Goa here, which turns a year old this month, houses work by numerous
artists, including his own, celebrating the region’s history and artistic prowess. Entry at `50 onwards. Details: 07722089666

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