South India Updated Banner.jpg Logo Southindia
Back to Listing

Goa

The South Indian idyll of Goa is a beautiful, small state, with almost 100 kilometres of rich golden sand beaches overlooking the glittering Arabian Sea.

India’s smallest state, Goa has had a long relationship with the West; it was the first place in India to be colonised by the Portuguese in 1510, an occupation that lasted 451 years. ‘Golden Goa’, named so for its incredible prosperity from the lucrative spice trade, reached its peak in the 16th century. In 1961 the Portuguese were booted out of Goa by India’s first prime minister, Nehru, leaving behind their indelible mark; a kaleidoscope of baroque architecture, whitewashed churches, crumbling forts, traditional catholic ceremonies and stunning cathedrals. In the 1960s Goa also became a magnet for a new type of traveller in search of sun, sea, sand, seafood, spirituality and a laid-back lifestyle. The Portuguese legacy is richly evident and perhaps nowhere more delightful than in the burgeoning food scene. Months could be spent exploring the restaurants, villas and homes offering a tantalising cuisine that joyfully sings with a mingling of Latin and local cultures.

Goa today can be divided into three distinct areas. The North, the first to be "hippified", has long since given way to development and is generally seen as busier and more commercial. The popular and more developed resorts of Calangute and Candolim are home to boutique hotel Ahilya by the Sea, beautiful private villa Summertime and the family-friendly Taj Holiday Village. South Goa is more peaceful and relaxed and is often described as "Goa as it used to be", although many of its beaches are at least partially developed. Here travellers can relax at the 5-star hotel resorts of Alila Diwa, Taj Exotica and The Leela Goa.

In the centre, the Zuari and the Mandovi rivers reach the sea, carving out the Panaji peninsula, a triangular spit of land also known as the Velhas Conquistas, between them. Stretching along the northern riverbanks is Panjim, or Old Goa, Portugal’s former capital in India. With its UNESCO World Heritage status, this was the first territory to be colonialised and the original port of the Portuguese. Although Central Goa draws in less crowds than the neighbouring beach resorts, it is certainly worth a day or two to visit the handsome Portuguese buildings and churches, and the crumbling remains of Old Goa. Adventurous travellers who venture inland are rewarded by a landscape filled with spice plantations, astonishing churches and verdant rice paddies. Over the centuries Goa has been naturally protected by the thickly forested Western Ghats; the sheer inaccessibility by land has kept sites such as the impressive Dudhsagar Falls and the beautiful medieval Hindu temple at Tambdi Surla are untainted by tourism.

With its palm fringed coves, pastel-coloured colonial houses and a beautifully relaxed atmosphere, Goa offers everything for a retreat to return to again and again.

>> Read our blog: Goa Food & Feasting

Goa, South India (4).jpg Goa, South India (4).jpg
Goa, South India (5).jpg Goa, South India (5).jpg
Goa, South India (3).jpg Goa, South India (3).jpg
Goa, South India (2).jpg Goa, South India (2).jpg
Goa, South India (6).jpg Goa, South India (6).jpg
Goa, South India (7).jpg Goa, South India (7).jpg
Goa, South India (11).png Goa, South India (11).png
Goa, South India (8).jpg Goa, South India (8).jpg
Goa, South India (13).jpg Goa, South India (13).jpg
Goa South India Goa South India
Goa South India 3 Goa South India 3
W Goa W Goa
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.
Bill Bryson

We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
- Mr David Wallace, North India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India

From our Instagram

One of our #Cambodia specialists, Simon, has just returned from the wonderful #ShintaManiWild & couldn’t recommend it more! 🇰🇭
.
Overlooking a crashing waterfall & immersed in rugged jungle, this luxury camp genuinely lives up to its name 🍃
.
Swipe to peek inside the tents, designed by one of our favourite designers #BillBensley & get a striking bird’s eye view of the camp...
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Cascading rice terraces greet you in #Ubud 🍃🍃🍃
.
Balinese women make daily offerings of vibrant flowers and fruit to the gods 🍊🍐🍌🍎🌺💐
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Sunsets at the @gallefacehotel are the best welcome to #Colombo, especially when watching their flag ceremony from the iconic checkerboard terrace with a G&T in hand 🌅
.
We also love the wonderful @maniumpathy_boutique_hotel, which is truly an oasis of tranquility within this city 🌿
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
From mid May to mid October, The Ultimate Travelling Camp’s wonderful #ChambaCamp in #Thiksey (#Ladakh) will be open! 🏞
.
Our specialists stayed at this one-of-a-kind luxury tented camp last year and adored it - we guarantee that you will too 🏕
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
#SriLanka has just been awarded the title of #WorldsBestIsland by @travelandleisure 🇱🇰
.
We couldn’t be happier that this spirited country is getting the recognition it deserves!
.
Travel with us to get under the skin of this spectacular country 
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Wander through the bustling fruit and vegetable markets in #Pondicherry to experience the true essence of #TamilNadu 🇮🇳🥬🍎
.
Follow our stories for live updates!
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Peek into the Himalayan Kingdom of #Bhutan & discover its extraordinary natural beauty with us 🇧🇹
.
Vibrant hues compliment earthy tones at every corner, especially within the hotly-anticipated #SixSensesBhutan lodges & at the beautiful @gangteylodge 🍂✨
.
📸 captured by @jamesjayasundera along his @sixsensesbhutan journey
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Staying at the beautiful @GalOyaLodge means you will experience one of Sri Lanka’s lesser-known National Parks at its very best 🌿
.
Take a boat safari here to see swimming elephants and a striking sunset 🐘🌅
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
✨Please vote for us!✨
*Link in Bio*
.
For the top Tour Operators & Specialists in the  #CondéNastTraveler #ReadersChoiceAwards #2019
.
Only 5 Days left!
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience

Let us keep you up to date

Sign up to our newsletter and never miss out on unmissable exclusive luxury experiences