RTW Trip Goa, India Day 81: Getting Started in South Goa
Getting from North Goa to South Goa isn’t too hard and is very easy on your wallet. You just have to be prepared to ride on some long, hot buses with blaring music, and smells of sweat with no bathroom breaks.
You really don’t have to preorganize your tickets, as you can just show up to the bus station and ask around where and when each bus leaves. Our route led us from Vagator to Mapusa, then Mapusa to Panjim, Panjim to Margao, and then Margao to Benaulim. It took a good part of the day, but we finally arrived at Benaulim Beach, where we settled at Pedro’s on the beach to figure out where to go. While this was in the Lonely Planet, I found this suggestion to kind of gross me out because there was a huge fly deeply buried in my curry!
This was one of the few times we just showed up with no reservation. I spoke to a couple rickshaw guys who suggested a guesthouse house right by the beach that was within our budget.
The grounds looked like a jail, and each room was ridiculously huge, eerie, and so not worth the 800 rupees they wanted to charge us. Even though we weren’t sure if they were full, Greg and I had a rickshaw driver drive us to Rosario’s, a cheapie we found in the Lonely Planet. We were lucky enough to get a room and for only 500 rupees per night.
The grounds were green, with a few kids playing, a bar with books and food, and an apartment complex type building with a green courtyard and a clothes line in the middle of it. The ensuite room was simple with a deck. The owners were pleasant, they always helped us with whatever we needed, and it was in a good location in Benaulim. While I didn’t really like Benaulim beach, as I thought it was too touristy, I did enjoy staying in Benaulim because of Rosario’s and this absolutely wonderful restaurant called Once Upon a Time.
If I were in New York, I would probably never want to go to a restaurant called Once Upon a Time, but when traveling, I find names likes these to be utterly charming. Coming from the beach, this restaurant is located at the top of the first set of busy crossroads on the left. The name of this place reminded me of another place in Gilli Trawangan, Indonesia called A Beautiful Life. You could watch a movie of your choice and order dinner while sitting in a seaside beach hut! Once Upon a Time was run by a group of super friendly Nepalese, served delicious food (the Italian food is just as good as everything else!), and the restaurant itself is simple with some dim lighting without trying too hard. We ate here several days in a row, and you should too! It was cheap and everything we ordered was oh so good!
Bananas 30 rupees
Toilet paper water 50 rupees
Casa de Olga 500 rupees
Laundry 200 rupees
Bus to Manpusa 30 rupees
Bus to Panjim 30 rupees
Bus to Margao 80 rupees
Rickshaw to Benaulim 200 rupees
Pedro’s Restaurant: veg pulao, aloo gobi, 2 cokes 390 rupees
Rickshaw to guest house 50 rupees
The Mahal bar at benaulim 200 rupees
Rosario’s Inn Guest House450 rupees
Beer 130 rupees
Once Upon a Time Restaurant: Singapore beef noodles, and garlic prawns curry, naan, beer, tea 540 rupees
Ice cream cookies 35 rupees
Total cost:2915 rupees / 2 = $22.70 per person
What I learned: Only order a small item to get a beach bed. Also, if you don’t have a place booked, look up a few places online and mark them in a map. It seems a lot of places don’t list all their rooms online, so you may have some luck by just showing up.
Actual date of travel: Nov. 23, 2014