Explore Goa, which was a Portuguese colony until 1961 and remains one of the most unexpected destinations in India, on this 8-hour private guided tour which includes Latin Quarters Panji, Se Cathedral and the Basilica of Born Jesus UNESCO World Heritage sites with lunch at a spice plantation. Hotel pickup and drop-off, guide, private air-conditioned transportation, entrance fees, and buffet lunch (vegetarian options available) included.
After a 9am pickup at your Goa city hotel, meet your guide and travel in a private air-conditioned vehicle to reach Old Goa, also known as Velha Goa ( velha means old in Portuguese). This was the original capital of the state of Goa and the second capital city established by the Portuguese in India. It was established in 1510 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Appreciate this slice of history as your guide shows you the Se Cathedral and the Basilica of Born Jesus UNESCO World Heritage sites Next, visit the Mangueshi Temple, one of the largest Hindu temples in the state of Goa. It was completed in 1560 and was originally a very plain building. Over the centuries it has been renovated and expanded. Admire the current lavish temple as your guide points out key elements like the Mangesh Linga. Then continue to the Shanta Durga Temple, a large temple complex near the village of Kavalem, before touring a spice plantation in the town of Ponda. The plantation is spread over a large area where TK SPICES are grown. After receiving a traditional Aarti welcome and a garland of marigolds, tour the plantation then enjoy a buffet lunch on site including traditional Goan dishes served on a banana leaf (vegetarian options available). After lunch, visit the Portuguese Latin Quarters in the city of Panaji, including Fontainhas (or Bairro das Fontainhas, in Portuguese). Here the Portuguese influence is easy to see in the architecture, the narrow streets, and the buildings painted in lively colors. Continue to the village of Dona Paula near Panaji. Formerly called Oddavell, this village was re-named in honor of a beloved and generous benefactor. It is now home to the National Institute of Oceanography. Finally, explore Panjim City, the capital of the state of Goa, on the banks of the Mandovi River, including the Baroque Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church on the main square (known as Praça da Igreja in Portuguese), colorful villas, and cobblestone streets. Then sit back and relax for the return to Goa in your private vehicle, arriving at your hotel around 5pm.