The undisputed Goa expert of India Sotheby’s International Realty, Karan Singh, curates his favourite list of the lesser thronged North Goa villages, which continue to retain their pristine flavour.
With its blissful beaches, temperate climate and vibrant lifestyle, it’s not surprising this coastal state tops the list as a second home destination of choice. North Goa in particular, once the magnet for the rich and famous now appeals to all, be it Assagao, Siolim, Aguada or Parra. But what if your heart wishes for some quiet privacy and you’re on the look-out for the yet undiscovered villages? Here are what we consider as the hidden gems of North Goa.
Salvador do Mundo
Nudging the Torda Creek, Salvador do Mundo is an oasis of natural beauty. A captivating landscape with water on one side followed by paddy fields, makes Salvador do Mundo stand out. With both hills and forests, it’s the perfect getaway from the stress of city life. Well connected to beaches and towns, it hits the sweet spot that city dwellers seek – not too loud, not too quiet. Salvador do Mundo has well-maintained heritage homes blending aesthetics with contemporary amenities, providing the perfect mix of an urban experience and rural tranquility. A drive away from Calangute (11km), Anjuna (~16km), and Baga (14km), and from the state’s capital, Panjim (11km), Salvador do Mundo boasts good infrastructure, with quality roads adjoining major highways, and reliable social infrastructure. Salvador do Mundo has a significant advantage with its proximity to Goa’s only bird sanctuary, Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on the western tip of Chorao Island which acts as a natural green buffer zone.
Ucassaim is a small, peaceful village located just outside Mapusa. It is 9 kms from Assagao and 16 kms from Panjim. Located next to Moira, a second home hotspot, this undiscovered, lush green village offers more bang for your buck. Ucassaim nestles between paddy fields and a small rivulet from the Mapusa river. Its beauty lies in its scenic surroundings perfectly placed between bottle green hills and seemingly endless fields. Small but spirited, the real estate market here shows steady growth, with many new developments underway.
Properties available in Ucassaim include traditional Goan-style homes and modern villas. This village makes for a great investment offering high value in the long term. The land supply here is limited due to its immediate vicinity to fields, hills, and backwaters.
Camurlim in Bardez sub-district of North Goa is just 9 km from Morjim and 21 km to the new international airport at Mopa, making its accessibility a big plus point. It is a small village with a backdrop of hillocks, cashew forests, streams and mangroves. This hamlet offers a unique experience of the culture, nature, and adventure that is Goa. Abundant bird life including great hornbills, peafowl, and egrets, only adds to the serene atmosphere. Surrounded by Oxel (west), Colvale (east), and Siolim (south), Camurlim is an ideal spot for exploring North Goa or enjoying a slow life with fishing, relaxation and enjoying the natural beauty.
Corjeum and Carona
If you’re looking for a break from the rush of Goa’s tourist spots, the twin villages of Corjeum and Carona are what you need. Located on the back waters, they offer a glimpse into an elusive and idyllic way of life. Corjeum is steeped in Goan culture, with narrow streets and old houses exuding charm. Corjeum fort, a major attraction, dates to the 16th century and offers a fascinating insight into Goa’s colonial history. The village’s serene atmosphere and rich cultural heritage make it ideal for a second home or vacation rental. Carona, on the other hand, is an idyllic village in North Goa. Known for its unspoiled and quiet way of life, Carona is just a 30-minute drive from Panjim. Real estate in both Corjeum and Carona is affordable,, yet on the charge and these villages offer a more authentic side of the Goan experience, including its colonial past and stunning natural beauty. Ucassaim has rich history and architecture dating back 500 years to Goa’s Portuguese past, making it a paradise for people who thrive on history and culture. No wonder, artists, painters and architects all find their way to this creative paradise.
Saligao and Sangolda
For those eyeing peace and quiet yet incredibly central Goa location, Saligao and Sangolda are two villages that have come into the limelight. They offer significant underlying value along with the authentic and traditional side of Goa. Saligao’s old-world charm with colonial-style homes and architecture gives the area a unique and historic feel. Its famous churches, traditional Goan cuisine, and proximity to popular beaches like Candolim make Saligao a winner. Sangolda is known for its natural beauty, heritage homes and the annual Sangolda Art Festival. This area is dotted with upmarket cafes and restaurants which attract the very upmarket local residents and artists alike. What’s more, the up and coming start-up Goa Brewing Co, has its base here, sourcing its raw material from the fields cultivated around.
Mandrem in North Goa is an ideal destination for those seeking the beach life. The village yet boasts of an unspoilt and beautiful beach, which many consider as the pearl of North Goa beaches. With countless restaurants in a five-kilometer radius, Mandrem is an excellent destination for foodies. If yoga, meditation, and spirituality are one thing, several centres offer classes and workshops. The village is the perfect place for holistic experiences, including ayurvedic massages that rejuvenate the body and mind. This mix of natural beauty, wellness experiences and great food makes Mandrem a perfect second home destination. For the adventurous and spirited, surfing, kayaking, water sports are all easily accessible from Mandrem. Of course, for those who wish to do nothing, guilt-free beach bumming is a favourite past-time.
The Islands of North Goa
North Goa’s best kept secret are its several islands. Home to one of India’s best bird sanctuaries, they pull birdwatchers by the hundreds. They are also ideal for those seeking a break from a chaotic metropolitan life. These islands are close to Old Goa and Panjim and accessible by ferry, adding to the adventure of living there. These islands in fact, are a preferred choice for the wealthy Goans to make their home in. Perhaps a drawdown from history when the Portuguese aristocracy would opt for the island living. Undoubtedly, these islands offer a change of pace from the bustling beaches of North Goa and offer a glimpse into the natural beauty and cultural richness of the region. If one is looking to invest beyond the beaches, the Islands of North Goa are a great option to consider. Within the next few years, investing here can be a bonanza.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
END OF ARTICLE