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Restaurant menu board in Goa, India

Food and Shelter in Goa

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NORTH-GOA

Still few years back Angel’s Haven guest house in Anjuna, which is colloquially known as “Aunties place” was really a gem, but in three years the prices have doubled and I did not afford it anymore(2014-2015). It used to be best one in North Anjuna for it’s price class. Rooms in the main building differ from typical Goan jail type of rooms having traditional arc windows and high ceilings with long curtains. The newer building unfortunately features the more common jail type of design that is a norm for budget rooms in Goa, but are still neat and well equipped around the small garden. Now even monthly deals for 12000 INR paid in advance are not possible. Current rate was 800INR per night for even long stayers. I think some prices are getting way over the top in Anjuna which has contributed to the decline in tourism in last years, but bargaining with long staying bait may give you reasonable price elsewhere, but it has become more and more difficult.

After all Anjuna is just a dirty little village with sub-par beach long walk away, unless you stay at the beach itself exposed to trance party noises. No need to pay fares that lands you into culturally decorated rooms with skillfully carved wooden doors and cleaner air in SE-Asia such as Thailand or Bali in Indonesia. I think the main reason to come to Anjuna is the legacy of being trance party hub and expat scene that offers variety of activities that are spread out in a way that it takes a little time to know your way around the whole area. And I must admit, at times, even for non-party oriented guy like me the south Anjuna beach and the rocky shore has it’s own kind of appealing edge and when you see paragliders flying on the sky against the late afternoon sun and listen to chilling beat played from great sound system in the background may give you goosebumps. Anjuna tries to make it’s edginess into attraction and trendy business model. There is even hostel named “Prison” and as a good idea it seems to work for them.

So however, Anjuna might still make it good place to stay even for taking long term therapies, providing the necessary social circles. It still lacks larger scale package tourism which has taken over Calangute, Baga and Candolim that are otherwise closer to Healthy Healing Center. Anjuna is still quite busy place too and I already saw two minibuses loaded with so called Samsonite tourists, so they are getting there.

I found few decent places giving a nightly price of 500INR or 12000INR monthly deals. Probably the best one is new establishment called Studio Seven, brick colored modern three floor building along a peaceful alley when coming down from the main road that leads to the beach. They have spacey rooms with big windows and nice view. The alley goes down at the Oasis restaurant. You may have to bargain for monthly prices though. It may have gone up a bit.

For renting a house you need to go and look and ask around and first stay in some of the guest houses.


Sangolda is not at the beach, but there is relatively short bike ride to Calangute or Candolim beaches or Panjim. So it is not a bad idea to stay somewhere near the clinic such as Saraya Ecostay-Art-Cafe although the leisure activities in close proximity are almost non existent. But as the place left classy impression of self-sufficient Shangri La with a garden growing it’s own organic food, you may not need or want to get out of there so often anyway.

Saraya incorporates art gallery and cafe/restaurant/pizzeria, conceptual thinking of natural living that features one of the most innovative and unique use of recycled and natural materials utilized creatively in mud house style cottages that I have ever came across. They are other worldly, almost fantasy like. It was delightful to see permacultural principles applied in such a way. They have ongoing planning for offering long staying package for Healthy Healing Center clients. But it still becomes more pricey as the basic fare for one night at the time of visiting was 1500INR, than staying in the rock-bottom place other side of the street, Tourist Home Sangolda “Mahayash” where you may get 12000INR monthly deal in a lousy prison like, but very basic room with hot water and slightly humid smell.

And then in the last picture is tourist home Mahayash. It pales in comparison, but it fits to every budget and you can eat and join the people at Saraya opposite the street.


SOUTH-GOA

Probably the best place to stay at the beach in low budget near Margao is in Benaulim, more specifically the southern part of it around Jacks corner. It holds reputation as being the place for older middle aged people and retired folks and it lacks the hectic party atmosphere that defines Anjuna. The beach is way better though and not so crowded like in Calangute and Baga. And prices are little cheaper. But as drawback there are not so much activities in offer. And I found the Benaulim center being too polluted every evening and night time with burning rubbish that made breathing difficult. Jacks corner is little more further down and has two recommended guest houses Antonette’s guest house and Crismin guest house just next to each other. They used to have nightly prices as low as 300 and 400 INR and negotiable monthly rentals. From there it is logistically easy to arrange trips to Margao by public bus that costs only 10 rupees one way. Taking a bicycle from the guest house to the bus stop at main road takes only about 2 minutes.

But if someone wants to stay closer to Benaulim center, the Villa Seancy guest house is good option. It is the last purple colored guest house building when going south from Kadar corner so it has some distance from the most hectic area. It doesn’t get that much fumes into it’s premises. That is not convenient considering public bus though and you may want to rely on auto rickshaw or go by bike to the Maria Hall junction for taking a bus. They give monthly rental deals for 15000 INR even on high season, at least last time when I asked.

More splurge option near Jacks Corner is the hotel complex La Grace Resort, but if you can afford staying there for two, three months on nightly rates, then you can surely afford taking therapy treatments back home too.

Something in between those would be Villa Malibu that also functions as a place for yoga sessions that are held on the rooftop by Christel Pierron during high season. More about that: info@oceanofserenity.com

There was also construction projects underway and new family run guest houses opening up between La Grace Resort and Jacks corner. You may get good deals there.


FOOD AND STUFF IN GOA

Many who suffer from some sort of chronic condition is having issues with grain products. Personally I never had noticeable problems with gluten or grains(until I got Blastocystis hominis), but for a person with gluten related gut issues or if trying to be on sort of half-paleo diet that some people have found helpful when fighting chronic conditions, daily meals in local places may look something like this, modified to exclude grain products such as roti’s:

Morning: some fruits like banana and papaya with Aurospirul Super Greens mixed with water in your room, then go for masala omelet with three eggs(must ask for an extra egg as they usually use only two), 2x bharji(vegetable/pea gravy) and fish. That makes 120INR. Or without fish 80INR, and if rice instead of fish 100INR.

Afternoon: modified Veg Thali 100 INR. Ask them to replace roti’s and curd with extra bharji and salad. In addition you can have Green salad in a tourist restaurant. Or find a place like Buddha tree in Anjuna that serves locally priced Thali’s besides tourist menu. In Benaulim there are two local places. Hotel Priti near Villa Seancy and Srusthi’s canteen at the Kadar corner.

Some fruits and nuts.

Dinner: Chicken or Veg Thali as before. In addition you can have green salad if not eaten at lunch.

Supper: Some nuts and banana right before bed.

Sometimes tourist dishes come with disproportional amount of rice versus the actual dish. In some local places they do it other way round, less rice and more vegetables which is favourable. Like at Srusthi’s canteen every evening they had delicious hefty veggie portions made of lady’s finger or aubergine etc.

I recommend to add sea salt or Indian black salt to your drinking water.

Despite it’s drawbacks like drug scene, overpriced accommodation and hippie vibes transformed into dark party energies Anjuna has it’s advantage of serving also those people staying in Vagator and Chapora with it’s two well equipped supermarkets Oxford Arcade and Orchard Stores that are nowadays selling many alternative health and herbal products too. I did not find those from supermarkets in Benaulim. Such as Aurospirul superfood products and MMS and other detox and parasite protocols by Indian producer Nutri Alchemist.


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