A perfect option to avoid going sightseeing on a regular tour, we have an alternate option of sightseeing Central South Goa in a private car. The tour begins at 9.30 a.m. with a pick up from any hotel in North Goa.
The tour begins with a drive down to Old Goa where you will see the main Churches. Basilica do Bom Jesus holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa. The construction of this majestic church began in 1594. The church was completed in 1605. This is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in India.
Sé Cathedral de Santa Catarina, is in the same vicinity as Basilica do Bom Jesu. This church was built in honour of St. Catherine (or Sant Catarina as she is known by in Portuguese), to commemorate the victory of Afonso de Albuquerque over a Muslim army in 1510. In 1552, Governor George Cabral commissioned the Cathedral to be enlarged and the reconstruction of the church began in 1562 under the reign of King Dom Sebastiao. The cathedral was completed in 1619 and consecrated in 1640. The original building had two towers. In 1776 one tower collapsed and it was never rebuilt. The architectural style of this church is Portuguese-Manueline. The exterior is Tuscan and the interior is Corinthian. It is believed that the cross that is in this church is miraculous.
The last church in the area is St. Francis of Assisi Church. This church and convent was established in 1661 by eight Portuguese Franciscan friars who landed in Goa in 1517. The Franciscan convent was converted into a museum in 1964 and was reorganized in 1982. It has a rare collection of artifacts, maps, and portraits. The museum was set up by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). The museum is open on all days of the week except Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A quick round to the ruins of St. Augustine’s Tower will end the Old Goa Church tour. The St. Augustine’s church was constructed in 1602 by Augustinian friars who arrived in Goa in 1597. The church and monastery were abandoned in 1835 when the plague broke out in the area. The tower collapsed in 1842 due to neglect. The church’s bell was moved to The Immaculate conception church in 1871. The church had four towers out of which only one remains. Recent excavations have proved that there were eight chapels, four altars, and a convent.
Moving on towards Mangueshi Temple in Priol, Ponda. This temple was formerly situated in Cortalim, it was then moved to Sancoale on the banks of River Zuari, and finally to the current location in Priol, Ponda. It was renovated twice during Marathas’ regime and again in 1890.The main deity of the temple is Bhagvan Manguesh an incarnation of Lord Shiva. This temple is 450 years old making it one of Goa’s oldest temples.
Note: Avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless clothes if you choose to enter Temples in Goa
While in Ponda you can have lunch at the Sahakari Spice Plantation where you can sample authentic Goan food. The meal costs 400 INR per pax and is not included in your payment for the South Central tour in a private car. You will also get an insight on local spices, its uses in Goan cuisine and its medicinal values.
After lunch you will head towards Panjim and make a stop at the Nossa Senhora da Immaculada Conceição (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church) better known as Panjim Church was constructed in 1541 by the Portuguese sailors at their first port of call. The architectural style is Portuguese Baroque. This church has the second largest bell in Goa. The Augustinian bell was installed here in 1871.
Your next pit stop is Panjim Municipal Market. You can spend a little time window shopping, and exploring the marketplace. This is a good place to get deals on kitchen appliances and household items. You can also get crockery, bedcovers, garments, fruits, vegetables, accessories. You should check out the tiny shops that sell glass bangles. The colours add a cheerful touch to the hustle and bustle of enthusiastic shoppers.
No visit to Panjim is complete without a visit to Miramar Beach. This beach was formerly known as Prada de Gaspar Dias after the landlord of the area and it was later renamed as Miramar Beach by the Portuguese. This is where the Arabian Sea meets the Mandovi River. You can see Fort Aguada to the North and Cabo Raj Bhavan towards the South. As you drive towards Dona Paula you will see food stalls and if you are feeling a little adventurous you can try out the chaats, shawarmas, gollas (ice lollies), or grab a cob of the corn (butta) on the go.
Dona Paula is your second last stop of the Central South tour. This quaint little place is packed with history starting with the Governor’s palace, Cabo Raj Bhavan, formerly known as Cabo Raj Niwas. The Fort and the palace which was initially a monastery was built in 1540. The monastery and fortress was home to monks until 1594. It then became home to the Governor. There’s a shrine dedicated to Nossa Senhora de Cabo (Our Lady of the Cape). You will not be able to drive past the gates but the drive to the gates is equally rewarding with its panoramic view of Fort Aguada, Nerul Hill, Miramar Beach, and Caranzalem Beach. The next tourist attraction here is the British Cemetery which was built around 1802. The first tomb dates back to 1808 and the last tomb dates back to 1912. It is believed to have 103 tombs in this cemetery. There is an old forgotten well opposite the entrance. The final tourist spot is the famous Dona Paula Jetty. One can see the statue of Robert Knox and his wife at the far end of the jetty. The view is breathtaking and the sunsets are unforgettable.
With this final stop your Central South Goa Tour is now almost coming to an end with a final stop at the Sunset Boat Cruise which is optional and it costs 700 INR per pax. The day ends with the drive back to your hotel room. The tour ends at 7 p.m.
Book The Central South Goa Tour in a Private Car in advance to ensure that you get the day of your choice.
You will get picked up from your hotel if it is located in North Goa.
The tour costs
Breakfast and lunch are not included in the package.
You will be taken to Old Goa, Mangueshi Temple in Priol, Ponda, Sahakari Spice Plantation (if you wish to have lunch there), Panjim Church, Panjim Market to do a little window shopping and shopping, Miramar Beach, Dona Paula, and Sunset Cruises (which is optional once again).
The cost of lunch per head at Sahakari Spice Farm is 400 INR.
The sunset cruise charges are separate. You will have to pay on the spot if you choose to go on one of the boats.
The cost of a sunset cruise is 700 INR per person.
Yes it is perfectly fine to bring your children along. This will be a nice educational trip for them.
Wear light cotton clothes since you will be outdoors for most of the day. Wear comfortable shoes since you will be walking around a lot. In case you choose to enter places of worship, please ensure that you are not wearing shorts and sleeveless clothes.
Please carry your sunhat/ cap, sunblock, and water for the start of the tour.
Yes, of course you will stop for lunch.
Yes you can. You will have to make sure that the restaurant of your choice is an route.
No, there is not. The price you pay for the tour is inclusive of everyone going on the tour.
Yes, the timings are fixed.
An advance booking is always advisable. You will have an assurance of going on the tour on a date of your choice.
If you cancel in advance then you will get a refund within two working weeks. If you cancel closer to the date then there will be cancellation charges.
If for some reason the tour is canceled from our end then you will receive a full refund within two working weeks.