Welcome to our place!
Our bungalow is situated at Varca Beach Goa which is approx 23km south from Dabolim International Airport or 7km west from Magdalon train station at Margoa.
We are close to many 5 star hotels including The Retreat, Taj Exotica, Tarikas Sea Breeze, Club Mahindra, The Beach Hotel and Radisson all within walking distance.
For guests staying a minimum of 1 week, we will collect you from the airport and take you directly to our place by taxi. This is included in the price. We will also organize a taxi to take you back to the airport, but this will be for your own account (900 rupees approx). Taxis are minivan type and can accommodate a family with normal amount of luggage. Please advise if there are special requirements or extra luggage required.
Here are a few to think about (please click on headers below):
Theresa and Christopher are the managers for our property, will meet you on arrival and very nice and approachable people.
You can ask them for honest advice and they can organize taxis etc or assist with any problems or maintenance issues in the house. They live just opposite our complex. Any questions or queries please ask either Theresa or Christopher for help. They can be contacted +91 9158346986.
Nearest shop is 5mins walk only for basic items. Nearest supermarket to our place is the “Shop and Save” marked on the map, which sells almost all things including money change at good rates (Crisp USD/Sterling banknotes only), tobacco, and household goods. Approx 15mins walk/ cycle or 5 mins by taxi/ rickshaw and you will also pass it on approach to the bungalow from the airport. (Ask Christopher to stop here if you need to pick up some items urgently). We do provide tea and there is milk/water in the fridge for your arrival! Opposite Shop and Save there is another supermarket just opened.
Also opposite “Shop and Save” is a bottle store for beer/spirits etc and a cold store which sells good quality fresh and frozen chicken and beef. Outside is a market stall selling fresh fruit and vegetables at very reasonable prices.
There are also a number of smaller shops closer to the bungalow and next to Dolphin View Apartments approx 700m or 5 minutes walk which also sell limited items. Inside Dolphin View there is also a limited store, plus internet at 40rupees per hour. You can also take your laptop here, its not wifi but LAN/Ethernet cable, but still handy.
The nearest beach bar is Mamas Kitchen approx 5 mins walk (100m) towards the beach which is just ok. There are a number of other beach bars within walking distance once on the beach;
We personally recommend Zumbrai which is 5th or so beach bar along (going right or North from mamas kitchen). Others a bit further on we recommend are Sun and Moon close to the Taj Exotica, Jonceys at Benaulim and Toncia which is actually opposite our complex (20m) – a small well priced place with a decent offering (however be prepared to wait for a long time for your food)
Most beaches bars (Zumbrai definitely) also offer money change at preferential rates and will buy pretty much anything on your behalf (for a small fee of course).
The nearest village is Varca which has ATMS, pharmacies, electrical stores which is 10mins by taxi (100-150rupees or 30mins walking (approx 3km) Alternatively, its probably easier to walk to Benaulim also around 3km or 40mins along the beach (going North again or turn right when facing the sea) which also has banks with ATMS, doctor, pharmacy, bakery, restaurants, convenience stores, tourist
shops, motorbike rental etc and this is a very pleasant small market village. Basically walk until the second lifeguard tower and then head up a minor access road between Joncey’s and another beach bar.
Don’t forget to take sufficient water with you, although its readily available at all the beach bars en-route.
Just a note, with ATM’s they seem to take most type of cards but not all banks take both Visa Delta and Electron/Cirrus etc. Most take either/or. However there are usually 2 or 3 ATMs close to each other in each location, so just ask when you are there and try another if first one doesn’t work. Personally my own card works in 2 of the 3 bank ATM’S. The banking system is modern however and ATMS are
prevalent so no need to worry, just one of those small frustrations.
Motorcycle/Car hire can be organized on arrival by our housekeeper if required or from Benaulim village or from airport (although from airport you will have to pay high insurance charges).
Included in the rate is a twice weekly clean, Theresa will ask when most convenient to clean and change linen etc. She will also collect rubbish etc so just leave in large bin outside. Cleaning more often can be requested at a rate of 200rupees per clean payable directly to Theresa.
Souvenirs/clothes etc can all be purchased on the beach or locally in stores at Benaulim, Colva, Panjim, Margao.
Buying on the beach; most sellers will sell you something at a price they can get away with which is a little annoying to begin with. In most cases divide quoted prices by at least 5 as a basis of what you probably should pay and then still haggle – it’s expected, and whilst still being fair but not ripped off.
If in doubt be prepared to walk away as there will always be another seller with the same stuff a bit further along. After a few days you’ll get the hang of it anyway.
If haggling is not your thing, there are fixed price shops at Colva and Panjim, the state capital and this can be a welcome change. Panjim is around 35km from Varca and an interesting, but like all Indian towns extremely busy. On the upside, there are lots of Old Portuguese buildings (bit dilapidated though), decent restaurants, major churches and good shopping. For clothing I recommend Bombay Bazaar in Panjim and there are a number of western outlets, like Lee, Levis around the same area etc which sell clothing at a fraction of normal price for original labels.
Taxis & Buses
Taxi fares should be in the range of 12rupees per km for rickshaw and 25rupees per km for taxi. Unfortunately the taxi business is completely exploitative, protectionist and extortionate fares will be quoted to any tourist who they think will not question. A fare to Benaulim (5-6km) should be no more than 300rupees, Cavalossim 500-600rupees. It’s difficult to get a rickshaw here which
should cost around half the price because they are not allowed to pick up near the taxi stand outside Tarikas Sea Breeze (Nearest Rickshaw stand is at Benaulim crossroads). Otherwise, Christopher our housekeeper has his own taxi and will offer you personal taxi service at most reasonable rates or closest to reasonable we have found. Our advice if you use taxis a lot is to strike a relationship with one driver early on, if you can and use them all the time.
Buses are ridiculously cheap and can be a fun way to get around if you can get your head around when and where they are going. Most local buses pass through the intersection (junction) at Benaulim which is our favourite village to Colva from outside Shop and Save. Colva has an interesting night market on Tuesday/Wednesday (ask for clarification as does change) plus to Cavalossim which is an interesting beach resort to the south and then Margao the main service/ market town. However Margoa is a very busy and hectic experience…really consider why you need to go there, before going. You may have to go to Margao to get connecting services to other towns further on such as Panjim, Palolem or Mapuca, gateway to North Goa.
Hospitals and Medical
The nearest Tourist hospital is Appollo Victor in Margao and is exceptional, along the same standards as back home or even better. Prices are very cheap for most treatments and drugs. The nearest GP is at Benaulim although GPs can be organized also through most of the hotels and Theresa can organize a home visit if necessary. Once again, prices are low for all these services. If for any problems see Theresa and she will call.
Dental and other medical tourism is big business and it’s possible to have most treatments done here at a fraction of home prices. Most of the facilities are first class and treatments good quality but shop around for prices. There are many clinics in Varca on the main roads out of Benaulim towards Varca, Colva and Margao.
There is a post office at Benaulim but in most cases and for parcels you need to post from Margao. In addition all international items have to be in wrapped in linen type bags. Anything else will just not do (goodness knows why). Consider paying someone trustworthy to wrap and post the items for you, the post office in Margao is chaotic enough. There are a number of small agents popping up in Benaulim and Colva who can provide this service for you. Or it’s even possible from some of the beach bars for a small fee. Ship by air mail as sea mail is almost the same price but just takes 3 times longer. Mail is surprisingly reliable in India and will get to its destination – eventually. Theresa might even offer to do this for you, for a small fee.
What to take with you
ATM/ Bank Card
Currency in both local and Sterling/USD etc
(Try and obtain small bills for local currency, as no-one ever has change, and especially for large bills
Exchange rates in beach bars and money changers are actually higher than in Indian banks, so in that
respect its better to take banknotes or withdraw cash directly from the ATMs rather than take traveler
Lightweight, light colored clothing, long sleeves, and long trousers for the evenings
High factor sunscreen/hat/good sunglasses
Replacement mozzie mats (standard type)
We usually have rmozzie repellent at the property, but take some spare just in case. It’s very cheap to buy once there.