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Goa which is the 25th State of India is divided into two districts namely North and South Goa. The southern district of Goa which borders with the Uttar Kannada district of Karanataka in the East and South is less well known than North Goa and consequently its resorts tend to be quieter and more unspoilt than its northern neighbour. Margao is the capital of the district with the beaches extending from the port of Vasco da Gama and Bogmalo to Palolem Beach but including Bogmalo, Velsao, Majorda, Colva, Benaulim, Betul, Canaguinim, Agonda and Palolem. The coastline borders the Arabian Sea.
South Goa has a hot climate as it lies within the tropics and there is very little variation in climate through out the year. The rains come in the months June, July, August and September with June-September being the monsoon season. However, it tends to rain more inland in the mountain region than at the coastal resorts.
Situated 29 kilometres from the airport the capital Margao is a tourist attraction in itself with a mixture of Portuguese and Hindu cultures shaping its heritage. It has numerous buildings of interest as well as a lively market. The most popular beaches include Colva Beach which is said to be the best and certainly the largest beach in the area, noted as a shell collector's delight it stretches over 20 kms and is bordered by coconut and palm trees.
Also popular is Palolem Beach which has over 100 metres of golden sands and is sheltered by the hills to either side. Its popularity is underlined by the myriad of huts, rooms, restaurants and other shacks that line the area. This is potentially the most lively of the beach resorts, although all the beaches in the area are spectacular and in pristine condition albeit they can be somewhat limited in facilities.
You can easily reach South Goa as it is well connected by air, sea and road. Some major airlines fly directly into Dabolim Airport whilst most international flights come into Mumbai from where you can transfer. You can also travel by bus or train from Mumbai or Delhi to the capital Margao which has a daily express service.
Accommodation in the region varies from the expensive luxury five star hotels which can come with their own private beach areas right through to hostel, lodges and even home stay accommodation so something to meet every budget.
The local Goan cuisine includes a number of specialities such as pork vindaloo, chicken xacuti and balchao. Its coastal proximity gives the area a strong fishing tradition and seafood dishes are always fresh and tasty.
South Goa has tourists all year round but the September to March is the best period when many activities happen such as carnivals and festivals. The area is famous for its natural beaches, temples, water falls, rice fields and coconut gardens. Goa's strong sense of religion has made it an important pilgrimage centre and there are numerous churches and temples dotted around. Some of the most important to visit are Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and Church of St Francis of Assisi, along with Hindu temples such as Sidnatch Mountain, Brahma Temple and Shri Datta Mandir. Other attractions include bird watching and wildlife reserves as well as a number of its coastal locations being ideal for dolphin watching.