It’s a difficult choice between Goa vs Andaman for your next Beach Holiday. But Kritika Nandy – who is a molecular biologist with inherited homologous dominant travel genes; tries to solve this ultimate dilemma for your next beach trip.
Andamans: The colonial past attributes a horrific charm to this group of islands. The British rule established the famous Cellular jail in the island of Port Blair. Visit the remaining 3 of 7 wings which hosted and also ended lives of countless freedom fighters. Attend the light and sound show the evening before to relive India’s struggle for freedom. Then I dare you to enter one of those tiny cells without feeling the impending doom, countless patriots had felt. Visit the Chatham Island to see the oldest working saw mill set up by the British and later bombed by the Japanese during WWII. Also take the tour to Baratang Island which will take you through the reserved forest, home to the ancient Jarawa tribe.
Goa: Goa’s past was dominated by the Portuguese sailors. Still now you can see billboards in Hindi, English and Portuguese in equal numbers. The architecture, too, has Portuguese influences. So does the sports, Football being the most loved form. You can visit the beautiful churches and cathedrals including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bom Jesus Basilica.
Andamans: “A country is its people” is an apt description for the islanders. With its proximity to the cities of Chennai and Kolkata, you shall find many Bengalis, Malayalis, Tamilians and more often than not, people deriving their roots from all parts of the country and various religions. Needless to say, they are extremely welcoming and honest. The islands are maintained beautifully with the melange of modern facilities and nature.
Goa: The usual tourist haunts of Goa no longer remain pristine. You can find virgin beaches only in the offbeat areas. If you like to people watch…stick to Baga and Calangute. Or else, head towards Bogmalo, Sinquerim or Uttorda and Majorda. The natives are usually co-operative and offer you comfortable home stays, but do not let your guard down completely. Be aware of drunk driving and keep your belongings safe.
Andaman: As is with its people, the food in the Andaman, too is varied. There are enough restaurants to satisfy all your taste buds. The Lighthouse restaurant is a local favorite for the freshest of seafood. Try the Blue Beetle Café or Mandalay for a more sophisticated dining experience.
Goa: Goa is a paradise for food lovers. The shacks along the beach like Britto’s and Souza Lobo serve great seafood and continental fares. Martin’s corner will serve you authentic Goan cuisine. Try Portuguese dishes at Carveja e Mais or Palacio Do Deao and do not forget to pack a Bebinca for your mid-night sugar cravings!
Andaman: Deep Sea diving is a coveted activity in the Andaman. Try it in Havelock Island. There are several PADI certified diving agencies like Barefoot and DiveIndia which offer both Try Dives and certification. Don’t forget to ask your hotels for tailor made diving sessions away from the usual sites. You can also opt for snorkeling and sea walking at North Bay and Jolly Buoy and a speed boat ride to Ross Island.
Goa: Most kinds of water sports are available during the tourist seasons in Baga and Calangute. Try a banana boat ride, parasailing and jet-skiing, but remember to bargain for the prices.
Andaman: Anadaman, in general costlier, since everything from salt to petrol has to be shipped in from the mainland. Try not to pre-book your tours in the hotel’s travel desks since they tend to charge you much higher. Take information from local cab drivers or restaurant managers. Some of them are bound to direct you to a cheaper tour. Refilling water bottles is a great way to save money and be Eco-friendly. Carry fruits and snacks on day long tours and always contact the hotel directly for discounted rates on your reservations.
Goa: Costs in Goa varies with seasons. In the peak tourist season of November to February, hotels can charge you almost triple the amount as they would charge in July-August. Although some restaurants and water sports remain closed during off-season, Goa is beautiful in the rains too!
Hope the above comparisons between Goa vs Andaman will make it easier for you to choose your next beach holiday. Let us know which one you prefer more?
Krittika Nandy – A molecular biologist with inherited homologous dominant travel genes, I have lived in or traveled to most Indian states and have friends from the rest. I am less of an adventurous traveler and more of a luxury vacationer. Put me in a middle of a city or a crowded beach, I am in my element. An uninhabited mountain trek or a forest camp would probably be the cause of my death. I absolutely hate stereotypes and yes, I am a Bengali who hates fish!