When you think of a dreamy island experience, places like Bali, Fiji or Bora Bora might pop up in your mind. These are no doubt famous, but Goa too is equally blessed with picturesque islands.
This tiny pearl of the Orient is divine and has not only beautiful beaches but also scenic landscapes that some of the Goan islands offer, though they are not as big as Bali or Fiji.
The Goan islands will surprise you. Don't believe us? Read on.
This island is a mystery waiting to be unravelled, every time you step on it. Just a few kilometres from Panjim city, it is one among the 6 islands located within the river Mandovi.
The island is known to have gotten its name from the Konkani word Dipavati, which means 'Small Island'. The USP of this island is its ferry ride -- this is the only means to get there.
The island consists of 4 villages namely Piedade, Malar, Naroa and Vanxim. It is surrounded by lush green fields, hills and Portuguese-era houses. This is where you get to see a typical Goan village.
Two unique festivals that are native to the island of Divar are the Bonderam (celebrated in August) and Potekar (celebrated in February).
And, don’t forget to visit the churches and temples while you are on the island (preferably during the morning hours).
This scenic and quiet island is also located within the river Mandovi and is accessible via a ferry. As for the history, the island was previously known as Choddnnem which means ‘jewelled headwear'.
However, it was later rechristened by the Portuguese as Chorao and remains the same to date. The island attracts tourists for its famous bird habitat, the Salim Ali bird sanctuary, and also has a number of ancient monuments such as the Chapel of St Jeronimus and the Devki Krishna Bhumika Mallinath temple
The island of São Jacinto is one of the smallest islands in Goa. Located along the banks of River Zuari, this island has comparatively lesser tourist footfalls. On this island, one can find a dysfunctional and abandoned lighthouse which was built during the Portuguese era.
There is a church which is dedicated to St Hyacinth of Poland and a chapel dedicated to St Dominic (São Domingo), all overlooking the river where one can enjoy the sunset. The island is now connected by a bridge from the main road. As you go inside the island, you can find Portuguese-era houses. The islanders here have made a resolve not to sell properties to even Goans, forget about outsiders.
This picturesque island is located far from the mainland. Since it is located off the grid, the environment of this island remains relaxed and fresh throughout the year. Besides making the best of the ideal weather on the island, you can also roam around the lush forest lands by accessing the island via boat. Not to forget that the island is known for being the natural habitat for crocodiles.
Commonly known as ‘Monkey Island’, this is one of the most popular islands located in South Goa. Not too far from Palolem beach, one has to take a 20-minute boat ride to get to the island, which is surrounded by lush greenery. It is an ideal place for picnics, be it with your family or loved ones.
You can also try boating around the island waters and try spotting dolphins or simply watch the sunset. If you find yourself at Palolem beach in Goa, then all you have to do is catch a boat and make your way to the Island of Conco.
Grande Island is considered one of the most popular islands in Goa for its great weather conditions and abundant water activities and a great place for scuba diving. If one wishes to visit this island, getting on a boat is the only way to get there. The journey to the island promises a glimpse of the iconic Aguada Fort, Central Jail, and the famous lighthouse. Apart from that, you may catch a rare glimpse of dolphins. Besides scuba diving, one can snorkel, swim or simply relax on this island.
Another interesting island in Goa is the Butterfly island. This island acquired its name because the beach is shaped like a butterfly and the surrounding trees are said to be occasionally attracting a diverse range of butterflies.
The beach here is pretty secluded. It has a distinctive setting with a thick forest on one end and a scenic beach on the other. One fun boat ride later, the fun activities that await you at the island are boating, spotting dolphins during the morning hours and catching a blissful sunset in the evening.
St. Estevam Island
This island is either known as St Estevam or Sant Estevam, it is also known as Ilha de Jua or Zuvem and is well-known for its estuaries. A prominent attraction is the St Francis Xavier fort which is also known as the fort of Jua. This fort is situated on a hillock and was constructed in 1668.
Assuring a mesmerizing view which overlooks the river, you can see barges sail by as they head towards the Mormugao port. The access to the fort includes climbing a fairly formidable flight of rough steps. But, the climb is all worth it once you make it to the top and find an impressive shrine of Christ the King.
Apart from this, is the church of St Stevens or the Santo Estevam which was built back in 1759. Back in the day, this church was considered to be one of the largest churches. As for the structure, its exterior portion resembles a false dome and is surrounded by twin towers with lanterns.
So, do make it a point to visit these beautiful islands when you plan your next trip to Goa.