Just nearby at walking distance to the south on the main street is Candolim beach with a variety of good restaurants. Many of them have live music almost every day. It’s easy to pick and choose just by strolling along the streets. I have been to Fisherman’s Cove and it was good with a one man band getting everyone to dance. There are also a couple of big supermarkets here as well. Close to Candolim (very long walk or short ride) is the Aguada Fort by the sea.
To the north side of the hotel is Calangute beach which is generally more crowded and cheaper than Candolim. But it’s worth going to the Souza Lobo restaurant for traditional food here. It’s very close to the main entrance of Calangute beach. Since it’s beach place with a permanent structure, it should be open even this time of year. The beach shacks are removed during monsoon months.
About 10 – 15 minutes by car at Nerul village there is a very good restaurant called Bhatti Village. It’s moderately priced, ambient and worth a visit for traditional food with family and friends or just two people.
Also in Nerul at the bridge over the river is The Lazy Goose. It’s a bit pricey but very good for families. I would recommend going here in the afternoons to enjoy the scenic views of the small crab fishing boats and the river and the banks adjacent to the open view restaurant. Friday afternoons and weekends usually have a live band here.
One of the most chic and ambient place in the area is called Tereza Beach House. It feels a bit out of this world in the evenings and the seafood here, although mostly continental, is 5 star quality. The only issue with this and the last two restaurants is that you need a car to get to here and back.
There is one more in Nerul village called Rita Bar which is next to a field on the way to the hidden Coco beach. This is the place closest to Calangute that I would recommend for drinking locally made Cashew Feni. The local brew is better than the bottled stuff available at wine shops and restaurants.
Then there’s one more at Coco beach itself called Rohan bar, with amazing views of the harbour and the small beach, but I do not recommend it for families during the late evenings. The manager Allwyn is a friend of mine though.
Coco beach has dolphin spotting rides in the afternoons but I don’t think they do this in the rains as the sea gets quite rough during the monsoons. Otherwise, I’m sure their son would have loved the boat trip.
I guess the best thing for kids this time of year would be sitting at a beachside restaurant in the afternoon at Candolim or Calangute, so that he could run along in the sand, off and on.
There is Baga beach to the north of Candolim about 15 minutes away. It has the Britto’s beach restaurant which is a bit pricey but it’s very popular with the better class of tourists. Baga is a fairly nice beach with a water creek and hill to one side.
They could get a temporary tattoo done for the kid at one of the places at any of 3 beaches (Candolim, Calangute, Baga). It would be just a drawing with ink… not the real needle stuff, so it’s safe.
They may want to visit Panjim city and it’s heritage walks during the day, which is nearby (about 30 minutes by road). Taking the ferry boat from Betim (this is where I have my place) to Panjim over the Mandovi river is a quaint 10 minutes experience. At Panjim the tourist go to the Immaculate Conception church. The big white church with its many steps and imposing structure, makes the square a good place for memorable photos. You could get an instant printed photo taken as well. The George restaurant just next to the church has good traditional food and a clean toilet.
There is a tapas style place called Antonio’s nearby in the heritage lanes. They could get a rickshaw right at the church square, to go to Donna Paula (about 15 minutes), which is a monument with a great view of the sea. Next to the monument is a lovely restaurant and bar called Sea Pebbles with a beautiful view of the sea. Nice place for a drink or lunch.
Next to the ferry point in Panjim they have one hour river cruises (not expensive) in the evenings. Its complete with a traditional band and dance and a bar on the terrace of the boat.
There are loads of other things to do such a botanical garden, whiskey factory, rustic beaches, old churches and temples, local markets such as the one at Mapusa, but I think the above should suffice for 1st time visitors.
Panjim market, close to the ferry point is a good place to buy Goan sweets and spices.
Last but not least, they should eat a fish thali at a local place. Chandrakant’s is an inexpensive and somewhat of a secret local place in one of the unexpected parts of Candolim beach. Surprisingly lots of tourists know about it so it gets a little busy in the afternoons (that’s when fish thali is served in Goa). The fish thali was Rupees 150 when I last visited.
Fisherman’s Cove (Candolim): https://goo.gl/maps/EuKvAj8UntV5uoLt6
Souza Lobo (Calangute Beach): https://goo.gl/maps/QjmW3yS9NZJJD89A7
Bhatti Village Family Bar & Restaurant (Nerul): https://goo.gl/maps/MGSRSJzLCeRjHnn99
The Lazy Goose (Nerul): https://goo.gl/maps/kjoyJGSAwRWaBEVZ8
Tereza Beach House (Off Coco Beach): https://goo.gl/maps/bGij9xugu9uHLmSv5
Rita Bar & Restaurant (Nerul, on the way to Coco Beach): https://goo.gl/maps/gcEkjmkm1FzbZTEdA
Rohan Bar (Coco Beach): https://goo.gl/maps/8N9SzsVrneNnjjZUA
Britto’s Restaurant & Bar (Baga Beach): https://goo.gl/maps/RBJLucioAGFTdCne7
George Restaurant & Bar (Besides Panjim Church): https://goo.gl/maps/L79TRi6rKR8DXBGbA
Antonio@31 (Panjim heritage walk): https://goo.gl/maps/oej6RJhLAVbY4Hj47
Sea Pebble Restaurant & Bar (Donna Paula): https://goo.gl/maps/7kncxSua148Jce3c8
Bar (Pit stop between Candolim and Panjim for cocktails)
Aguiar bar – https://goo.gl/maps/1hc13nTd92mwmPyY7
Chandrakant’s (Candolim): https://goo.gl/maps/EgPyZLuoPTQdoeUVA
Viva Goa Restaurant and Bar (Candolim): https://goo.gl/maps/dhWYDGif5AF6KEi9A
Antique Mardol Ponje (1st grade fish thali place in Panjim): https://goo.gl/maps/SQy4GMntgQecw5fAA
Candolim Beach – https://goo.gl/maps/wtiSJ6dXUtu833vJ6
Calangute Beach – https://goo.gl/maps/p6rHN5QHmaK1DKdJ6
Baga Beach – https://goo.gl/maps/rCEmAzR32gs5dcJQA
Coco Beach: https://goo.gl/maps/tGmkFVnzqvEFwdwz6
Places to See
Aguada Fort: https://goo.gl/maps/df9d9Bzd1zDfrdcq5
Immaculate Conception Church: https://goo.gl/maps/i5dt3uJ4ekU43sQM6
Dona Paula View Point: https://goo.gl/maps/f5gR7SQXZx8KQDRd7
Mapusa Municipal Market: https://goo.gl/maps/o3HhaLunmpxoQ2cc9
Panjim Market: https://goo.gl/maps/J2x8oERyX32n2y948
River Cruise (Panjim)
Paradise Cruises: https://goo.gl/maps/RnLNZYU8Sgz9LzRJ6
Cashew Nut Shop
Zantye’s – Factory Outlet (Panjim) – https://goo.gl/maps/d9HLwUJjMX6JyfHW8