Fontainhas, also known as Latin Quarters, a quaint area in Panjim, is an absolute delight for your senses and my favourite part of Goa! Walk around aimlessly taking in the street art and the colourful Portuguese houses, overeat at the stellar restaurants and hip bars, salivate at the aroma of freshly baked bread wafting out of the small hole in the wall bakeries and eaves drop on Goan grandmother's gossip across windows as you stroll through the lanes of Fontainhas! I promise you will absolutely LOVE this area. I am transported back to the cute lanes of Burano, Italy or Galle in Sri Lanka everytime I'm in Fontainhas and I've promised myself that I'll ignore the electric busy vibe of North Goa and the quiet Susegad lure of South Goa and stay in Panjim the next time!
The good ol' days in Goa were spent only in the confines of Baga and Calangute. I didn't venture out of the Baga, Calangute and Candolim (Anjuna sometimes) periphery and was oblivious to the gems of Palolem and Majorda beaches. Once the Goa trips were more about the Destination Weddings of best friends than the euphoric long weekends, I discovered the joys of small rivulets, endless stretches of paddy fields and unspoilt beaches! I still go back to the comfort of Infantaria and Brittos in North Goa, but I've given my heart to the quaint colourful streets of Fontainhas, Panjim, the coconut tree lined roads of tiny villages and the isolated beaches of Palolem and Canacona.
Every trip to Goa takes me back to those Goa trips during college. Zipping around on battered scooters from one cafe to another or cautiously and precariously driving after long nights at Cubana and Love Passion Karma. Over age I've incredulously chosen to rent a car instead of a scooter and with the intensive road projects around Central Goa, I've been glad I chose a car. While getting a self drive car on rent isn't very difficult, it's important to not get too overwhelmed by the swarm of touts that approach you at every beach or hotel entrance. After much haggling and looking I came to this conclusion about how much the following rides will cost from the numerous car rentals across Goa. -A basic manual car without a driver - Rs 800 to Rs 1500 a day -An automatic car or a bigger manual car - Rs 1500 a day -A scooter - Rs 300 to Rs 600 a day. -A driver will cost you an average of Rs 300 to Rs 500 additional per day. This time post a red-eye flight in search of a transport to the hotel, I came across this stall of GoaMiles by the Government that helps you take a ride (similar to Uber). It's simple to use, efficient and extremely reasonable compared to the other car rentals at the airport. We used the App twice and have only good things to say about it! Try, try, try!