The sun’s finally out in the UK, and we’re encouraging you to think forward to Christmas?! Afraid so. Because if you’re looking to spend the festive season in beautiful Goa, you need to be booking right now.
There are loads of brilliant reasons why Christmas in Goa is better than yuletide in the UK. Blazing sunshine, golden beaches, the tropical-fiesta feel, and spicy fish curry for Christmas Dinner! But do you want to join in the parties or hide away? That’s the only question.
Dip into the party
The towns and beaches get crazy in peak season. Stay a short hop from the action and choose when to join the jamboree.
Kaju Varo, Ashvem
Hidden in an orchard of banana, mango, papaya and cashew nut trees is this dreamy Zen guesthouse, with dappled shade and cascading plunge pools to keep you cool. You’re a 5-minute stroll from Ashvem Beach and its Café del Mar-style bars and restaurants, but the food at the guesthouse is so superb you’ll want to dine in every night.
December 2019 rates: from £73/night B&B.
Summertime Villa, Cangalute
This peaceful 3-bedroom villa is perched on a hill with 180-degree views of North Goa’s green skyline. Yet it’s just a 10-minute drive from the bars and restaurants of bustling Calangute. On Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Calangute Beach is home to dazzling firework displays – and afterwards, you get to head back to the total seclusion of your villa. Sprawled across 2 acres of luscious gardens, there’s a dreamy infinity pool and a small team of staff to do the cooking and cleaning – the ultimate Christmas present!
December 2019 rates: from £406/night B&B for up to 7 adults + 1 baby. Also includes airport transfers and full staff.
Yab Yum Resort, Mandrem
If you’re travelling with small ones (ages 3+), head for this magical resort behind popular white-sand Ashvem Beach. 15 thatched igloos and 5 simple cottages are shaded by coconut palms during the day and twinkling with fairy lights and paper lanterns by night. There are 2 on-site paddling pools, and children will love going on boat trips to spot friendly dolphins. Just remember to tell Santa where you’ll be…
December 2019 rates: from £88/night B&B
Anahata Retreat, Ashvem Beach
For a calm Christmas and balanced 2020, head for this wellness retreat on a quiet stretch of North Goa’s busiest coastline. Fantastic value, it offers inspiring beach yoga and meditation, as well as an unusual choice of martial arts and mindfulness classes. There are 17 beach cottages and suites hidden in a palm grove, and an alfresco lounge that faces the sunset. Come to disconnect and recharge with like-minded souls – and the occasional jaunt to buzzy Morjim for a mulled-wine cocktail!
December 2019 rates: from £114/night B&B
Escape the crowds
Prefer to avoid the party altogether? Here are 4 of Goa’s best-kept secret hideaways.
Agonda Villas, Canacona
Agonda is where North Goans come to get away from it all: a chilled-out small town with a pristine beach. And just steps from the sea are these 4 luxurious cottages with private plunge pools and tropical bathrooms. Décor is simple yet stylish and you’ll fall asleep to the sounds of the sea. Although there’s no restaurant, nearby Fatima’s Corner does an incredible traditional xacuti (Goan curry with white poppy seeds, sliced coconut and red chillies). Beats turkey hands down.
December 2019 rates: from £122/night B&B
The Beach Houses, Mandrem
Blissfully isolated from the Christmas crowds are these restored 19th-century Portuguese houses, hidden in a coconut grove behind a privately-owned beach. Should you want a party atmosphere, the shops, nightclubs and bars of Baga and Calangute are a 30-minute drive away, but we’d prefer to swing in a hammock, watch local fisherman haul their catch, and feast on chicken xacuti in the beach shack restaurant instead. Happy Christmas, indeed.
December 2019 rates: from £174, accommodation only, not including tax
Otter Creek Tents, Mandrem
But if the Beach Houses are full, try this simple retreat owned by the same fashion photographer. Three spacious tents house four-poster beds and ensuite bathrooms with hot showers, and each has a private jetty over the creek so you can sit and watch birds flit and otters play. Magical, off-the-beaten track and perfect for an alternative celebration with someone special.
December 2019 rates: from £84, accommodation only, not including tax
Coco Shambhala Sindhudurg, Malvan
Want to really get away from it all? We know a fabulous little place. Just 4 villas with private infinity pools, 200m from an empty beach. Save for a few local holidaymakers, this stretch of the Konkan Coast (3 hours’ drive from Goa airport) remains blissfully quiet. There’s no restaurant in sight but you won’t need one – the villas have a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, who creates innovative Continental dishes with an Indian twist, served to you in-house.