There is something about Goa’s backwaters that keeps bringing you back to them. It is a unique experience to take a yacht out into these calming waters with no one to bother you. You only have nature for company. There is the sound of the birds, a cool breeze settling ruffling your hair, the great expanse ahead of you, the splash of water against your boat, and the warm sun against your skin. Not many experiences can beat this one. What really makes the experience of being out on a yacht in Goa better are the landscapes that surround you. You get to bear witness to life on the shores in all their chaos. Goa’s shores make for a perfect yacht sightseeing experience. In all its solitude, it offers a lot to see and experience.
The river Mandovi is the most loved for yacht sightseeing in Goa. It meets the Arabian Sea along with the city of Panjim, adding the life of a city to your yacht cruise experience. You get to witness the sunsets along the sprawling horizon and the dazzling colours of the city. Apart from that, depending on how long you want your yacht cruise to be, there are several other sights worth witnessing. Most yachts also slow down or can be anchored for you to really take in the location, and even take pictures. Here are some sights that you will come across during a yacht cruise on the river Mandovi:
The Atal Setu bridge is India’s third longest cable-stayed bridge. It is almost 5 km long and connects the city of Panjim to Porvorim, located on the other side of the river. It’s a grand structure and is at its prettiest during the night when it’s illuminated with some colourful lights.
Old Goa was the third official capital city of Goa, and second under the Portuguese administration. The village is speckled with at least 10-15 churches and chapels, built to overlook the mouth of the river. If you sail along the river, you’re bound to see some of them in all their gorgeous glory.
A causeway runs along the river from Panjim to Ribandar, eventually leading to Old Goa. The road is pretty in itself, dotted with age-old Goan houses. These houses sport a unique confluence of European and Indian architectural styles. On a yacht cruise, you get to see them decked neatly against each other.
The island of Chorao and its surrounding area on the river Mandovi has been demarcated as a bird sanctuary. It has been named after the famed ornithologist Dr Salim Ali. From a river cruise, you get to sight a wide variety of Kingfishers, Herons, Kites, Ducks, Warblers and so on! If you’re lucky enough, even crocodiles make an appearance sometimes!
Fishing is Goa’s lifeline. Not only is Goan cuisine incomplete without fish, but many Goans depend on it for their livelihood. The Betim Jetty on the river Mandovi is a beautiful testimony to that. It’s lined with dozens of fishing boats and even nets that make it an eye-catching sight.
Goa is known for its floating Casinos. At night, the big boats with all their lights can be a sight worth seeing.
Reis Magos is a small village on the banks of the River Mandovi. It’s known for its regal fort and a magnificent church, both overlooking the river. The church with its fine architecture can be spotted easily from the cruise. Apart from that, try spotting the Reis Magos fort too! It was designed specifically to keep an eye out for enemies entering the sea.
The Miramar beach is a beautiful, long stretch at the mouth of the river. It’s uniquely beautiful, draped with a partial green cover and plenty of sunshine! Along the coast, you’ll also find a pretty view of a small lighthouse tucked in between rocks.
The Dona Paula beach is well-known for its viewpoint and jetty. There are also many stories surrounding the origin of its name that are passed around. The beach is worth visiting to spend an evening. However, you get to see it with an entirely different perspective from a yacht cruise that will definitely come as a surprise!
Fort Aguada is a 17th-century fort that was built by the Portuguese in Goa. Located in the village of Sinquerim, it extends into the Arabian sea and can be seen in its entirety from a yacht. A part of the fort sits alongside the Sinquerim beach in the company of a pretty lighthouse. All-in-all, this ASI protected Monument of National Importance in Goa is a sight worth seeing on your yacht cruise.
The Penha de Franca church sits on the bank of the Mandovi river in the village of Brittona. It is one of the most beautiful churches of Goa, complemented by the scenic landscape in the backdrop. The river in front, a lush forest behind and some extravagant European architecture all create a masterful portrait that cannot be missed.
The Panjim City with all its pretty houses and night lights brings out the best in the River Mandovi. On a yacht cruise in the river, you get to see a cityscape that is unlike any other. The houses are colourful, the city is alive with activity and the Adilshah palace greets you from its throne.
The Adilshah palace is one of Panjim’s pride. It once belonged to Yusuf Adil Shah of the Bijapur Sultanate. It was then transferred into the hands of the Portuguese and was used as their residence. Finally, the palace served as the Secretariat in a liberated Goa and was then converted into a museum. The palace in all its royal beauty can be seen while cruising on the Mandovi river.
The Raj Bhawan serves as the official residence of the Governor of Goa. What makes it worth visiting is its history as a fort, previously known as “Palacio do Cabo”. It’s a sprawling 88-acre estate located on a cape in Dona Paula and was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese administration. It’s magnificent and was strategically built to keep an eye out for enemies.
A yacht tour with Cruising Club India can make your sightseeing experience all the more unique. You get to be away from the road traffic, the noise and the pollution, calmly sailing away on languid waters without a bother. At the same time, you get to explore an offbeat Goa with all its history and stories. So next time you’re in Goa, consider experiencing it on a yacht cruise!