Grand Island and Pequeno Island in Goa – Two most Exotic Places in Goa

Grand Island or Grande island  is one of the most exotic places in Goa. There are lot of package tours to the island. The package normally includes snorkeling, fishing and a scrumptious meal. Sighting of dolphins is also normal in and around the island.

goa-islands

The Grand Island in Goa is accessible by boat. You can experience the underwater life, through snorkeling. Experts are there to guide you at Monkey Beach. It is quite safe to do snorkeling at Monkey Beach in Grande island.

There are package tours to this island. The Grande Island package tour costs around two thousand rupees, including boat fare and snorkeling charges. Please confirm the rates before agreeing for the package tour.

How Do I Go to The Grand Island in Goa?

The Grand Island or Grande island  is on the Arabian Sea. There are boat services from the main land from every morning; starting at around 8 am. Services are there till 3 pm, depending on the bookings. It takes less than 30 minutes of travel by boat.

Bat Island alias Pequeno island

Bat Island alias Pequeno island is another famous island known for snorkeling. It is very close to the mainland, on your way to Grand Island or Grande island. Pequeno island is also known as Marmagao Goa.

Fresh Fish can be caught from the sea and  barbecued at these islands.

Have you been to Netrani Island, famous for Scuba Diving?

Netrani Island is a small coral island off the coast of Karnataka, situated around 10 nautical miles (19 kilometers) away from Murudeshwar town. It is famous for scuba diving, snorkeling, etc. It is also rich in coral reef.

Netrani IslandNetrani Island off Arabian sea coast in India.

Sharp rocks and steep cliffs prevent tourists from entering the island. Scuba diving and snorkeling is done from anchored boats.

Netrani Island is rich in fauna. Butterfly fish, Coral,eels, parrot fish, trigger fish, shrimps, etc, can be seen here. Fish eagles can also be seen in large numbers, which feeds on sea snakes and fish. A Mongoose species is also seen here. Bats are also found in the island. Whale sharks were seen around the island, occasionally.

Netrani Island was being used by Indian armed forces for their target practice; remains of which can still be seen there. In 2012, Honorable High Court of Karnataka has issued a stay order on target practice here. Naval authorities has admitted that they are using a big rock here for target practice.

There are some shrines in the island.

How Do I Go to Netrani Island?

Murdeshwara (or Murdeshwar) and Goa are the nearest towns where dive shops are there. Murdeshwar shops charge you around 5000 to 6000 Rupees (negotiable). They will arrange diving trips to the island. Fishing motor boats also can take you to the island from Bhatkal Fishing Harbour.

Ideal time to visit the island is during the months of December and January.

Conclusion

Are you interested in going Netrani Island for scuba diving? Please leave your comments.

Nature Trails Inside Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary & Overnight Stay at the Watchtower

Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Goa, India. This wildlife sanctuary was established in 1968.  Forest ranger office and other facilities are available at the Eco-tourism complex building, at entrance to this wild life sanctuary. Other facilities includes children’s park, canteen, cottages, toilets, nature interpretation center, etc.

Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary.

Image courtesy – goa.gov.in website.

This wildlife sanctuary with an area of around 86 square kilometers has Eight routes for nature trails. They vary in trekking distance ranging from half a kilometer to five kilometers. It is Ideal for those looking for trails in and around Goa.

There is a treetop watchtower having a height of 25 meters, above a waterhole, where animals go to drink water. It is ideal to go to the watch tower in the dawn and dusk, when animals comes to the waterhole.

Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is rich in flora and fauna. Flora includes dense forest consisting of tall trees. Some of the trees here are around 30 meters in height.

Fauna includes four-horned antelope, gaur, monkey,  wild boar, hump-nosed pit viper, Malabar pit viper, Malabar trogon, white-bellied woodpecker, flying squirrel, slender loris, Indian pangolin,  velvet-fronted nuthatch, mouse deer, heart-spotted woodpecker, Malayan bittern, speckled piculet,  draco or flying lizard, Malabar tree toad, golden-back gliding snake, etc.

Many a tribal communities live in and around this wildlife sanctuary. Tourists can interact with them and know about their culture.

How Do I Go to Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary?

Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Taluk, south of Goa, on the Karnataka border. The sanctuary is at around two kilometers distance from Poinguinim, which is at around 10 kilometers distance away from Chaudi. Chaudi town is on NH 17. Buses to Karwar via Chaudi (on NH 17) stops near the sanctuary entrance gate.

Forest Department rents out one two-bedded suite room at Poinguinim. You can also stay at the watchtower in the night after getting required permission in advance from The Deputy Conservator of Forests, Third Floor, Junta House, Panaji, Goa, India.

October and March are the ideal months to visit this wildlife sanctuary.

 

How About Visiting the 6th Century Arvalem Caves and Arvalem Falls in Goa?

Arvalem Caves are located near to Arvalem falls in North Goa, India. It is also known as the Pandava caves  as it is believed that Pandavas (heroes of epic Mahabharata), occupied five chambers of the caves here, while they were in exile.

Arvalem Caves

Arvalem Caves – Image courtesy – goa.gov.in

These rustic and simple caves has their sanctum sanctuary at the northern end. Vihara  is at the southern end. These architecture resembles goes well with other Buddhist caves in the nearby areas.  Hence its is believed that these caves were built by Buddhist monks. There was also a gigantic  statue of Lord Gautama Buddha, which was found near to these cave temples.

The origin of the caves dates back to the 6th century or so. The caves here are situated on a laterite rock. These caves are also called Harvalem caves.

Carvings and the artifacts of the caves gives credibility to another belief, that this caves were the work of Brahmins, the Hindu priest caste  in India. There are granite Shivlings with carvings similar to those found at Ellora Caves and Elephanta caves.

There is a sculpture in the second cave, which is dedicated to the sun god. The inscriptions here dates back to 600 A.D. It is similar to those prevailed during the reign of King Kapalivarman of Bhoja period.

Arvalem waterfalls on Cudnem river is situated very close to the caves. You need to hike around 1 kilometer or so to reach this beautiful falls.

How Do I Go to Arvalem Caves / Arvalem waterfalls?

Sanquelim or Sankhali  is the nearest town,  at around 2 kilometers distance. Bicholim alias Dicholi, the mining heartland of Goa and the district headquarters, is at around 9 kilometers distance.

Panaji, the capital of Goa, is at around 31.5 kilometers distance. Dabolim Railway Station is at around 41 kilometers distance from Harvalem caves. Indian railway along with Konkan railway, connects Panaji with the rest of India.

There is an International airport at Dabolim in Goa, at around 40 kilometers away from these cave temples and falls at Arvalem.

Arvalem Caves Timings

These caves are open from 9.00 am to  5.00 pm; with a break in-between from 1 pm to 2 pm.

Baga Beach and Creek and Nightclubs, Water Sports, Dolphin Cruise

Baga Beach is the most popular beach in Goa. The Beach and the Baga Creek are located at Baga town. The Creek empties into Arabian Sea.

Baga Beach at Goa
Baga Beach at Goa

Baga is known for the nightclubs and discotheques. The Beach is a tourist’s paradise for all types of beach activities.

This Beach is famous for water sports. Jet skiing, Paragliding, Para-sailing, Windsurfing, Banana ride, etc, are to name a few. Dolphins can see seen at around 1 to 2 kilometers from the beach. Dolphin cruise is a major activity here.

Baga Beach is contiguous beach along with other beaches like Sinquerim beach, Candolim beach, Calangute beach.

The Beach has a lot of beach side shacks and restaurants, serving the needs of the tourists.

How Do I Go to Baga Beach?

Baga town is under the jurisdiction of Calangute, Calangute is located 2 kilometers south of Baga. The beach is well connected by roads to other parts of Goa. The bridge over the creek connects northers parts with Baga.

There is an International airport and a major railway station at Goa, which connects Goa to other parts of the country.