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Dona Paula holidays

Thanks to the Romeo and Juliet-style legend that surrounds Dona Paula’s beautiful Beach, Dona Paula holidays tend to attract couples and honeymooners, as well as families who want to enjoy some quality time together. Nicknamed ‘Lovers’ Paradise’, the resort itself is incredibly peaceful and the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing break, overlooked by statue of the doomed Dona Paula and her lover. However, this also has a reputation for being one of the best centres for water sports in the area. If you’re looking to add a bit of adrenaline to your time in Dona Paula, you’ll find everything from windsurfing and water-skiing to diving and spear-fishing.  Located in the heart of green and vibrant North Goa, holidays to Dona Paula India also put you within easy reach of tropical jungle landscapes, which are just waiting to be explored.

Things to do

Although the white-sanded beach will probably occupy most of your time, there’s plenty to see and do, if you can bear to tear yourself away from the sun lounger. Drive 20 minutes and you’ll come across the Salim Ali Nature Reserve, where you’ll be able to spot a kaleidoscope of colourful birds such as hornbills, eagles and kingfishers. Alternatively, if you want to take a peek into Goa’s past, take a stroll up to Cabo Fort and soak up the impressive view: a superb spot for watching the sun set. The Dona Paula Watersports Festival takes place in November and the waters are awash with competitors pitting their skills against each other. You don’t have to be a bystander: spectators are encouraged to take the plunge and have a go too. If the beach has too much pull, browse for trinkets in the stalls along the bustling waterfront. In the evening, sit down to an authentic curry, or hit a local bar for some drinks and live music. 

Excellent beaches

Dona Paula has beautiful beaches with powdery white sands and clear, calm waters. It’s most popular is called Lovers Paradise and is lined with tropical coconut palm trees. The perfect sea conditions means there are plenty of opportunities for snorkelling and water sports, enjoy whirling across the water on jet skis and boats or taking to the skies paragliding. There are several nearby beach stalls selling cold drinks, fresh food and souvenirs, which are perfect for taking a refreshing break from the water.

History and culture

Originally a former fishing village, Dona Paula can be found along the coast of North Goa and is only 7km away from the state capital, Panaji. The resort is named after Dona Paula de Menezes and is surrounded by a number of different legends. The most popular is that Dona Paula de Menezes threw herself off a cliff when her father, a General, refused her permission to marry a local fisherman, Gaspar Dias. Stories say that Dona Paula emerges from her tomb in the Cabo Chapel of the Raj Bhawan at night wearing only a pearl necklace. With the dramatic tales attached to this beautiful resort, it’s no wonder it has been nicknamed Lovers’ Paradise.

Laid back nightlife

Dona Paula has a sociable nightlife with a great choice of restaurants, bars and casinos. Enjoy a delicious meal by the coast and watch as the sun sets behind the Arabian Sea. Spend your evening sipping cocktails in one of the laid back bars where you can dance til the early hours to a DJ or live band. Dona Paula is close to the state capital, Panaji, which means that even more night time activities are just a stone through away.

Map of Dona Paula

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25°C - 30°C

October to March for the best beach weather, with May being the hottest month and temperatures hovering around 30°C.

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Approximately nine and a half hours

Goa International Airport, also known as Dabolim Airport, is less than 40 minutes’ drive from the resort.

Dona Paula is best for...

Water babies: With an average sea temperature of 28°C, it’s easy to spend all day in the warm, turquoise ocean, whether you’re snorkelling in it or zipping across it on water skis.

Families: Play on the beach all day or plan exciting daytrips and sailing adventures out at sea.

Nature lovers: The magnificent scenery is filled with attractions for nature lovers, with wildlife-rich national parks and jungles waiting to be explored. 

Fast facts for Dona Paula

Language: The primary language spoken here is Konkani, although India’s official languages, Hindi and English, are widely understood. 

Currency: You’ll need to exchange your Sterling for Rupees, before jetting off on your Dona Paula holidays. 

Local time: Dona Paula is 5.5 hours ahead of GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Goa International Airport, also known as Dabolim Airport, is about 26km from the resort.

Flight time from UK: The flight time to Dona Paula is 9.5 hours.

Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found at www.india.com/travel/goa/places-to-visit/architecture-dona-paula/

Visa / Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday.

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Getting around Dona Paula

By bus: The nearest bust station is 6km from Dona Paula Beach, in Panaji. Buses are regular, appearing around every 15 minutes. State buses aren’t air-conditioned and can get very crowded. For a more comfortable ride, pay the extra and hop on one of the luxury buses that operate in the area.

By taxi: Fixed price taxis are on hand at the beach, hotels and local attractions. Make sure you check the price before you hop in, as most taxi drivers don’t use meters. 

By motorcycle: The motorcycle taxis are unique to the resort, offering a handy way to make a zippy journey, but one person at a time. Motorcycles are available to hire if you fancy a go yourself, but don’t forget: you’ll need a licence.

Events in Dona Paula

Summer celebrations: The beach is a hotspot for a variety of festivals and celebrations, such as the Hindu celebration of Janmashtami. Held in September, this is an exciting experience for visitors, where locals turn out in crowds to take part the colourful festivities, feasts and dancing.

Beach party: Not to be outdone in the celebration stakes, September also sees the Feast of St Lawrence taking place on the beach. One of the most important Christian festivals on the local calendar, expect a colourful whirlwind of parades and parties hitting the town for three days. 

Dona Paula weather

Temperature: Sun-seekers should book their holidays to Dona Paula in May, when the mercury peaks in the low to mid-thirties. For slightly less intense heat, book your break between October and January, when the temperature hovers in mid to high 20s (°C).

Although this resort has a classic tropical climate, the monsoon season hits between June and September. The rest of the year varies from comfortably warm to very hot, allowing you to take your break whenever you like. The best time to visit is during the winter months, when you’ll get plenty of sunshine and far less humidity. 

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