Goa, India

Living in Goa

Iyna Bort Caruso

Goa is a favorite destination for India’s growing affluent class. Second homes are being acquired by buyers from cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore with their increased purchasing power. Indians living abroad are also active in the vacation home market, and developers are responding to the demand by building premium residences, particularly along the region’s 63-mile long coastline.

Goa, situated between the Sahyadri Mountains to the east and the Arabian Sea to the west, has the highest per capita income of any Indian state and ranks at the top of the nation for best quality of life.

The architecture is a design response to Indo-Portuguese culture. Goa was under Portuguese rule for centuries, from the 16th century until 1961 when it became an Indian state, the country’s smallest. Goan architecture is also a response to the climate and, specifically, monsoon season. Homes are built to withstand heat and rain. Traditional residences are made of stone with tile roofs and street-facing covered porches or balcões. Color is everywhere in residential real estate. During the colonial period, white was traditionally reserved for churches.

Newer homes can be found in gated villa communities and even in an international biosphere reserve where luxury treehouse bungalows make up a resort for those seeking a sustainable lifestyle.

The coastal belt of North Goa is more developed than its southern counterpart. Beach resorts are busier. The state capital of Panaji is here with its notable upmarket suburb of Dona Paula. About 15 kilometers away is Calangute, one of Goa’s most popular beach destinations. Vagator Beach is one of the prettiest. Photographers flock to it.

Beaches in South Goa are decidedly more tranquil and secluded, such as crescent-shaped Palolem Beach, Butterfly and Majorda. Farmlands, orchards, rice paddies and fine examples of colonial architecture fill out the landscape.

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