Grab your sunglasses, swim gear, and yoga mat. It’s time for a journey to the land of sun, sand, spices, and spirituality.
Tucked into the southwest coast of India, Goa draws in more than 5 million domestic and international tourists per year, according to government statistics. Clearly, the state has become a bucket-list destination.
With a fascinating blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, 65 miles of unobstructed coastline, coconut-infused cuisine, an easygoing atmosphere, and a reputation as a spiritual sanctuary, Goa doesn’t just delight. It inspires.
A volunteer abroad trip here will enhance your life in ways you can’t yet imagine.
Traveling To Goa, India: Key Background Info
Goa has a visibly different atmosphere than the rest of India. Portugal colonized Goa in the 16th century, holding onto the land until 1961 (when India annexed Goa). Those four centuries as a Portuguese colony have left an indelible mark on modern Goan culture.
When traveling in Goa, you’ll taste the Portuguese influence in the cuisine and see it in the baroque architecture of places like Old Goa, the former capital. The churches and convents here been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
As you traverse the region, keep in mind Goa’s history goes back 10,000-plus years (scholars state rock carvings date back to the Mesolithic Period). Before Portuguese rule, the Adil Shah Dynasty, a Shia Muslim dynasty, had control of Goa.
Today, nearly all of the Goan population identify as Hindu (65%), Catholic (27%), or Muslim (6%). Religion and spirituality shape the culture of Goa. Hindu temples dot the state, offering residents and visitors a place to rejuvenate the mind and body. And yoga and meditation regularly take place on the beach.
Given the state’s spirituality, Goa naturally became a destination for hippies in the 1960s. If you want self-improvement through travel and spiritual exercises, few places top Goa.
When you touch down in Goa, you’ll discover an impressive place. Goans approach life with a tolerant and go-with-flow attitude, and seize the good moments when they come. As you spend time here, you’ll understand this is a place where you can find fulfillment.
Volunteer Travel In Goa, India
Volunteer travel not only offers you an affordable way to travel in Goa, it also enables you to give back to local communities in the state.
But what can you do as a volunteer in Goa?
You can help in many ways. Though India’s richest state, Goa still faces challenges with combating poverty and gender inequality, as well as with ensuring long-term community and environmental sustainability.
As a volunteer in Goa, you can:
- work with children living in poverty
- empower women who’ve been marginalized by a male-dominated society
- assist with community development and construction projects
- care for the elderly
- do environmental conservation work
To help you plan your volunteer adventure in Goa, we’ve listed some great volunteer abroad organizations below. Have a look and see if any programs catch your eye.