With heavy Portuguese influence still evident throughout, the tiny state of Goa is one of India’s most rare jewels. It has incredibly biodiversity, a high quality of life, and a collection of world heritage architecture that belies its size.

Nestled where the Western Ghat mountain range meets the Arabian Sea, Goa is both coastal and mountainous. The harmony between humans and wildlife can be seen in the easy way that water buffalo meander through populated areas, and birds casually comb the surf amid swimmers and fishermen.

Visitors are encouraged to take care to minimize their footprint, as Goa’s natural wonders are as fragile as they are gorgeous. As tourism began to increase in the area, preservationists jumped into action to ensure that the paradise remained in tact, and that the beauty and fertility that first lured the starry-eyed Portuguese continued to enchant generations to come.

Goa was annexed by India in 1961, after 450 years as a Portuguese territory. Though many of their stately architectural remains are beginning to crumble, the Goans have maintained the culinary traditions of east-meets-west with coconut, vanilla, and chili peppers infused into the classic Portuguese seafood specialties and techniques for an entirely unique culinary experience.

Perhaps the most valuable cultural asset left behind by the Portuguese was a laid back approach to life, emphasizing enjoyment over frenzy. Goans call this signature contentment “susegad,” and you should expect to participate as you feel yourself unwind to the sound of waves gently crashing on the shore, forgetting that you have ever been worried or preoccupied.

You can spend days hunting waterfalls, paddling the shoreline, or walking among the fragrant spice plantations, only to feel that you have disappeared into the dream that is Goa. Allow Ker & Downey to plan your exclusive escape, and find new horizons of relaxation and your very own susegad.