Tourists arriving in Goa head for the string of beaches from the North to the South but ignore two pearls lying off the coast. These are the islands of Diwar and Chorao. If you want an inclusive experience of Goa do not overlook these jewels.
About Diwar and Chorao
Fly in to Panaji and book into a hotel. Set out to explore Diwar and Chorao. The best way is to hire a bike from Ziphop bike rental in Goa if you are single or a couple or a car from Ziphop self drive car in Goa if you are a family. Drive down to the ferry and get into a boat that sails to Diwar Island. You arrive in the picturesque island of Diwar and the tranquil hamlet of Piedade nestling in the hillside. Chorao Island lies off the Mandovi River from Panaji. Drive to Riba
nder village, about 5 km away and get into a ferry to reach this island. It is a bird watcher’s paradise in addition to crocodiles and other wildlife. The sleepy hamlet is home to rural style houses and also some Portuguese villas in addition to the Church.
Panaji is the best place to start. Drive to Ribander ferry. There are boats leaving for Diwar Island at regular intervals except during monsoon. Explore Diwar and get into a ferry for the return trip to Narwe on the mainland. You can visit Saptakoteshwar temple after which you return to the ferry again for the trip to Chorao.
Things to do and see
The charm of Diwar lies in its vistas and lifestyles that have changed little over the past century. Walking through the island gets you to the Divar Island Guesthouse retreat in the middle of a miniature park that teems with wildlife. Move on and you come to the Church of our Lady of Compassion dating back to the 1700s. If you feel like having some refreshments head towards the Cabral Bar and try cashew feni, the local brew. Uncle Phillips bar is another place to try. Your visit to Diwar over, you can go on to Chorao for an immersive birdwatching experience. Walking along the mangroves to the twitter of birds in the Salim Ali Bird Sancturary is a soothing experience. The sleepy island of Diwar is best visited during the Boderam festival when the island becomes crowded with tourists. This happens on the fourth Saturday of August when the carnival kicks off. Potekar is another celebration that lets people have their fill of the good things of life before fasting for Lent.
Where to stay and food
Panaji is chock full of hotels where you can stay and the same goes for restaurants. You could try Daawat, Riorico, Shahi Classic Family Restaurant, Gazaali Bar, and River Isle Restaurant for food. Diwar has its own Rock inn, a great place to fill up on Goan food. IT is just near the bus stop on the island.