If you’re done with the beaches and churches of Goa, try something completely offbeat such as visiting the many spice plantations there. An excursion down the spice plantations, exploring the fields and the farms may turn out to be one of your fondest core memories from the place. This is as close to nature as you can get; breathing in the air with a sharp, aromatic spice fragrance, and learning about the spice-culture is highly recommended.
The major spices found in Goa range from black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, chillies, coriander, cashew, and betel nut palm. At these spice plantations, seeing the locals swing from tree to tree collecting spices in their baskets is quite a sight. The spice plantations also are famous for a variety of tropical fruits such as the custard apple, papaya, bananas, pineapple, and other citrus fruits. These are the top ones you must visit on a trip to Goa:
Sahakari Spice Farm
Located at a distance of 2 kilometres from Ponda (most of the spice plantations in Goa are in and around Ponda), this plantation is famous for its sprawling farms with streams flowing through them. While there are many spices and fruits grown here; the most unique spice found here is vanilla. The most fun activity one must partake in here is bathing the elephants.
Savoi Spice Plantation
Located about 13 kilometres from Old Goa, the main spices grown at this plantation are cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, basil, nutmeg, pepper, cumin, vanilla, coriander and fruits such as banana, coconut, pineapple, mango, pomelo, jackfruit, bimbli, guava and papaya. The cashew distillation unit here is an added attraction. They have accommodation options, so call them in advance if you wish to spend a night here.
Pascoal Spice Village
Pascoal Spice Village is a gorgeous looking plantation with forests on all sides and situated on the banks of river Khandepar, that originates from the famous Dudhsagar Falls. The main spices grown at this plantation are vanilla, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, chillies, nutmeg, turmeric and ginger. There is a large plant nursery with several bonsais, as well as many species of orchids. Watch out for birds like the cuckoo, owl, hornbill and parrot that can be spotted easily on the farm.
Tropical Spice Plantation
Apart from spices, cashews and areca plantations, this plantation is also home to medicinal plants like aloe vera and neem. However, they’re the most famous for their coffee plantations; a rare thing to find in India. Don’t forget to enjoy an authentic Goan lunch here that is served with lemongrass tea, beer and feni to wash down the fish curries.