1. Goa: Spice Plantation Tour and Traditional Local Lunch
Escape the crowds and noise of the beaches for a few hours and visit a spice plantation located in Ponda, a city in southern Goa. Discover tropical plants laden with fruits, herbs, and spices on a guided walk of the plantation before enjoying a homely meal. Try authentic Goan cuisine and taste the local drink, Feni, made from cashews. Start off with a private hotel pickup in an air-conditioned car. En route, sit back and take in the views of the paddy fields and villages, or ask your driver for suggestions about Goa and for stories about its people. Upon arrival at the spice plantation, receive a traditional welcome of a warm, soothing herbal tea. Then, set off on a short guided walk around a section of the plantation. Feel free to touch, smell, and taste the different fruits and trees. Depending on the season, you can observe cinnamon, black and green cardamom, mace, piri-piri chilies, coconuts, green pepper, and allspice. Learn more about the uses and health benefits of each spice with the plantation's staff, including tips on how you can incorporate them for your own well-being. After the tour, savor a Goan lunch spread, prepared fresh on the plantation and served in earthen pots. Lunch includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and incorporates the spices grown locally. Sample feni with your lunch, a favorite liquor among the locals produced from fresh cashew fruit and distilled in a traditional pot. Before heading back to your hotel, have the opportunity to purchase spices from the on-site shop and visit a local Hindu temple, if you want.