Like the beaches on its western shore, Goa's history is long and colorful. The Portuguese arrived in the 16th century and ruled for more than four centuries. In 1961, Goa joined the Indian union, but Portugal's influence remains. Geographically, Goa is divided into districts: North Goa, which is known for its vibrant beaches and party culture; and South Goa, a more relaxed affair. The state is one of India's wealthiest, and tourism is its prime industry. Be sure to visit one of the numerous bird and wildlife sanctuaries and walk through the churches of Old Goa, a UNESCO World Heritage site.