Goa travel tips
India

GOA Travel Guide

This Goa Travel Guide with tips on how to get there, the best time to travel and what to do in Goa is all you need to know.

I avoided Goa for a long time, travelling the length and breadth of India on several trips but never making it to the vacation hot-spot known for beaches, sunsets, and parties.

I always thought that it must have lost its charm, due to waves upon waves of Indian and western European tourists that travel there. But I was wrong!

Goa Travel Guide

I travelled there for the first time in Nov 2016, with most of the time spent on some of the quiet beaches in South Goa. And I loved it for its laid-back tropical vibe. And it is such a big place, that other than a tropical-vibe-experience, you have other things as well here — adventure sports, hiking, culture, food… you name it!

You can find beaches as quiet as Himalayan villages, to beaches hosting all-night raves. There’s sun, sea, sand, seafood and pretty much everything else you need to make your holiday better.

Come here to lose yourself in a heavenly experience. Come here for a memorable holiday.

And before we start with our list of what to do in Goa things, let’s first talk about some of the useful Goa travel tips:

  • If renting a scooter, always refuel it from a petrol station, rather than from local shops in the city, who sell petrol in one-litre plastic bottles. This will help you save at least 20 Rupees per liter.
  • Since it’s one of the top holiday destinations in India, expect everything to be overpriced. Even basic FMCG items with an MRP mentioned on them can sometimes be sold for a few rupees extra on top.
  • Bargain and check the mentioned price before shopping in Goa.
  • Goa is a very safe place for tourists however touts are a commonplace. And if you happen to be a woman looking for solo female travel destinations in India, be rest assured that Goa is one of them.
  • Almost all major phone networks work here. You will find the best internet speed here, just as good as you will find in Bangalore in Delhi.
  • Goa is one of the most popular expat destinations in India.

Now, before we move further and discuss what to do in Goa in this Goa travel guide, I want to share a video from my Youtube channel that I make during my January 2020 visit. This video talks about how to find the offbeat in Goa. Let’s enjoy…

What To Do In Goa

Suba Diving

The water bodies here may not be ideal to dive in – particularly if you compare it with Andaman’s – but they are pleasant enough. The visibility can range from 5 to 20 meters on an average day. During my Goa Scuba diving experience, I had the minimum and maximum visibility of 8 and 12 meters respectively, which is not too bad.

It’s because of less visibility that scuba diving in Goa is cheaper.

A fun dive starts at 5 thousand Rupees, whereas a 4-day open water diving course costs 20 thousand Rupees. In Andaman’s, it is much more expensive.

Read my Scuba Diving Expereince for more on what to experience from scuba diving in Goa.

Spotting Dolphins In Goa

I am sure you wouldn’t have thought of spotting dolphins in Goa. But you can. And it is there I want to add it as a must-have experience in this Goa travel guide.

There are many boat services that take you for Dolphin spotting in Goa.

Most of these trips can be found in the North, around Calangute beach.

Hot Air Balloon

Though hot air ballooning is definitely not a highlight or the most sought-after experiences when people think of what to do in Goa, a couple of hour’s ride, as you fly across traditional Portuguese style houses and thousands upon thousands of palm, is surely worth a try.

The only thing, however, that might put you off from giving it a try is the cost, which is almost 10 thousand Rupees per person, for a flight lasting 2 hours.

Read my Goa hot air ballon blog for more on what to expect from a similar experience.

Relax On A Beach

This is perhaps what completes a real Goa experience.

Find your favourite beach shack, buy a few beers and spend the cozy evening with other travellers. Read any Goa travel guide and you will see frequent mentions of how enjoying a beach shack is a must-try experience when you are here.

Some of the most popular beach shacks in Goa with a happening crowd are St. Anthony (Baga Beach), Thalassa (Vagator), Bean Me Up (Anjuna), and Souza Lobo (Calangute).

Rent A Beach Hut

Where the north side of Goa is all about partying on the beach and then heading back to your accommodation for sleep, the south is more about renting a beach hut and waking to the sound of the ocean.

Though renting the cheapest beach hut in Goa can cost you over 1500 Rupees per night, it is definitely worth an experience.

Some of my recommended beaches to experience beach hut are Agonda, Palolem, and Cola. Read more about my beach hut experience at Agonda Beach and see how it is one of the top things to do in Goa.

Rent A Bike & Ride

There are more than 50 beaches in Goa and hopping from one beach to the other is a great way to experience, and moreover explore this place.

Just rent a scooter and drive off in any direction. Renting a scooter and riding is a must-have experience.

Partying In Arambol

Honestly speaking, I did not visit Arambol. But from what I’ve heard from other backpackers if you wish to experience the best party scene and full moon raves, Arambol is the place to visit.

Arambol beach is majorly dominated by Western European and Israeli hippies, who come here to spend a few good weeks while relaxing and partying around the beach.

That’s all in what to do in Goa in this travel guide. If you want to know about other tourist destinations and must-have experience, check the tourism website.

What Is The Cost of Travelling In Goa

Accommodation

As a golden tip, remember that accommodation in North Goa can be far cheaper than that the South. And both offer a completely different experience.

South Goa is quieter and newly developed, whereas North Goa is a lot densely populated and action-packed.

Speaking of the cost, in north Goa, you can get a room for as low as 500 Rupees a night. Whereas in south Goa, getting something for even 800 Rupees can sometimes be tough.

I stayed in Calangute (North) in one of the best backpacker hostels for 450 Rupees per night. In South, at Agonda, I rented a beach hut for a whopping 2000 Rupees per night.

South Goa is moreover about staying in beach huts and luxury resorts, whereas north goa is about renting cheap guesthouses and dormitories.

There are many Hostels In Goa to choose from too. Again, most of them are found in the northern part of the city.

Food

Food is also much cheaper in the north Goa, due the to availability of a wide range of street food. I remember having a meal between 60 and 150 Rupees in north Goa. Again, South Goa can be expensive with a basic meal costing about a minimum of 100 Rupees.

The budget and most standard food in Goa are Fish Thali.

Now that we have discussed what to do in Goa and what costs a holiday there can generate, next up in this Goa travel guide is when to actually visit this place. But before I do that, I want to share this useful blog on how to travel India on a budget. I know Goa can be expensive and some people planning to visit this place may not have a good budget. Using my India budget travel tips guide you can save a little more on your trip. You can also check this cheap accommodation in India guide and use some of the tricks, wherever they seem valid.

What Is The Best Time To Travel Goa

Though you can find tourists here pretty much throughout the year, the best time to visit Goa is around New Year and between November and February. This is when the weather makes it perfect to walk down the beaches and enjoy its tropical weather without having a need to sweat all the time.

Monsoon time is also a good time to visit Goa, which stays during the months of July and August, but only if you don’t mind getting wet.

That’s all in this Goa travel guide. If you have any questions or more destinations to add in the list of what to do in Goa, please leave a comment below.

About

I am Dev, and I've been travelling full-time since 2016. I was a journalism student & started my corporate career as a documentary film-maker in England, before moving to India & becoming a full-time nomad. 25+countries. 50+ Brand Partnerships. And the adventure continues...

  1. Joseph Walter

    Nice Post!! very detailed and to the point.

  2. i have been living in goa from last three years and everyday i fall in love with this place

  3. Thanks ! Would you recommend to book everything once in Goa, or is it fine to just go with the luggage and find something on the spot ?

    • yes. It’s totally fine to carry the luggage (no rolling suitcases though, backpacks only to make it easier) take taxis, buses, walk, and find a place. Consider it a big backpackers town.

  4. Arabian Time Travel Tourism

    Wonderful travel blog and Goa is a great place to tour and have good holiday! Goa has chain of beaches from north to south and to travel around the places tourists are advised to hire a good travel agency to make the tour memorable.

  5. SELVAKUMAR

    Dear DEV,

    Your write up is really amazing .It just gives a birds eye view about GOA in all aspects for a new comer. Thank you .

  6. George Kate

    Goa is a perfect place in India. Many people come to India to roam in Goa. The important information about Goa is important to you. With this information, the traveler who travels to Goa can benefit greatly.

  7. Arabian Time Travel Tourism

    There are so many amazing places to travel in Goa, and there are many places to tour in the India. Tourist are advised to hire a good travel agency who looks after their tour in a better way and reduce their difficulty.

  8. Goa is a beautiful place and i have decided to celebrate my birthday in Goa next week. I follow your tips when i go there.

  9. diyagupta

    I never visited Goa yet, but you have given very detailed information here like Goa is an interesting place. Food, travel and beach hut all facilities available in Goa at reasonable price. I am very excited to visit the Goa.

  10. Nice coverage, but please do mention that the 350 rs dolphin rides follow no international guidelines for wildlife watching. In a study by WWF-India, it was observed that the way these trips are being conducted at present, it is causing stress to the Humpback dolphins, who are residential, near shore dwelling animals. The continuous chasing, circling and speeding behavior of the dolphin watching boats disturbs the habitat and increases risk of injury for these animals who are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of India. I would urge those considering a dolphin watching trip, to look for an ethical experience option, which not only provides an educational experience where you learn about these beautiful cetaceans but also guides you in observing them in accordance with international guidelines and change the way these trips are done in Goa, by becoming a more conscious traveller.

  11. sanna cutter

    The ripping of the tourists is not the only negative thing about Goa. The main issues is the safety for the tourists and all the uninvestigated crimes among the tourists that take place year after year, many fatal. There are many who do not make it back home from their dream holiday in Goa. The cases like Scarlett Keeling, Stephen Bennett, Denyse Sweeney, Martin Neighbour,FelixDahl and Caitanya Holt…just to mention a few. No one was ever prosecuted for these crimes to this date.

  12. What a great tips! Thank you for sharing such great information. Very inspirational!

  13. Scuba diving and hot air ballooning… I have to do them. Great list of things to do!

  14. I do know a lot of people who fly from the UK to spend their holidays in Goa, especially in winter. It’s a shame that locals are trying to rip them off and to be honest, those are the stories they came back with. And that’s how India is perceived around here because of it. I have been to India several times and I have always experiences really nice locals. I had no idea you can do dolphin watching in Goa. That’s really cool!

  15. Viajar pela história - Catarina Leonardo

    Hello,
    Here n Portugal we heard a lot about India, specially the places where Portuguese were.
    Goa is a very popular place but i didn´t know the things we can do. Maybe i go when i return to India.

  16. Debra @ Traveling Well For Less

    I hadn’t realized there were so many things to do in Goa. I was supposed to visit last month but had to cancel. I’m totally looking forward to rebooking my trip and will be using your handy guide.

    • Had to cancel? That’s sad Debra. You should totally replan you visit. Goa is an amazing place to be.

  17. Venkat Ganesh

    More than the beaches what I love about Goa is the interiors. Especially in monsoons when everything turns green. Where every little house has its own small farm/organic garden with coconut, betelnut and cashew nut trees.

    Also, I think a lot of people give Panaji a miss or maybe just a day or two. But I think the capital is a great place to go on walks along the little neighbourhoods and see how chilled out the Goans really are

    • Yea I’ve heard Goa looks even beautiful during monsoon. I’m planning to be there during monsoon this year. Look forward to it. And thanks for dropping in a comment.

  18. Tales of Travelling Sisters

    Goa is a place which never ceases to surprise us on our every visit! And now there is hot air balloon ride in Goa, how exciting that is! This is a perfect guide for those who want to little bit of adventure as well as lazying around! 😉

  19. The Italian Smoothie

    I never been in Goa but I always thought that I want to visit it one day. I love this kind of trips, adventures but relaxing at the same time. Here in the north of italy is soon cold so I envy you in that paradise!
    Is so nice your blog and I like how you write. Congrats!

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