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, which sell petrol in one-litre plastic bottles. This will help you save at least 20 Rupees per litre.
- 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 commonplace. And if you happen to be a woman looking for solo female travel destinations in India, 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 2021 visit. This video talks about how to find the offbeat in Goa. Let’s enjoy…
What To Do In Goa
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 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, it is much more expensive.
Read my Scuba Diving experience 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 where I want to add 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 experience 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 balloon 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 the 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
As a golden tip, remember that accommodation in North Goa can be far cheaper than that in the South. And both offer a completely different experience.
South Goa is quieter and newly developed, whereas North Goa is a lot more 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 the 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 is also much cheaper in 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 to 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.