This gorgeous state in India and hot tourist spot is bordered with the Arabian Sea with a plethora of underwater life. It houses fish of a varied colour pallet, turtles, reef sharks and aquatic plants which make the world beneath the sea a fantasy land.
The Third major diving destination in India, Scuba diving in Goa is even fun due to the presence of a number of wrecks off its coastline including Portuguese Galleons and World War II battleships. Scuba diving is one of the best things to do in Goa and a wonderful way to witness the odyssey of this vibrant underwater paradise.
Price: The cost for a scuba diving experience varies depending on the visibility and the tourist season. A single trip can cost from INR 1500 - 3500 per person.Location: You can dive deep into a number of locations in Goa, namely Grande Island, Nagoa, Sao Gorge Island, Candolim, Calangute beach etc.
Dudsagar Falls Trek
Gushing down at the border of Goa and Karnataka, the Dudhsagar boasts of being one of the tallest waterfalls in India. The trail to the falls boasts of rich flora and fauna all along the way, however being so unique these falls have a good old railway track offering a magnificent of the tall white cascade.
Dudhsagar literally meaning ‘River of milk’ shot to publicity after being filmed in Chennai Express, the Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone blockbuster film. One has to indulge in this magnificent trek to behold its beauty.
How to reach: You can reach there by jeep, train or trekking
- Train: Take a train from Margao city in Goa to Kulem or Castle rock station and get off to the nearest tunnel to the Dudhsagar waterfalls.
- Jeep: You can drive from Panaji (74 km) or Margao (47 km) right to the base of the trail from where you would have to hike for an hour to reach the falls.
- Trekking: You can trek along the railway track with scenic views and tunnels all along the way. Trek from Kulem to Dudhsagar (12 km, 4 h) or from Castle Rock (14 km, 5h) right to the falls.
Price: The forest department charges Rs. 20 per head of the visitors entering the premises. Carrying a camera or professional camera is also charged, at Rs.300 and Rs 5000 respectively.
Location: It is located on the border of Goa and Karnataka in Sonaulim, Goa.
Set sail on the Arabian Sea, where you’ll drop anchor and hop into the crystal blue waters for a bit of snorkelling. Get up close to colourful coral and tropical fish before heading to the white, sandy beach where you can relax and bask in a gorgeous sun tan.
Look for dolphins along the way to the island during a boat trip that takes up to one hour. Admire the colourful coral reefs and dazzling fish as you float in calm warm waters just off the beach. You’ll have about four hours to snorkel, swim and relax on the beach.
Soak up the gorgeous scenery and munch on snacks provided by your guide. For lunch, feast on a Goan barbecue of fish or meat accompanied by drinks.
Price: Prices vary depending on the location and duration of your snorkelling trip. On an average, the cost ranges between INR 1300 - 2500 per person.
Locations: Some of the best snorkelling spots in Goa are Sinquerim Beach, Grande Island, Monkey Island/ Palolem Beach.
Kayaking in Sal Backwaters
For an amazing kayaking experience in Goa, its six rivers: Mandovi and Zuari are the most famous ones, but then there’s also Sal, Chapora, Mapura and Terekol. These mighty rivers support a beaming mangrove habitat, that only attracts wildlife but numerous species of freshwater fish and even dangerous crocs.
Getting on a boat and kayaking is a great way to soak in the beauty of nature in Goa. These trips are easy and not too hard to paddle through water, giving you ample time to admire your surroundings.
Kayaking in the backwaters of Goa gives you an entry to the heart of the mangroves, only a few feet away from interesting creatures like herons, cormorants, kingfishers, and frolicking otters. Visit from November to February, when you can spot flocks of migratory birds, making this place their home.
Gliding through Goa’s calm waters doesn’t even require much skill or expertise, just a strong will and lust for adventure. Newcomers can also learn to paddle in no time, while professionals seeking more of a challenge, can try tougher routes of the Zuari and Mandovi river. These kayaking trips usually end at fishing villages with a simple meal of crab curry, fried fish and beer making it just a perfect end.
Price: Two-hour trips on the Sal River backwaters start early in the morning. Guests paddle at their own pace through the river’s shallow mangrove channels with prices ranging from INR 500 - 3000 per head.
Distance from Panaji: The River Sal located at a distance of 32 km from Panaji flowing through the Bicholim Taluka takes about an hour to 45 min of a drive to reach the destination.
Location: Bicholim Taluka, Goa
Visit Fort Aguada
Overlooking the vast expanse of the endless blue waters in front of it, Fort Aguada is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Goa. It receives a lot of tourist traffic all around the year as it makes for an excellent sightseeing attraction and also that it stands as a testimony to the glory of the Portuguese empire.
The fort was named Aguada which means water in Portuguese because of the presence of three freshwater springs inside and has been standing strong since the year 1612.
Price: No entry fee
Timings: 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM on all days of the week
Distance from Panaji: The Aguada Fort is located at a distance of around 18 km. from Panaji.
Location: Fort Aguada is located atop a hilltop near the mouth of the river Mandovi, on the Aguada-Siolim Road in Sinquerim (Candolim, Goa).
Dolphin spotting is a popular activity carried out along the full 110 kms stretch of coastal Goa with a great fun and enthusiasm. Shoot thrilling Dolphins somersaults on your camera as these gentle creatures play in gay abandon.
Also get a glimpse of the country crafts, the fishing trawlers or the barges as they ferry iron ore to ocean going vessels. Behold the only Portuguese Fortress of Aguada which is intact to this day.
Dream as you chance upon the Millionaire’s Palace overlooking the Arabian Sea. Learn the art of fishing with Kingfishers, eagles and other birds.
Price: You can enjoy a blissful sunset in Goa with a view of the vast ocean and the delight of the watching these cute creatures jumping along at just INR 200 - 400 pp (depending on the tour operator)
Location: Tourists living & holidaying along the beach belt of Sinquerim, Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Morjim, Cavelossim, Coco, Palolem have easy access to the best dolphin spotting trips in Goa.
Cruise ride at Mandovi River
Goa Boat Cruises offers fun-filled, sunset evening cruises on Goa's best cruise boats. Sailing on the river Mandovi, whilst enjoying a lovely view of Panjim, the capital city of Goa is definitely one of the best things to do in Goa.
For almost two hours one can indulge in various entertainment activities including the amazing dance forms like Dekhni and Fugdi. People of all ages can board this cruise and relish the cheery time with live DJs and music shows. Dancing to traditional Goan songs and themes is the major allure of the dinner cruise in Goa.
Price: It costs INR 300 per head for the scheduled boat cruises. However you can also opt for private boat cruises which would cost much more, but give you a very calming and delightful experience.
Location: You can find the best boat cruises at Panaji Jetty, under the bridge, just as you enter the city.
Banana Boat Ride
Enjoy a bumpy ride through the unending waters of the Arabian sea, with the wind in your hair and the warm golden sunshine. Banana Boat Rides are one of the most entertaining Water Sports in Goa.
An inflatable boat in the shape of a banana is used for the ride. This boat is linked to a speedboat and 4 to 6 people can be seated in one banana boat. The most thrilling part of it is when the boat throws off the passengers as soon as the speedboat sprints across the sea.
Sometimes, you would find yourself being flung into the water even before you have hardly started off the beach. After being thrown into the surf, the passengers pull themselves back into the banana boat and start afresh.
Price: You can enjoy the thrill of one of the best things to do in Goa at just about INR Rs 200 - 500 per person for 15 minutes
Best time: October to March
Locations: Try Banana boat rides at some of the best beaches in Goa like Calangute, Agonda, Candolim, Palolem, Miramar, Baga, Vagator and Anjuna beach.
Naval Aviation Museum
The Naval Aviation museum in Goa exhibits India’s naval aviation history over the decades.The main attractions of this museum are the vintage aircrafts, engines, avionics, photo gallery, weapons and armaments.
Inaugurated in 1998, this museum is one of only two military museums in India. In fact, it is the only Naval aviation museum in all of Asia and one of seven in the world.
Price: The museum has a nominal entry fee of Rs 30. If you wish to click pictures then an additional camera fee of Rs. 50 is charged.
Timings: The museum is open to all from Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30am to 5.30pm.
Location and distance from Panaji: The Naval Aviation Museum is located near Bogmalo beach, 2 kms from the Dabolim airport, 6 km from Vasco da Gama, 26 kms from Margao and 30 kms from Panaji, the state capital.
Have you ever thought of crossing river while sitting in your taxi along with family members or friends by paying just Rupees 10 or maximum Rupees 55 on longer ferry routes while enjoying Goan beauty in its original form!!!
A Ferry ride in Goa is perfect for those people who want to see Goa in its real and rural form. Travelling on the waves of Arabian Sea and enjoying the cool breeze is definitely a charming experience. The red-orange sunsets illuminating narrow inlets and weathered Portuguese houses in hinterlands are some of the most common sights while riding across in a Ferry boat.
Price: With just a meagre amount of money like INR 20 - INR 50, you can reach even the remote coastal villages in Goa
Main ferry routes in Goa:
- Panaji and Betim for the Back Road to Candolim and Calangute
- Kerim and Tiracol for the Terekhol Fort
- Old Goa and Divar Island
- Ribandar and Chorao for Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
- Cavelossim and Assolna for Reaching the Areas of Benaulim to Palolem
- Cortalim and Madkaim for reaching Old Goa from Margao
Enjoy the thrill of soaring above the skies and watching the vast blue ocean and lush greenery of the rolling hills from a bird’s eye viewpoint. Parasailing is a thrilling activity that can be enjoyed mostly on the beaches of Goa.
Parachutes are tied to the speedboats and a 300 feet long rope is attached to the speedboat at one end. With the speedboat gaining the momentum, Para Sailor is hauled up in the air and it has little or no control over the parachute.
Come here on a vacation with your family and friends and partake in one of the best things to do in North Goa and you won’t leave back disappointed.
Price: Parasailing in Goa usually costs between INR 700 - 1500 depending on the season you visit Goa.
Location: The main beaches offering fun and exciting parasailing facilities include Candolim beach, Anjuna beach, Majorda beach, Baga beach and Dona Paula beach.
Jet Ski Ride
Everybody has seen these water scooters zooming through the waves! They look like a ton of fun and you've always wondered how you can get your hands on one of the best things to do in Goa. Well, skimming the surface of the Arabian Sea on a jet-ski has become quite the sport in Goa, in the recent years.
If you're someone who looks forward to the rough foaming waves and cannot swim but still crave that rush of adventure in the ocean. If you love the wind in your hair and the thrill of speed, jet-skiing is perfect for you.
Price: The average pricing for jet skiing in Goa is INR 400, 1000, 1500 for 2, 10, 15-minute trips respectively.
Locations: You can indulge in the thrill of jet skiing which is considered among one of the best things to do in Goa at Colva Beach, Candolim Beach, Calangute Beach, Rajbaga Beach, Miramar Beach and Benaulim Beach.
Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary
Be ready for paradise and serenity as you enter Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary near the town of Molem. Located deep inside the sanctuary is the temple of Tambdi Surla, dating back to Kadamba Dynasty and the famous Dudhsagar Falls.
You will be welcomed by the call of the cicadas and the heady fragrance of wild basil in this sanctuary. Spotting wildlife becomes easier when you go trailing along its dirt tracks. Indian bison, sambar, leopards, spotted deer, slender loris, jungle cats, Malayan giant squirrels, pythons and cobras are just a few of the many species found in its depths.
The Western Ghats towards this section of Goa is just breathtakingly beautiful, making it definitely worth a visit.
Price: Adults are charged INR 20 each, whilst children enter for INR 10 each. Cameras are allowed into the sanctuary for INR 30 for still cameras and INR 150 for video cameras.
Distance from Panaji: Located at a distance of 57 km from Panaji, it takes about an hour to reach by car
Location: This sanctuary is located on the eastern border of the state of Goa, near the village of Mollem.
The word Chapora is reminiscent of "Shahpura" or the "Town of the Shahs" and was built by Adil Shah of Bijapur. The old laterite fort, standing guard over the mouth of the Chapora River, was taken over by the Portuguese in 1543.
Today it is a crumble of picturesque ruins with only the outer walls remaining, though you can still pick out the mouths of two escape tunnels. The main reason to make the climb up the hill is for the sensational views out along the coast and most importantly to experience the ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ movie vibes from atop the fort walls.
Price: No entry fee
Distance from Panaji: The Chapora Fort is situated at a distance of approximately 22 km from Panaji.
Location: It is located in North Goa, very close to the Vagator Beach.
Get a Tattoo
The air in Goa has a sense of freedom to it, with people from all across the world coming down here to let loose. Tattoos are no longer stigmatized like they used to be. They’re now considered art. Rather than simply expressions of teenage rebellion, aggression, or shortsightedness.
Today tattoo artists in Goa are respected what they truly are: artists. It’s no surprise that Goa does not shy away when it comes to producing a fine lot of these said artists time and time again.
Price: The price widely varies depending on the size, design, complexity and colour
Locations: Almost all or at least most of the best Tattoo Artists from Goa have their Studios on the Northern Coast of Goa. Especially the Calangute beach, which is full of the best Tattoo parlours, is a place worth mentioning.
One of the most famous and apt places for ardent shoppers, the Mapusa Market is just a usual Goan Bazaar for most of the week where the locals sell their produce and fares, except when on Fridays the place turns into a madhouse.
The Goans sell all sorts of handicrafts, preservatives, clothing and so many more things, making it a raucous affair attracting vendors and shoppers from all over Goa to witness this local shopping, which is an entirely different vibe compared to the Anjuna Flea Market.
Ask and you’ll find it, just about anything that you might need and even what you don’t will catch your attention. Items ranging from textiles, vegetables, meats, antiques, handicrafts, jewellery, pottery and so much more, but all you need to do is sharpen your haggling skills before you make any purchase.
Distance from Panaji: Mapusa is another major city of Goa located at a distance of 16 km from the capital city Panaji and takes about 30 min to reach by car.
Location: Mapusa City, North Goa
The Arvalem Waterfall also known as Harvalem falls is a very scenic and beautiful picnic spot. This beautiful waterfall forms a huge lake at the bottom, which is much popular amongst the swimmers.
During the monsoon season, as the plains are lashed by incessant rains, the Arvalem waterfall runs amok with thunderous energy. The otherwise lean stream of the winters metamorphoses into a powerful gush of water cascading down the mountain slopes from a height of about 70 meters. This waterfall is set amidst charming surroundings, with the Rudreshwar temple in its vicinity.
The temple holds importance for the Hindus who believe in releasing the soul on the 12th day after death. The Rock cut caves are just situated nearby. The Arvalem waterfall is one of the most crowded tourist spots in Goa. The Government has developed a park at the waterfall where one can peacefully sit and enjoy the beauty of the waterfall.
Distance from Panaji: Located about 60 km away from Panaji, there are multiple buses plying from Panaji- Mapusa - Arvalem and takes about an hour and half to reach.
Location: The Arvalem falls, also known as the Harvalem falls, are located near Mapusa in North Goa. The closest villages are Bicholim, which is 8 km away and Sanquelim which is 2 km away.
Goan Cultural show
Cultural Goa is found to be replete with diverse cultural faiths. With a lively people and music in their blood, the Goan people have a lot of cultural performance and traditions happening all throughout the year.
Being one of the best things to do in Goa in order to experience this state in its true form, you can be part or see various performances like; the Ghode Mondi is which is performed in Bicholim Taluka of Goa and is devoted to the great warriors of the past who fought for Goa; Mando is the best way of expressing emotions through songs and is sung in Konkani with a perfect blend of Goa and the west; Dekhni is a beautiful dance performance by women which is done using a percussion called the ‘Ghumat’; Goff Talgadi and Shigmo are the part of Spring Jubilation that is performed to spread the festive mood and happiness among peasants; or you can experience traditional dance performances at Kala Academy Art complex in Panaji or even on the evening sunset cruises that ply regularly on the river Mandovi.
Apart from these, there are many cultural performances like Kunbi, Dhalo, Mussal Khel, Tonyamel etc that are performed in full pomp during festivities in Goa.
Visit the hinterland of Goa, drive into a small village in an area of Goa untouched by tourism to get a glimpse into the traditional life of the villagers. Admire its beauty, its ancient temples in their natural form, witness the culture, and mingle with the locals and do not miss out on an adventure of an Elephant ride, through the jungles of Goa.
The sweeping jungles bring the naturalists closer to the regal elephants, their history, behaviour and ecological environment. You can enjoy an elephant ride at wildlife sanctuaries where you can see a varied array of fauna inclusive of several Peacocks, Deers, Cranes, Leopards, Monkeys, Bisons, Sloth bear, Kingfishers, Spiders, Bulbuls.
Price: This thrilling nature adventure activity costs between INR 100 - 500 per person depending on the duration of the ride and if the activity involves elephant bathing as well.
Location: Come and ride these humongous and magnificent creatures at the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary. You can also enjoy an elephant ride at the Dudhsagar Waterfalls combined with a package to tread through a distinct spice plantation.
Spice Plantation tour
India is often referred to as the ‘Land of Spices’ and rightly so, given the spice enriched flavours and delicacies all across the country. However, the best way to experience these myriads of colours and fragrances is to see them in their natural habitat and a spice plantation tour in Goa does just that.
These tours usually comprise of 15 - 20 people and if you’re lucky enough you may even get an English guide. Don’t be surprised if foreigners speaking French and Spanish guide through the plantation.
These guides take you around the large plantations showing you specimens of freshly plucked leaves and barks. He/she may ask you to smell and identify these herbs or spices, after which they usually explain the qualities and medicinal uses of them.
Interspersed in this plantation are also fruit trees and vegetables such as cashew, custard apple, banana, citrus fruits and pineapples. You may be even lucky enough to see the art of how Betel Nut pluckers climb these trees, over a hundred feet above the ground and then sway from tree to tree.
Locations: There are many spice plantations in Panjim - Tropical Spice Plantation, Savoi Plantation, Pascoal Spice Village, Rustic Plantation, Sahakar Spice Farm, Sai Herbarium, Parvati Madav Park Plantation, Pascoal Spice Farms and Abyss Spice Farms. Savoi offers a tour to a cashew factory, Sahakar offers elephant ride, Sai Herbarium gives you an insight into organic farming; every farm has its own speciality.
Price: The average costs of these tours are around INR 300 - 500 per person and is inclusive of a guide and a sumptuous traditional lunch at the end of the tour.