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A Complete Guide to Goa: Information for Travelers

One of the most popular tourist destinations in India, people from across the world head to Goa in search of beautiful beaches, nightlife and to visit famous sacred sites.

The state is located on the southwestern coast of India, the capital of the region is Panaji whilst the largest city is Vasco da Gama.

A blend of Portuguese and Indian cultures makes the state unique, a result of Portuguese occupation which lasted from 1510 to 1961.

The influence of this period of occupation on traditions and customs can still be felt.Goa cuisine fuses Indian and Portuguese flavors and cooking styles and around 25% of the population is Christian.

Travels can find information below for planning a trip to Goa, including when to go, what to take and advice for obtaining the India eVisa.

Do I need a Visa to Travel to Goa?

Before planning a trip to Goa, it is important to check the India visa requirements.

Most foreign nationals require a visa to enter India.Travelers from 169 countries can take advantage of the India eVisa scheme which was introduced to make the application process more straightforward.

The online India eVisa application does involve an interview at the consulate or embassy and is the quickest way to obtain the travel document.

Once approved, the visa is sent via email to be printed at home and presented at one of the 28 designated points of entry.

When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Goa?

Covering such a vast geographical area, the best time to visit India depends on the region. Goa, located on the western coast of the country, experiences the following seasons:

  • Hot season: March to May, 89 to 96 ºF (32 to 36 ºC)
  • Wet season: June to September, 82 to 86 ºF (28 to 30 ºC)
  • Cool season: November to February, 78 to 89 ºF (26 to 32 ºC).

 

The best time of year to visit Goa is generally considered to be during the cooler months, from November to February, when conditions are optimal for exploring.

The intense heat and humidity deter many holidaymakers from going to Goa during summer.

To enjoy Goa’s coastline and beaches to the maximum, the wet monsoon months should be avoided. Although this time of year is often the least expensive for travelers, the heavy rainfall can cause some issues and the sea is often rough so there will be fewer opportunities for water sports and activities.

Furthermore, visitors in February can enjoy the colorful Carnival celebrations which take place in villages and towns across the state.

Getting to Goa from Other States and Countries

Goa is well connected to other Indian states and countries of the world. The most convenient, and popular, options for traveling to Goa are by plane and train.

Traveling to Goa by plane

Goa Dabolim Airport is the international airport serving Goa. Domestic flights arrive from across India, with many daily flights to Mumbai and Delhi.

The flight from Mumbai to Goa takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes and tickets can usually be found for under $50.

To fly from New Delhi to Goa takes approximately 2 hours 45 minutes and tickets cost just under $90, depending on the season.

A small number of international flights also arrive into Goa meaning from certain destinations, such as Kuwait, Muscat and Qatar, it is possible to fly to Goa directly.

Reaching Goa by train

Train travel is a convenient way to reach Goa from elsewhere in India. The 2 main railway stations in Goa, Madgaon and Vasco-da-Gama, are well connected to other parts of the country.

Madgaon train station is situated 24 miles (38 km) from Panji and Vasco-da-Gama 29 miles (46 km). Visitors arriving by train can take a taxi from outside the station to the city center.

It is possible to travel from Mumbai and New Delhi by train, however, with journey times in the region of 8 hours and 25 hours respectively, many tourists prefer to take a short flight.

Long-distance train journeys in India should be booked in advance.

What to See and Do in Goa

Goa is perhaps most famous for its beautiful beaches which attract visitors from across the globe.

As well as its stunning coastline, guests can spend time in nature, enjoy the party lifestyle and sample the unique cuisine.

Beaches for sunbathing, swimming and water sports

With 99 miles (160 km) of coastline, Goa is the perfect travel destination for beach enthusiasts. Some of the best beaches in Goa include:

  • Colva Beach: powdery white sand and coconut palms, 20 miles (30 km) south of Panji
  • Arambol Beach: secluded beach with rocks, sand and a freshwater lagoon, 21 miles (34 km) north of Panji
  • Butterfly Beach: a pretty beach and an excellent place to enjoy the sunset, 42 miles (68 km) south of Panji
  • Cansaulim Beach: a white sandy beach with many beach bars, 16 miles (27 km) from Panji
  • Coco Beach: just 7 miles (11km) from Panji, this beach is a great option for water sports and boat trips.

 

Water sports such as paragliding, jet skiing, diving, and surfing can be practiced at many of these beaches.

Is Goa Safe for Tourists?

Goa is considered to be a safe destination for tourists provided they follow the standard safety and security advice for India.

The infrequent crime that may take place towards foreigners is generally of an opportunistic nature which can be avoided by keeping possessions out of sight and not walking in unlit places at night.

Some Foreigners have health concerns when traveling to India. To avoid suffering illness in Goa, foreigners should take a careful approach towards food and drink:

  • Do not drink tap water
  • Eat at places where there are plenty of other diners
  • Eat only freshly cooked food
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of bottled water
  • Peel fruit and vegetables before consumption

Packing Advice for Visiting Goa

Given the high temperatures and sun exposure, it is important to be well prepared for a trip to Goa. Some essential items to include in travel luggage are:

  • High-factor sunscreen should be applied regularly throughout the day
  • Sun hat or cap and sunglasses for protection from the hot sun
  • Mosquito repellent, avoid bites by using good repellent, especially at night
  • Hand sanitizer can help keep germs at bay while on the move

Clothes should be lightweight light-colored to provide protection from the heat. Loose-fitting clothing made from cotton or linen is a good option.