Top 10 Most Important Travel Tips for First-Time Goa Visitors

Top 10 Most Important Travel Tips for First-Time Goa Visitors

There are countless tourist destinations in India, but Goa is among the most favourite ones. Millions of travellers from all over the world visit Goa each year. This Indian state has some spectacular beaches, architectural landmarks, and exciting water sports. It also has some delicious food, flea markets, and an amazing laidback vibe. Here are the top 10 travel tips for first-time goa visitors.

Don’t stick to the popular beaches

Hollant beach, Goa

Goa is blessed with a surplus number of sun-kissed beaches. Baga, Candolim, Vagator, Calangute, etc. are some of the well-renowned beaches that are crowded to boot. But there are plenty of unexplored beaches where you can relax with peace and solitude. Some of them include Hollant, Kakolem, Galgibaga, Velsao, Ashwem, Mobar, and Butterfly beach.

Practice Alertness

While beaches being the topmost attractions of Goa, there are also some risk factors associated alongside. The most common are sunburn and sunstroke. So, in order to avoid these risks, apply high SPF sunscreen, do your sunbathing in small increments, and carry sunglasses and a hat.

Along with that, there are some beaches in Goa, especially in Northern Goa; there are strong currents particularly in the monsoon that are considered dangerous for swimming. Such beaches are marked with red flags. So, heed the warnings and signs, and do not venture into the sea without consulting the lifeguards.

Delicious Goan Cuisine and Seafood

Delicious Goan Cuisine and Seafood

One of the most favourable recommendations on visiting Goa for the first time is to try the local cuisine of Goa. Through years of colonization, many cultures have influenced the cuisine of Goa, creating a fusion of Portuguese, Brazilian, Arab, French, African, Konkan, Chinese, Malaysian and Malabar flavours to tantalize the taste buds. So, on your trip to this enchanting beach town, do savour the Goan cuisine: Goan fish curry, pork vindaloo, bebinca (Goan dessert), sorpotel, etc. My personal recommended restaurant in Goa will be ‘Treetop Tava‘. This is an open-air restaurant, so you can enjoy the scenic view while having your favourite food. Do not leave without trying the local liqueur, Feni, a spirit made of coconut or cashew nuts. Sample this local speciality in limited quantity, as it is a strong liquor that will get you high real quick.

Prefer Two-Wheeler to Explore

Two wheeler rides in Goa

The best way to see the sights and soak up everything India’s smallest state has to offer is on a bike/scooter. The roads are safe and well-maintained in Goa. Due to this, biking around won’t be a hassle. Bikes are easy and cheap to rent, at around INR 250 ($3.42) – INR 800 ($10.95) per day, depending upon the season (off-season or peak) and type of bike (Honda Activa, Bajaj Pulsar or high-end ones, like Royal Enfield). However, rates can drop considerably if you’re renting for more days. Before finalizing a bike, do take it for a test run – check if it is in good condition, brakes are functional, etc.

Important Note: Always carry your driving permit with you. Helmets are mandatory, so make sure to get one along with your bike. And, you won’t need to pay extra for it, as it’s already included in your daily rent.

Explore Beyond the Sea

Apart from the fact that most visitors are attracted to the beaches in Goa, this certainly doesn’t represent the state completely. There’s lots more to see and do here than just that – centuries-old churches and temples, museums, forts, spice plantations, caves, wildlife sanctuaries, and more.

Popular Churches in Goa

Also, Goa is home to the truly spectacular countryside that is worth taking the time to explore. Goan villages are dotted with old Portuguese-style houses, lush paddy fields, spice plantations, and waterfalls. The best way to explore it is by bike – take a ride along with the lush vegetation and the scenic Portuguese houses, and watch a typical day in the countryside unfold.

Be Active

Go scuba diving, jet-skiing, kayaking, windsurfing, parasailing, banana ride, power-scooter riding, knee-wakeboarding etc, or take some yoga experiences from one of the many yoga retreats available up and down the coast. Goa is a perfect spot for trying all this stuff and do not leave without ticking a few of them off the list.

Don’t Hesitate to Bargain

Markets in Goa

Goa has some of the best flea markets and haggling is a part of the experience at these markets. The first price point offered is definitely not the last, so play the bargaining game right. You can find some real bargains here, such as handicrafts, spices, wooden artefacts, carpets, etc. which make for a perfect souvenir.

Try to explore both North and South Goa

Both North and South Goa have their own appeal. These places have plenty to offer to visitors and are highly recommended. We recommend you move your way north to south. Tick off all the North Goa attractions, and then further move to the peaceful South Goa and make a trip to Vasco Da Gama and Old Goa that are home to centuries-old monuments, churches, temples, museums and islands.

Avoid Drinking and Drugging

You will have a good chance of invitation to beach parties and raves. Keep in mind that many such parties have drugs in circulation. It is worth noting that, by law, possession, consumption or trade of drugs in the state is illegal. And, if caught, you’re sure to land up in jail for nearly 10 years, along with a hefty fine. So, say NO to any such invitation and drugs. Err on the side of caution.

Sunset in Goa

Drinking in public places and on the beaches is banned in Goa, and may land you in jail. So, do not indulge in such an activity.

Know the Basic Rules

Pack wisely and as per the need. Yes, it’s sun, sea and sand – so pack beachwear, flip-flops, crocs, hats, shades, sunscreen and lightweight clothes. Avoid too much boasting and pack some conservative clothing for your temple and church visits.

Many small shacks, bars, restaurants and shops do not have credit card machines. So, always have some cash on you (but not too much, though!), or familiarize yourself with the ATMs in your area, so that you can withdraw money easily.

Keep an eye on your stuff. This is common sense, but it’s a tip that needs to be highlighted. While you’re relaxing on the beach or shopping, keep an eye on your items, as pickpockets lurk here. Advance booking of accommodation is always necessary. There are plenty of backpacker hostels and hotels in Goa, it is better to book them in advance, especially during the long weekends and winter months, as things can get more crowded and expensive.

Also, If you want to be economical and spend less while travelling, do check out 06 Ways to Be Thrifty While Travelling.