How to Plan Your North Goa Trip: Guide for First Timers

Palm tree lined tropical beaches with warm, turquoise waters. A rich colonial heritage dating back to the 15th Century when Portuguese explorers first reached the coast. Historic Christian churches and ancient Hindu temples. When it comes to travel destinations in India, North Goa is truly one of the country’s hidden gems!

If you’re planning to travel to Goa for the first time, here is some information and advice so that you will get the most out of your trip. Enjoy!

Make sure you have plenty of cash on you

Like the rest of the country, North Goa is safe with regards to having very little crime. The reason why you are encouraged to carry cash is due to the lack of ATMs and even modern banking institutions in the region. Also, most beach bars, restaurants, and shops don’t have credit or debit card machines.

Enjoy the beaches safely

The beaches of Goa are so enticing. But before you peel off to your swimsuit and spend the day relaxing and swimming, keep in mind that because this is in the tropics, the sun is very strong. The last thing you need is a nasty case of sunburn or sunstroke to ruin your vacation. Apply high amounts of SPF sunscreen and always wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

North Goa beaches also have a reputation for strong rip currents, which make the waters dangerous during monsoon season. Fortunately, there are lifeguards on duty during the day who provide warnings if the sea is too rough to swim in.

See the entire region, not just the beaches

In North Goa, you’ll experience the finest in south Indian culture. If it happens to rain, spend the day indoors at local museums or visit a wildlife sanctuary where tigers, Indian lions and many types of animals native to the region are taken care of. Travel outside the towns into the countryside to visit spice plantations and Goan villages that reflect the region’s colonial past with Portuguese–style houses.

Go to the flea markets, not supermarkets

North Goa is famous for having dozens of flea markets offering a great choice of foods, clothes, and souvenirs at very low prices. Keep in mind like in every developing nation, the locals believe in haggling and negotiating prices. This means that you will have to play the bargaining game when purchasing if you want to get the real local, not “tourist”, price.

Indulge in local foods (on the cheap)

The local cuisine is heavily influenced by the various cultures who have either visited or colonized the region since the Middle Ages. The tasty (and spicy) dishes you will encounter are a fusion of Arab, Portuguese, Malaysian, Konkan and Chinese flavors, the most popular being Goan fish curry, pork vindaloo, and sorpotel. Simple cafes for locals can be less visually appealing but they will charge you 2-3 times less than the restaurants targeting tourists specifically, and the food will often be better (and certainly more authentic).

Other fun things to do in North Goa

If you get bored laying on the beach, consider going scuba diving, windsurfing or parasailing. Since the 1970s, North Goa has also had a hippy/New Age style culture built by expats who established yoga retreats near the beaches as well as in the hilly regions. You can also spend a few hours in one of them if you feel the need to unwind.

Inspired to visit India? See also:

7 Unforgettable Things to Do in Hyderabad, India

Exploring The Blue City of Jodhpur, India

What is the Best Time to Visit Sundarban