While we know Goa is the ultimate beach destination in India, it’s not all that it offers. Indian’s smallest state has so many charming worlds, that even the most seasoned travellers are spoilt for choice. If you are willing to dig a little deeper, come along with us as we explore all the things to do in Goa that you never expected on your next trip.
Thought you’d tried everything in Goa? Take a look at some of the more offbeat activities you might’ve missed out:
1Get Up Close And Personal With Some Of The Smartest Mammals: Dolphin Tour
Want to experience the thrill of Animal Planet in real life? Try a dolphin cruise in Goa and come face to face with one of the smartest mammals in the ocean. Appealing to both the old and young, these tours have such a high chance of a sighting that many operators offer a ‘no dolphin, no pay’ service. These cruises usually start from Fort Aguada, Sinquerim or Panaji Jetty, and you can also see them at Grande Island. Excited yet?
2Trek Up To The Highest Waterfalls In Goa: Dudhsagar Falls
The trek from Castle Rock to this impressive four-tiered waterfall is 11 km long. As it is located on the Mandovi River on the Madgaon-Belgaum rail route in South Goa, you can follow the railway track all the way to the waterfall. The trek passes through dense forests and smaller waterfalls within Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and will take around 6-7 hours to complete. Also known as the second-highest waterfall in India, this majestic cascade of white water gushes over the steep, nearly vertical face of the mountain from a spectacular height of 310 m (1017 feet). The sanctuary is open from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm.
3Visit Ruins Overlooking The Sea: Cabo De Rama Fort
Located in the Canacona region of south Goa, along the beautiful coastline of Goa overlooking the gorgeous Arabian Sea, Cabo De Rama Fort is also known as the Cape of Rama. The fort derives its name from Rama, from the epic Ramayana, as it is believed that Rama, Sita and Lakshmana lived in the fort during their 14-year exile. The fort is open from 9 am to 5 pm on all days.
4Shake Your Booty At The Best Clubs: Nightlife In Goa
You simply can’t leave Goa without a proper night out. Goa is unofficially the party-state of India, it offers a delicious range of wonderful bars and pubs all over the state. Local cashew made drinks ‘Feni’ to international drinks, find everything your heart desires with fresh seafood snacks to go with it.
As the sun sets, plan an amazing night touching base at all of Goa’s boisterous clubs, restaurants and energetic beach parties. Due to these alluring options, one can choose to simply stay casual with beach dresses but it’s best not to wear open-toe shoes (especially men). Girls! Be cautious and stay alert during parties as many such parties have drugs in circulation. Be aware of yourself, watch your drink and it’s best to stay safe in numbers.
The best spots to experience a happening nightlife in Goa are:
- LPK (Love, Passion, Karma) Waterfront in Nerul
- Club Cubana in Arpora
- Silent Noise Club in Palolem
- Cafe Mambos in Baga
- Casino Pride in Panaji
- Antares in Vagator
- Tito’s Bar and Club in Baga
5Spice It Up With A Special Walk: Spice Plantations Of Goa
It brought the Europeans to India, it gives our food their individual flavours, and the world identifies us with their many colours and smells—welcome to one of India’s many spice capitals. Here in Goa, in Keri (Ponda), you can walk through a spice plantation, to see how and why these exotic spices became India’s first exports. Wonder what cardamom pods look like on the tree? How about a taste of peri peri, supposed to be one of the world’s hottest chillies? Through serene, green, and fragrant forests, this is a part of Goa you could have never expected. Before leaving, enjoy a traditional Goan lunch cooked with the farm spices you just got acquainted with.
6Stay Calm And Do A Detox: Yoga And Meditation Retreats In Goa
Are you looking for a relaxing, calm vacation in Goa? Regardless of all-night raves, you’ve come to the right place. There are countless yoga retreats and tours on its sandy beaches, flanked by lush green forests and lanky coconut trees. The gentle lapping waves and bird calls from the forest make it one of the most calming places to relax, recharge and calm your stressed mind. These different affordable yoga packages will allow you to start with morning meditations (while it’s still dark), and finish with beautiful sunrise t’ai chi sessions, followed by reiki healing courses or meditation, all under the supervision of great instructors. The yoga retreats and holiday centres in Goa offer beginner to advanced level programs that have everything from drop-in classes to lengthier courses, for all budgets.
7A Bit Of History And Culture On A Walk Through The Portuguese Quarters: Fontainhas
Get in touch with Goa’s rich heritage, by visiting this colourful colonial neighbourhood in Panjim. It’s also one of the only Latin Quarters in Asia. Declared a UNESCO heritage zone, it is dotted with narrow streets that run between colourful, Portuguese-style villas that belong to the last surviving families of Portuguese descent in Goa. This heritage colony dates back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; and will easily transport you back in time to show you how Goa was formed.
8The Best Of A GLOCAL World: Ingo’s Saturday Night Bazaar
This bustling night market comes to life every Saturday evening at Arpora from 6 pm onwards. It comes with a large, open-air party including live music concerts, bars, Goa’s finest boutique designers and restaurants. The night market stays open until pretty late, and you can sample a whole range of essential Goan experiences in a few hours. Fondly known as Ingo’s Saturday Night Bazaar, it’s around for just six months through autumn and winter and presents a potpourri of junk jewellery, imported T-shirts, hippie and hipster merchandise, as well as tons of Indian and global cuisine!
9Try An Ocean Trek: Arambol Beach
Located approximately 35 km away from Panaji in North Goa, Arambol is the northernmost beach in the state. It’s known for exciting water sports and a big beach market. But did you know you can also do an ocean trek here? It’s a walk along a mountain overlooking the sea, through green groves, on the edge of a vast and endless ocean—an unforgettable experience altogether.
10Sign Up For Butterfly Kisses: The Butterfly Conservatory
Located just 5 km north of Ponda, is a small butterfly sanctuary, home to more than 100 species of free-flying butterflies. Spread over 4,000 sq meters, what began with just 25 species currently holds 133 species of butterflies. Situated near the spice plantations, it is designed as a park-like structure where you can stroll through and indulge in a visual treat. At any point, you can spot at least 25 different species. It’s a perfect spot for families, as it is a great place to take the kids to introduce them to the colourful world of butterflies and caterpillars.
11Spot Some Magnificent Birds: Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
If birding is your thing, the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary should not be missed. Named after India’s most distinguished ornithologist, the bird sanctuary on Chorao Island is Goa’s only such place. It is nestled quietly on the western tip of the island along the river Mandovi. It measures just 1.8 sq km and is one of the smallest protected areas of Goa. So if you are looking for a family-friendly offbeat destination, hop on this fun adventure the next time you’re in Goa! Apart from ubiquitous white egrets and purple herons, you can spot colourful kingfishers, eagles, cormorants, kites, woodpeckers, sandpipers, curlews, drongos and mynahs, (to name just a few) It is open from 6 am to 6 pm every day. The early worm catches the bird.
12Take A Walk On The Wild Side: Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
Covering an area of 240 sq km, the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest of Goa’s four protected sanctuaries. It’s also home to the famous Dudhsagar waterfalls, the Devil’s Canyon, the Tambdi Surla temple, and the Tambdi Falls, along with a number of other historic and religious sites. It also encompasses the 107 sq km area of the Mollem National Park. If you are ready to meet some animals, visit this sanctuary where you might just get to see leopards, elephants, deer, Indian bison, cobras, or pythons.
13Witness The Soothing Underwater World: Scuba Diving In Goa
If you’re an underwater adventure enthusiast, you’ll be pleased to know that Goa is fast becoming a scuba diving hub. It offers plenty of scuba spots, along its alluring, exhilarating beaches and invigorating islands. You will be captivated by colourful exotic underwater creatures, fish, lobsters, and marine flora. If you’re planning a trip to Goa, make sure you do not miss out on this underwater ride. Some of the best spots include Grande Island, Suzy’s Wreck, Uma Guva Reef and Calangute Beach. They are open all days of the week from 8 am to 5.30 pm.
So, Now You Can Plan Which Of These Things You Want To Do In Goa
As is evident, Goa isn’t only about beaches and parties. This list has got you covered for just about anything! So go ahead and plan your next vacay filled with limitless chances to have fun and entertainment. Enjoy these offbeat activities in Goa and let us know about your experiences in the comments below.