Goa is like a bunch of really small hippie beach towns put together to create one beach town city. Cute hippie markets, cheap delicious food, chill beach bars, outdoor vegetarian cafes, endless joints being passed your way, colorful sunsets, yoga popups, 54 different beaches, and all kinds of live music. A happy place where everyone is your friend.
LANGUAGE: Konkani, English, Portuguese, Hindi, Marathi
CURRENCY: Indian Rupee
CLIMATE: Tropical (warm & humid), Rainy season: June – Sept
DRESS CODE: Town: Casual, Temples: Conservative, cover shoulders and legs
GETTING AROUND: Tuk-tuks, Local taxis
TIPPING: 7-10% is appreciated for amounts 300 to 1,000 rupees; 5-7% for more than 1,000 rupees
SAFETY: Generally safe, watch out for stray dogs who can be slightly aggressive at times
FROM THE GOA AIRPORT
There is no ride sharing app available in Goa, so your best option is to take a taxi. There is a prepaid taxi stand right outside of arrivals with set rates to various areas in Goa to eliminate the need for you to haggle. If you prefer to try and negotiate a better rate, you can continue outside where the public taxi drivers are located. Depending on where you are going, it should take you around 1-1.5 hours to reach your destination. To Anjuna, it took 1.5 hours and cost about $17 USD.
The main bus station in Goa is Kadamba us stand of Panaji. There are however, multiple bus stops around the city that you are able to get dropped off at. Check your options by entering your departing city and destination (Goa, North Goa, South Goa) on redBus.
The major railway stations in Goa are Madgaon, Vasco Da Gama, and Thivim. Taxis are available at each station to bring you to your final destination. The best thing to do is to decide beforehand which area in Goa you would like to stay and try to book a ticket on a train that goes to the station closest.
NOTE: To book train tickets, you will need to create an account with IRCTC (you will need an indian number or can enter 9876543210 in the place of your phone number. I had trouble creating an account so had to book my train tickets through a local broker. There are shops or stands in most cities with signs saying Book a Bus, Book a Train, Book a Flight, etc. and they can easily book them for you for a very small fee.
WHERE TO STAY
If you are staying in Anjuna, definitely stay at Craft Hostels. I could not recommend this place more. Located in the middle of the Anjuna Wednesday market and steps away from the beach, it is an ideal location. The owner are the coolest and the space itself is perfect. The beds were so comfortable I actually looked forward to coming home to go to sleep at night. (In a dorm!)
WHAT TO EAT
WHERE TO EAT
A really cool artsy cafe with a large outdoor seating area, a shop, a yoga space, and absolutely delicious food. Mostly vegetarian menu. Excellent drinks and desserts. I highly recommend coming here. Everything I ate was magnificent.
Located directly on the beach in Anjuna. A variety of cuisines to choose from. Veggie burger was pretty dang good, or it could be my taste buds were just craving something besides Indian food. Fried rice options also good. Smoke some hookah and have a drink here as well while you watch the sunset.
Located directly on the beach in Anjuna. Best honey ginger lemon tea I had while in Goa. Mostly Indian options at a good price.
Check out the second level for some extremely chill vibes and even better food. A little pricier than other restaurants (pricey relative to India prices) but well worth the extra charge.
WHAT TO DO
SMOKE A CHILLUM WITH A BABA
From a beach in Northern Goa (message me for exact details), you can hike 25 minutes into the jungle to the banyan tree and smoke some marijuana with a baba who has been living in the jungle for the last 35 years. Read about my experience here.
WATCH THE SUNSET
The colorful sunsets of Goa rival those in Los Angeles, and that is saying a lot. The colors are unique every single day, from purple to green to pink to yellow and the sky really grabs hold of each color. There is also something magical about seeing the sun set over the ocean, like watching it dip below the horizon and over the edge of the globe.
GO TO A PSY OR TRANCE PARTY
Goa is known for its parties and you can usually find one on any given night of the week. Check out Curlie’s or Shiva Valley, located right on Anjuna beach, who usually have parties on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week. Either way, the people are so friendly here you will definitely know where the happening spot are on any given evening.
SPEND THE DAY IN A BEACH BUNGALOW
There was no one renting these out the day we went, so we were lucky enough to snag one for free to spend the day in. From coffee, to hookah, to a few beers, to sunset and dinner, we ended up spending the entire day here staring at the ocean. A perfect, relaxing way to end our time in Goa.
EXPLORE OTHER BEACHES
There are so many different areas to stay in Goa! Here is an overview of a few of the most popular.
ARAMBOL: North Goa, The new hippie haven, full of cute shops, drum circles, and restaurants that all set out tables with glowing candles on them at night along the entire beach
ANJUNA: North Goa; The original hippie destination, a backpacker’s paradise, where some of the best trance clubs are and the Wednesday market
CALANGUTE: North Goa; The largest, busiest and most touristy beach in North Goa
PALOLEM: South Goa; Where you will find the restaurants and nightlife in south Goa
PATNEM: South Goa; Peaceful, nestled between two cliffs, a good place to chill out but stay close enough to the nightlife in Palolem
AGONDA: South Goa; Relatively quiet and uncrowded, a great place to go if you want to relax
SHOP AT THE MARKETS
WEDNESDAY MARKET: Every Wednesday, there is an amazing flea market set up in Anjuna. It is the biggest outdoor market I have seen with the best variety of clothing, accessories, spices, decor, art, and much much more. Plus the prices are amazing. If you are on holiday and able to buy things to bring home, definitely bring an empty suitcase so that you can shop here while you are in town.
SATURDAY NIGHT MARKET: The Saturday night market in Arpora is the place to be. You cannot bring your own drinks in but there are bars inside, with live music to fuel your late night shopping. There is great food from all cuisines and this market is a fashion lovers dream. Many of these shops are featured on Etsy as well and have high quality stuff.