An Insider’s Guide to Goa
After months of writing and organizing, it’s here! The first and last guide to Goa you’ll ever need.
I always like to refer to Goa as its own island in India because it’s so different from the rest of this country.
Nestled along the South Western coast along the Arabian Sea, Goa is where the untamed jungle meets gorgeous beaches.
It’s become known hippie’s paradise in the last fifty years – an escape from the more hectic growth and chaotic bustle India has become known for.
Most people who travel through the country usually end up in Goa to rest and reset.
Who am I?
On my very first trip, I was one of those people.
After two and a half months backpacking through India, I stumbled into Goa. My senses were in overdrive, and I was incredibly sick with dengue fever. I had two weeks left to my three-month solo trip, and I was just about ready to go home.
But that week wound up changing everything.
One evening while I was out at a bar, a drunk Brit, with hair as long as mine, bumped into me, dropping his very girly drink on my foot. This is how I met Ben, my current boyfriend, and the person who introduced me to a whole new side to Goa I’d never have seen on my own.
From meeting his local friends to discovering Ciaran’s Cabin, still one of my favorite beach shacks, and eating the best sea bass of my life, I knew I’d be coming back before I boarded my flight back to the U.S.
I wound up returning less than a year later and have called Goa home ever since. If you’d asked me what my twenties would look like as a nursing student in Ohio, I could never have predicted the kind of adventures I’d have in this little paradise.
To name a few:
- I’ve traveled all over the state in our old Omni van more times than I can count, picking up locals who get a kick out of this rickety, makeshift taxi.
- Ben and I have rescued and fostered a number of furry pals, and we’re currently parents to two dogs, Omni and Shanti, and one cat, KitKat.
- Most of my mornings are spent drinking coffee from the balcony of my house and watching the monkeys get up to whatever antics they’re up to that day.
Five years in, and I feel like a part of the Goan community. I’ve become friends with many of the local fashion designers; I know most of the restaurant owners, and I’ve even gotten to know the animal rescue community with our countless fosters.
Why did I write this guide?
I want new visitors in Goa to get the same insider experience I got on my first trip!
Calling Goa home for half a decade and seeing firsthand how life and tourism here has changed since my first arrival, I can tell you most of what’s out there right now is no longer relevant.
Most big travel sites are just recycling the same outdated information from each other. Goa has grown so much in tourism that the cool hideaways are now run of the mill places that feed into what they think a typical tourist wants — Bollywood music and popularized Indian food.
I wrote this book because I realized there were still a lot more secrets to share beyond what I’ve already written about on Werkenntwen.
What exactly is in this guide to Goa?
I’ve laid out everything I could think of in this guide, and I consulted with local friends for even more insider secrets. These are all the kinds of tips I’d overload my best friend with if they were coming here!
Here’s exactly what to expect in this book:
- Chapter 1: An Introduction – More about Goa’s history and how I came to call it home
- Chapter 2: Before You Leave: A Journey Checklist – Tips for booking your trip, when to come, visa details, monsoon season tips, where to go in Goa, safety and local culture tips, budgeting, packing tips, and more!
- Chapter 3: Getting Around Goa: Arriving and Exploring – transportation tips and how to get around locally
- Chapter 4: Adventures and Attractions in Goa – what to do for adventure and culture
- Chapter 5: Goa By the Sand: Where to Stay and Eat – everything from the different areas to my favorite places to stay to the best restaurants and where to pick up the best souvenirs for those looking for a beachy escape
- Chapter 6: Panjim & Other City Areas – full guide with where to stay, eat, and shop for those looking for some things to do in the city
- Chapter 7: Into the Jungle: Inland Goa – all you need to know about the different jungle activities to do in Goa
- Chapter 8: Volunteering in Goa: Ins and Outs – for those that like to volunteer while they travel, these are the most reputable places to volunteer
- Chapter 9: Kid-Friendly Goa: What to Do – where to go if you’re visiting with kids
- Chapter 10: The Werkenntwen’ Map & Bonus Tips – all my personal bonus tips and super inside secrets
- Bonus: Goa Photo Journal – just some of my favorite photos over the years
Here are some of the common questions I answer:
- Should I go to Goa during monsoon season?
- Should I go to North or South Goa?
- How long should I stay?
- What should I do if I’m visiting the jungle/beach/cities?
- Can I volunteer in Goa?
- Is it safe for women/children?
The book comes in a PDF format, so you can view it from your PC, tablet, phone, Kindle– anything with a screen.
Gumroad is a 100% secure site, and I will not have any of your credit card or Paypal information. I’ve purchased ebooks from other bloggers from this site before, which is why I trust it.
Once you pay, Gumroad will send you an email with a download link. Once you’ve downloaded it to your computer, it’s yours!
For the UK and European citizens, there is VAT, which you’ll see when you check out. I believe there are no taxes for US and Indian citizens.
Bonus: I have also made sure to add an extra condensed version of the ebook to put on your phone while traveling. Instead of 30M MB, it’s only 3 MB. It’s just an added free bonus to the main version if you’re trying to save phone space!
What People Are Saying
“Whether you’re a backpacker or luxury traveler, this is the book you need to get the most from your Goa vacation. Goa is a long stretch of coastline with diverse destinations. Without the right information, it’s easy to end up at a place that’s unsuitable for you, or miss out on the best that Goa has to offer you. Rachel shares all her invaluable, and hip, local knowledge in this comprehensive book. I write about India travel for a living and have been to Goa numerous times. Not only are Rachel’s recommendations insightful and spot on, she covers many things that even I didn’t know about.”
— Sharell Cook, India Journey Expert for Tripsavvy (formerly About.com India Journey)
“It’s honestly such a helpful book. Everyone who visits Goa needs to read this book and I am so grateful for the open advice Rachel gives to her favorite places in Goa – I get to see Goa like a local, now, too!”
– Anna R., Graphic Designer
“I have been waiting for this book for years! I visit Goa every season for a two week holiday and the last couple years, whenever I have questions about Goa, I email Rachel and ask her for tips before my trips. She’s always staying up to date on what’s changed each season. It doesn’t take long reading this book to see that she really poured her heart into it – and she doesn’t hold back, she really tells all the places she loves to go so that you know the “secret” Goa. I like that it’s not just about partying and beaches but that it talks about the cool artistic stuff going on in Goa and how to see the jungles, too.”
– Michelle C., Marketing
Although I’ve never been to Goa, after reading Rachel’s ebook, I know now that I need to go. This book is the kind of travel guide that would incite wanderlust in just about anyone. Rachel obviously knows her stuff and she describes Goa like a vast, lush wonderland. If you’re looking to find a new place to explore or go back to somewhere you’ve been before and see it in a new light, this e-book is perfect for you! I loved it!”
– Tess M., Journey Writer