• goa top tips

5 Top Tips for Goa

Are you planning to come to Goa for a vacation or a stop-through on a backpacking trip? First, check out my Ultimate Guide to Goa; which puts Lonely Planet to shame ;)

I get e-mails asking what extra top tips for Goa do I have? It’s usually people who have already read my ultimate guide, so I have decided to share the five things I always reiterate via e-mail.

For more tips on Goa check out my 170-page e-book, Insider’s Guide to Goa. After five years of living in Goa, I am confident this book is the most comprehensive, up-to-date guide to Goa it has all my secrets inside. Click here to buy it now.

General Goa Journey Tips

goa top tips

5 Top Tips for Goa

 1. Rent a car or scooter. This is just the MOST important thing to do when you arrive. It is going to save you bunches of money and give you all the freedom you could desire. The roads are safe in Goa! The drivers are maniacs, but you’ll get used to that. Just drive slow, sober, and let people pass when they honk.

ultimate guide to goa

20 common tourist scams in india

2. Avoid Baga, Calangute, and Candolim unless it’s to check out of the top restaurants in Goa, some of which are located there. Other than fancy ones I’ve listed, the rest are pretty crappy tourist ones with high prices. The beaches are packed full with tourists, some of which haven’t been the beach before, so they get shit-faced and roll around in the sand in jeans. It’s not the chill experience you’ve come for and it’s not the trance scene either. It’s the drunk, young, Indian male party scene.

goa top tips

3. Stop making plans to “stay” in Panjim for a couple days. Is it really that historical? Just take that rented scooter and drive in one day to check out the architecture for one or two hours. Grab a Subway if you miss western food. Exit. The same goes for Old Goa. It’s a nice day trip that takes about an hour to walk around unless you’re really interested in Portuguese influence here.

4. Don’t choose between North and South Goa. With your car or bike rental give yourself time to see both. They are really different and even with 10 days or so you can cruise along the coast. It’s only 2-3 hours, depending how you drive, to get from Anjuna down to Palolem. My advice is to start in the North (near airport), check out Arambol, Ashwem, Anjuna, Vagator, (keep heading south…) the secret beach, to eventually Palolem.

goa top tips

private secret beach in goa

5. Skip end of Decemeber. It really is my least favorite month being that it is SO crowded. It doesn’t affect my budget much since I have a house and car here, but for backpackers this will destroy your budget. Even coming in November will make things half the price of late Decemeber. November and February are my favorite months in Goa.

Everyone asks if they should come in monsoon because it just so happens they are in India at that time. Although I wouldn’t have my friends fly across the world to come in monsoon, why not if you’re close by? No, it won’t be the same- but it’s interesting nonetheless.

So, those are the top tips I tell people who e-mail asking if I have any extra advice up my sleeve! Goa is an easy place to get to and to be in- you can’t mess it up. There isn’t a lot of “must do” things in Goa. It’s a chilled out place. Just go with the flow!




About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Hope & Sugar June 23, 2014 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Wow! you are spot on. I’ve been brought up in Goa and I think you know the place better than me. Great tips!

    • Rachel Jones June 24, 2014 at 2:55 am - Reply

      I’m sure you know it better ;) Thanks for commenting!

  2. Mstraveltipsy June 23, 2014 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Goa looks great, really have to go there some day. So many places so little time ;) ;) Great tips, thanks!

  3. Emily June 23, 2014 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Nice Rachel – your tips are a mega help as we plan our trip!

    • Rachel Jones June 24, 2014 at 2:55 am - Reply

      Glad they are helping :) e-mail i fyou need anything else

  4. Ashley @Ashley Wanders June 23, 2014 at 10:02 am - Reply

    Thanks for the tips! Hoping to visit Goa when I come to India!

  5. Renuka June 23, 2014 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Helpful tips. I have been to Goa only once when I was in college. I really want to go back and explore it according to your tips.

    • Rachel Jones June 24, 2014 at 2:56 am - Reply

      Let me know if you come down!! I can’t wait to see Sikkim, you’ve inspired me!

  6. Justine June 23, 2014 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    I love these tips! I’ve never been to India but I always assumed riding a scooter there would be really terrifying! However, reading this makes it sound like so much fun. Goa has been on my list of places to go for years. Someday, when I get there, I’m most definitely renting a scooter :)

    • Rachel Jones June 24, 2014 at 2:57 am - Reply

      Most of India a scooter would be terrifying, but not so much in Goa. Accidents of course happen!! But lots are drunk or really bad drivers. Cars are better :)

  7. Karyn @ Not Done Journeyling June 23, 2014 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    I’m so impressed at you riding a scooter in a dress. I never could manage it in Thailand, I always managed to accidentally hitch it up too far and flash my undies to the entire street. lol

    • Rachel Jones June 24, 2014 at 2:57 am - Reply

      haha well, I was in the middle of nowhere there which helped lol- but man the girls here dress in little club dresses at night and ride around on scooters.. it’s nuts!

      • Karyn @ Not Done Journeyling June 24, 2014 at 10:51 pm - Reply

        lol yeah I don’t get how they do it! I used to see all these uni students riding around in their uniforms which is basically a white blouse and a tight knee-length skirt, and they somehow managed to reach the pedals without seperating their knees and I was like HOW????

  8. Joella J in Beijing June 25, 2014 at 11:00 am - Reply

    Great tips and lovely photos as always! :-) I would definitely love to rent a scooter and drive round Goa at some point..it sounds like a great trip!

    • Rachel Jones June 26, 2014 at 1:53 am - Reply

      It is, I only ride one in the boonies though so I don’t worry about hitting someone/another bike. I am not good in town!

  9. Elora June 26, 2014 at 7:04 am - Reply

    Thanks Rachel! I really loved the quote pic at the end. Lovely.

  10. Amit June 30, 2014 at 6:29 am - Reply

    Hey, I just came to your blog while looking for some tips for Goa. I am an Indian and lives in North, I ma planning to visit Goa along with my wife in the first week of August. So can you let me know about a few places where it will bew best to visit at that time. Monsoon gonna be on its full. So, will it create some problem for us? I don’t want my first visit with my wife to Goa be ruined..

    • Rachel Jones July 1, 2014 at 1:21 am - Reply

      First week of August it will be good to stay in Baga, Candolim, or Calangute which they keep most restaurants open and hotels that are off the beach are open. Just check makemytrip.com

  11. Brian July 4, 2014 at 3:17 am - Reply

    Thanks for the guide. My Indian friend in Seattle and I were talking about moving to Goa. My wife is not thrilled about it though. Quick question though : How much per month would it cost to live there if you owned your place and how much does a decent house / flat cost?

    • Rachel Jones July 5, 2014 at 9:32 am - Reply

      It ranges from about 10,000 to 60,000 rs per month for rent, and foreigners can’t legally own property. It takes a lot of time to house hunt here!

  12. alain maronani August 21, 2014 at 6:31 am - Reply

    I am from Canada, 67 years old…yep.
    I plan to travel India alone, from November to middle March..
    Is Goa better in february ? (less tourist).
    My intent, I will be in India mid-November is to skip Goa at the beginning and to come back a the end of the trip.

    I am a painter and I would like to rent a place in Kochi to work,
    Is it possible ?
    Thanks, your blog is VERY usefull
    Alain, Montreal

    • Rachel Jones August 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      Goa is so great in Feb. Feb & Nov are my favorite months in Goa. There will be less tourists for sure. Kochi has a nice artist vibe actually and I met a guy who paints & has a gallery there- I’ll see if I can find his in my phone still. You should look either Marine drive or fort kochi for a place.

  13. Jessica October 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel

    Really enjoying reading your blog, some great tips. My husband and I are coming to Goa for two weeks at the start of January. We’d like to visit the north and the south. Where would you recommend for staying in the north? Ideally we’d like somewhere “luxury” close to the beach, somewhere pretty and quiet but close to the action! Any suggestions? I know it’s expensive at this time of year but don’t mind paying a bit more to get something special. Any help would be appreciated – there just seems so much choice it’s a bit mind boggling! Thanks Jess

    • Rachel Jones October 6, 2014 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Amarya shamiyana is great, sur la mer, or if you want simple but quieter you can try jamboree creek. I’m sadly not as familiar with the further north hotels.

  14. Gracia October 12, 2014 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    Thanks for al the tips!!! Love reading your post from India, we want to go there in a few months, so we are preparing the trip now. I found very interesting what you wrote about the secret beach, so I will write you to see if you can give us more details.

    Thanks in advance and congratulations for your blog ;-)

  15. Kristina November 3, 2014 at 2:39 am - Reply

    Hi there

    Very helpful blogpost. Me and my 2 friends are going to Goa for 1 month in December. Could you please recommend the best way how we could find a good place to stay in Goa?

    #Goa #flat #house #villa #hotel #holiday #rent

  16. Abhi April 8, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    Hey Hi Rachel,

    Lovely tips. I just came back from my trip to Goa. Wish i had read your tips before i had gone.

    Anyway, i did enjoy. But i think i would have enjoyed a lot after following your tips.

    Will surely visit again when i do get time and will try ing you as well.


    Abhi (8806526050)

  17. Puc July 2, 2015 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Awesome, I will be in Goa in Nov/Dec so I’m excited to try all your tips out!

  18. Fleur April 26, 2016 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    What a great and helpful post! We’re going to Goa tomorrow and already booked for 3 nights in Calangute but after that we will go to another beach after reading your post. Which beach would you suggest the most? We like some nice restaurants, bars so it doesn’t have to be too quiet..

    • Rachel Jones April 26, 2016 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      I think you’d like mandrem :) but it’s dying down as it’s end of season and lots of restaurants are closing, so you might like calangute!

  19. ruch May 14, 2016 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    I’m heading to Goa in a couple of weeks with friends from the UK. Any recommendations on where to rent a car from? I’ve noticed that hiring a taxi for the day is very similar in price.

    What would you opt for?


    • Rachel Jones May 15, 2016 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      Hi, I don’t know a particular place, you can just ask drivers and dudes on the street to help direct you to someone who rents.

  20. vivek July 1, 2016 at 5:46 am - Reply

    Hey Rachel can we meet? Bcoz I m planning a trip to Goa wid my frnd in august mid and it is my first trip to Goa so I don’t knw anything about it and I’ve been checking for each and everything on evry website related to Goa but I found ur blog quite interesting so if we can meet their and getting some advices from one who knws Goa better den anyone it will be big help for me

  21. Jesse October 20, 2016 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Amazing blog dear! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Sunirmal Das May 12, 2017 at 9:45 am - Reply

    amazing guide, thanks a lot.

  23. Nigel O'Shea December 17, 2017 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    Great blog Rachel and written in a simple fun way. We fly into GOA Friday 22/12/17 for 14 days, from the UK. Last minute plan :-).
    Anymore up to date ideas on South Goa beaches. We are two old dudes 50 + experienced travellers, fancying a little quiet time when we arrive in the southern beaches. Then possibly making our way up North stopping a day or so on a few beaches on the way. The secret beach was unsurprisingly fully booked booked. But that looked great to start.

    Keep going :-) X

  24. Ranjeet January 5, 2018 at 3:12 am - Reply

    Such an amazing view of goa from your POV ❤

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