• tropical spice plantation goa

Tropical Spice Plantation Goa (Ponda)

If you’ve been to Goa, you’ve most likely heard of this place. It’s on signs everywhere to “bathe” elephants and ride them. Although, the elephants aren’t exactly what you might hope (and there are better places that are sanctuaries where it’s humane to bathe them in the river instead), the spice plantation attached is actually really cool like in bathing elephants in Dubare, Coorg.

I had some friends come and tour it. They told me it was cool and I didn’t really believe them. I went back for a project I was working on so figured I’d share a little with you.

First of all there are TWO spice plantations in Ponda. The Tropical Spice Plantation I’m showing below and Sahakari Farms (a cheaper one). Both are very similar in terms of tour and food. Probably a better elephants experience at Sahakari so I will be taking future guests there. I didn’t snap photos though, so will be sharing more about Tropical Spice Plantation.

Don’t forget to pick up my Insider Guide to Goa and my Guide to India

General Goa Journey Tips

Tropical Spice Plantation Goa

You cross a gorgeous old bridge to a 300 year old plantation full of all kinds of spices that I had no clue how they grew (like betel nut used for paan and the cardamom in my chai!). You’ll get a lunch provided with your tour (and a sample of feni). The lunch was actually really freakin’ good! The fish was fresh and rava fry prawns were yummy. For pricing and booking check the Spice Plantation Website.

Those who work for the plantation live there as well as loads of cute cows, dogs, cats, and geese. Take a look!

tropical spice plantation goa

tropical spice plantation goathe slanted tree is the oldest in the plantation. We learned that every four months a palm tree sheds a layer, therefore if you count four horizontal lines up, that equals one year of life.

tropical spice plantation goa

tropical spice plantation goa

tropical spice plantation goa

above were betel nut trees. The nut isn’t good until it turns red then one carries the same effect of 30 ml of whiskey. It’s mixed with tobacco and other things. Now you know who all the bored rickshaws drivers are chewing it all day (and why they all seemed drunk in Varanasi!)

tropical spice plantation goathere are parrot flowers- how cool!

tropical spice plantation goa

tropical spice plantation goa

tropical spice plantation goaI watched this dog cool off while the sun went down. He was one of the prettiest dogs I’ve seen in Goa and at first glance almost looked like a fox!

tropical spice plantation goa

Tropical Spice Plantation Goa Lunch

tropical spice plantation goafried potatoes, papads, salad, and pickle

tropical spice plantation goacashew feni bottles lined up ready for you to take a swig (takes like rubbing alcohol but people love it in Goa)

tropical spice plantation goarava fray prawns and sweet carrot dish

tropical spice plantation goa

When to Go:

This place is open year round and I think could be really nice in monsoon. I’ve been here a few time (December and October twice). I think October was nicer because everything had the green monsoon look to it. It rained a little but they do have umbrellas. There’s a lot more to the tour than what I posted, but hope this snippet helps you to decided whether or not to go. Plus, look at these cool dudes we saw outside.

Don’t go on a holiday as traffic can be bad. Coming from Anjuna side, you’ll go past Panjim another 30 minutes or so.

tropical spice plantation goa

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.

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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. Michelle | Lights Camera Journey February 26, 2015 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    The food looks delicious! Are these plantations easy to get to?

  2. Priya Florence Shah★ (@PriyaFlorence) February 26, 2015 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Love this! I would like to go with you if you take tourists.

    • Rachel Jones February 27, 2015 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      I dont but have considered starting tours… tricky here though with aggressive cab drivers etc , they don’t like silly foreigner taking any business :)

  3. Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster February 27, 2015 at 7:22 am - Reply

    That food looks amazing! And I definitely thought that red dog was a fox too. So cute!

  4. Alana - Paper Planes February 27, 2015 at 11:01 am - Reply

    When I traveled through India several years ago I literally had NO clue what I was doing and didn’t plan ahead at all…would love to go back and see more of the country with places like this!

    • Rachel Jones February 27, 2015 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      Are you still in thailand?? I’ll be coming to TBEX in bangkok!

      • Alana - Paper Planes March 1, 2015 at 1:34 pm - Reply

        I just got back after a while in the States – will prob be heading to Bangkok in October, but not 100% sure yet.

  5. Sharmila Desai March 2, 2015 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Where is the most humane place in Goa to take children to see and bathe Elephants? Thanks!

    • Rachel Jones March 2, 2015 at 8:02 pm - Reply

      Goa isn’t known for that as much.. I think all places in Goa aren’t humane. I would go to Kerala or even Dubare in Karnataka.

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