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.
General Goa Journey Tips
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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!
the 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.
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!)
there are parrot flowers- how cool!
I 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 Lunch
fried potatoes, papads, salad, and pickle
cashew feni bottles lined up ready for you to take a swig (takes like rubbing alcohol but people love it in Goa)
rava fray prawns and sweet carrot dish
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.
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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