• ultimate guide to goa

Ultimate Unique Guide to North Goa

I read once that as a travel writer you shouldn’t use the word “paradise”, but there is truly no other way to describe Goa. Imagine people who love their lives completely. They came to Goa to start a business they dreamed of, play music, or sell paintings. With a low cost of living, people can actually do work they love. Everyone is happy in Goa. You’ll see the slogan “Live Happy” all over. This is an intro to the ultimate guide to Goa, but my e-book is where you’ll find all my tips.

I’ve gotten pretty used to where to go eat, the best beaches to tan on, and how to avoid crowds. I get emails pretty often asking me for tips so it’s time I gave them.

I wrote a 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. (If you join my Facebook group there is a 30% off code in there)

If you’re coming to Goa, I guarantee this book will make your trip 1000x better than if you just showed up here without reading it.

General Goa Journey Tips

Guide to Goa: an Intro

Goa is separated into North and South, North being more “party” and south being a place people go to relax and get away from the party scene in the North.

In the future, I hope to give you great advice about South Goa, but as I live and spent more time up north, I’m going to stick to this part of Goa. 

Read more:

Ultimate Guide to North Goa 

ultimate guide to goa


In Goa they speak Konkani. Time is GMT +5.5 (IST). The currency is rupees. It is not an international airport unless you take a charted flight from say Manchester or somewhere in Russia.

Getting there:

Most likely you’ll fly in from Bombay- which mean only a secondary 45 minute flight to Goa. I suggest booking all the way through on Kiwi as they also search budget airlines in India and you won’t have to pay for extra luggage.

It’s hot and tropical. There is a risk for malaria and a small risk for dengue. There are fabulous hospitals and many come to Goa for medical tourism to get plastic surgery or dental work on the cheap. You cannot drink the water. Tipping is expected to hotels, services like massage and hair, and nicer restaurants, but not to drivers and other basics. To call India start with country code +91.

You need travel insurance. Goa is more expensive that most of India and hospitals can be very expensive if you crash your scooter or whatever may happen. I swear by World Nomads Journey Insurance.

DO check into what visa you need. Use ivisa.com to figure this out.


October through April is best, but by end of April it’s HOT HOT HOT. December is the peak and it is crowded to the max. You’ll need to book ahead at this time and expect to pay 5x as much as normal. Monsoon is in the summer, May through September and although I love it and stay, most people try not to come during this time.

Here are more tips for seasonal travel in India.


ultimate guide to goa

There is nothing more important than food in Goa and for this one I’m going to redirect you to a recent post I’ve written on the topic:

Top Restaurants in Goa 2015

What I don’t mention on these is Sri, a popular little spot in Vagator that everyone from locals to Bollywood stars stops in for a bite. Personally, the food isn’t my favorite, but the scene is pretty cool.

ultimate guide to goa

I also didn’t mention a cute little place in Assagao called Vinayak which you’ll pass on the way to Villa Blanche. It’s a local spot with great curries. I love their garlic butter prawns.

Unlike the rest of India, you’ll be substituting chai for sweet lime soda, typical snacks for lime drizzled corn on the cob, and picking up street snacks like Isreali inspired shwarmas, Goan samosas (little less spice I think), and Goan sausages (great on pizza).

ultimate guide to goa

The inexpensive local dish is any fish curry rice or chicken xacuti, which is a coconut curry. Goans eat fish almost every day! Also yummy and Goan is cafreal, vindaloo, sorpotel eith fermented rice cakes and chouris.

The local drink is cashew feni, which is very hardcore moonshine- beware!

The local bread is pao, which is delivered to each home by bicycle! Fresh and warm, these buns are great for sandwiches!


Many many people come here for yoga. You can choose either yoga retreats or if you’re already a big yogi, you can do yoga teacher training (YTT) here.

Click this link to see a list of the top yoga retreats in Goa. This site is the most well-known booking site for yoga retreats and courses for YTTbecause it only lists the best and there are tons of reviews on there.


ultimate guide to goa

Check with your guesthouse for hook up, but you can go whitewater rafting (more on this later), hiking, waterfall chasing, paragliding, SUP, kite-surfing, or head south to the spice plantation to ride an elephant.  Of course you need time to beach out! There are dolphin boat trips, river houseboat rentals, Tai Chi, Yoga all over the place, and Silks and dance at Tito’s White house.


My favorite beach is Vagator, which actually is three beaches. Love going there for a beach shack lunch or a nice greek lunch at Thalassa. We take Huckleberry, our dog, here for a swim on Ozram beach often, the smallest bit of Vagator beach.

ultimate guide to goa

ultimate guide to goa

Anjuna beach is more crowded, but still nice. At night this beach comes alive with trance parties. You can get 30 minute foot massages for about 200 Rs at both beaches. Women will come by selling sarongs and such- they can be very persistant, and YES there are cows on the beaches ;)

ultimate guide to goa

Keri farther up north is gorgeous and empty and known to locals as the best.

Arambol is where you’ll find the hippie drum circles and little beach parties. Here’s a guide to Arambol.

Mandrem/Morjim and Ashwem are nice beaches and I like to go there on Sundays for lunch and lounging! I guess I would call these fancier beaches? People say they are too Russian, but I say who cares- they are great beaches and I don’t get what the problem is with all this Russian talk!

Baga, Calangute, and Candolim are not only three beaches I avoid, but in general I don’t go to these areas very much and if you have limited time they can be skipped. There is much more to Goa than this!


Goa has THE best market in India, if not the whole world: the Saturday night market, followed closely by the flea market. These aren’t the only places to shop but are a great place to start.

tia and tan

The two biggest markets are only open on season: end of October through March-April.

As I wrote this, it got quite long (go figure my shopping information is the most detailed) so I’m linking separate posts:

Anjuna Flea Market: A Hippie’s Paradise

Ashwem Boutique Gems

Ultimate Shopping Guide to Goa


Goa is the place to stay right on the beach. Shacks are typically non A/C (you don’t need it most of the year). If you are coming peak season (December and Janurary) you need to book way ahead of time.

I tell backpackers who e-mail me to stay one of two areas.

1. Way up north in Ashwem/Morjim

  • Vaayu, who offers kite surfing and SUP
  • Glamp it up at Amarya Paros
  • Marbella the party place with a pool
  • Wanderers Hostel to meet friends

2. The other option is in Anjuna/Vagator/Siolim area. There are great backpacking options in this area like:

  • Jungle Hostel where lots of backpackers stay
  • Bean Me Up vegan restaurant, very hippy
  • Evershine cheap guesthouse, have your own room

If you’re looking to splurge out a bit, which most people are who email me… here are some options that I have reviewed and LOVE in Goa:

  • Siolim House to get the old Portuguese style
  • Elsewhere, a secret beach with affordable cottages or expensive houses
  • Sur La Mer boutique style with a pool
  • Noi Varo totally amazing house with cook, staff, etc

For more places to stay check out these 3 articles

LUXURY hotels in Goa

My FAVORITE hotels in Goa

Budget hotels in Goa

ultimate guide to goa


It’s not secret that Goa is psychedelic, and probably the trance capital of the world. The hippies may have left, but the scene is still psy.

Popular psy parties: Shiva Valley, Disco Valley, Hillop, Club 9, Westend, Curlies (maybe),

Techno/less trance like clubs: Teso, Chronicle, Terrace, Waters, Katzensuppe, Bardo, Guru, Marbela, Sunset Ashram, UV Bar, and Bubble Brunch. These are the ones that I love going to!

ultimate guide to goa

Clubs: There are a handful in North Goa. I know near Baga and Calangute there are loads but I haven’t been. For one, I know they are full of drunk dudes on vacation. In Arpora close to home there is Club Cubana though. On Wednesday, it’s ladies night (aka free) at Cubana and I enjoy the music there a lot. They are strict at the door on who enters so you can go and drink without having any issues from men. I mention this on my post about FAQ in Goa for my favorite place to hear r&b and hip hop in Goa and actually have some discount passes if you’re interested.

Special Tips!!

Snips Salon is where I get my hair done and they have amazing facials and massages.

If you’re curious about Old Goa and Panjim, take a day to hire a driver and see them. Don’t stay in Panjim! You can get a cuter cheaper place right on the beach, next to great restaurants.

ultimate guide to goa

Glamour Salon in Arpora between the Saturday market and Club Cubana will do eyebrow threading for 20 rupees. She does a great job!

ultimate guide to goa

I like to go to Resort Rio for a massage and to chill by the pool while eating pizza!

Even if you don’t stay at a 5 Star Hotel, doesn’t mean you can’t go to them for drinks! Try the Taj at Fort Agauada!

ultimate guide to goa

ultimate guide to goa

The neighborhood I live in, Assagao, is adorable. Some call it the “beverly hills” of Goa. Look into staying here.

Think about renting a villa if you have 4 or more people. Airbnb is cool now in India and you can get great deals. Even my complex has our villas on airbnb. I have a discount code for you: $25 (1,555 Rs) off your stay if you use this airbnb link to book. I found great places in India and Hawaii on here!

Bike rentals are the way to go. It’s about 200 Rs a day for a bike and 500 Rs petrol will last you at least all week! You can also rent a car if you have more people. This is Ben and I’s omni!

ultimate guide to goa

Although I’m no pro on South Goa, I can recommend this secret beach in Goa.

ultimate guide to goa

Check out What’s Up Goa for to find out where that night’s party is at. It’s very off and on so make sure you know the best place for that day.

Check into Couchsurfing in Goa. It’s the ideal place because it’s best when you know a local.


While this post gave a little insight into Goa, I wrote a 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.  


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. Brandon May 7, 2014 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Excellent guide. Vagator > Anjuna for sure. I particularly loved Bean Me Up guesthouse/restaurant in Vagator. They have a great vibe and some of the best healthy/fresh/organic food I’ve ever had. A nice change of pace from the typical heavy Indian food (which I love).

    • Rachel Jones May 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      Yes, I remember seeing your post on Bean me Up, I always tell people to check it out but let them know I haven’t stayed there! seems mosts people do and love it!

  2. Alise May 7, 2014 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    This post was very helpful! I have one question though- how conservatively must women dress in Goa? When I went to India previously, I traveled to about 5 other states besides Goa, including big cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bangalore. Everywhere that I went, I had to dress conservatively. Once when it was blazingly hot out, I wore a tank top, and EVERYONE stared at me (even more so than usual, seeing as I’m a white blonde girl). My group and I went to a “beach resort” in Orissa in which we were told that the beach was private and we could wear bikinis, but that was incorrect information; everyone on the beach was fully dressed, and not only did people stare at us in our bikinis, but creepy men watching us from their hotel balconies took photos of us… ick! Anyhow, I know Goa has a reputation for being more touristy/Westernized/not conservative, but can one really walk around in a bikini or a tank top and shorts there?

    • Rachel Jones May 7, 2014 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      Hi Alise, actually in Goa is so relaxed I’ve seen naked women painted. my western and indian girlfriends were short shorts and tiny tops- at the clubs both indians and westerners are in tiny club dresses and all beaches it’s ok for bikinis! It’s super chilled out!

    • ajay March 16, 2015 at 4:36 pm - Reply


    • Rizwan Akhif August 21, 2016 at 2:36 pm - Reply

      Lol….but goa is to totally different!

  3. Emily May 7, 2014 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    Rachel – I love all your posts – they will prove to be very handy when we go there. Question for you: we are targeting likely 2 – 2.5 months in India arriving sometime around late August/early September and then staying into October. What time within that period would you say would be ideal for Goa versus other areas of the country? How much time do you think you would need to stay at a minimum in Goa?

    • Rachel Jones May 8, 2014 at 1:16 pm - Reply

      the latest you can come to Goa the best, places will all be open by the end of October and early OCt can still be very weird weather and closed !

    • Rachel Jones May 8, 2014 at 1:16 pm - Reply

      Oh, and I think you need at least a week!

  4. Agness May 7, 2014 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Goa really looks like a wonderful place to live in. I’m glad you are surrounded by expats and foreign travellers. Here in China it’s only me and Cez and we sometimes feel like having a chat or hang around with expats but there aren’t any! I’m a big fan of Indian cuisine so I would definitely check out your top 5 cheapest places to dine out in Goa!

    • Rachel Jones May 8, 2014 at 1:17 pm - Reply

      ahh shame there aren’t other expats there to chill with. Luckily the Indians in Goa are very westernized and so easy to relate to!

  5. Emily from Let's Roam Wild May 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Girrrl! This looks amazing! While India is definitely on my list of places to go (my boyfriend is Nepali – not the same, but close), you’re making GOA look irresistible! And don’t mind if I say, I definitely want a Thai massage from you. When I hit up your side of the world, you better bet I’m looking you up! Love this guide, keep them coming :). What is a typical day looking like for you these days?

    • Rachel Jones May 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      Yeahhh girl come get a massage loL! that’s awesome. Ah I haven’t had many clients lately, mainly bc I have fliers up at only 2 places- so I was just chilling alot since season was coming to a close. I just came back to Ohio though for a month long visit to see my bff get married!

  6. Rebekah May 8, 2014 at 1:38 am - Reply

    Goa sounds pretty awesome, I think the next city I live in I might look for a place with a larger expat community. It seems like there is so much going on there!

    • Rachel Jones May 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      Yeah, there is a lot to do here and so many people to hang out with!

  7. J in Beijing May 8, 2014 at 7:11 am - Reply

    Awesome post- I’m definitely bookmarking this for later. Ever since I started reading your blog it’s ignited a real desire to visit Goa- I hadn’t really been that curious about it before. I love that everyone is so happy there- people can sometimes be a bit grumpy or serious in Beijing ha!

  8. Katie May 8, 2014 at 8:12 am - Reply

    I am trying to a get a group of friends to go to India next year, so this is great timing. I think you’ll be able to convince them more than me, so I’m emailing them this now :)

  9. Allison Wilson May 8, 2014 at 8:22 am - Reply

    In India, Goa is another name of party. This place is meant for travelers and enjoyment. I love the night beach parties in Goa. Awesome place. Glad to see that you had fun time there.

  10. Molly May 8, 2014 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Great post, one that I will definitely bookmark for the future. Looks like a pretty unique place! Thanks for the insights :)

  11. Karyn @ Not Done Journeyling May 9, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Great post. Goa was never on my list but through reading your blog I definitely want to spend time there. What are the options like re vegan food in Goa? I’d expect there to be plenty of choices throughout India, and Goa’s hippie history makes me think vegan food is likely, but I was thinking that that may also not be the case consider there are so many Westerners living there. Do you have any tips for vegans when visiting Goa?

    • Rachel Jones May 9, 2014 at 10:52 am - Reply

      lots of vegan food there are tons of yogi’s in Goa. I don’t have many tips- but Bean Me Up is really good and popular vegan place!

      • Karyn @ Not Done Journeyling May 10, 2014 at 1:05 am - Reply

        Awesome, thank you!

  12. tharobster May 12, 2014 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    ha ! all the beaches , clubs and restaurants you love most of all … we love too ! must have passed each other so many times , funny . katzensuppe and waters had best clubbing/music for us this year . enjoy goa ;)

    • Rachel Jones May 13, 2014 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      haha we probably have passed by each other! small world :)

  13. Empty Rucksack June 24, 2014 at 4:48 am - Reply

    Undoubtedly the most properly compiled guide to Goa on the Internet, we wish you had published this before January. Now we need to visit goa again, one to get these things off the list and second for a thai massage :)

    • Rachel Jones June 24, 2014 at 5:06 am - Reply

      thank you for the compliment! and i’d love for you guys to come for massages!

  14. Suvradip July 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    Dear Rachel,
    I like travelling and appreciate the way you live your life. Your tips are also helpful :) .However it seems that sometimes you just forget about India’s diversity and heterogeneity of culture. e.g. Bhaang is not easily available (even during Holi) in West Bengal. I humbly suggest you not to generalise things/facts/incidents as Indian !!!! Rather you can link them to the particular place of their hapenning… that’s all… keep writing and informing :) Best of luck……….

    • Rachel Jones July 8, 2014 at 5:12 am - Reply

      Hi, I appreciate you reading and commenting. I am not sure what you’re talking about in this post I don’t think I mentioned bhang. It’s about North Goa only. I did talk about bhang in my posts about Rajasthan where it is easily accessible and in Goa on Holi as well I talked about it because people were taking it. I write about India as a whole very rarely and try to write about each place accurately..

  15. Carole August 23, 2014 at 6:11 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel, my friend and I are heading over to Goa in November, so thanks for all the information especially about the eating places. Also you mentioned ‘snips’, could you tell me where this is?

    • Rachel Jones August 25, 2014 at 11:07 am - Reply

      Thanks Carole. And Snips is in Calangute and also a cheaper one in Panjim. Great for manicures (700 rs) and massages starting at about 2500.. really professional and one of my favorite salons!

  16. Omar August 31, 2014 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Very interesting and informative plogs. I honestly was surprised when I saw the number of the foreign tourists visiting Goa. It is definitely worth visiting!
    My concern is that whether I can communicate with locals or foreigns there, do they speak English?

  17. Anna September 11, 2014 at 3:01 am - Reply

    Great Post – I visited Goa (based oursleves in Anjuna) almost 2 years ago now and have been longing to go back ever since. I’m thinking of returning and staying for 3 months or so. Can you give any tips on where to find more long term accommodation or cheap apartment rentals? Thanks!

    • Rachel Jones September 11, 2014 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      That’s cool you’re coming back! I would check OLX- sadly, I don’t know of any right now

      • Carlyzia October 4, 2014 at 4:53 pm - Reply

        Hi. Iv read so many of your posts whilst organising my trip around the world Goa will be one of them!!
        We seem fairly similar too, love your posts.
        I will probably be traveling on my own so it’s nice to know that youve done that too! It’s a scary thing to do:)
        Keep posting, keep smiling. Maybe meet up for a drink!

        • Rachel Jones October 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm - Reply

          Great, I’m so glad you’re going to do some solo travel!

  18. Rebecka Latoś October 19, 2014 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Hi girl,
    I’m moving to morjim, Goa in the end of Nov/beginning of Dec to work as a yoga teacher. Will be there for 5-6 months.
    It would be lovely to meet up and hang out if you’d like to.
    Just write to me on Facebook: Rebecka Latoś

    Best regards,

    • Rachel Jones October 19, 2014 at 1:45 pm - Reply

      Awesome, I’ll be around :)

      • Rebecka Lato's December 8, 2014 at 8:18 pm - Reply

        Hi again, I’m flying down to Kerala on sunday and will spend a month there. Then up to Karnataka and After that to Goa. Would you add me on and we can keep in touch and meet up?
        All the best
        Rebecka L

  19. Karan October 20, 2014 at 7:33 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Haven’t found a better guide to Goa on the internet. Thanks a ton for your blog!

    Could you suggest some beach shacks or beach huts near the same area (Anjuna/Vagator). Me and a couple of friends are looking for a nice place to relax which doesn’t burn a hole into our pockets. We have stayed at the commercial hotels and this time are looking to steer clear of those ones.

    Please help.

    Thanks again

    • Rachel Jones October 20, 2014 at 9:43 am - Reply

      Thanks karan that’s so cool to hear. The beachside ones will probs burn a hole. I’d suggest staying just a walk from the beach like Laguna Anjuna

  20. bhavya November 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    hi,can u suggest me few beach resorts near calangute.it will be helpful in booking and planning our vacation to goa in much nice manner.

    • Rachel Jones November 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      Hi, sorry I’m not so familiar with Calangute hotels.

  21. Danee December 12, 2014 at 8:39 pm - Reply


    Your blog is fabulous and has helped me tremendously as I prepared for my trip to India. I am on my way to Goa and will be there for a couple weeks (or ++ TBD), wanted to see if you were still there? Would love to buy you a cocktail sister!

    Thanks so so much!


  22. sanjay January 3, 2015 at 12:50 am - Reply

    I will be visiting goa on 9 jan, your information will be quite helpful… thanks

  23. Joyson Dsouza January 4, 2015 at 1:32 am - Reply

    Hey thanks for the beautiful and quite informative post……
    I am travelling alone to Goa in Jan

    Post helped me continue with my plan to go Goa as all my friends backed out.
    I’ll still go alone :)

  24. Omar Perez February 12, 2015 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel… any good guest house around?

  25. Omar Perez February 12, 2015 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    Any hotel in Arambol or only guest houses?

  26. abhishek March 2, 2015 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    I am 28 years old bagpacker based out of New Delhi. I am planning to visit goa on 31st March’15 for about 7-10 days. Would request you to please suggest me a place/area in North Goa to stay where i can meet new people travelling alone.

    I was in Goa for a week last month and stayed at one of the hotels in cadolin but found the place too commercial and crowded.


    • Rachel Jones March 2, 2015 at 6:11 pm - Reply

      I think you might like Ajuna better. Check out Tamarind hotel.

      • abhishek March 3, 2015 at 12:05 pm - Reply


        Thanks for the reply. The hotel looks very good but is little expensive for me as i am a budget traveller and explore new places every month.

        can you please suggest how vagator and morjim are for stay/party?


  27. Nash April 16, 2015 at 4:32 am - Reply

    I know you said you like Vagator the most up above, but can you tell me WHY you like Vagator the best over the others? Party vibe, relaxed vibe, places to eat, the cleanliness of the beach/water, the people, etc? That is one thing I wish you would have commented on more….the why’s….thank you!

    • Rachel Jones April 16, 2015 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      i like it because its close by, has decent shacks, and isn’t too crowded.. is pretty with the rocks.

  28. dipax naique June 14, 2015 at 9:19 am - Reply

    hey rachel …how r you?
    awesomely described our little Goa
    n u r right about north being the party des. but there a lot to see in the south too
    if you happen to travel to south goa then please dont forget to get in touch.
    pls go on my fb profile for info.

  29. Karen Anderson July 21, 2015 at 1:51 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel, I just came across this awesome blog via Pinterest and the timing couldn’t be better! I may be in Goa with my family in Dcember, including my daughter who would be at Sunburn :o I’ve made a reservation at Living Room thinking 1) it may be close to the festival venue, though I can’t tell exactly where that is 2) it looks kinda swank! and 3) it looks like a quick walk to Ozram. Any hints/thoughts especially on #1 as ideally I’d love it if my daughter could walk back to the hotel from the festival venue each night.

    • Rachel Jones July 23, 2015 at 6:06 am - Reply

      glad you found the blog! i have been in goa for years but never been to sunburn. I think at the time, walking may not be so safe to be honest and also I think it’s too far. taxi motorbikes are very cheap although rates increase at this time. traffic becomes a nightmare. the reason i dont think it’ll be safe: drunk drivers, drunk people bothering her

      • Karen Anderson July 23, 2015 at 7:07 am - Reply

        Thanks so much for your perspective! Taxis it shall be!

  30. jai July 25, 2015 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    great and interesting review. precise info, this helps a ton! keep up the good work.

  31. Sarah August 19, 2015 at 2:15 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel! I’m so glad I came across your blog! I’m spending the first 3 months of 2016 in India and Goa is one of my destinations :) I’ll be in Kerala in January then Goa in February before heading to northern India in March. Is February still considered high season? Should I make arrangements for a place to stay prior to arriving or is that time of year safe to wing it? I’m not so much into the party scene, but I’d love to meet and connect with like minded folks (locals, expats, travelers) who are into yoga, writing , and traveling. Should I just stick with South Goa? Or are there spots in North Goa that aren’t so much party scenes? Any more information that can point me into the right direction for my Goa stay would be awesome! Thank you :)
    Santa Cruz, CA (USA)

    • Rachel Jones August 19, 2015 at 9:44 am - Reply

      In Feb, you’ll be better off in North Goa. It’s not the peak of season and you’ll be able to find somewhere to stay!

  32. Anju August 30, 2015 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    We(Husband and Wife) are visiting North Goa in mid November 2015.I read your blog.If you are in Goa kindly give us Your date for the meeting
    thanks and regards,

  33. sundeep October 6, 2015 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    hi,, rachel,, me n wife is coming goa on 28 nov n hope to see the most happening places, hope u will guide n yes wanna definately join the club cabana as u mentioned u have the passes , n discount cards. let me know how i can get from u? n the blog u written really helps me alot because this is my 5th trip to goa n still i found lot of places to see. hope u will guide me,, thanx

  34. John Fernandes October 10, 2015 at 2:00 am - Reply

    You seem to know Goa and better them me a Goan … and do visit Badem; Assagao… at the moment, I have given my house on rent .. and all who stayed there have loved it…. if I sell the property; I could get over Rs. 2 cr… however, I have retained it .. for enjoying the place myself and my family; and the tourist who stay there .. and I say; stay in April and May; and enjoy all the fruits that grow in my property of 1250 sq.mtrs…

  35. Pooja October 20, 2015 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    It was such a lovely description. You wrote so well and perfectly.

  36. Amulya October 27, 2015 at 2:06 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel! I’m so glad I came across your blog! Will be in GOA with a friend for this weekend. Can you please let me know the places we can visit ? Something we can’t afford to miss out on?

  37. Nat November 17, 2015 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    Your blog really opens up some really useful and interesting insights into the lesser known parts of Goa. Would you suggest a good beach for the new year where there is “just” enough happening so it does not border overtly crowded or boring. Im thinking South Goa but don’t know enough things about the area.

    Your help will be greatly appreciated.


  38. Sandip Sumal January 17, 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    I’m so glad I found your blog, I’ll be passing through GOA through the 2nd-4th March staying in Arpora.

    I am agonising over what I must see, what would you say are your top three not to be missed experiences in Goa? Your blog has been really informative and if you would like me to bring any any food, candy or even a bag of coffee let me know :)

    From England

    • Rachel Jones January 17, 2016 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      Vanilla flavored filter coffee!! hahaa I would never say no ;)

      Goa is so laid back there aren’t many experiences to be totally honest. I found the waterfall to be “okay” and the spice plantation is nice if you’re curious about spices *but I think the elephants are maybe mistreated* so I no longer go. I’ve never done dolphin tours or casino and those are the “top” things.

      When my friends visit, I usually take them to Thalassa to eat drink and party then go out after, maybe waters.
      A day at ashwem, eating at la plage, and trying stand up paddle board or kayaking at Vaayu is nice
      then maybe, a nice dinner at Go with the FLow!

  39. Jas February 8, 2016 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    Hello Rachel I liked your post on Goa, i am on my way as would be visiting goa next month as a solo traveller, i guess i have chosen the right place to stay which is near Vagator beach. Would love to go for a Thai massage as i know its great. Looking to see you soon.

  40. Ashwin March 23, 2016 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    Great posts by you..Good description of all the places.
    I’m planning to visit GOA in May alone. Can you please tell some of the good Partying places not much crowded. I’m open to go anywhere can be north or south GOA.
    Any clubs , beaches , Massage parlours , etc…..I don’t want crowded places with lot of locals or so….

  41. Quinton May 9, 2016 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel!
    All your links are super helpful, I think I’ve read almost every one for India. I’m going to be in Goa from May 28th to June 1st. I know it’s not neccesarily the best time and not very much time, but it’s more of an extended layover. I’m thinking of staying somewhere in the north, do you have any recommendations for that time?

    • Rachel Jones May 9, 2016 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Quinton, in the monsoon if you want budget and to meet people, a hostel like roadhouse in vagator is best, if you want something mid-range, try Siolim House

  42. Zhen Ni Jane May 18, 2016 at 9:33 am - Reply

    hi Rachel :) thats was a brilliant posts can i just say this was one of the best posts ever… totally impressed was far way too helpful thank you so much i was having a hard time going through several posts and reviews and none seemed to have given me a satisfactory detail. i will be coming to india and i plan to visit Goa in mid august , could you please help me with some places to visit and to stay over budget is not much of a concern but would like to be on the medium range :) thanks xoxo…

  43. Meg May 21, 2016 at 9:16 am - Reply

    hi ! I know you said on the guide that rainy season is over summer, so if I were to head to Goa end of July beginning of August time, would it still be a fun place to visit or does the rain spoil it ? Are there any days of sunshine around this time ?
    Thanks !

    • Rachel Jones May 23, 2016 at 11:24 pm - Reply

      Hi Meg, if you head to my homepage and use the search bar on the top right and put “goa monsoon” you’ll see lots of info on this! :) I like it but many don’t – I explain more about why in there

  44. Reborn in India (Justyna) November 12, 2016 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Girl! I just want to say I love your blog! I’m in India myself, have been here for 3 months and still 6 months ahead of me. I checked out this post because I arrived in North Goa YESTERDAY, I’ve been reading your posts for a while though :) Great tips, keep it up and maybe I’ll see you somewhere around ! xD

    • Rachel Jones November 12, 2016 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Thanks! :D I’m around so many will see you at the beach. If you do see me, say hi!

  45. Karina February 17, 2017 at 2:06 am - Reply

    I love your blog! 3 girlfriends and I will be visiting India in 2 weeks! We will be in Goa from the 14th-18th. I think were staying in Arpora at the Treebo Rainforest Enclave. This was before I read this blog. Is it pretty easy to get around? Thanks for all the great tips!

    • Rachel Jones February 17, 2017 at 9:53 am - Reply

      Yeah super easy to get around. Arpora is a good area, I haven’t heard of Treebo.

  46. Niama February 21, 2017 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Hey rachel,

    I just came back from Goa 2 days ago, your guide helped me a lot, thank you.
    Goa is a great place I spent 4 wonderful days there, can’t wait to go back.

    Thank you again

  47. testwebpage593 March 10, 2017 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel, we are heading to India for the month of April. I understand this is right at the end of tourist season so was just wondering what will be open and what wont. Do the markets generally stay open through the month of April or do they close at the beginning of the month?

    • Rachel Jones March 10, 2017 at 4:07 pm - Reply

      The Saturday market will be closed, but the Wednesday one might be open through April. It usually is. Most restaurants will start to close in April!

  48. testwebpage593 March 13, 2017 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks Rachel! Which area would you recommend staying in given that things will be closing down. We would definitely like to be on a beach where things are still open. :)

  49. Lillian March 21, 2017 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the tips. I am a female in my 40s planning a three day trip to Goa on my way to Bangalore for a conference. I am deliberating where to stay so that I have a nice beach, nighttime entertainment, food options and people around (not too crowded but not solo). Marbela Beach Resort, Baga Beach Resort or the Yuppie Hippie Hideout have all come out as options. I ride a scooter at home so feel comfortable taking one for rent (assuming i am not drinking :)). Thanks for your blog!

    • Rachel Jones March 21, 2017 at 10:36 pm - Reply

      I love the area around Marbela so that would be my choice. I don’t know Baga Beach Resort but I do not like Baga area at all and wouldn’t stay there personally. Don’t know the 3rd one!

  50. Medical Journeyling March 26, 2017 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Hi, I don’t know what happened to my reply where I added some recommendations in Anjuna? For staying overnight Angels Heaven and Studio 7 are good ones. And there is funny place called “Prison”. Southern end of Anjuna beach is better for swimming in comparison to rocky northern part.

    • Rachel Jones March 27, 2017 at 10:12 am - Reply

      It probably went to the spam folder. Thanks for the tips.

  51. Radha April 20, 2017 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel, Love this post. We’re heading to Goa in the next couple of weeks as need some beach time after doing the northern cities (knowing it may be a touch hot haha) We’re hoping to find a cute place where we can do our online work and just chill at a nice beach. Could you recommend somewhere where we’d easily get internet connection and have cute cafes to spend a few hours at? We’re not into the night life but assuming this won’t be very active anyway because of the season? Any tips appreciated!! xx

  52. Lucy July 1, 2017 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    Could you please tell me where/what the accommodation is on the top photo on this page? Looks dreamy and like somewhere I need to stay!

    • Rachel Jones July 1, 2017 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      It’s private villas on Nerul beach – the name is escaping me! But they are for 7+ people and over 700 USD per night I think!

  53. James December 6, 2017 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel

    What car rental do you suggest? We’ll arrive at the Madgaon train station. Is there anything close by?

    Thank you!

    • Rachel Jones December 7, 2017 at 12:14 am - Reply

      You won’t find rental car companies like Hertz or something, you just have to rent from a local agency/guy with an extra car! Go into a tourist angecny and ask them for a .

  54. dan January 10, 2018 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Hi ,
    Can you please tell me where should we stay in goa, i mean which beach with all this information its too confusing out here. We are from England and want to hit now famous Goa party circuit.

    • Rachel Jones January 11, 2018 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      Hey Dan, check out my ebook it has it all broken down

  55. frances March 7, 2018 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Very helpful article! Please may I ask where the hotel/room is on the main image? The shuttered windows overlooking the beach look amazing! x

    • Rachel Jones March 7, 2018 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      This is a private villa in Nerul! I don’t think it’s for rent :)

  56. John Peter May 5, 2018 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Hey Rachel, Great blog.. I agree with all that you have mentioned.. iilove Goa.. We 4 friends going to Goa. This is the first time at going in end of May 24th.. so not sure if Anjuna .. vagator.. Arambol ashwem will still have their parties and events happening.. and can I also get your discount coupon for club Cabana

  57. iva arifaj December 3, 2018 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel

    I read your articles about Goa, I was wondering if you know some places for good music, but not much commercial as the nightclubs are in the websites. Some hidden good bars for chillin’ drinking something cool :))

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