Backpacking Goa travel guide. Best beaches in Goa. Where to stay. Best things to do. How to get around. south india route itinerary. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

The state of Goa is known as a top beach destination in India, and it’s also a popular backpacking destination.

This is a quick guide to the basics of what to know when you’re planning your first trip to Goa! (Well, as quick as possible! There’s kind of a lot to cover.)

Use this as your first step in deciding what areas of Goa to further research! 

 

Backpacking Goa travel guide. Best beaches in Goa. Where to stay. Best things to do. How to get around. south india route itinerary. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

Headed to Goa tomorrow and want to know where to stay?!

Choose from these top backpacker hostels in Goa:

 

Also have a look at these beach huts in Goa for outside of monsoon season:

 

Accommodation links on this site take you to partner booking website!

 

 

And now…

A little bit about the basics of traveling in Goa!

First, a few of the best things to do in Goa.

Then, a bit about getting to Goa (and getting away), as well as getting around Goa.

And then, some of the best beach areas to stay in Goa!

 

 

Best things to do in Goa

 

1. Beach

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Best things to do in Goa - go to best beaches in India. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

2. Stay in a beach hut

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Best things to do in Goa - stay in beach hut. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

3. Eat at a beach shack or beachfront restaurant

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Best things to do in Goa - eat at beach shack or beachfront restaurant. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

4. Visit a fort with ocean views

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Best things to do in Goa - visit fort with ocean views. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

5. Roam the village streets

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Best things to do in Goa - explore village streets. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

Getting to Goa (and getting away from Goa)

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Getting to Goa by train. Backpacking India travel blog

 

Goa can be a perfect part of a one month South India itinerary.

 

Backpacking Goa travel guide - south india route itinerary. Backpacking India travel blog

 

You can make it a stop in Goa on your trip from Mumbai to Kerala. You can get from Mumbai to Goa in a number of ways – bus, train, or flight – and which way you choose will be more or less based on your preference or travel style, how far in advance you’re planning, and possibly the specific beach you want to go to in Goa.

From Mumbai, bus to Goa, train to Goa, and flight to Goa can all potentially be good options. 

You can also go from Goa to Kerala in a few different ways. This includes going straight down the coast, or you can head inland first before making your way further to Kerala.

When going straight down the coast, there’s a train from Goa to Gokarna (and also in the opposite direction with a train from Gokarna to Goa). When going inland, there’s a train from Goa to Hampi which will allow you to see a quick glimpse of waterfalls – if you’re paying attention!)

 

Backpacking Goa travel guide - getting to goa - train to see dudhsagar falls. Backpacking India travel blog

 

Sometimes there’s also an overnight bus from Goa to Hampi (and in the opposite direction from Hampi to Goa) which is a popular option for backpackers.

 

 

Airports in Goa

Backpacking Goa travel guide - where is airport in goa. Backpacking India travel blog

 

There is one airport in Goa. 

It’s located in South Goa, although on the northern side, so practically central Goa.

There are buses from the Goa Airport.

 

Backpacking Goa travel guide - bus from goa airport. Backpacking India travel blog

 

You can get from the airport to North Goa beaches by bus, from the airport to Panjim by bus, and from the airport to South Goa beaches by bus. And also in the opposite direction too – here’s how to take the bus a South Goa beach to the airport. If you’re heading north, it might be easier to take a bus from the airport to Vasco where it may be easier to find a bus to go further north.

If you want to get a taxi from the airport, see how much it will cost to the beach you’re headed to.

 

Backpacking Goa travel guide - taxi from goa airport. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

Getting around Goa

Backpacking Goa travel guide - how to get around goa. Backpacking India travel blog

 

Taxi

The WORST part of Goa?!

Maybe the taxi thing.

They say “taxi mafia” is a thing in Goa.

Taxis are expensive, and are often the most recommended way to get around Goa!

I think I have heard that now there’s some sort of ride sharing that’s been introduced in Goa. (But don’t quote me on that.)

 

 

Local bus

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Getting around Goa - local bus. Backpacking India travel blog

 

Taxi is not the only way to get around Goa when you’re looking to get from one area of Goa to another.

Yes it will take longer, and it might require a bus transfer or 2.

But if you have the time, then it’s the slow way of travel that WORKS!

It’s SO much cheaper than the taxi!

When taking buses anywhere in Goa, the main bus stations are Mapusa, Panjim, and Margao (Madgaon). From these bus stations, you can get basically to all the main beaches in Goa.

 

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Getting around Goa - local bus. Backpacking India travel blog

 

See an example of taking a local bus in Goa.

 

Panjim bus station tourist scam: BOLO (be on the lookout)

Backpacking Goa travel guide - tourist scams in Goa - panjim bus station and south mumbai. Backpacking India travel blog

 

If you’re in the Panjim bus station, look out for an Indian-looking guy who approaches tourists to try to get money from them. He’s a bald guy with a chipped tooth and will talk with a British accent. 

I don’t think he’s dangerous, but he should be stopped. He’s been doing this for OVER 6 YEARS in both Goa (mainly Panjim) and Mumbai (known location there South Mumbai). He’s gotten money from TONS OF PEOPLE over the years. It’s kind of ridiculous! I was one of those people in 2019, yeah. I had that thought of “is this real” many times in my mind, and I determined that “yes it is” – he’s very strategic and uses psychology well! I almost admire him. Seriously, read this and read this! If you’re staying at a hostel and someone tells you something similar happened to them, tell them to report it to the Goa police station in Panjim AND the Goa tourism office in Panjim.

 

 

Scooter

I don’t drive in India, but scooters are a popular way to get around in Goa. 

You will find plenty of places to rent scooters in Goa.

 

 

Auto rickshaw

Backpacking Goa travel guide - how to get around goa - auto rickshaw. Backpacking India travel blog

 

Depending on where you stay, rickshaw may be an option too. Although in general for beach locations, rickshaw may not always be available.

 

 

Local ferry

Backpacking Goa travel guide - how to get around goa - local ferry. Backpacking India travel blog

 

There are also some places where it’s easiest just to make a water crossing instead of going all the way around to take the road! Or, it just may be more fun to take the ferry. 😉

This is FREE!

And if you like the idea of taking ferries, then also see about taking the ferry in Hampi and taking a bunch of ferries in Kerala!

 

 

Where to stay in Goa

So this is probably the most important part.

Which area of Goa to base your stay!

It’s said that different areas of Goa will give you different vibes. 

 

You’ll want to choose between 3 main areas of Goa to stay:

  • North Goa beaches
  • Panjim
  • South Goa beaches

 

Or you can spend more time in Goa by getting a taste of all 3 areas!

 

In general, especially during season time (generally speaking which is outside the summer monsoon months)…

North Goa is known for more of a party scene…

South Goa is known to be a bit quieter than the north…

And then Goa’s capital of Panjim will give you more of a taste into the state’s Portuguese history with the buildings all around.

When you head away from the main tourist strips of any of Goa’s beach towns, you can start to get a taste of Goa’s quiet village roads, along with cute colorful homes too.

Although Goa is primarily known for its beaches, if you want more than just beaches, Goa can be a cute area to explore! 

There are also a number of forts in Goa that offer ocean views too. 

 

 

Best beaches in Goa

The popular ones!

 

1. Palolem (south Goa)

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Best beaches in Goa - Where to stay in south Goa - palolem beach. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

2. Agonda (south Goa)

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Best beaches in Goa - Where to stay in south Goa - agonda beach. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

3. Anjuna (north Goa)

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Best beaches in Goa - Where to stay in north Goa - anjuna beach. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

4. Vagator (north Goa)

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Best beaches in Goa - Where to stay in north Goa - vagator beach. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 

And then…

 

Panjim

Backpacking Goa travel guide - Where to stay in Goa - Panjim latin quarter. Backpacking India travel blog

 

Panjim is not a beach town, but also an option.

 

 

Best hostels in Goa

I’ve stayed in the following hostels in Goa that I can recommend

See more of where the best hostels in Goa are located. (aka good backpacker destinations in Goa!)

 

 

Best beach huts in Goa

Backpacking Goa travel guide - where to stay in goa. where are best beach huts. Backpacking India travel blog

 

There are also beach huts in Goa. There’s a season for beach huts, and that’s outside of monsoon season. So your best chance at staying in a beach hut is some time between October and 

Here are some beach huts on South Goa beaches:

 

You can find budget beach huts to more “luxury” beach huts. You can find beachfront ones and also garden-facing ones! See more about beach huts in Goa.

 

HAPPY BACKPACKING GOA!

 

Backpacking Goa travel guide. Best beaches in Goa. Where to stay. Best things to do. How to get around. south india route itinerary. Backpacking India travel blog

 

 



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