Goa with its suitable climate and serene beaches is like being in heaven on earth. If someone is planning for a thrilling adventure or some quality time with their loved ones, Goa would be one of the best options. There is a list of things to do in Goa which would make a trip special. These are more than things to do in Goa. The options displayed here are actually experiences in Goa which will provide you a great indulgence.
The availability of innumerable adventure activities such as Scuba Diving, Hot Air Balloon Flight, water sports like windsurfing, dinghy sailing, parasailing, water skiing, water scooter and much more.
To read things to do in Goa, read my another blog post: Things to do in Goa, apart from beaches
- Windsurfing at the Bay, Goa
Windsurfing is one of the most famous water sport in which one has to maintain his balance against the wind and water to speed up the ride. Mornings are perfect for beginners to try this sport as the morning breeze is cool and pleasant. Dona Paula Bay is one of the best places for windsurfing. This is a unique experience compared to other mainstream experiences in Goa.
- Scuba Diving, Grande Island
As Goa is gifted with a huge variety of marine life one can try scuba diving also. This will surely give a magical experience. It includes a training session with your instructor, underwater dive up to 12 meters and one can even take photos and videos throughout the session. It is one of those experiences in Goa which might not be a world class one. E.g, when I did scuba diving at Gili Islands, that was a better experience with a wider range of marine life to admire in good clarity.
If one wants to experience the feeling of flying like a bird Parasailing would be the best thing to do. It will include a gorgeous experience to fly on the Goan landscape. The best place to indulge in parasailing is on Baga Beaches and Arambol. You will be hitched up to a parachute and speed boat will take you across the water. It is an unforgettable experience. The waves and the scenery will take you to a new beauty on earth. The best part of parasailing out of all the experiences in Goa is how you can enjoy a blissful view of the beach while being suspended in air. The boat also makes you dip a bit in water if you want and reemerge as a rejuvenated soul.
- Houseboats in Goan backwaters
Houseboats in the backwaters of Goa can give a wonderful experience of elegant sunsets. The rooms in the houseboats are truly luxurious and spacious. It will help you witness the wonderful mornings, fisherman spreading his nets, birds chirping and if lucky you can also see crocodiles. At the night time, one can enjoy lip smacking dishes with some wine, which will be like having a cake with a cherry on top. Overnight houseboat Cruise at Chapora River is the one which I would recommend. Sailing along with the gentle wind is one of the best experiences in Goa.
- Romantic Candle Light Dinner at Cruise
You can heighten your experience in a beautiful yacht along with the love of your life. You will fall in love with the starry sky, glow of the candle in the middle of the water and the company of your beautiful partner. The grandiose environment, a splash of winds, gentle waves and a glass of drink will truly set your mood. If you are traveling with your partner, I would highly recommend this experience out of all the experiences in Goa.
- Casinos in Goa
Goa is among the few places where gambling is considered to be legal. If you are a fun lover then the innumerable casinos with some good loud music and drinks will make your vacation a memorable one. Casinos are spread across every corner of this state. The Deltin Group owns the most popular casinos in Goa. It consists of 3 gaming floors with a special gaming zone with computer games reserved for kids. It is open 24 hours 365 days. If you like a bit of gambling thrill, you should visit here. But, make sure you don’t get addicted. This is one of the unique experiences in Goa as no other part of India but some in Northeast offer gambling experiences.
I tried writing a funny blog post about types of people you see in a casino. Read about it here: 8 Types of People you see in a casino.
- Silent Disco
As one enters this place he will notice a crowd of people dancing their heart out and no loud sound. It is a silent party in which pumping music is played by the DJ which can be heard via earphones. It is some new concept which involves unlimited fun with a less disturbance. Dancing to the tune plugged in your ears can prove to be one of the most memorable experiences in Goa. This party happens in the Neptune club located near Palolem Beach.
- Goa Carnivals
Goa Carnival is the perfect time to visit Goa. It shows the mark of King Momo for continuous 3 days. It follows some particular themes every year and then the parade goes through the towns of Margao, Vasco, Mapusa and Ponda. The parade is full of colors and enthusiastic people. To indulge in the cultural aspect of Goan life, there are no experiences in Goa better than Goa carnivals.
- Party Cruises in Goa
On this visit, one can rent a fancy yacht and this will take you far away from the mainland in the Arabian Sea. It sails from the Aguada Bay along the Goan shorelines. You can also try your luck at the gambling clubs and antique lighthouses and experience the alluring city of Panjim. Get your pals together and create memorable experiences in Goa by booking a party cruise.
- Anjuna Flea Market
Apart from the serenity of beaches, the Anjuna beach fair is the eye-catching tourist experience. The fair is held every Wednesday along the stretch of beach. Anjuna is a small village which consists of many magnificent churches. This place is well known for their cheap and attractive items, colorful jewelry, clothes, cell phones, second-hand bikes and much more. The most important tourist attraction is the St Michael’s Church, which was established in 1595. The flea market is the best place for a compulsive shopper. Shopping indulgence cannot be defined better than Anjuna Flea market. The market is actually organized near Arpora. But, Anjuna being a more famous spot, people refer to this night market as Anjuna market as well. This market is organized every Saturday during season months; August to February.
To have a look at some images from Arpora/Anjuna night market, visit this blog page: Image Gallery – Arpora Night Market
11. Hike to Dudhsagar Waterfalls
For a travel enthusiast, Dudhsagar Waterfalls need no introduction. The lovely cascade of waterfalls in its prime looks adorable. It does look like an ocean of milk flowing through the mountains. The water quantity is abundant here, especially during monsoon. But, due to leeches, you can’t visit here in rainy season. However, many travel guides organize trails to Dudhsagar by going against the forest department policies to make money. Be wary of these touts. To reach Dudhsagar waterfalls, you need to reach Castle Rock or Kulem and hike 14 or 12 Km respectively from there. To reach back also you need to hike. Some people wait for a goods train but you can’t really rely on them to stop for you.
12. River Rafting & Kayaking on the Mandovi:
If you have a craze for rafting then river rafting on the Mandovi is the best place to check you rafting skills. The thrilling activity of rafting can be conducted in the morning at 10 am or in the afternoon 2:30 pm once you reach the rafting site – Valpoi. Experience this astonishing white water river rafting activity at the Mandovi river in Goa. One can begin river rafting from the Valpoi district and raft for around 10 km. Whether you are planning with your family, friends, everyone is welcomed to experience this superb activity of rafting. Throughout your journey, a safety kayak will track you to guarantee your safety. For your further safety, the tourist will be provided with Life Jackets and Helmets. The river rafting activity ends in 3 hours after which you will be offered with refreshments and later you will drop to Valpoi.
If you are willing to travel a bit farther, you can also enjoy river rafting in Dandeli. There you will find better rapids as compared to Mandovi river. You can read about my Dandeli experience here: River Rafting in Dandeli
13. Paintballing in Nuvem:
Along the country’s most known paintball arenas, Nuvem is located just off the National Highway 17. The fields here offer a military mockup and presents a war-like situation. Paintball being an aggressive adventure game will offer you an action packed, the adrenaline rush which is a great start for you Goa trip. With high-quality defensive gears and special balls with a non-toxic cover and nitrogen driven guns, one can manipulate and plan how to win over the opponent and take away the awards. Paintball might not one of the unique experiences to Goa. But, if you have some spare time, you can try it.
14. Enjoy Go karting at Arpora or Verna
Right next to the Arpora Night Market, you can enjoy Go Karting. The track here is decent enough and generally, it is not that crowded. If you would like to opt for a longer track, you will have to go to Verna to enjoy Go Karting. More towards South Goa, Go Karting in Verna offers you quite an adrenaline rush. For the speed thrill seeker in you, including this in your list of experiences in Goa is recommended.
Looking for an adrenaline riding, high-octane and exciting sport? Then quad biking is the best option for you! Get to experience the untouched Goa through the forests as you create your own way through the muddy terrain and navigate through green fields. The four wheeler monster which can be hired is a dream of ever tourist to experience it once. Again, this is one of those experiences in Goa which will appeal the thrill seeker in you.
16. Backwater Kayaking:
En route to Goa’s local streams and backwater through the various waterways that goes across the state. You can enjoy pleasant yet refreshing boat rides across the Mandovi River, Zuari River, Nerul River, and Sal Backwaters. On the tour, you will get a sight of the Goa that remains tucked away from the nightlife and beaches.
Apart from the backwaters, you can also enjoy kayaking at the Palolem beach. Kayaking in the silent aura of ocean or backwater one of the blissful experiences in Goa.
17. Trek till the top of Chapora Fort and enjoy sunset
The famous Dil Chahta fort has its own charm. Located between Morjim and Vagator beach, Chapora fort offers you boutiful views of both these beaches. Stare at the ships coming back to shore as the Sun gently slides towards the horizon. Compared to Aguada fort of other famous attractions, Chapora fort is devoid of tourist hordes and hence it becomes a lovely spot to visit. The best time to visit here is during Sunset as you can trek right up to the nose of the mountain and settle on a spot, waiting for the Sun to set.
There are a plenty other sunset points in Goa. Apart from Chapora fort, my other favorite spot is near Palolem Beach. In evening, you can start walking towards the right end of Palolem beach. There you would see a stretch of backwaters. Cross it and you will reach a bar. You need to walk even further and climb some boulders to find a flat surface. You can just sit there and enjoy the awesome sight of the sunset as the boats return back to Palolem beach.
Apart from these two, Dona Paula also offers a good sunset view. Enjoying sunset at these spots is one of the top most experiences in Goa.
18. Visiting the Butterfly Conservatory:
The Butterfly Conservatory is situated in Ponda which is also known as the Mystic Meadows Conservatory. This conservatory is spread over an area of 4000 square meters. The park is designed in such a way to allow tourist to take a nature walk across the park. Many people tend to misinterpret with the first impression that this place must be a typical tropical forest. There are over 133 types of butterflies that blossom in this park. While you are at a nature walk here, you can easily spot at least 25 for an average. To have a perfect experience one can take a guide along with them. Not only butterflies, there are prevalent plants which are found in this conservatory.
Here you may also get to learn many new medicinal and also culinary benefits of the plants. Mainly these plants contribute to the exclusive ecosystem of this place. These features also help in creating opportunities for the reproduction of new butterfly species and nourishment of the existing ones. This true-to-life heaven, the butterfly conservatory at Ponda is a major tourist destination in Goa. I would only recommend this activity out of all the experiences in Goa only if you are keen about butterflies. If not, you might not find this experience worth.
19. Cooking Classes in Goa:
Goa offers numerous experiences that will involve you in interesting thrills. Cooking classes are amongst them which lets you discover your cooking instincts. The cooking styles of this area have a strong influence from various areas of the world. Hence learning to cook Goan dishes is on of the best and offbeat experience which you get in Goa. Cookery classes are hosted at many places here. Few of the popular places to learn to cook local food are at Benaulim and Silom Beach. Also, enjoy stirring hot vessels of the tasty food at the Siolim cooking school where you are helped by expert cooks in cooking delicious dishes.
At these places, you are taught how to utilize essential ingredients like coconut milk and vinegar which helps in influencing the flavor of dishes. At the end of these cooking sessions, you will come to know how to cook chicken, pork, fish, beans and capsicum based dishes. The Benaulim Beach has various Goan restaurants which also host cooking classes. At these places, you get to know how to mix and match striking spices to create mouth-watering Goan cooking satisfactions. Mainly seafood cooking is taught in these sessions at a large scale. One would learn how to cook shark, pomfret and tuna dishes. This is a good option to include for your culinary experience in Goa.
20. Bird Watching in Goa:
Goa is an everlasting dwelling for the varied range of exotic birds. Bird watching is assumed to be one of the main offbeat experiences in Goa. The varied environment of this area is accompanied by the decent temperate weather. This environment creates ornithological attractions that are pervasive by their presence. Here you can find over than 400 species of birds. Along the river side, one can get to see the habitats of egrets, waders, sandpipers, herons, and ducks. The mangrove jungles in this area are home to the vague but beautiful collared kingfishers. The local fresh backwaters are also a place to spot birds such as pipits, jacanas, and moorhens.
The Sahyadri sector of Goa is represented by swarming deciduous jungles which are also covered with bamboo and cane trees. In these areas, you can also find bird species like raptors, hornbills and bulbuls. These are few of the rare birds which thrive only in appropriate environments. Apart from this one can also see forest birds in Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries like Mollem, Bondla, Cotigao and much more.
A recommend spot for bird watching is Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on Chorao Island.
21. Spice Plantation Tour:
Spices are considered to be an essential part day to day life. Goa is a land of plentitude in natural resources and while you are on a spice plantation tour you are treated to a visual spread of plenteous spice plants that offer amusing smells. At such tours, you will also get to know how spices are developed and cultivated. A single trip to such amazing areas will charm you with the lively aromas of the fresh spices that overwhelm your senses. A visit to the spice plantation is among the offbeat experiences in Goa.
Most of the spice plantations here are privately owned but for them, you are surely honored guests. At these spice plantations tours, you don’t only roam around the plantations but you are also served extravagant Goan food. The sumptuous food will make you surely fall in love with the local Goan dishes. A variety of spice based delicacies is served in a small amount on a banana leaf. One can also spend a blissful time walking through the tracks that take you across these huge spice plantations. This spice plantation walk is one of the culinary experiences in Goa.
22. Underwater Sea Walks:
Walking underwater and viewing the entire aquatic life below is a fascinating experience. The underwater sea walk is hosted at the Baina Beach in Goa. This is one of the most mind blowing experiences in Goa. The underwater sea walk takes place for nearly about 25 minutes. Swimmers and non-swimmers can actively take part in this activity. This beach gives an opportunity to explore the colorful marine life. The water at the Baina Beach is highly pure and clear. Considering the water, this activity is safe at this beach. The underwater sea walk is conducted by a specialist with years of experience assisting the visitors to enjoy this exciting inclusion in the list of experience in Goa.
23. Holiday at the backwaters of Goa:
Not many people are aware of the backwaters apart from that of Kerala. But Goa also offers a peaceful and fascinating backwater cruise experience. Many of the cruise boats and houseboats here include pubs too. Get overwhelmed with the good music, food, wine and picturesque eye sights. These charming floating cruises are finished of lightweight wood and furnished with all the modern facilities. Glide along the Chapora river in Siolim that will take you across enthralling routes and also offers a view of the local life.
Those who wish to experience a unique holiday at the backwaters are also offered with a pick-up and drop service. While you are on board, you shall be treated with the superb Goan style delicacies and drinks. One can also perform other activities like swimming, fishing, and indoor games like ludo and chess. Holiday at the backwaters gives you a combination of fun and unique experiences in Goa.
24. Sail in a ferry from Ribandar to Chorao Island
Ferries are an important part of the Goan culture. Locals cross the Mandovi river to reach various islands. Take a ferry from Ribandar and visit Chorao Island to discover the untouched beauty of nature and quaint villages. The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is also located on Chorao island. As the humming of the ferry engine creates your background score, you will feel captivated by the swaying winds and gentle waves of Mandovi river. If you happen to visit Goa in monsoon, you should definitely take this ferry to revel in what I think is one of the most peaceful experiences in Goa.
25. Jump in a well during Sao Jao festival
Every monsoon, this tradition continues to lure youth in celebrations of Sao Jao festival. Organized in the town of Siolim along with some other towns as well, locals jump in their family well or a common waterbody to celebrate the festival. This festival is also known as the festival of fertility.
26. Dine with your loved ones by riverside or the seaside
Adjacent to the cruise entrances, on the banks of Mandovi, you will find a lot of restaurants which offer great cuisine along with the experience to enjoy the calm river winds. These are not necessarily expensive restaurants. My personal favorite is Gene’s restaurant which offers affordable food with an experience to truly revel in.
If you are a bigger fan of the ocean than rivers, you can visit plenty of seaside restaurants in Goa who excel at seafood along with many other cuisines.
Dining by a waterbody is indeed one of the most laidback experiences in Goa.
27. Attend the Tripurari Purnima Boat festival
Organized near Sanquelim, Tripurari Purnima Boat festival takes place 15 days after Diwali. It is organized on the Full moon day in the month of Karthik, which is essentially exactly 15 days after Diwali, celebrated on New moon day. Boats are decorated and a display of pomp and festivities enthuse the spectators. A race takes place between them and with the backdrop of cheers, an ambiance of ecstasy takes over. Participating in this boat festival can a unique experience out of all the experiences in Goa.
28. Visit Lower Aguada Fort at night
At night, when more than half of the town is asleep, sneak to the lower Aguada fort, located behind Taj Vivanta. Very close to Sinquerim beach, this part of Aguada fort is different from the main fort which shuts at 5 pm. The floodlights installed by Taj Vivanta will offer you good visibility. Stand at the watchtower of lower Aguada fort and let the water bounce up and splash against you due to high tide. The sheer sound of the ocean roaring in its glory is thrilling. One of the lesser known experiences in Goa, a visit to lower Aguada will be totally worth it.