50 Unique Things to Do in Goa

I’ve got a handful of articles on my blog about Goa. I still get a handful of emails a day from people saying they’ve read them all but want to know if there is anything else I can recommend. I usually just reply whatever random thing I’m thinking of right then. So, I am going to list here 50 things to do in Goa some of which I’ve probably said at some time before – but now they are all in one place!

While I have 50 fun things to do here, I have SO much more detailed advice in my ebook, Insider’s Guide to Goa. It’s 170 pages filled with the most up to date, comprehensive information about Goa plus it has all my secret places to go that I’ve found after living here almost five years. Click here to buy it now.

General Goa Travel Tips

50 Things to Do in Goa You Don’t Want to Miss

Classic Things to Do

1. Watch the sunset from Thalassa Restaurant.

This is the best sunset spot on Vagator Cliff. It is Greek food and it’s a bit of a splurge for backpackers but so worth it.

2. Visit the Spice Plantation.

I don’t think the elephants in Goa are treated well and don’t think you should ride them. You can learn a lot on the Spice tour and you can have lunch there. There are two in Ponda.

tropical spice plantation goa

3. Celebrate Holi in Goa.

It’s a lot of fun. You can see the local celebrations in Mapusa or you can go to Hilltop for a trance-type party.

4. Buy some spices and tea as souvenirs.

You’ll see them so much that it’s hard not to. They make great gifts. See what else to buy in my India souvenir guide.

5. Check out the old churches in “Old Goa“.

It’s best to do this the same day you do Panjim as taxis, like I mentioned, can be expensive. The churches don’t take long to see and usually in the heat you won’t want to stay long.

old goa guide

6. Try SUP (stand up paddle board) at Vaayu.

You can also rent surf boards from them or try kite surfing classes. Their cafe, Prana, serves up delicious breakfast burritos and they have chilled out music and art nights.

7. Enjoy the lounge chairs at Antares in Little Vagator Beach.

I can’t believe I’m telling this secret! It’s not a secret exactly, but no one seems to use these and they are great. You have to buy food and drink to stay there.

8. Take the long drive up to Keri Beach.

It means you’ll have an empty beach all to yourself.

9. Lastly, go to the “secret” beach.

I won’t name it here, but please check out my article and review for the hidden beach resort or you can skip and just use this link to book and see where this resort is ;)

private secret beach in goa

10. You can go white water rafting with the Goa crew.

11. Let yourself have a foot massage on the beach.

They come around asking to massage and thread you… just let yourself be pampered! You can also buy sarongs and such. But be warned, you will get bothered after as you will seem like an ATM so you need to be firm. Say you want a massage but you don’t want to talk.

12. Take some classes at Tito’s Whitehouse or Artjuna.

You can do kickboxing, yoga, pilates, and more. Classes are affordable and fun. It’s a great way to meet people.

13. Get a photo of the cows on the beach…

…and make sure they don’t eat right off your plate!

expat in goa

14. Rent a scooter or a car if you need to save money.

Taxis here really add up and they don’t use a meter.

15. Hit up the carnival in Arambol.

Arambol is kind of the hippiest place in Goa although it wasn’t back in the day (Anjuna was). It’s a cool place to stay for some time, but personally, I like Ashwem and Vagator best.

16. In Arambol, check out the sweet water lake.

It’s just near the beach and is pretty cool to take a dip and some photos. Here’s a little guide to Arambol.

what to do in arambol

17. If you’re here in September, watch Dahi Handi festival in Mapusa.

18. Visit the Mapusa Market

In fact, if you’re only visiting Goa (and nowhere else in India) make a trip to Mapusa market just to see the “real India” as they say.

How to Travel Calmer and Enjoy the Moment

19. Go to Snips for a massage.

It’s much cheaper than back home and is fantastic. Their mani/pedis are not as good unless you take your own polish (in my opinion).

What & Where to Eat in Goa

20. Make sure you’re here on a Saturday for the Saturday Night Market.

It’s incredible and you can eat and drink there. The Market usually opens end of November through March. It’s in Arpora near the go-karts.

21. Eat the famous chicken at the Saturday Night Market.

It’s crazy good – I don’t know how someone can make chicken that good.

ultimate guide to goa

22. If you must stay in for dinner, order pizza from Roma in Chapora/Vagator.

There aren’t many delivery options in Goa.

23. Eat the tuna sandwich at Artjuna….

Not sure why, but it’s my favorite sandwich in Goa along with their iced tea.

24. Have a Goan curry at Starlight.

You can go for a Xacuti but know that it might be a little spicy. They usually make them less spicy for foreigners.

25. Chill out and have a juice at the famous Scarlet’s juice center in Chapora.

Best Restaurants in North Goa chapora juice

26. Have a big burger at Baba Au Rhum!

I love this french bakery in Anjuna. It’s the perfect place to have a chill lunch over the paddy fields. There is free WiFi if you need to check a few emails from home.

Best Restaurants in North Goa baba au rhum

27. Eat at Anand Bar.

When friends visit they love this place and can never believe how cheap it is. It’s located near Bobby Bar and you can find it on Google maps. I go for the butter garlic prawns and the tandoori.

28. For traditional Goan Food…

Try Bhatti Village in Nerul or Mum’s Kitchen in Panjim.

29. Try “rava fry fish” and squeeze lime all over it.

You can get it pretty much anywhere in Goa and it’s a don’t miss.

goan fish thali copperleaf

30. Pineapple chicken salad at Villa Blanche.

It’s the bomb, so are their German sausages.

31. Taste a bite of South Goa at Gunpowder in Assagao.

Their veg curry and chili pork ribs are my go-to but the chicken curries are what most go for. Definitely get a couple greasy heavenly parathas!

Best Restaurants in North Goa gunpowder

32. Have a nice dinner at Go With the Flow near the Baga Bridge.

This is my favorite restaurant in Goa. It’s fine dining Brazilian… and the pork belly is SO GOOD. The steaks are great and the cocktails are the best.

33. Eat Goan sausage, street style corn on the cob, and sweet lime soda.

If you’re really branching out you can try the local liquor: cashew feni. It’s rough.

34. Take time for a long lunch at La Plage.

I always go for the prawns and saffron risotto. Their Bloody Mary’s are very unique with a bit of curry and are a huge local favorite.

Fun Places to Stay in Goa

35. Stay at Jamboree Creek!

If you want a cute jungle hut and swimming pool at decent prices, this is it. Jamboree is listed on Airbnb (use my referral code and get $25 off your booking if you haven’t signed up before.)

jamboree creek goa

36. If you want to be in Anjuna, with a pool, party scene, and lots of people then look at Laguna Anjuna.

It’s got cool unique rooms and is better than a hostel. Click here to book.

new restaurants in north goa belilissima laguna anjuna

37. If you want to splurge out in the North…

I love Shanti Morada. Click here to book!

38. For a “splurging out” stay in South Goa…

Go for the Alila Diwa in South. It’s my favorite 5 star hotel in all of Goa.

best five star hotel in south goa alila diwa

Where to Shop in Goa

39. You better be here on a Wednesday too!

The Wednesday Flea market is one of the most famous hippie markets in the world. It’s located on Anjuna beach and goes until sunset.

expat in goa

40. Stop into Fara and buy an “India” scarf for the perfect souvenir.

They are hand drawn onto silk and focus on places and God’s of India.

FARA rachel and fumies adventures goa designers

41. Make sure you negotiate with the vendors when you shop.

They really put the prices high on the beach. Most of the scarves and jewelry are bad quality so ask yourself if you really want it in the first place.

42. Explore the shopping in Panjim.

There are cute little Portuguese lanes and it’s an adventure going through them. Here’ s a little shopping guide.

43. For more shopping, hit up Tia’s shop in Arpora

It’s on the way into the Saturday night market and outside her mum’s shop Natti’s Naturals which is a great place for salads.

You're Invited! Tia's Shop Opening, Anjuna shopping in goa

44. Get some clothing tailored and make your own fun designs at great prices.

Here’s how to get clothing made in India.

Goa Nightlife

45. Girls can drink for free at Club Cubana’s ladies night on Wednesdays.

It’s the night they are the most crowded I think.

46. Friday party night at Waters.

It could change but for now it’s the place people go on Fridays. It’s on Vagator Cliff and is pretty cool.

47. Hit up Fort Aguada Taj Hotel for drinks.

It is an amazing view over an old Fort and will give you that 5 star feel!

goa hotel6

48. Definitely try a trance party at Hilltop or Curlies OR Shiva Valley OR 9 Bar…

My point is there are a lot and you really can’t miss them. Goa is so known for this way of life that you really should check out the scene. Check wug.com for the party dates and these posts for more night life:

For if You Stay in Goa for a While

49. Volunteer with the animals!

I wrote a few options here and once you see their struggles you might want to spend some time (or some money) on this cause.

expat in goa

50. If you’re here for long enough consider renting a house.

You can look on Airbnb or you can just stay in a guesthouse until you find somewhere to rent. Here’s a guide to renting in Goa.

For general India travel tips and advice, check out this post on planning your trip to India and this post on how to dress in India. Plus, you can join my India travel Facebook group!

Don’t Forget These India Travel Essentials

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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, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Alexis March 21, 2016 at 5:46 am - Reply

    My girlfriends and I are traveling to Goa April 13-28. Your blog is a perfect education blog for us! Thank you for all of the wonderful referrals! Maybe we will see you around? :)

    • Rachel Jones March 21, 2016 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      awesome! yeah I’d love to meet up – I get back into Goa from a short trip on the 14th so I”ll be here! Maybe having a lot of work to catch up on but would love to meet up!

      • Alexis March 24, 2016 at 7:54 am - Reply

        Fantastic! I’ll email you when we land!

      • Heather Leitner October 6, 2016 at 6:42 am - Reply

        will you be around March 2017- I’m finally making my 20 year dream trip to India…

        • Rachel Jones October 6, 2016 at 10:57 pm - Reply

          Yes I should be in Goa at that time :) Glad to here you are making dreams come true!

          • Heather October 6, 2016 at 11:00 pm

            I am looking at being in Goa for a week Saturday to Saturday… how doable is a small trip further south to Kerala (Kochi)

            With goa being my home base

          • Rachel Jones October 6, 2016 at 11:15 pm

            You can fly there but by train it’s 17 hours Goa-Kochi leaving Goa at Thivim station. Flying, you can’t go direct so it’s also along journey about 8 hours if you stop in Bangalore, usually pricey. Once in any airport destination, the cool stuff is a taxi/bus away as well so to be honest thing it won’t work out time-wise for you!

  2. ondulino March 28, 2016 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    There is also place called Magic Park which is in Arambol or Mandrem (not sure) it’s a vegan place they have great juices and the whole environment is quite hippie and relaxing just on the beach. Also every either Thursday or Friday there is the drum circle not sure how popular it’s in monsoon but in season loads of people gather to listen and dance (though not my cup of tea).

  3. Rukmani Kapoor March 30, 2016 at 12:41 am - Reply

    Thanks for this Rachel! My girlfriends and I are heading to goa on 18th April. Since it’s very close to off season – do you still suggest staying in Jamboree Creek or will it be deserted? Any thoughts?

    • Rachel Jones March 30, 2016 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      honestly everywhere is going to be pretty deserted and I’m not even sure what will be open, as each year places pick a new day to close based on how full they are. you can email her and ask! her name is priyanka and the email on her website http://jamboreecreek.com/ – or to for sure meet people you can stay in a hostel but its not as cool! haha

  4. Kaia April 18, 2016 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    I love your blog, I’m coming to Goa in September hopefully and have been reading your posts religiously. I’m actually hopefully going to be working in Nattis Naturals, so maybe I’ll see you there! :)

  5. Joanna September 1, 2016 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel, really love your blog, it’s been a big help planning my South India trip! My boyfriend and I have roughly a week in Goa and are planning to split it between North and South. We are going to be coming from Hampi and I was just wondering how you would advise doing that journey and whether it’s realistic distance/time wise to head south immediately? Ideally we would like to head south first so that we can go north after to get to Mumbai. I really like the sound of those luxury tents you stayed in and thinking about ending our trip with that if they have availability (it will be in December). How long,roughly, does it take to travel between Palolem in the South and Vagator? Thanks, Joanna

    • Rachel Jones September 2, 2016 at 11:26 am - Reply

      Yes you can start in the South of Goa from Hampi and work your way up :) I’ve done that same route but backwards from North goa to South, to Hampi. Palolem to Vagator is 2 hours but more if there is traffic.

  6. Kishor September 18, 2016 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    A different perspective of Goa. Saw most of them 15 years ago. About time I go again.

  7. Pravin nahata September 29, 2016 at 12:41 am - Reply

    Hi Rachel, thanx a ton for the post
    As I said well be there this October, and hope your tips will be useful for us and the boys are really looking forward
    And I can’t wait to get my wife to shop at tia’s

  8. Pravin nahata September 29, 2016 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Since we’re staying in south goa, wanted to know if there are adventure activities and party places in South as well or would we have to head to North every morning

    • Rachel Jones September 29, 2016 at 4:40 pm - Reply


      The South has less but there are some – I’m not as familiar with the South. I go to Ciarans Cabin when I stay down there.

  9. unny varghese December 17, 2016 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Am joining in one firm in Goa for Architecture internship for six months. I would like to know how to live a happy hippie style life in Goa where I can go around places, meet crazy people, go for parties,do some part-time job, enjoy the sun set and like that. I would like to know more about budget hippie life in Goa. Hope for your response

  10. Divya Jain September 8, 2017 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Dinner at Fisherman’s cove! That place has like a true Goan vibe, I think.
    P.S I’m in love with your blog. The “This is India” anecdotes, especially.

    • Rachel Jones September 8, 2017 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks Divya – and I’m still yet to try Fisherman’s Cove! It’s on my never-ending list

  11. Aaryan June 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel!

    I just adore your writing skill.

    Are you still in Goa? I’d need some recommendations for parties and since i am a supertramp myself, i travel solo mostly, i’d be needing some local friends who may or may not be from this country, it’d be great if i can contact you through e-mail.

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