Are you planning to come to Goa for a vacation or a stop-through on a backpacking trip? First, check out my Ultimate Guide to Goa; which puts Lonely Planet to shame ;)

I get e-mails asking what extra top tips for Goa do I have? It’s usually people who have already read my ultimate guide, so I have decided to share the five things I always reiterate via e-mail.

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 plus it has all my secrets inside. Click here to buy it now.

General Goa Travel Tips

goa top tips

5 Top Tips for Goa

 1. Rent a car or scooter. This is just the MOST important thing to do when you arrive. It is going to save you bunches of money and give you all the freedom you could desire. The roads are safe in Goa! The drivers are maniacs, but you’ll get used to that. Just drive slow, sober, and let people pass when they honk.

ultimate guide to goa

20 common tourist scams in india

2. Avoid Baga, Calangute, and Candolim unless it’s to check out of the top restaurants in Goa, some of which are located there. Other than fancy ones I’ve listed, the rest are pretty crappy tourist ones with high prices. The beaches are packed full with tourists, some of which haven’t been the beach before, so they get shit-faced and roll around in the sand in jeans. It’s not the chill experience you’ve come for and it’s not the trance scene either. It’s the drunk, young, Indian male party scene.

goa top tips

3. Stop making plans to “stay” in Panjim for a couple days. Is it really that historical? Just take that rented scooter and drive in one day to check out the architecture for one or two hours. Grab a Subway if you miss western food. Exit. The same goes for Old Goa. It’s a nice day trip that takes about an hour to walk around unless you’re really interested in Portuguese influence here.

4. Don’t choose between North and South Goa. With your car or bike rental give yourself time to see both. They are really different and even with 10 days or so you can cruise along the coast. It’s only 2-3 hours, depending how you drive, to get from Anjuna down to Palolem. My advice is to start in the North (near airport), check out Arambol, Ashwem, Anjuna, Vagator, (keep heading south…) the secret beach, to eventually Palolem.

goa top tips

private secret beach in goa

5. Skip end of Decemeber. It really is my least favorite month being that it is SO crowded. It doesn’t affect my budget much since I have a house and car here, but for backpackers this will destroy your budget. Even coming in November will make things half the price of late Decemeber. November and February are my favorite months in Goa.

Everyone asks if they should come in monsoon because it just so happens they are in India at that time. Although I wouldn’t have my friends fly across the world to come in monsoon, why not if you’re close by? No, it won’t be the same- but it’s interesting nonetheless.

So, those are the top tips I tell people who e-mail asking if I have any extra advice up my sleeve! Goa is an easy place to get to and to be in- you can’t mess it up. There isn’t a lot of “must do” things in Goa. It’s a chilled out place. Just go with the flow!