If you’ve been to Goa, you’ve most likely heard of this place. It’s on signs everywhere to “bathe” elephants and ride them. Although, the elephants aren’t exactly what you might hope (and there are better places that are sanctuaries where it’s humane to bathe them in the river instead), the spice plantation attached is actually really cool like in bathing elephants in Dubare, Coorg.
I had some friends come and tour it. They told me it was cool and I didn’t really believe them. I went back for a project I was working on so figured I’d share a little with you.
First of all there are TWO spice plantations in Ponda. The Tropical Spice Plantation I’m showing below and Sahakari Farms (a cheaper one). Both are very similar in terms of tour and food. Probably a better elephants experience at Sahakari so I will be taking future guests there. I didn’t snap photos though, so will be sharing more about Tropical Spice Plantation.
Don’t forget to pick up my Insider Guide to Goa and my Guide to India
General Goa Travel Tips
- Safety Tips For Solo Female Travel in Goa, India
- BEST Places to Visit in Goa in 3 Days
- 50 Things to Do in Goa
- Best Place to Stay in Goa
Tropical Spice Plantation Goa
You cross a gorgeous old bridge to a 300 year old plantation full of all kinds of spices that I had no clue how they grew (like betel nut used for paan and the cardamom in my chai!). You’ll get a lunch provided with your tour (and a sample of feni). The lunch was actually really freakin’ good! The fish was fresh and rava fry prawns were yummy. For pricing and booking check the Spice Plantation Website.
Those who work for the plantation live there as well as loads of cute cows, dogs, cats, and geese. Take a look!
the slanted tree is the oldest in the plantation. We learned that every four months a palm tree sheds a layer, therefore if you count four horizontal lines up, that equals one year of life.
above were betel nut trees. The nut isn’t good until it turns red then one carries the same effect of 30 ml of whiskey. It’s mixed with tobacco and other things. Now you know who all the bored rickshaws drivers are chewing it all day (and why they all seemed drunk in Varanasi!)
there are parrot flowers- how cool!
I watched this dog cool off while the sun went down. He was one of the prettiest dogs I’ve seen in Goa and at first glance almost looked like a fox!
Tropical Spice Plantation Goa Lunch
fried potatoes, papads, salad, and pickle
cashew feni bottles lined up ready for you to take a swig (takes like rubbing alcohol but people love it in Goa)
rava fray prawns and sweet carrot dish
When to Go:
This place is open year round and I think could be really nice in monsoon. I’ve been here a few time (December and October twice). I think October was nicer because everything had the green monsoon look to it. It rained a little but they do have umbrellas. There’s a lot more to the tour than what I posted, but hope this snippet helps you to decided whether or not to go. Plus, look at these cool dudes we saw outside.
Don’t go on a holiday as traffic can be bad. Coming from Anjuna side, you’ll go past Panjim another 30 minutes or so.
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The food looks delicious! Are these plantations easy to get to?
Love this! I would like to go with you if you take tourists.
I dont but have considered starting tours… tricky here though with aggressive cab drivers etc , they don’t like silly foreigner taking any business :)
That food looks amazing! And I definitely thought that red dog was a fox too. So cute!
yes the food was so yummmm!
When I traveled through India several years ago I literally had NO clue what I was doing and didn’t plan ahead at all…would love to go back and see more of the country with places like this!
Are you still in thailand?? I’ll be coming to TBEX in bangkok!
I just got back after a while in the States – will prob be heading to Bangkok in October, but not 100% sure yet.
Where is the most humane place in Goa to take children to see and bathe Elephants? Thanks!
Goa isn’t known for that as much.. I think all places in Goa aren’t humane. I would go to Kerala or even Dubare in Karnataka.
Entry Ticket cost is very high around 4OO Rs and food wise not bad we can complete this trip with in half an hour we can see how to prepare fenny drink here, u can buy or u can tast sample also it very difficult to reach here and its too far from city of Panjim not transport facility available.
The spice garden looks like an educational place for kids and adults alike – I would be very intrigued to learn about the trees and plants where spices are derived from!