Planning to visit Goa? Then you MUST have heard about the Hippie Trail! Between 1969 and 1971 loads of hippies took the Hippie trail overland to India hitch-hiking from Europe to Istanbul. From Istanbul they traveled through Turkey and then onto Iran. At the Afghan border they headed to Pakistan and finally to the Indian border. After making this kind of trip you can imagine these hippies would be planning on staying a while once they reached Goa.
Well stay a while they did! In fact most of them never left. Although most of these hippies have now either moved on or passed on (it is 2018!) there’s still a huge hippie vibe here. This is why thousands of tourists and travelers want to visit Goa each year to chill out on a beach or party like the hippies of 1969.
This is what you should know before you visit Goa!
Before you visit Goa decide if you’re a North or a South person
Because the state is divided into north Goa and south Goa. Stay in the north if you want the best nightlife and the south if you want more secluded beaches and some peace and quite. There are two very different Goa experiences to be had in the north and the south. You could always travel between the two, but I recommend deciding on if you want a 24/7 party (stay in the north) or a more relaxing time (stay in the south).
Know that when in Goa you must eat a Vindaloo
In England the Vindaloo is the hottest Indian dish available and only the toughest most hardcore foodies would dare try it. The vindaloo (vindalho in Indian) will explode in your mouth and then proceed to fire bomb your throat... sound like your thing? Click To Tweet The Vindaloo originates from Goa so you really should give it a try while you’re here! There’s no need to try a vindaloo in a fancy restaurant in Goa just pick a cheap joint (with a nearby hole in the ground). Before you arrive you could always try to build up to the almighty Vindaloo with some spicy dishes at your local Indian. If you’re a Chicken Korma person like myself you really don’t stand a chance though.
Read more: Top 10 Things To Do In Goa
Plan in advance so you don’t miss the less well-known festivals
Everybody knows about Goa Carnival but do you know about the feast of the cucumber in the village of Talaulim? Take a cucumber offering to the Church of Saint Anne and you may just be blessed with a child in return. A cucumber for a child! Eat your heart out expensive fertility clinics all around the world. Bonderam is also worth checking out in August on the island of Divar. There’s lots of others… explore and you will discover.
Before you visit Goa carefully pick the time of year that’s right for you
I would recommend visiting Goa anytime between October and March. December is the most popular month to visit Goa because the weather’s great and there’s loads of Christmas and New Years Eve parties going on. Sunburn and Supersonic come to Goa around this time so expect the place to be rammed with tourists and party animals. If you enjoy music festivals then this is a great time to go.
April and May are crazy hot and humid (almost 100° Fahrenheit) so avoid these months unless you can stay at a 5 star hotel or a place with good air-con. Monsoon season can be really pretty and green if you can put up with the torrential rain and a lot of the restaurants not being open due to it being out of season. To compensate you will get cheaper prices.
Beware of the No Alcohol Consumption Zones
I blame the Portuguese influence (and the hippies) for the cheap alcohol and relaxed attitude to having a tipple when you visit Goa! However you could still get fined if you get caught having a drink in public areas like beaches which are now part of the No Alcohol Consumption Zones. People do get carried away with their drinking and partying in Goa which was really relaxed about alcohol consumption until a new amendment in the law. Be warned or cough up some cash!
Visiting a Goa Yoga Retreat? Click here for my Yoga Retreat Packing List for female travelers
Carry lots of small change
Talking of cash… when paying cash in Goa as you will probably be doing most of the time then try to have small change on you so you can pay with the exact amount. The reason for this is when you pay a little over the price with a note they may tell you they don’t have any change and offer you some sweeties instead. Kind of cute and not really a big deal but if you don’t have a sweet tooth this could get tiresome. Especially because you know they probably do have the change to give you they just don’t want to.
So before you visit Goa plan to leave the tiny credit card holder at home and bring a larger wallet or purse to hold all that dirty cash (or sweeties) you’re going to be carrying around.
Know that Goans like to Siesta
Blame (or thank) the Portuguese again for this one because Goan’s do like to take it easy with a siesta everyday between 1pm and 4pm. So this is a good time to hit the beach. Expect some businesses to be closed on Sundays too. I suggest you get into the relaxed Goan way of life as soon as you arrive so you can get into the slow pace of things and embrace it rather than have it drive you cray cray.
Are you planning a trip to Goa? Have you already visited Goa and have some of your own useful tips and advice to share? Leave a comment below.
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Find out about top things to do in Goa and more besides with one of the top Goa Travel Guides below.