Goa. It's well-deserved reputation as the beach state of India precedes it and colours every conversation about it. To think of Goa without imagining relaxing atmosphere, reggae music, loose floral prints and cheap beer seems quite strange and incomplete. But Goa is a land of contradictions - it's a land of beer and of churches, of laziness and exploration, of relaxation and of adventures. We usually go to the land of beaches to relax, but having stayed there for years, I can attest to the fact that this tiny state, on the western coast of India, has some of the most offbeat, life-changing and varied adventures you can experience. Not the usual "water sports in Goa" or "Go-karting in Goa" experiences, but actually incredible adventures in Goa - unique things to do! So here is a list of 11 totally different activities you can do while on vacation in Goa. If you've done any of these adventure sports in Goa, we'd love to hear about your experience!
1. Kitesurfing in Goa
Places where it happens: Arambol, Ashvem, Baga, Bogmallo Best time to go: Feb to April Prices: ₹12,000/- Duration: 3 days Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult One of the most physically demanding activities and exciting on this list (along with canyoning in Goa), Kitesurfing is an exciting, almost impossible, mixture of Paragliding, Surfing, Windsurfing and Skateboarding. When you start off, you usually spend some time learning how to control the kite on the beach and then head out to shallow waters. At the end of a couple of days, most people are able to "body drag". A longer lesson is usually required to be able to handle both the kite and the board at the same time. The IKA (International Kitesurfing Association) course usually lasts 3 days, though schools usually conduct a taster or a discovery course of 1 day. Kitesurfing is a lot of fun and people who try it, keep returning to it again and again. It also make for excellent action packed photography.
Canyoning in Goa jungles is extreme fun! Picture by Manu
Places where it happens : Palolem Best time to go: Mid January - Mid February Prices: ₹2,000/- to ₹5,000/- Duration: half a day Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult Canyoning refers to the navigation of canyons or river paths using a variety of techniques. The only place in India where you can do canyoning, Goa stands out with this incredible adrenalin pumping adventure. These up-top and tumbling jungle routes, packed with abseiling and jumps of varied heights, has to be the most fun you can get out of a single day. A note of caution though, canyoning does require you to be physically fit. You will also have a lot more options for routes if you know swimming. Canyoning in Goa
usually lasts around half a day, though you can choose options ranging from a couple of hours to the entire day.
Places where it happens: Vasco, Bogmallo, Best time to go: All Year Prices: ₹500/- tp ₹20,000/- Duration: 1 hour to 5 days Difficulty: Easy - Moderate Kayaking is at once one of the most relaxing and exhausting activities at the same time. It relaxes your mind and taxes your muscles. There are daily kayaking trips that run through the mangroves, backwaters, and coves, irrespective of the weather, making kayaking here one of the most easily accessible outdoor activities amongst the water sports in Goa. You can even book moonlight kayaking
sessions, and combined with picnics, barbecues and camping, these provide tons of paddling related activities that can accommodate everyone whether you're a solo traveler, a couple or a family. The Mandovi, the Zuari and the Nerul rivers form the backbone of the navigable waterways and are just perfect to both learn kayaking, to go on a day trip, or experience the romance of a sunset kayaking
session. There's even the chance to spot crocodiles
while paddling, for the adventurous. Note that river kayaking is different from sea-kayaking
, as may be found in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
4. Paragliding in Goa (Not Parasailing!)
Places where it happens: Arambol Best time to go: October - March Prices: ₹2,000/- to ₹5,000/- Duration: 15 to 30 minutes Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult Goa is usually the destination experienced paragliders head to during the winters. It's many hilly takeoff locations, facing the sea, make for excellent take-off points and cater to the even the most experienced of pilots. The view from the air is definitely one that you'll remember and you can see all sorts of pilots from different nationalities here. And please note the difference between paragliding and parasailing - parasailing is when you glide through the air, harnessed to a parachute (and not a glider) which is tied to a powerboat towing you along. You have no control or guiding capability. That too is a lot of fun but only a tandem ride. There are not many official schools teaching paragliding in Goa currently. So if you don't already have a pilot's licence, opt for a tandem flight where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the view while a professional pilot guides the wing!
5. Scuba Diving in Goa - Learn to dive!
Places where it happens: Bogmallo, Candolim, Dona Paula, Calangute, Best time to go: October - Mid May Prices: ₹5,000/- to ₹23,000/- Duration: 1 to 4 days Difficulty: Easy to Moderate One of the rare few places that offer genuinely awesome scuba-diving in India
, Goa is the place to learn and hone your underwater chops. With excellent corals and colourful fish, Goa is also known for a rare sighting of humpback whales, killer whales and even whale sharks
that sometimes pass by while on their migratory routes.The low visibility is both a blessing and a curse for divers here. The visibility ranges from 10 to 25 feet, which is actually pretty decent, though it is rather less when compared to the crystal clear waters you encounter while diving in the Andaman Isles. Even so, it is recommended that you learn scuba diving in Goa
because of the low visibility. It gives you the opportunity to train in real-life low visibility situations. All the emergency techniques and maneuvers are best learnt and practiced in waters like the ones off Goa. This gives you an advantage when you encounter situations in which you may have to use them. Also, diving anywhere else, with a higher visibility, will only enhance your experience. So if you're planning to learn to dive, Goa is one of the best places you can do your Open Water course. For those who don't want to go scuba diving, the same dive shops also rent out snorkeling gear. Note that you don't need to know swimming if you're doing a discover dive (tandem dive) which lasts 20-30 minutes, but knowing swimming is mandatory if you're doing the Open Water Course.
Places where it happens: All around Goa Best time to go: October - May Prices: ₹2,000/- to ₹10,000 Duration: 1 hour to full day Difficulty: Easy With plenty of sea breeze, Goa provides the maximum bang for the buck if you're learning sailing. You can usually see boats sailing on a majority of the beaches in Goa, which offer both lessons and joyrides. These are usually dinghys and keelboats ( and the elegant catamarans ) and are excellent for learning due to their small size and sensitivity to the wind. They usually accommodate two to four people on board and are The best beaches to learn include Patnem, Benaulim, Calangute, Dona Paula, Colva, and Utorda, though Calangute is usually crowded and consequently, more expensive.
7. Surfing in Goa
Places where it happens: Arambol, Ashvem, Baga, Bogmallo, Palolem, Agonda, Patnem Best time to go: October - March Prices: ₹2000 to 3000/- per session
Duration: 1.5 hours per session Difficulty: Moderate In many ways, Goa is the one of the better places to learn surfing. With it's long coastline of beaches, it has something for almost all directions of wind. It's laid back atmosphere, skilled surfing crowd and waves perfect for beginners make it an excellent place to start learning such water sports in Goa. Arambol beach has a couple of schools dedicated to the sport, and the 3-foot waves, clean beaches and friendly instructors are a bonus. Most Surf schools also couple the sport with yoga and meditation, making it an all round fulfilling holiday, both for the body and the soul. So pack your board shorts, your sunscreen and head to Goa for that surfing holiday!
8. Bird Watching
Places where it happens: Bondla, Salim Ali, Netrani, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary Best time to go: All year Prices: ₹1500/- to ₹3500/- Duration: 1 day Difficulty: Easy Home to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Goa is a haven for birding enthusiasts. It's location at the foothills of the Western Ghats, coupled with the lush green forest cover and humid weather, gives it an unfair advantage. With colourful species like the Golden Oriole, Sunbirds, Rufous Woodpeckers and Kingfishers commonly spotted, every birding trip in Goa usually yields multiple collectible photographs of the avian supermodels. An interesting variant of hiking, bird watching is the perfect combination for outdoor enthusiasts, nature and bird lovers. Binoculars, though not mandatory, are pretty advantageous when out in the field, and you get to meet some pretty interesting people from all walks of life.
Places where it happens: Panjim, Anjuna, Arambol, Cavelossim, Bogmallo Best time to go: All Year Prices: ₹300 to ₹10,000 Duration: 1 to 14 days Difficulty: Easy to Moderate Goa has an excellent cycling scene, mostly due to the huge influx of tourists that come to the state and want to explore the scenic natural beauty of the state. With well maintained roads, a thriving local culture, beautiful views all along and friendly locals, going cycling in Goa is both exciting and pleasurable. With forts, beaches and hills of every variety here, it's easy to see why Goa attracts a lot of the bicycling crowd. Plus, rest days have the added advantage of relaxing in India's beach capital!
10. Motorcycling - Take a long Motorcycle trip
Places where it happens: All Over Goa Best time to go: All Year Prices: ₹400/- to ₹18,000/- Duration: half to multi days Difficulty: Easy With over 1300 km of well-built highways webbed across the state, Goa is a delight for motorcycle riders. Add to it the cheapest prices for gasoline (petrol) in the country, scenic views and excellent beaches, and you have the perfect recipe for every motorcycle enthusiasts. Some of the best roads to ride on lead to Palolem in South Goa, which winds through well-kept forests; and to Arambol in North Goa, which pass through neatly irrigated fields, many of which are reminiscent of the road from Chiang Mai to Pai
. So wear your helmets and rev. your ride. And in case you don't have a bike, you can rent everything from mopeds to Harleys here, though the ride of choice is the Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle.
11. Trekking - Go Trekking in the Woods
Places where it happens: Dudhsagar, Netrani, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Best time to go: All Year Prices: ₹1,200/- to ₹8,000/- Duration: half to 4 days Difficulty: Easy to Moderate Quite unlike the ice and snow treks in the Ladakh
, Goa has hills that offer the perfect coastal jungle trekking experience. With plenty of rains, loads of local plants and animals and easy trekking routes, trekking here is a fun and easy experience. You can pack your backpack and head to the popular routes like the Dudhsagar waterfalls or go for the more offbeat treks in the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, insect repellent and water to go around on your trek and do not litter the environment. It is sad to see plastic bottles and beer cans when trekking outdoors and as enthusiasts, we are responsible for our own behaviour. How many of these adventure sports in Goa have you tried? How many did you know about? We, at AlienAdv, absolutely love to talk adventure! So comment below and if you have something we've missed in this list, we'll be delighted to add it! Also, if you want to use any of the images here, just mail firstname.lastname@example.org :) Cover Image by Jaskirat