A Sustainable Travel Guide to Goa, India
This sustainable travel guide to Goa is a guest post written by Rachita Saxena, a travel blogger from India who has been traveling full-time for three years now.
She shares her travel stories on her blog Meanderwander and loves trying new food and experiences in a new destination. When she isn’t traveling, she loves reading about new places and plan her next trips!
(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking.)
Goa, known as the party capital of India, has a lot to offer besides nightclubs and beaches.
With so many beautiful natural and offbeat destinations to explore in Goa, you can not exclude this from your India itinerary.
But it shouldn’t be at the expense of our environment which is why I usually try to travel sustainably to most destinations, including Goa.
If you are currently tripping in India and planning a visit to Goa soon and wondering how to plan a sustainable trip to this amazing location, then here is everything you need to know.
In this sustainable travel guide to Goa, I will share with you simple yet effective tips for traveling and staying here, but also for exploring the places around.
How to Reach Goa
Although Goa has an International Airport, I would advise you against using flights as they are the highest contributor to your overall carbon footprint.
In the past four years, I have traveled three times to Goa and every time, I have either opted for a bus or a train.
There are two major railway stations in Goa – Madgaon and Vasco da Gama. And since India has an amazing railway network, you will easily find a train to Goa from almost any destination in India.
It could either be a direct train or you might need to change the trains but it is definitely one of the most sustainable ways to travel to Goa.
Opt for sleeper coaches and not the A.C coaches to further conserve the energy used.
The trains are cheap too and will cost you 1/5th of what you spend on a flight ticket here.
Apart from trains, local non-AC buses are also another good way to reach Goa in an eco-friendly manner.
You will get buses to Goa from several nearby destinations such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and so on.
Getting Around in Goa
Once you reach Goa, you might be wondering what is the best way to get around the state and visit the different beaches, churches, etc. around here.
One of the best ways to travel sustainably in Goa is by using local public transportation. Goa is well-connected by the bus network but it is a little time-consuming to go from North to South Goa or vice versa.
So, make sure you have sufficient time in hand when using the buses to travel around. There are several electric buses as well that have been introduced in Goa.
Try and opt for them for whichever route they are available.
Another good way to explore Goa is by hiring a cycle and exploring the areas near your accommodation. This way, you can experience the local culture without harming the environment.
And if you love walking, then you can even walk around and explore the beaches, waterfalls, etc. that are available all over in Goa.
Best Time to Visit Goa
Since Goa is located in South India, it experiences a hot and humid climate throughout the year.
As a result, it is a good idea to visit Goa in the drier months such as October, November, December, January, and February.
These are the winter months in India so the temperature in Goa is pleasant at the time and there is less humidity as well. Keep in mind that it is also the peak season to visit Goa so you will find it crowded with tourists.
If you wish to avoid the crowd, then plan a visit in March, April, or September. However, be prepared for humidity at that time.
A Sustainable Travel Guide to Goa – What to do
Here are a few things that you can do in Goa as part of sustainable tourism.
1. Cycle Amidst The Palm Trees
One of the best things about Goa is that there are a lot of roads that are covered with palm trees on both sides and make for an amazing cycling route.
You can cycle along the coastline or the inner networks of Goa and explore it like a local.
You will find bicycles for rent at several locations for a minimal price. So, rent a bike and see what all Goa has to offer.
2. Relax on The Beaches
Another great and absolutely free thing to do in Goa is to head out to a beach and sunbathe or relax here for a while.
There are lots of amazing beaches to hang out in Goa. Some great examples are Palolem beach, Colva beach, Miramar beach or Anjuna beach
You simply choose the beach that is closest to you and walk there to enjoy some quiet time.
3. Learn About The Local Culture
There are several workshops held by the locals here where you can learn about the local traditions or how to cook the local food.
If you are interested, then you can book such workshops to learn about Goan traditions and food culture and make some amazing local dishes too.
4. Hike to The Beautiful Waterfalls
There is no denying the fact that while Goa is 80% beaches, it is also full of forest and natural spots. With so many waterfalls to explore here (free of cost), you could easily end up spending a few weeks here.
A few waterfalls that you cannot miss out on in Goa are the Dudhsagar waterfall, Harvalem waterfall, Surla waterfall, Karmale waterfall, and so on.
So, do set aside some time for waterfall hopping in Goa.
5. Watch Gorgeous Sunsets Around Here
Finally, Goa is home to the most beautiful sunsets in India. You will find numerous beaches and viewpoints that offer an amazing view of the sunsets so make sure that you enjoy that.
Head out to a beach or a cliff in the evening and watch as the sun slowly sinks inside the ocean. Trust me, it is the most magical feeling to watch a sunset in Goa.
What to Eat in Goa
Although Goa has no shortage of fast food centers or restaurants, most of these places are not environment-conscious and use energy resources in extreme proportions.
So, if you don’t wish to be a part of it, you have the option of trying out local food that is prepared in the dhabas here.
You will find several such dhabas all over Goa that serve the basic meal made by the ingredients grown by the family.
Another good idea is to buy vegetables and fruits from the local market and prepare your own food in the kitchen to avoid buying packaged foods or fast food.
There are several street vendors also that will be selling local snacks to you that taste amazing and are made and sold locally.
A Sustainable Travel Guide to Goa – Where to Stay
In Goa, you have a wide range of accommodation options available so depending on your budget, you can choose the one that suits you best.
If you are short on budget, you can plan to stay in hostels and share rooms with other travelers. There are a lot of good hostels that offer both AC and non-AC rooms.
A few recommended ones are The Hostellers, Backpacker Panda, Hostel Green Nest, etc.
Apart from that, there are several good eco-friendly hotels and resorts in Goa too that you can check out. These hotels will be a little expensive but they will be good for the environment too.
You can check out Yogamagic Eco Retreat, Coconut Grove Eco-Friendly Beach Cottages, etc. in Goa for a comfortable yet eco-friendly stay.
Finally, if you are traveling with a group of friends then the best option for you would be an Airbnb. You can book an entire flat for your friends and cook your own food too.
Goa is an amazing place to visit and offers something to all kinds of travelers.
From waterfalls to churches, there is a lot to explore around here. Plus, the best part is that you can travel here in a sustainable manner while enjoying yourself.
I hope you use this sustainable travel guide to Goa to promote eco-friendly tourism and have an amazing time here.
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Do you want to travel like me?
Here are some of my favorite travel tips and resources:
Flights: I prefer using CheapOair or Skyscanner to book flights. The destination everywhere feature is perfect for finding some cheap deals!
Accommodation: Booking.com is my favorite site to find some great hotel deals. I do love staying at a local place as well, thus I book an Airbnb every now and then.
Travel Insurance: There are many reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having one. I use the simple and flexible one from World Nomads to be protected against unforeseen events.
Tours: I love taking tours to explore destinations like a local. My favorite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.
Camera Gear: I use a Nikon D5300 camera with an 18-105 mm and a 10-20 mm wide-angle lens to take my photos.
Hey Lina, I had visited Goa and travelled around on Goa local buses all the time. I think that travelling on the local buses in Goa is far better than renting a scooter in Goa. Although many opt for renting a scooter.Besides a good post.
Thanks a lot! Great to hear you’ve been to Goa already 🙂
I’ve always been intrigued by Goa, and particularly love your eco outlook here. Really great post Alina
Such a great and eco friendly guide to Goa. I would love to chase waterfalls there and watch sunsets. Wouldl love to visit India and hope I can visit next year. Pinning so I have this guide when I go.
Yes I’m dying to see this place as well!
The sunsets and waterfall hikes sound spectacular! Would love to explore the terrain at some point. I actually learned a lot about Goa when on a food tour in Lisbon!
Oh really?! That’s awesome! I wouls also love to visit Goa soon 🙂
I haven’t been to Goa yet and I’m not much of a partier, so your alternative ideas on what to do in the party capital of India will really come in handy for me!
Me neither! I prefer exploring way more so we’re the same 🙂
Such a great guide! Traveling and being sustainable can be hard so this guide deff helps with already lined out places to eat, stay and do! I’d love to see the waterfalls!
True, although it gets easier and easier these days 🙂
Wonderful to read that you can travel sustainable to Goa in India. Will keep this tips in mind when I get to Goa.
Happy to hear it!
This is a great article! And those beaches look amazing!
Yes they do right?! I wanna go there so badly!
You definitely captured the highlights of Goa! I was there last year for a weeklong yoga retreat and was so impressed by the beautiful natural landscapes along the coast.
oh a Yoga retreat there must be amazing!
These are some great tips! Goa looks like a beautiful destination! I like to try and travel as sustainably as I can when I travel but at times it can mean a lot of research before visiting a place! This guide is great for anyone wanting to plan a sustainable trip to Goa. I’m going to keep these tips handy for if I get there in the future. Thanks for the great guide!
Yeah it definitely requires a lot of research mostly! 🙂 Happy you find it useful.
I lived in Mumbai for one month for work, heard about Goa while there, and have wanted to go since! So this was awesome – thanks!
Oh how interesting! 🙂
As I’ve gotten older and paid more attention to my sustainability efforts as a whole, the concept of sustsainable or green travel truly intrigues me. I think this is a super interesting blog post with a lot of great ideas/way to do this, that can be used not just in Goa! Which looks INCREDIBLE by the way!
Yeees it looks indeed awesome!
Loved reading about how to visit Goa more sustainably. I’ll definitely be taking less flights in 2021!
Yes that’s one of my goals for 2021 as well 🙂
Thanks for putting this together! I’ve never been to India but it’d be cool to get to explore it someday! The beaches look beautiful!
Yes they look so inviting!
Hey Lina! This is a great topic you have covered. Sustainable travel especially in India can be very tough and you have covered it nicely. I also post about sustainability and travel. Maybe we can collab in the future. Will wait for your reply on that one. Thanks for sharing your experience!
This is an amazing blog post Alina! I really want to get to India one day and Goa is on the bucket list. 🙂
Thanks Taylor 🙂