During monsoon in Goa, Goa is transformed. May, with its high heat and scorching sun, gives way to cooler temperatures, lush vegetation, and the prospect of a rainbow or two.
Typically, the monsoon months are off-season in Goa because the beaches are closed, the shacks close, and many famous attractions close. Monsoons showcase the lushness of the forests and the greenery of the state (though now sadly reduced owing to rampant construction in the name of development). It’s an excellent opportunity to discover the abundance of the state’s biodiversity, take part in its monsoon festivals, and go in search of some seasonal greens.
Here’s how to spend your monsoon vacation in Goa aside from the beaches and flea markets.
- Hunt for monsoon plants
The colour green is abundant in the monsoon, when Goa’s crops, plateaus, and woods take on a new hue. Among the many seasonal plants, weeds, and flowers that sprout are several medicinal ones that used to nourish and treat Goans in the past.
Tero (Colocasia leaves), taikilo (or sickle pod), dhovi bhaji (green amaranthus), drumstick leaves, bamboo stalk, aakur, and even the little milky white cucumber are still consumed. These are beneficial to the gut and immunity. These are nature’s way of supplying us with the tools we need for the season.
These plants can be found growing wild on the edges of fields, along the roadside, and on the state’s few remaining intact plateaus. Keep an eye out for females selling this product along the roadsides or in the big marketplaces.
During the rainy season, Goa’s Spice Gardens are a must-see. The gardens cover acres and feature an unusual assortment of aromatic spices such as Nutmeg, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Pepper, and many others. Imagine the aroma of spices mingling with petrichor during the monsoon! As you walk around the garden, you will learn about the many spices, their medical properties, uses, and growing methods.
Lunch is served in earthen pots and on banana leaves at the Spice Gardens, followed by fresh fruits from their organic fields for dessert. After a fantastic supper, you’ll learn about vanilla extraction, cashew nut processing, and swinging the Betel Nut palms. The traditional dance show, followed by a delightful elephant-back ride, makes it one of the most popular spots to visit in Goa during the monsoon season among tourists.
- Indulge in local festivals
Waterbodies across Goa will experience an uptick in activity on June 24 as revellers dive into them. This is part of So Joo, the St John de Baptist celebration. Locals celebrate by jumping into bodies of water and wells (sometimes to retrieve bottles of feni stored here).
This is just one of many monsoon festivals held in Goa. Sangodd, held at the end of the month in honour of Saints Peter and Paul, is celebrated by boat parades of tiny church models. The Marcel people celebrate Chikal Kalo, the mud festival, every July. Bonderam, the flag festival on the island of Divar, takes place in late August and involves a Carnival-style parade with floats and music.
If you think monsoon is the best time to visit Goa, you’re correct! The city features a slew of festivals that can only be enjoyed during the rainy season. The Sao Joao Fest in Siolim is one of the most colourful carnivals, commemorating St. John the Baptist.
Vibrant attire and floral headgears are on display, while Feni, Goa’s favourite drink, flows freely. If you’re a foodie, go to the Patolleanchem Feast, which serves delectable seafood dishes and is one of the greatest spots to visit in Goa in July.
The highlight of this feast is, of course, the Patolleo, a rice, coconut, and jaggery dessert that inspired the feast’s name. Another strange festival is the Touxeachem Fest, where St. Anne devotees arrive with two cucumbers, one of which is offered to the statue and the other carried home after receiving blessings. The list goes on and on, from food festivals to amicable mud fights.
- Visit the enchanting forests
For more than a year, residents fought together to defend the Mollem National Park (part of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary) from environmentally harmful projects. The location is worth seeing at any time to appreciate its significance and why it has to be saved.
“The forest is at its most beautiful during the monsoon season.” “It’s healthier, greener, and there’s a lot more diversity,” says Omkar Dharwadkar, one of the directors of Mrugaya Xpeditions, which organises birding and wildlife-watching trips.
A walk through Mollem during this season will present you to insects, amphibians, several orchid species, and fungi. Many of these species, such as the hump-nosed pit viper, Malabar gliding frog, banded ground gecko, and atlas moth, are endemic to Goa and/or the Western Ghats. There are also numerous hiking trails and waterfalls to visit. “Overall, it’s a biodiversity package,” Dharwadkar adds
The paths can be done on your own, although a guide is recommended to fully appreciate the forest’s beauty. Mrugaya organises personalised paths through the forest and also operates a guesthouse within the forest
The monsoons are a great time to visit the hinterlands, which are thick with foliage and typically lead to a spectacular waterfall.
Take a trip or trek and spend the afternoon swimming in a pond or stream or sunbathing on the rocks near waterfalls. While the gloomy and grey seas are beyond bounds, the hinterlands of Goa colour the scene as monsoon-fed waters fill up the ponds, lakes, waterfalls, and river streams.
Their monsoon experience is what he refers to as “right out of Goa in the 1970s”: trek to a site where cool clear waters have pooled from the hill that opens in the middle of a canopy of vines, trees, and plants; jump into the pool, and then enjoy a picnic with good food and feni.
- Go chase the waterfalls
There is no better time to see the world-famous Dudhsagar Waterfalls, whose majesty is highlighted this season. The path there is through beautiful forests populated with various animals and is located deep within the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary. Aside from Dudhsagar, the state is dotted with waterfalls: look for them near Tambdi Surla, Chorla Ghat, or Netravali.
Few sites can compete with the beauty of the Dudhsagar Waterfalls, especially during the monsoon season. This 1017-foot-high waterfall, which translates to “Ocean of Milk” due to its frothy white waters, roars as it gushes down over the rocky ground.
The best way to see the falls is to organise an off-roading tour in a Jeep. The ride takes you from the foot of the falls up to the falls, through gorgeous tropical flora. The Dudhsagar rivers, along with the gentle rain, create a lovely scene! Splash around in the pools, take a walk into the lush jungle surrounding Dudhsagar and befriend monkeys as you feed them along the way, and it’s one of the greatest locations to visit in Goa in July.
- Hop on a river cruise
One of the most relaxing things to do in Goa during the monsoon season is to board a boat and leave your problems behind as you ride along the Mandovi River. Take a break from the city’s beaches, nightlife, and hustle and bustle by taking a leisurely 1-hour cruise across the river.
If you purchase a tour, you can expect a lot of fun, including admission to the Carnival Village, seeing performances, dancing to the DJ’s sounds, and indulging in delectable foods at the numerous food vendors. Needless to say, the spectacular panoramic views of Panaji from the boat, especially at night, make it an unforgettable voyage!
- Get a on a bike, and just ride
Scooty rides are a necessity if you adore rainfall on your face! You may easily rent a scooty for a day or two and explore Goa’s beautiful sights and beaches. Also, because monsoon is considered off-season in Goa, bike rentals are reasonably priced.
What could be better than Goa in the monsoon? We’d recommend bike trips in the rain with your pals! Traveling to Goa with pals is something we’ve always wanted to do, but if you do go, make sure you go for a rainy bike ride with your friends!
One of the most unforgettable monsoon activities in Goa is to go on a bike ride with your pals while the soft breeze and cool rain brush across your face! Many rental bike shops would gladly provide you with high-end bikes that you may ride around on comfortably. Ride past beaches, along chapels, through beautiful villages, and on winding roads that will put your riding skills to the test.
- Trek at Udaan Dongor
One of the best things to do in Goa during the monsoon is to plan a walk to the famous Udaan Dongor, which is hidden near the town of Valpoi. Udaan Dongor, Goa’s fourth highest hill, is home to dangerous forests, tortuous routes, and gushing streams.
While walking the paths, you have a decent possibility of seeing bison, leopards, and deer. When you reach the top, you’ll be greeted by a spectacular panoramic vista of the Western Ghats. The light rain falls on the trees, giving them a magnificent lush green hue that adds an unsurpassed beauty to the environment!
Location: Valpoi, Goa 403506
Timings: 7 am to 7 pm
Price: Rs. 3000 for guided trek
- Go rafting in the Mhadei river
Rafting on the Mhadei River is one of the top monsoon activities in Goa. The area, known as the Mandovi River, is strange, and the deluge makes it ideal for rafting. The rafting excursion is suitable for both first-timers and seasoned adventurers, and it stretches 10 kilometres, introducing you to panoramas of bright green jungles along the way.
Manoeuvre your way over Class 2 and 3 rapids that are simple yet exciting, while riding over moody waves that add to the excitement of the activity. Don’t let this wonderful nature refuge pass you by.
Location: Valpoi, Goa 403506
Timings: 9:30 am and 2:30 pm
Price: Rs. 1500 onwards
- Drive to the ghats
One of the almost-mandatory monsoon activities in Goa is to drive up the ghats, particularly the Chorla Ghat, which is about a 2-hour journey between Calangute and Panjim. Chorla Ghat, part of the Western Ghats, demonstrates that Goa has much more to offer than bars, shacks, and beaches.
As you make your way up to the ghat, you’ll cross the Harlem Waterfall and the Arvalem Cave, which is thought to have housed the Pandavas during their exile. When you enter the ghat, the road is flanked by canopies of towering coconut trees. The skies are cloudy because we are at a high altitude. If Goa is famed for its beautiful flora and good weather all year, imagine how enjoyable it must be to drive down this route during the monsoon.
- Go sanctuary trekking
Your journey will be incomplete if you do not visit Goa’s wildlife reserves during the monsoon season. One of the unusual things to do in Goa during the monsoon season is to visit the city’s evergreen sanctuaries. Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the top places to visit in Goa in July for its stunning waterfalls and a journey to the pristine Chorla Ghats. Here you may see around 250 different types of butterflies and birds. If you’re looking for an adventure, go rafting on the Mhadei River. Cotigao Sanctuary is another excellent area to see gazelles, panthers, and sloth bears. Other lesser-known sanctuaries are Dr. Salim Ali’s Bird Sanctuary, Netravali, and Bonda Sanctuary. Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park.
- Visit the lonely forts
Nothing better encapsulates Goan history than the forts that define the ancient city. Goan forts are a must-see for lovers of Portuguese and Indian architecture, especially during the rainy season, when walking up to the forts and appreciating the view from the top seems wonderful.
The beautiful Corjuem Fort, a hallmark of Portuguese architecture, and the Aguada Fort, erected in the nineteenth century, both have lighthouses and the largest prison in Goa. Forts that once belonged to Indian monarchs include the Terekhol Fort from the 18th century and the famous Chapora Fort, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Vagator Beach; both are must-see destinations to visit in Goa in June.
- Party for a change. Goan nightlife has some offerings
One of the many activities to do in Goa during the monsoon season is go clubbing, which is also enjoyable all year! Goa has a diverse range of nightlife options, including clubs, beach shacks, pubs & restaurants, night markets, and cruises. Every venue is unique in its own way.
Clubs are well-known for their excellent selection of foot-tapping music and glam interiors, but bars and pubs are popular for their bite-sized delectables and free-flowing liquor. Visit the beach shacks if you want to let your hair down, dine, and soak in the beauty of Goa. However, if you’re searching for something out of the ordinary, head to the casinos for a night of gaming or to the night markets to go shopping.
- Try some yummy Goan cuisine
Needless to add, when in Goa, be a ‘Susegad’ and gorge yourself! Foodies will fall in love with Goa. As a coastal city, Goa provides the best seafood, including prawns, crabs, shellfish, shark, and everything in between. The fish curry, chicken xacuti, pork vindaloo, and dry prawn curry are all must-tries here, especially during the monsoon season.
The seafood is really delicious and a must-try! There are also a number of vegetarian options, such as Sorak, a basic curry, and Patolea, a dish made with leaves, coconut, red rice, and tamarind. Finish your dinner with Bebinca, a local dessert, or Perad, popularly known as Guava Cheese and one of the greatest spots to visit in Goa in June.
- Anjuna flea market is a good option
Goa isn’t just about parties and pubs, beaches and bars. A trip to Anjuna Flea Market for some good old traditional buying is one of the unusual monsoon experiences in Goa. The market, which is open daily except Wednesdays, is like a getaway from Goa while being in the city and is one of the best spots to visit in Goa during the monsoon.
There are shops selling Kashmiri, Tibetan, and Rajasthani saris, purses, jewellery, spices, home decor items, and so much more! Tourists throng the colourful stores, there are painters selling portrait and tattoo services, and travellers throng cafes for a cool beverage and some hot meal to go with it.
- Spin at the casinos
There are numerous things to do in Goa during the monsoon season, but one activity that you can enjoy all year is gambling at one of the many casinos that the state has to offer. While some onshore casinos just have electronic games, the floating casinos are where the action is.
There are live tables, VIP gaming rooms, entertainment zones, lounges, LIVE music, and you might even spy a star! Poker, Roulette, Black Jack, and many other games are available. Big Daddy Casino, Deltin Royale, Casino Pride, Deltin Caravela, and Casino Strike are just a few of the top places to go for a night of gambling.