Mistake to avoid while visiting Goa - Cabe De Rama fort

15 Mistakes To Avoid While Visiting Goa

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Goa is one of the most popular destinations in India for domestic and international travelers. People flock to the place from everywhere to relax, sit by the beaches, sip beers, and have a jolly good time. However, while visiting this coastal city, people are unaware of certain things, which hampers their experience and enjoyment. So, to make your trip to Goa memorable and hassle-free, we’ve written a blog highlighting all the mistakes you can avoid while exploring Goa. Let’s jump right in.

Mistakes To Avoid In Goa

1. Exploring Only The Beaches

Strawberry farms at Verlem, South Goa

You are a tourist, and you’d like to do all the touristy things in a place like Goa. But go beyond that and tread the off-beat path. Goa is also a place of rich cultural heritage and history. You can experience this by visiting forts, churches, historical sites, and more. In fact, Goa has a whole lot more to offer for people who are not into partying. The city/state is home to 7 wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Numerous hidden waterfalls scattered across the region make up the perfect retreat for nature lovers. There are also several activities like bungee jumping at Mayem Lake, strawberry farms at Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, etc.

2. Not Knowing The Best Time To Visit

Best time to visit Goa

Goa is extremely crowded during the peak months of December and January. Accommodations and activities are overpriced, and you need to book in advance. Summer months from February to May are too hot and humid/ So that’s definitely not an ideal time.

Monsoon season in Goa lasts from June to September. While many beaches and activities are closed or not accessible, monsoon is the best time to visit the waterfalls hidden inside the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. However, if you want to chill at the beaches, we recommend going in October and November.

3. Not Planning The Transportation

Local public transportation of bus in Goa

Taxis in Goa are expensive, and it’s important to allot a budget for transportation while planning the trip. Rather than choosing a cab for pickup and drop to and fro the airport, just go outside the airport and board the bus to your nearest destination. Goa is well connected with local transport by buses, which are good for travel. You will save a good amount of money without having to sacrifice convenience.

The best way to shuttle between North and South Goa or between destinations is by bus. However, renting a two-wheeler or four-wheeler would be the best choice if you’re planning to roam nearby places in the same region or visit remote locations. Plan beforehand and choose accordingly.

4. Buying Drinks On The Loose

In Goa, there have been instances where tourists have fallen sick after consuming drinks from unlicensed vendors or makeshift bars. These vendors may not adhere to proper food safety and hygiene standards, and the drinks they sell may be adulterated or spiked with harmful substances. 

To avoid getting sick or falling victim to scams, it’s important to exercise caution and only buy drinks from licensed sellers or sealed bottled drinks. Check for reviews and ratings of bars and restaurants before visiting. Also, always keep an eye on your drinks and don’t leave them unattended. This way, your drinks will not be spiked. Generally, be vigilant about the quality and safety of the drinks you consume.

5. Falling For The Scams

It’s important to be wary of individuals who approach you on the street offering massages or other night services. Be cautious of any offers that seem too good to be true. If you are hesitant about something, choose not to do it, no matter how enticing the prospect is.

If you are looking for something specific, like massages, you can ask for recommendations from locals or trusted sources to avoid scams.

Paragliding or water sports activities at Goa

While participating in water sports, it is common for vendors to demand more money after you have already started. For example, in North Goa, the cost of parasailing can be around INR 1000. However, just before you take off, the vendor may inform you that if you want to go higher or dip into the water, you will need to pay an additional fee. Be clear about what you’re opting for to avoid surprises later.

6. Not Aware Of Dress Codes

Backpacking across Goa - how to dress and what to wear in Goa

You may wear bikinis on the beaches but do not roam around in underwear or bikinis on the roads or public places, which are not shacks or the usual hangout places. Unlike popular belief, the locals are conservative, so one must dress appropriately while visiting temples and other cultural sites. Learn how to dress and what to wear in India.

7. Mistakes While Renting Vehicles

Take good pictures and videos of the vehicle you’re renting so that the owner doesn’t demand money later on. If something happens, the owner will charge you more for the damages caused. This amount will be much more than the amount it costs to fix the damage. So repair it yourself and return the vehicle. They won’t notice it, and you will save a decent sum of money. For more tips, know how to rent vehicles in India, an in-depth guide that covers all vital information.

8. Not Respecting The Environment

Dumping beer bottles on the beach might look cool for an Instagram post, but it is a harmful and unacceptable practice. The broken pieces of glass from the beer bottles can cut into people and animals walking on the beach. Moreover, the glass shards can remain in the sand for years, creating a safety hazard. It is important to dispose of the bottles properly and avoid littering.

9. Not Bargaining

Nightlife at Goa

It’s common to bargain in local markets and shops. Few vendors charge any random price based on which state or country you appear to be from. So not bargaining would mean paying more than you need to.

If you aren’t so sure of the price of the item, compare them in nearby shops or online. For more tips, learn how to bargain like a PRO.

10. Taking Pictures Without Consent

Traveling responsibly includes not clicking pictures of people without their consent. We’ve seen several people clicking photographs of strangers minding their own business. It is impolite and offensive and makes the concerned person incredibly uncomfortable because their privacy is being violated.

So, if you’re a photographer who likes to click portraits or wants to capture the city, its culture, and its people, ask for permission. If you find someone taking your picture without consent, ask them to stop or move away to a place where you feel safer.

Treating travelers respectfully can help create a more positive and good experience for everyone involved.

11. Drinking Tap Water

Tap water in India is not safe. Drinking bottled water or using a water purifier while in Goa or any part of India is advisable. Bottled water is widely available and can be purchased at most stores and restaurants. Some hotels and accommodations may have water filtration systems, so check with them before drinking their water. Ultimately, it’s always better to be cautious and prioritize your health and safety while traveling.

Also read: 35 Things to know before visiting India

12. Paying For The Parking

Most of the tourist attractions in Goa don’t have a dedicated parking space, yet they levy hefty parking charges, a minimum of Rs. 50 for two-wheelers and even higher for four-wheelers. Furthermore, you have to pay the entry fee as well.

Goa beyond the beaches - avoid these common mistakes

While the entry fee makes sense, the parking fee for leaving your cars/vehicles on the road does not. To avoid this, park a little farther from the spot and walk. But do watch out for “No Parking” signboards, as you might be fined if your vehicle is in a no-parking zone.

13. Booking One Accommodation

Unlike what most people believe, Goa is not a small state. It stretches for about 120+ Km along the western coastline. Thus booking a single accommodation and trying to cover North and South Goa can be tiring, time-consuming, expensive, and challenging. So, split the trip into different parts to explore each part of the state.

For instance, you can book your stay at Palolem or Agonda in South Goa and Anjuna or  Vagator in North Goa. Besides this, you can also look for accommodations in Panaji to explore the old or central Goa. To visit Dudhsagar waterfall or any other offbeat waterfalls, you can book homestays nearby.


14. Drunk Driving

Drunk driving in Goa, or anywhere for that matter, is extremely dangerous and illegal. If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will have to pay fines and/or do prison time, depending on the severity of the offense.

To avoid the risks and consequences of drunk driving, it’s important to plan ahead and make alternative arrangements if you wish to drink. Additionally, remember that alcohol can impair your judgment and reaction time. It’s always best to be on the side of caution and avoid driving after drinking altogether. Doing so can help ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.

15. Not Trying The Local Cuisine

Goan Thali

Goa has a rich culinary heritage, and it would be a mistake not to try the local cuisine, which includes seafood, coconut-based curries, and local drinks such as Feni. Acquire knowledge of how to eat street food and not get sick.

To be honest, there is no such thing as a “100% safe place”. Mishaps may occur anywhere, and Goa is no exception. Always be cautious of your surroundings, and while it is important that we push our horizons and fight for safety, it is important to take countermeasures yourself, as no place is ideal. Educate yourself on these safety tips that might be useful in India. 

What is the number #1 mistake that you made while traveling to Goa? Let us know in the comments below.

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