Goa, the home of beautiful beaches and all-night parties, is India’s most popular summertime travel destination. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that Goa gains a different hue during the monsoons. Going to a place that’s famous for its beaches during the monsoon may seem foolish, but here are a few things to convince you that June – August may just be the best time to visit Goa.
Everything’s super cheap
During the off-season there is a flat 50% discount on almost everything; Hotel rates, bike rentals, airfare to get to Goa, everything is simply much cheaper than during the tourist season. You can even ditch the commercial lodgings Baga and Calangute beaches and stay on a nice beachfront hotel at Candolim for just Rs 500.
You get to walk on the beaches like you own them
The one biggest problem of Goa is the crowd. It’s hard to enjoy the beaches when there are a thousand other people trying to do the same. But during the monsoon season, Goa is almost devoid of tourists and as such you’ll find usually crowded beaches blissfully empty. You might not even see more than 2-3 people if you go to the nicer beaches of Anjuna and Candolim.
See the Sao Joao and Bonderam Festivals
There are two important festivals held during monsoon in Goa. The first is the Sao Joao Festival or the Fertility Feast of Saint John the Baptist which is celebrated in late June every year with great pomp and zeal. It involves men jumping into wells to retrieve bottles of Feni, a local alcoholic drink from Goa, and a huge fest afterwards.
In August, Divar island gets ready for the famous Bonderam Festival. The festival begins with a vibrant parade with multi coloured flags and the entire island comes alive with performances by famous local bands.
That ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ feeling at Chapora Fort and Vagator beach
The Chapora Fort which was made famous by a scene in ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ is usually jam-packed with tourists taking selfies. But it’s not so during the monsoon. You’ll find the Fort and the underlying Vagator Beach completely free of human presence, and you can sit peacefully and watch the Chapora River flowing into the Arabian Sea as huge clouds roll on the horizon.
The Dudhsagar Falls are in full flow
Located in the Mollem National Park, the Dudhsagar Falls are India’s fifth highest falls and one of Goa’s most stunning natural phenomenon. These magnificent falls can only be seen in full flow during the monsoon when the rain-fed waters acquire a milky white (hence the name ‘Dudh’ – milk, ‘Sagar’ – river) look due to their ferocity. There are a lot of trails for trekking around these falls. You can take one of four different routes to reach them and it’s definitely worth the effort.
Go animal spotting at the wildlife sanctuaries
If you’ve ever wanted to see something like they show on those nature programs on Nat Geo or Discovery, here’s your chance. Unlike wildlife sanctuaries across the rest of India, sanctuaries in Goa are open all year round and are an absolute must-visit during the monsoons when they are washed clean by the rains. The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary located in North Goa near Valpoi has a large number of Bengal Tigers and is set to become a Project Tiger Reserve. It’s simply brilliant during the rains as the greenery seems to come to life with so much water. The Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary, Mollem National Park and Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary are also worth a visit.
The Party still goes on
At the end of the day, what is Goa without its parties and this is by far the best season for party animals, as places like Mambo’s and Tito’s that you usually need to queue up endlessly to enter are now free of the crowds. Head to the Bar at Park Hotel in Calangute, or enjoy live music at the chilled out Cavala, on Baga-Calangute Road. If karaoke is what you’re looking for then head to St. Anthony’s bar on Baga Beach and sing your heart out. Another popular nightclub in Goa remains the LPK (short for Love Passion Karma) in Candolim, which is famous for its foot tapping music and peppy ambience. Goa is the only state in India where gambling is legal and there are many floating casinos where you can try your luck at the slot machines and roulette.
During the months of June to August, you get to enjoy a different sort of Goa, without any crowds and at half the price. So what do you think, is Goa worth a trips during the monsoon?