“Is Goa expensive?” is the first question that comes to mind when planning a trip to Goa. Goa is among India’s top visited travel destinations and since most centres of tourism around the world tend to be expensive, the concern regarding cost is valid.
The popularity of Goa has only increased over the years and so have the number of visitors. Therefore, Goa tends to get a bit expensive, especially during peak season. However, with proper planning, you can keep your Goa trip well under a budget.
I have a special place for Goa in my heart. I am a mountain girl and the first time I ever saw the ocean was in Goa. Since then, I have been in love with the state, and with every visit, my fondness for Goa has increased. On my frequent visits to Goa over the years, I have picked up a few lessons on how to save money.
Is Goa Expensive for Budget Travellers?
Goa checks all the right boxes for being an ideal vacation spot. There is just so much to do in Goa- beaches, trekking trails, heritage walks, or just chilling out.
In this blog, I intend to help you figure out the answer to this very popular question, “Is Goa expensive?” Along the way, I will also how to cut down expenses on your next Goa trip.
The money you spend on Goa will depend on the kind of activities you indulge in, the mode of transportation you use, the time of the year you visit and the number of days you plan to spend in the state.
Before I delve deeper into the question of expenses of a trip to Goa, here is a quick overview:
|Is Goa expensive for groups?
Goa can be nominal for group travellers if they are willing to stay in budget accommodations and use internal transport wisely.
|Is Goa expensive for solo travellers?
No, Goa is one of the most solo travel-friendly states in India. There are some really good backpacking hostels where I have stayed over the years and I would recommend to solo travellers. Also, you can use their excellent public transport to explore the state.
|Is Goa expensive during the peak season?
Yes, Goa tends to be expensive during the peak tourist season i.e. between November and February.
|Is Goa expensive accommodation wise?
Not if you plan properly and book in advance, you can find accommodations at nominal prices.
|Is Goa expensive when it comes to transport options?
Depends on what kind of transport options you choose to use. Using private taxis and autos can be way more expensive than using public transport.
|Is Goa expensive when it comes to food and drinks?
While the local food in Goa is pretty nominal, the cafes and beach shacks are overpriced. Alcohol is cheaper in Goa when compared to other Indian states.
|Is Goa expensive for water sporting activities?
Yes, the watersports in Goa are expensive and there is little to no difference in the prices of these activities across beaches.
What is Cheaper- travelling to Goa in a Group or Solo?
What is cheaper- Going solo to Goa or going Goa with friends? I have been to Goa with my friends, family, and solo. Based on my experience I can safely say that Goa is pretty affordable for solo travellers as well as group travellers.
Goa is one of the few places where travelling solo is pretty cheap. This is because of the availability of excellent public transport and pocket-friendly accommodations.
If you are travelling all by yourself in Goa, I insist that you stay in one of the hostels. They are safe, easy on the pocket, and a great value for money.
When it comes to travelling within Goa, as a solo traveller, buses are a great way to get from one place to another. Hiring a two-wheeler is also a great option, but it tends to be a little more expensive.
Goa gets even better with your loved ones, be it, friends or family. When you are travelling in a group, all the costs get divided. So, whether you decide to stay in an apartment or rent out a car, the per-person costs are going to be less.
Are Accommodations Expensive in Goa?
One reason why so many backpackers visit Goa every year is because there are many pocket-friendly accommodation options available.
Whenever I have visited Goa on my own, I have stayed in a hostel. Not only are these hostels a great value for money but they also provide an excellent spot for mingling with people from different cultures. Staying in hostels in Goa has been one of my fondest travel memories. I have met some wonderful people and loved the stories they had to share.
If you are travelling in a group- as a family or as a group of friends, guest houses are your best bet. There are plenty of them available all around Goa. Based on my experience, I would recommend these guest houses in Goa, mainly because the hosts were lovely and the location is great.
Here are some of my tops tips for saving money on accommodations in Goa:
- Book in Advance– Whenever I have to visit Goa, or for that matter any other place, I make it a point to book at least one month in advance. That way I make sure that I avoid any last-minute hassles and get the property of my choice in my preferred location. Book from a platform that allows cancellation. I generally use Agoda, since it allows cancellation for a longer time, allows payment at the property, and by far the cheapest of all other booking platforms.
- Visit Offseason – Prices are bound to stay on the higher side during the peak months in Goa. So, if you want to save some money, I suggest you visit the offseason.
- Choose Hostels and Guest Houses – Hostels and Guest Houses are going to be slightly less expensive when compared to hotels in Goa. There are plenty of these available
How to save money on Internal and External Transport in Goa?
Transport forms the bulk of Goa trip cost especially if you are travelling from outside India or from places that aren’t close to the state of Goa.
Saving on External Transport in Goa
If you’re not from around Goa, external transport could be a major cost component. Depending on where you are travelling from, you can reach Goa via flights, trains or buses or a combination of these.
You can check in detail the cost of travelling to Goa from five major Indian cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Kolkata in my blog here.
You can save money on external transport by travelling in Trains. Trains are the most cost-effective way of reaching Goa from any Indian city. Make sure you book tickets well in advance because the seats are generally booked out months ahead especially for peak season.
Saving on Internal Transport in Goa
Another major expense that you will have to bear in Goa is travelling within the state. Although you will find all kind of travel options here, I would recommend using these two:
Using Buses in Goa
The most pocket-friendly way of travelling within Goa is using buses. Goa has a great network of buses. There are plenty of buses that ply between 7 am to 7 pm. So, whether you wish to travel to the beaches or just explore the local culture, I suggest you take the buses.
|You can even take a bus if you want to go beach hopping. For instance, what I did in North Goa was, I took a bus from Candolim to Calangute, Calangute to Baga and Baga to Anjuna and so on! Just ask any bus coming in your direction (there will be many every few minutes) where it is going and hop on.
The main bus stations in Goa are at Mapusa, Panjim, Vasco da Gama, Margao or Madgaon) and Canacona. Panjim is the main stop and you can easily find buses from Panjim to Old Goa, Baga Beach, Calangute Beach, Vagator Beach, etc.
Madgaon bus station is another major bus stop. From here you can find buses to Panjim, Ponda (for Elephant Bathing and Spice Plantations) Vagator Beach, Anjuna Beach, Baga Beach, Calangute Beach, etc
The minimum cost of a bus ride is 10 INR and the maximum is around 50 INR.
Using Self Drive Vehicles in Goa
This by far, is the most convenient way to explore Goa, only if you know how to drive, of course! Trust me, there is nothing easier in Goa than finding a scooter or car rental.
|Per day rent = 200-500 INR
|Fuel Cost per day = 200-250 INR
You can easily rent a two-wheeler like bikes or scooters, almost everywhere in Goa. They charge on per day basis and you have to add the fuel costs.
Are Food and Drinks Expensive in Goa?
Goa can be an expensive affair if you are not eating at the right places. Goa has many amazing cafes, beach shacks with great food. However, most of the beach shacks and cafes are super expensive.
Therefore, I would suggest that you eat local food and avoid eating on the beachside shacks. You will find plenty of budget restaurants immediately outside the beaches.
|To give you an idea of the cost of food, on my recent trip I paid 150 INR for a Pineapple juice at Calangute beach. On the very same day, I paid 150 INR for a Goan fish thali, which was a full lunch!
Also, if you are worried about finding vegetarian food, you needn’t worry. I have come across more ‘pure veg’ restaurants than the non-vegetarian ones in Goa.
A majority of people come to Goa for the cheap booze. Alcohol is super cheap in Goa but that doesn’t mean you have to go all out on it. Enjoy a drink or two but avoid spending all your money on it.
Some of the cost of popular alcoholic drinks in Goa right now are:
- Beer (pint) – 60-300 INR depending on the brand. Kingfisher being the cheapest and Corona being the most expensive.
- Old Monk (30 ml) – 30 INR
- Absolute Vodka (30 ml) – 120 INR
- Romanov Vodka (30 ml) – 30 INR
- Magic Moment (30 ml) – 40 INR
Are Watersports Expensive in Goa?
Watersports is one of the most expensive activities in Goa. If you wish to indulge in some adrenaline-raising activities, be prepared to loosen your wallet strings.
There is only a small difference in the cost of watersport activities across beaches in Goa. Of all the beaches, I found Calangute to be the most expensive when it comes to the prices of watersports. For example, the parasailing cost at Calangute was 1000 INR, 900 INR at Baga Beach, 800 INR at Vagator beach.
|A good way of saving money is to go for a package deal where they include a bunch of activities for around 2000 INR. This includes parasailing, jet ski, speed boat ride, etc.
Here are some of the latest watersport costs in Goa:
- Parasailing – 1000 INR
- Jet Ski – 300 INR
- Banana Boat Ride – 200 INR
What is the cost of other activities in Goa?
Apart from watersports, there are other activities you can try in Goa. I am giving below the latest cost of these activities
- River Cruise – 500 INR – A 2-hour river cruise on River Mandovi that includes some boat cruise entertainment. You can also get some snacks & drinks on board. This excludes any food and drinks.
- Dolphin Watching Cruise – 300 INR – This is a 45-60 minute cruise over some of the beaches in Goa. More often than not you will be able to spot a few dolphins.
- Spice Farm Tour – 500 INR- A tour to Spice farm includes traditional Goan lunch and a tour through the spice plantations.
Are Casinos & Parties in Goa Expensive?
Parties and Casinos are expensive in Goa. If you want your Goa trip to be on a budget, I would recommend you avoid these. You may have to shell out between 2000- 5000 INR for a single party or visit to a casino.
How Expensive is Shopping in Goa?
Goa is a haven for shopaholics. Almost every beach has a market with it where you will find a diverse range of things. You will find everything here from junk jewellery to beachwear. You can even find woollens, leather goods in these markets.
With so many things all around, It is hard to resist shopping in Goa. However, if you want to save money, make sure you keep tabs on your spending.
Buy small souvenirs and try bargaining as much as possible.
|Haggling definitely works in Goa, especially in the beach markets. I am not that good at bargaining and even I haggled my way into buying 350 INR marked slippers for 200 INR, a set of shell jewellery marked 300 INR to 150 INR and a few other things.
Apart from the beach markets, there are also some old local markets in Goa. The most popular ones are the Mapusa market and the Panjim market. These are the places mostly frequented by locals for their day to day needs.
So, I would like to conclude by saying that although Goa can be expensive during the peak season, you can easily cut down costs if you plan ahead.