Did you know that Goa is India’s smallest state? Despite its small size, Goa welcomes millions of tourists each year. Between its sunny beaches, vibrant festivals, and amazing nightlife, Goa or Gomanchala is a unique destination.
Before planning your trip to this ancient Portuguese colony, it’s important to learn more about what to expect and when to travel to Goa. The timing of your trip can greatly impact your experience due to festivals and weather changes.
Plus, the cost of traveling to Goa can vary a lot from one season to another. But don’t worry — our travel experts have rounded up the best, least busy, cheapest, and worst times to go. Let us be your guide!
Why You Should Visit Goa
Goa typically draws approximately seven million domestic tourists and just under one million foreign tourists yearly. With its 60 miles of coastline, it’s no wonder Goa is one of the top beach destinations in India.
Plus, there is plenty to do between Panjim (or Panaji) and Margao if you’re looking for entertainment, shopping, nightlife, or dining. It’s also a popular destination for festivals and live music.
Each year, the Goa Sunburn Festival turns Vagator Beach into a giant outdoor dance floor where electronic music lovers from all around the world meet. The event lasts three days and is one of the largest EDM festivals in the world.
The Goa Carnival is another popular event that attracts tourists to the area. The carnival is a 500-year-old tradition that features parades, live music, food vendors, and much more.
Goa is also home to Betalbatim Beach, a breathtaking spot where bioluminescent algae bloom and illuminate the entire beach with an eerie blue light. There are only about 20 known bioluminescent beaches in the world, making Goa a truly unique destination.
Overall Best Time to Visit Goa
Visiting Goa between November and the end of February is ideal. Traveling to Goa during the winter ensures you’ll have mild weather perfect for enjoying the beach.
Temperatures typically range from 70 to 90°F in November. The temperature can be as low as 55°F in January, but it never gets too cold to prevent you from swimming, renting a jet ski, or trying kneeboarding.
Plus, traveling to Goa in February means you’ll be there for the Carnival. The Carnival begins on February 18th, 2023, and typically occurs during the third or fourth week of February. This event lasts four days and includes Panjim, Mapusa, Margao, and Vasco events.
Traveling to Goa in the weeks and months leading up to the Carnival is also an exciting experience. It’s a major event, and everyone starts getting ready in advance. You can see Carnival decorations as early as December in Panjim.
Another reason to travel to Goa in the winter is the Sunburn Festival. Dates can vary, but the event typically occurs at the end of December. We can’t think of a more memorable way to celebrate the New Year!
Cheapest Time to Visit Goa
Goa is a popular tourist destination, so prices for things like airfare, accommodations, dining, transportation, and more can be high. If you’re traveling on a budget, your best bet is to time your trip to Goa to avoid events that attract crowds.
You can start saving as soon as the Carnival ends. Prices start dropping in March, which continues as the off-season progresses.
The cheapest time to visit Goa remains the monsoon season, but flying to Goa between March and June is an excellent compromise if you’re looking for an affordable trip and want to avoid monsoon weather.
Plus, not all businesses remain open during the off-season.
You’ll have a better chance of finding resorts, restaurants, and stores that remain open if you go to Goa in March or April. The weather will also be milder, and you can expect average temperatures that range from 80 to 85°F in March and April.
Another great time to visit Goa on a budget is just before the busy winter season. The monsoon season ends in September, so you can enjoy the beach in October without paying peak season prices.
Least Busy Time to Visit Goa
In 2022, the Goa Sunburn Festival attracted 3 million people. Many of these attendants stay in Goa for a few weeks, so the state can feel extremely crowded.
The best way to avoid crowds is to visit Goa outside the busy winter season that lasts from November to the end of February. October and March can still feel a little crowded with tourists flying to Goa to enjoy discounted stays.
You’ll see the least people during the monsoon season, which lasts from June to September, but it might not be an ideal time to visit the area since the weather will limit what you can do.
If you want to avoid crowds and still enjoy your stay in Goa, your best bet is to go there in early October to beat the winter rush or plan your trip just before the monsoon starts in April or May if you don’t mind higher temperatures.
Worst Time to Visit Goa
Goa is on the west coast of India, and even though the proximity of the Indian Ocean can weaken monsoon winds, the state still has a tropical monsoon climate.
The monsoon typically starts in June and lasts through September. During this season, strong winds from the southwest bring rain and the occasional thunderstorm.
During the monsoon season, Goa receives 20” to 30” of rain a month, with as many as 22 days of rain in July. Traveling to Goa during the monsoon will significantly limit what you can do outdoors.
You won’t be able to enjoy the beaches, and you’ll find that many businesses close during the monsoon. However, traveling to Goa during the monsoon can be a great way to get deals on airfare and resorts as long as you don’t mind indoor activities.
Panjim City can keep you busy with activities like the Goa Science Centre & Planetarium, the UNESCO-listed Basilica of Bom Jesus, or the Reis Magos Fort.
Things to Consider
These fun facts and noteworthy considerations will help you learn more about Goa and plan your trip there:
- Goa has a strong economy, and tourism is one of the top industries in Goa, along with fishing, agriculture, and the pharmaceutical industry.
- In 2021, inflation was 6.9% for the state of Goa. It’s slightly higher than the national average of 6.2%, but prices remain lower compared to other states like Lakshadweep or Mizoram.
- Renting an apartment can be an affordable option if you’re planning a long-term stay in Goa. On average, the cost of living is under $400 a month for one person, which is only slightly higher than the national average.
- Goa is a state with a rich and multicultural history. It was a Portuguese colony for over 400 years, and Catholics remain one of the main religious groups along with Hindus.
- The state is a popular spot for beach parties and cheap alcohol. It might not be an ideal destination for a family vacation, but it’s an amazing spot for having some adult fun with over 7,000 bars.
- Do you enjoy gambling? Make sure you stop by the Big Daddy Casino in Panjim, one of the largest floating casinos in the world.
- Traveling to Goa during the monsoon can help you save, but the weather can be unpredictable. There are no major risks of landslides, but high waves can make swimming dangerous.
- Mosquitoes are another nuisance you’ll have to deal with during the monsoon. Stagnant water causes these insects to thrive from June to September.
- May is the hottest month of the year. Temperatures are as high as 95°F, and the humidity level can be uncomfortable.
- Staying in a major city like Panjim, Margao, Canacona, or Ponda will cost more. If you’re traveling on a budget, look for accommodations outside of these cities.
- Prices go up as you get closer to the coastline. It’s true of food and accommodations. You can save by staying a few miles away from the beaches.
- Baga Beach and Palolem Beach are among the busiest beaches in Goa. If you want to avoid crowds, try going to Morjim, Ashwem, or Agonda Beach instead.
- Renting a small motorcycle is a convenient way to get around. However, some rental businesses overcharge. You can save by shopping around, asking for an older bike, and renting your bike in person instead of going through an agent.
- Goa is home to a few privately-owned bus networks that provide affordable transportation. You can also save by using pilots, an affordable motorcycle taxi service.
- Make sure to try some local specialties during your trip to Goa. Many traditional Goan dishes use seafood, including Goan fish curry, shark ambot tik, and samarachi kodi. You’ll also find pork-based dishes like Goan pork vindaloo or feijoada.
- The Goa Carnival tends to overshadow other celebrations, but the Christmas and New Year events are an amazing experience.
- You can also enjoy the Feast of Saint Francis Xavier in early December and the Three Kings’ Feast at the beginning of January.
- Foodies will love going to Goa after the busy season. Goa hosts the Goa Food & Culture Festival in April, as well as Grape Escapade, a festival dedicated to wine.
- You can also get a taste of the Goa Carnival in the off-season with events like the Sao Joao Festival in June or the Shigmo festival in March.
Frequently Asked Questions
We love learning from other people’s questions, so we’ve found some of the most frequently-asked ones to help you think about things you might not have considered before booking.
Which months are hot in India?
Temperatures tend to go up before the monsoon between March and May. May is the hottest month in Goa, and you’ll experience similar temperatures in the 90s across India.
Which month is Goa closed?
Many businesses and hotels stop operating between May and September for the monsoon. However, Goa never closes completely, and you can still find accommodations and things to do during the monsoon.
How many days should I spend in Goa?
Goa is India’s smallest state, but there is a lot to do. Two or three days is a minimum so you can enjoy the beaches and see at least one city, but it’s best to stay for one or two weeks to attend a festival or explore the nightlife.
What is Goa famous for?
Goa is famous for the Sunburn EDM festival and the Goa Carnival. It’s also a popular destination for watersports, bars, nightclubs, and beach parties.
How can I find rave parties in Goa?
Vagator Beach, South Anjuna Beach, and Baga Beach are popular spots for raves and nighttime beach parties.
So, When Should You Visit Goa?
We recommend going to Goa between October and April. December and February are the busiest months, but they’re also the best times to enjoy the festivals that make Goa a memorable destination.
If you want to enjoy the beaches and warm weather while avoiding crowds, plan your trip in October, January, March, or April. So, with things to do all year, what are you waiting for — book your trip to Goa today!