The Ultimate Guide to Monsoon Travel in Goa.

goa monsoon travel

Over a decade ago, when my partner and I coincidentally landed up in Goa during the monsoon, we had no idea we’d be in for such a treat. I have vivid memories of those weeks spent driving around the interiors on our bike, huddling under old banyan trees with fellow riders during a heavy downpour, spotting peacocks dancing in the lush greenery, cycling on idyllic islands, chatting with farmers in their paddy fields, and celebrating Sao Joao – the well-jumping festival!

A lot has changed in Goa since that monsoon many years ago. It’s no longer an off-season time to visit Goa. Most cafes and restaurants no longer remain shut during the rains. The roads are no longer deserted. The paddy fields, huggable old trees and Portuguese-era houses are quickly being replaced by traffic and ugly buildings.

But in little pockets – on the backwaters, the river, the ghats – the magic of Goa in the monsoon can still be a treat for any nature lover. Personally, I love sleeping to the show of lightening, thunder, and the sweet feeling of lashing tropical rain.

doodhsagar waterfall hike
Goa’s rainy day hikes are something else!

In this curated guide to monsoon travel in Goa, let me introduce you to hidden stays, conscious experiences and a slice of the susegad local life that is a such a hallmark of rainy days in this stunning state.

Also read: The Perfect 3-Day Goa Itinerary for Slow Travel

Why visit Goa during the monsoon

goa waterfalls
The splendor of Goa’s seasonal waterfalls.
  • Experience Goa with a different lens: Unlike other seasons, the monsoon is not the time to visit Goa’s beaches. The sea is too rough to swim, and the sun and sand are both soaking wet. That means you go inland to experience everything else that Goa has to offer – the culture, farming life, backwaters and seasonal waterfalls of the hinterlands. Absolutely stunning!

  • Less crowded than the winter: Even though monsoon is no longer off-season in Goa, it still draws fewer crowds than say, the winter months from October to February. That means relatively less movement on the streets, and more of Goa’s beauty to yourself!

  • A more affordable season to visit: Even though monsoon has become busier over the years, many accommodations tend to offer monsoon rates that are far more affordable than peak season rates. Bike rentals are cheaper too.

  • Best time for slow travel: I’ve spent so many monsoons slowing down in Goa, and I can’t recommend it enough. With lesser crowds, it’s also easier to find a longish term rental.

  • Seasonal waterfalls! Did I mention the waterfalls already? Oh their glorious monsoon beauty.

Also read: Offbeat Goa: 12 Mindblowing Experiences

When is monsoon in Goa anyway?

goa monsoon
Swimming holes to wash off the monsoon humidity.

The weather patterns are all haywire now, but typically the pre-monsoon rains arrive in Goa by early-mid June. However, until the monsoon actually starts towards the end of June, the weather tends to be hot, humid and sticky.

Once the monsoon is in full swing, you can expect cloudy skies, breezy days, and sometimes even chilly nights. From end June to end August, the rains are in full swing. Keep a raincoat and umbrella with you always to deal with the heavy rain. The rains slow down by early September, but continue intermittently until end September. The weather remains cool and breezy too.

My favorite time to be in Goa is usually end August for a few weeks, when the rains aren’t as intense, and the landscape feels lush and refreshed.

Also read: My Alternative Travel Guide to Goa

Activities to try in Goa during the monsoon

Waterfall hiking

There’s no better way to go beyond the beaten path in Goa during monsoon season and experience its wild outdoors, than with Beatroute Explorers – a small travel outfit run by Keith, a Goan local passionate about the outdoors. Over the years, I’ve gone wild swimming with them in seasonal hidden waterfalls, hiked through beautiful forests, and met lovely Goan families who’ve hosted us for delicious traditional food afterwards.

Cliff jumping and wild swimming

There are people who love jumping off cliffs into swimming holes, and then there’s Mack – the Goan founder of The Local Beat 😉 I absolutely love joining them in faraway forests, and hiking to wild swimming holes only locals know about (and who they’ve partnered with across Goa). On the agenda are local feni cocktails, legends of the forest, unknown waterfalls, discussions on the changing faces of tourism in Goa, and cliff jumping – lots of it.

Cycling / E-biking along the Chapora River

I can’t quite describe in words the joy of riding a bicycle (or e-bike) on a cloudy afternoon in the Goan monsoon, along lush rice paddies, flourishing meadows and calm rivers. Both Cycling Zens and B:Live run frequent guided cycling trips, and rent bicycles / e-bikes for independent exploration – one of the best activities in Goa during monsoon.

Birdwatching with the ‘Birdman of Chorao’

On not-so-rainy monsoon days, I’ve spotted scores of Malabar Hornbills flying over the rivers and backwaters of Goa! Then there are migratory storks, and all kinds of kingfishers and tropical birds. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional birdwatcher, head out on an early morning with Uday Mandrekar into the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. He hails from the island of Chorao and accidentally became a birding guide. That’s a story you should hear directly from him!

Kayaking along the mangroves

We’ve spent many a monsoon evening kayaking on the calm backwaters of Goa, surrounded by the magical world of mangroves and the lifeforms they harbor. Konkan Explorers offer monsoon kayaking trips on the Chapora River, and depending on the tide, on the backwaters as well.

Also read: Insider’s Guide: 27 Best Vegan Restaurants & Cafes in Goa

Best places to stay in Goa in the monsoon

best places to stay in goa monsoon
Favorite kind of office!

Lamrin Ucassaim, Moira

Lamrin Ucassaim is a restored 18th century Goan-Portuguese house, ideal to experience both – the splendor of the monsoon and Goa’s splendid heritage architecture. It is located in the idyllic village of Moira, possibly the best place to stay in Goa in monsoon!

The Island Sanctuary, Chorao

Located on one of Goa’s most cycling-friendly islands, The Island Sanctuary is indeed a (restored) sanctuary from what Goa has become. Think quiet by-lanes, friendly locals, sleepy interiors, old Goan houses, and lots of cycling in the tropical rain!

Vivenda Rebelo, Panjim

Experience a little bit of Portugal in the 100-year-old Portuguese mansion that is Vivenda Rebelo – located in the heart of Panjim’s Latin Quarter, Fontainhas.

Turia Villa, Canacona

A tastefully restored Goan house, built over a 100 years ago in the village of Canacona, and restored by the Goan architect Sandesh Prabhu. I loved Turia Villa‘s slow travel vibe, with hammocks in the old courtyard that just made me want to read and while time away.

Also read: Goa is a State of Mind

Other places to visit in the Goa monsoon

The inner routes on a bike or bicycle

The best places to visit in Goa during monsoon are the ones you won’t find online! Take your bike or bicycle, and turn into all the small by-lanes you come across, getting wonderfully lost amidst the verdant interiors of Goa. This way, I’ve stumbled upon narrow lanes lined with coconut palms on either side (without crowds, unlike the Parra Scenic Road, which is full of selfie takers), backwaters with locals patiently fishing, and wildflower trails on plateaus blanketed in brilliant green grass.

The Sao Joao well jumping festival

The annual feast of São João, celebrated when the monsoon just arrives (usually early-mid June), features an ancient tradition during which locals gather around irrigation wells in their Goan villages – and take turns jumping in it. The popular belief is that the well-jumping tradition honors St John the Baptist, and is also celebrated in Porto. Befriend a local, and get yourself invited for this traditional, fun celebration, featuring port wine brewed in Goan homes!

The self-guided hike from Fort Aguada

Early monsoon mornings are rare times when you can have the 17th century Fort Aguada all to yourself – and even more so, a stunning hike that starts right from the fort walls. Walk along the wild fields, roughly following the trail along the coast, for stunning misty views.

The scenic drive along the Chorla Ghat

If a dramatic monsoon view with clouds rolling over the mountains is what you crave, drive along the Chorla Ghat all the way to the Goa-Maharashtra-Karnataka border. The roads are awful, but the panoramas are such a treat!

Also read: 10 Local Restaurants for Authentic Goan Food

Things you asked about visiting Goa in the monsoon

goa monsoon hike
Hiking amidst the mist-filled lush greenery.

Is it worth visiting Goa in the monsoon?

If you’re okay skipping the beaches, and spending your time walking, hiking, swimming, kayaking and cycling in the lush interiors instead, then YES!

What’s the best beach in Goa during monsoon?

The water is too rough to swim during monsoon, and the sand is wet and sticky. Unless the sun’s been out for several hours for a day or two, I wouldn’t recommend going to a beach in the rainy season.

Can we visit spice plantations during monsoon in Goa?

Absolutely. I love Tanshikar Spice Farm – an organic, family-run farm that can be visited both as a day trip, or to stay overnight.

Is it worth doing the trek to Dudhsagar Falls?

I loved walking on the railway tracks and witnessing the splendor of the Dudhsagar Falls – but it is a tiring day hike, with several hours spent walking on the precarious railway line. I much prefer other waterfalls that I’ve hiked to with Beatroute Explorers and The Local Beat.

Is Chapora Fort open during the monsoon?

Just like Aguada Fort, an early monsoon morning is one of the rare times you can have Chapora Fort all to yourself. Stunning, misty-sunny views await over the Arabian Sea. Be careful though, as the walk can be quite mossy and slippery!

What do you love most about Goa in the monsoon?

The Shooting Star Academy

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