It has always been called the “Queen of Beaches” for its natural beauty and pristine shores. Goa, in the western coast of India, provides for families and vacationers alike the kind of holiday that cannot be found in just about any other destination.
It boasts a rich history, diverse culture, succulent dishes, and UNESCO world heritage sites that it has become popular among tourists, both from India and abroad. Interested? You may ask: How much does a trip to Goa cost?
Average Cost of Going to Goa
Your Goa vacation package rates can be determined by a lot of factors. From plane tickets to food and accommodation and even insurance and vaccinations, a typical trip to Goa for 3 days and 2 nights would cost about $1900 to as much as $3,000 or more, depending on your itinerary and hotel and food choices.
What are Included
- Goa can be easily accessed by plane, train, or bus. The Dabolim Airport is just 29km away from Panaji and services large airlines like Qatar Airways and Oman Air, as well as budget carriers like that of Air Asia India. Peak seasons in Goa start by October until March and so prices tend to differ depending on when you go. An example is a plane ticket via Air India from Chicago to New Delhi which costs $1,047. A connecting flight from Delhi to Goa is an additional $149 for a total of $1,196. The same flight in March costs $887, a hundred or so lower than the first example, which is a flight in October.
If you land on New Delhi or Mumbai airport, taking a train may not be as fast as getting on a plane but it is relatively cheaper with a ride from New Delhi to Goa for only about $12, if you choose to travel in general compartment.
Buses are available from Mumbai to Goa. Bus trip takes 10 hours and would cost you around $15. These don’t matter if you can take a plane straight to Dabolim/Goa International Airport.
- Accommodation in Goa ranges from about $136 to about $830, usually for a 2N3D stay. You may also check out hostels which are priced lower, or couch surfing which is usually free of charge.
- Food in Goa would range from about $3 for a meal in an inexpensive restaurant up to $12 for a three-course meal as per Numbeo. As per Zomato, a food app, restaurants in Goa serve food for as low as $3. In the same app, the highest priced meal is at $43 found in Sessions – Hard Rock Hotel in Calangute, which is a 5-star restaurant.
- Goa is also the party place of India. Tito’s Lane is famous for its bars and party places. The Goa Liquor Bazaar site states that beer is about $0.46 to $1.40 and around $200 for a bottle of brandy. This should be more expensive inside clubs so expect to pay more.
- Travelers with American passports need to obtain an electronic visa. The application should be at least four (4) days before the departure date. This is only applicable if your trip is for tourism purposes and the length of stay is for not more than 60 days. Passports should be valid for at least six (6) months prior the departure date and need to have at two (2) blank pages. For American passports, application cost is $75.
- The moment you booked yourself a trip to India (or to any other country), make sure to purchase travel insurance. Different from your health and life insurances at home, a travel insurance makes sure you are covered on the road. From emergency hospitalizations, trip cancellations and/or disturbances, evacuations when needed, and even dental needs – you have with you these companies by your side. Depending on your specifications, you can have yourself insured during your travels for a coverage of up to $100,000 for sickness and $500,000 for emergency evacuations.
- Whether it is for yellow fever, typhoid, or a number of tropical diseases, you need to have yourself protected. Cost of vaccination is somewhere around $85 to $300, depending on the doc you are seeing, the hospital you go to, or even the geographical location you are in. Get vaccinated from your home country itself, not once you’ve landed on the tourist location.
- Getting around Goa can be in many forms – buses, unmetered taxis, or motorcycle taxis – with buses and motorcycle taxis being the cheapest mode of transportation. Motor taxis cost about $0.20 to $0.30 for the first kilometer. Buses charge about $0.15 for the first two (2) kilometers. Uber, Ola taxis would be available as well. They are cheap enough.
- Food that’s exotic can always be divine when traveling but when your guts are not as adventurous as you would want them, be prepared with tablets.
- Beaches are Goa’s pride to the world. You can never go to Goa without visiting them and so be prepared with your sunglasses, towels, and your sunscreen to protect yourself from too much sun. And while you are most of the time outdoors, whether at the beach or at other sites, a selfie stick and a powerbank will come in handy.
Shopping for a Trip to Goa
- Goa is accessible by plane, train, or a bus. Websites like that of Sky Scanner can be very helpful in getting that flight of your choice. You type in the date of your travel, your location as well as your destination and the site gives you numerous flights to choose from. Makemytrip.com provides the services as that of Sky Scanner, only that they give you train options, and when you are into long bus rides, you may opt for Yatra.
- Hotels.com can also provide you with hundreds of options when hunting for accommodation in Goa. You can filter your results and see from cheapest to most expensive or the other way around. You can even filter hotels near an area of your choice. On the other hand, most, (not all) backpackers prefer dorms or would even go couchsurfing; a social networking site where you can ask a local to host you for free during your visit. But, safety is of course a concern.
- Be it a beach shack, traditional Goan family restaurants, or even restaurants inside galleries, Zomato can find it for you. And if you are more adventurous, there are night markets like Arpora which offers a variety of food from Indian to Tibetan or even German cuisines. Arpora is open only on Saturdays from 6 PM to around 2 AM.
- Goa is popularly known as the Queen of Beaches. When in Goa, you take your pick among numerous beaches – whether you prefer a crowded and party beach, an adventure beach, or even an isolated beach, this is never a problem.
- Goa is also not all about beaches. The state teems with culture, sites, and activities that are not limited to sunbathing and getting tanned. You may opt to ride a hot air balloon for about $160/person in Chandor, trek the waterfalls in Dudhsagar for $26, or take a sunset cruise in one of the Goa Boat Cruises found in Booth No. 1 for $4.61.
- You may also want to check out churches and temples within the state. The Church of Basilica of Bom Jesus ranks as one of the most popular churches in the state, which is just about 11 km from Panaji while the Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine lies about 10km away. There are also temples like the Manguesh Temple, 22km away from Panjim; and Madanant Mandir, 12km away from Ponda.
Factors Affecting Cost of a Trip to Goa
As mentioned above, your Goa vacation package cost differs during the peak season than the off-peak season of April – September. October until March are always the months when tourists flock Goa, while the months of April to May are the months when they trickle down to their lowest number. Monsoon starts June until September where there are very few tourists in the area. It is during the off-season months that rates in Goa are low.
One factor affecting the cost of your trip is on the type of accommodations you prefer. Some hotels may go as high as $800 while there are also rooms that would only cost about $100 or so. Check out room rates and packages at the Goa Tourism Development Corporation website for further details. Dorms, hostels, and couchsurfing are cheaper options although not recommended for families that are traveling together.
Most destinations in Goa are not as expensive, or could even be free. There are others, however, where one needs to shell out some cash for the experience. The hot air balloon experience in Chandor is an example. It would be more costly when choosing the hot air balloon than just lounging at the beach.
Are you a fan of a Do It Yourself (DYI) travels? Or would you prefer the comfort of just being picked up by a tour guide and have everything prepared for you before you arrive? The Indian Holiday Pvt. Ltd. offers a list of packages with starting rates at $320 for a 2N3D tour of Goa, including stays at a three-star hotel. Now how much does a trip to Goa cost with the same package in a five-star hotel? It costs $553 for two persons which include airport transfers, accommodations, daily breakfasts, and some applicable taxes. A DIY travel to Goa would obviously be cheaper but takes a lot of research and preparation prior the trip.
The Goa Carnaval happens every February from the 25th to the 28th but travelers visiting Goa on a different month fret not as the state has year-round celebrations from a music festival in March to Diwali in October and a Jazz fest in November. The Goa Tourism Development Corporation has a year-long calendar of events on their website.