Goa During the Monsoons
The first idea that comes to mind when one hears the word ‘Goa’ is ‘sunny beach’. So who in their right mind bothers going to Goa during the monsoons? The truth is, not even the tropical monsoons can put a damper on a fun holiday in Goa in the rains. If there’s ever a time to see Goa in it’s untouched state, it’s during the monsoons.
Monsoons in Goa
The monsoons in Goa usually last four months and they bring with them plenty of rainfall and no crowds. The monsoons arrive in Goa in June, about 10 days after the South Indian state of Kerala and surrounding regions welcome it.
The monsoon in Goa can get pretty harsh. Fields get flooded, trees get uprooted and sometimes it rains for hours. June and July are the months that see the most of the monsoon. This makes August an ideal time for a monsoon vacation in Goa. The rain picks up again in September and finally dies down in October.
Traditional Festivals in Goa during the Monsoons
If you are looking to indulge yourself in some Goan culture, the monsoon is a good time to do so. A prominent and very popular festival celebrated during the monsoons in Goa is Sao Joao or St.John the Baptist, celebrated on the 24th of June all over the state.
On this festival, young men of all ages from around Goa jump into wells to retrieve gifts thrown in by fellow villagers. One of the things you will see is the display of Sangodd, a decorated floating platform which is made by tying two boats or banana tree trunks together. These are then put into nearby streams to float.
Sao Joao is most popular in North Goa, specifically in Siolim, the likes of which have been equated with a Goan Carnival on water. The celebration of Sao Joao in North Goa goes back nearly 150 years, when pilgrims of St. John the Baptist would come up year after year in boats to the chapel of Sao Joao in Pereira Vaddo, Siolim, to pay homage to their patron.
Another monsoon festival to look forward to is the Bonderam festival on the island of Divar. This festival is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of August. It is a memoir to the fury of the villagers over the Portuguese system of resolving land disputes. The island comes to life during this festival with a flag parade accompanied by a brass band and a traditional float parade.
Beautiful Sites to Visit in Goa During the Monsoons
Thanks to heavy monsoon showers during June and July, Goa thrives with flora. Besides the flowers and greenery, tiny waterfalls spring up in the Western Ghats of Goa. Trekking around is very rewarding if you’re one for adventure, scenery and just indulging in nature.
The Chorla Ghats on the Goa-Karnataka border are a sight to be seen. There are two waterfalls here that fall almost parallel to each other. Another beautiful sight and major tourist attraction is the Dudhsagar Falls which as its name suggests looks like a sea of milk. The Dudh Sagar falls are accessible by foot (along the railway tracks), by jeep and even by train (though you won’t get to stop). There are railway tracks running past the waterfalls that makes this train journey, if you choose so, one you won’t forget. Here’s a tip, try catching a train ride on a freight train. The train drivers are known to be nice and not too demanding (money-wise).
Further south, is the absolutely gorgeous Cabo de Rama fort, surrounded by lush hills on one end and the shimmering Arabian Sea on the other. If you’re up for a short trek, head downhill and take a nap on it’s virgin beach.
Goa is less Crowded and More Affordable during the Monsoons
Most shacks shut down during the monsoon. Ouch! But on the plus side the beaches are deserted and beautiful, there aren’t as many tourists due to the rains, hawkers are not as much of a menace even on the popular beaches and there are many hotels in close proximity to the beaches that are both empty AND *drumroll* cheap.
To continue, Goa turns into a quiet, serene beach town where the day slowly starts only past noon. It is easy on the pocket and still delivers in terms of entertainment and for those of you looking for it, romance.
Unique Nature Resorts and Boutique Stays for the Monsoons in Goa
Wildernest Resort in the Chorla Ghats is a nature resort set amidst the lush hills and boasts of scenic views from all its rooms. For those of you who enjoy swimming, an infinity pool is another attraction here. Another resort is the Canopy Goa that offers boat safaris and bird watching tours. Devaaya on Divar Island is an ayurvedic and nature cure center that offers extensive wellness and naturopathy treatments. As part of Goa’s eco tourism, the Shanti nature resort offers primitive accommodation to really get a feel of going back to nature enclosed within an elephant camp. These are just a few offbeat resorts that are a good place to vacation in the monsoons, however, if you just want to relax and unwind you can choose among a variety of guest houses and hotels that are very affordable and well worth the money spent. Another option is to just show up in Goa, pick a part of Goa you want to stay in, take a cab there and walk around to find a place to stay. If you want rooms that overlook the beach, you can head to Arambol and that definitely is worth the money and time.
Nightlife and Music Festivals in Goa during the Monsoons
Nightlife in Goa is a huge part of Goa’s tourist attraction. With the rock bottom prices of alcohol in the state ‘partying all night’ is done in the true sense of the term. However, there are not as many parties and clubs open during the monsoon. But travel towards the hotspots like Baga, Candolim and Calangute and you’re sure to find some really good music and parties especially around Independence Day, 15th August. There are also a lot of live gigs and some flea markets that take place all over Goa that also qualify as a night well spent.
All in all, we highly recommend a monsoon vacation in Goa. For those who have been to Goa only during season and not during off season, Goa is truly a different place with a serene charm during the monsoon that makes a vacation during this time absolutely memorable. So we suggest you start planning and accumulating vacation days right away and book those tickets for a well deserved exciting yet relaxing monsoon vacation in Goa.
Featured Photo by Rohan Pandit