Many people are surprised to learn that Goa is actually the adventure tourism capital of India. Water sports in Goa are popular because it’s widely known to simply be the province of beaches and sun – which is definitely true – but it’s so much more than that. There are enough adventure activities and water sports in Goa to impress even the most avid adventure junkies. Here are 15 ways to see a different and more outdoorsy side of the things to do in Goa.
Adventure activities and water sports in Goa
Beyond the beautiful beaches of Goa, you can find waterfalls, rivers, jungles, hiking trails, mountains, and so much more. The Goan climate lends perfectly to being outdoors, and the geography similarly lends perfectly to exploring all kinds of different hidden nooks in dense jungles and cliffy ranges.
There are many reasons to visit Goa, but the sheer amount of adventurous experiences will impress any adventure junkie. Here are some of the best outdoor activities in Goa to keep anyone occupied for weeks.
Map of adventure activities in Goa
This map will help you find all the adventure activities in Goa listed in this post, and plan what works for your time, logistically speaking.
Outdoor and adventure activities in Goa
Bungee Jumping in Goa
Bungee jumping in Goa? Before you mentally dismiss the idea, know that the Jumpin Heights bungee center on a lush riverbank in North Goa was actually set up by the same people who started bungee jumping in New Zealand. A team flew in the help set up the equipment, and trained ex-army officers to run it!
They have an 83-meter jump ion Rishikesh and a 55-meter one in Goa. Their health and safety is very much first world, and the view you will get is second to none. You can jump for under $75, including the video. You can find more information here.
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Hot air ballooning
Tiger Balloon Safaris offers sunrise hot air balloon flights in South Goa that will perhaps present you with the best view in all of Goa, in the most adventurous and unique way possible! Get sweeping views of the lush countryside from all the way up in the sky in a hot air balloon – either a private one or with a group. You can book and find prices here.
Paragliding in Goa
While we’re in the air – did you know there’s paragliding in Goa? It is pretty affordable at about $50 for the flight. Paragliding is most popular in Calangute Beach and Anjuna Goa areas.
Hiking and trekking in Goa
There are tons of hiking trails in Goa, from cityside jungles all the way out to remote paths weaving between plantations, mountains, and waterfalls. You can do shorter jungle walks or even multi-day treks, looking for rare birds and wildlife while you’re at it. Some popular places to trek are Dudhsagar Falls, Neuti Beach, and Arambol.
Cycling in Goa
You can cycle in a few different ways in Goa. From renting a cycle and having your own adventure to doing a fully organized tour with battery-operated cycles (e-bike tours), there’s a little of something for everyone. B Live runs culture and history tours all over the province that also incorporate a bit of adventure in that you cycle from place to place as you go. Choose the kind of adventure that best suits you!
There are many places in Goa that you can visit to see specific kinds of wildlife. The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is one of the most prolific places to see birds in the country, and is actually conveniently located just outside the old town of Panjim.
There are special places that you can go to see turtles breeding and hatching on the beach, and dolphins are also local in quite a few areas. Dolphin spotting cruises are very popular! You can also spot different kinds of monkeys and other mammals and birds while hiking.
Another of the Goa activities you can do away from the beaches is going repelling in the mountains. Some of the jungles are home to steep cliff faces, caves, and rocky outcroppings, which make for a perfect setting to go repelling.
South Goa is a popular place for some tours involving rappelling and trekking.
Water sports in Goa
Goa is also known as the water sports capital of India. Get an amazing view going parasailing, try not to fall out of the banana boat while hurdling quickly behind a boat, or truly get your adrenaline going by speeding across passing wakes on a jet ski.
If laying on the beach doesn’t ignite your fire of adrenaline enough, check out some of the many water sports; they really are perfectly suited for the calmer beaches of the province.
Rafting in Goa
The many rivers running throughout Goa can only lead to the possibility of amazing river rafting throughout the state. There are a few different companies that run river rafting tours during the monsoon season when water levels are high, especially on the Mhadei River.
Rafting is one of the amazing and relaxed adventure activities in Goa for the less-intense adventurer. I say that because the rapids don’t go very far above class 2-3, meaning that it won’t be too intense and will be more of a river cruise with a couple of bumps here and there!
Zorbing in Goa
Have you heard of zorbing? There are different kinds of zorbing (dry and water), and some involve games. But it’s probably the only water sport in Goa where you stay dry! You go inside a large ball, which keeps you on the surface of the water. You can do this at some of the pools and hotels in Goa, but you can also check it out at Mayem Lake.
Waterfall chasing in Goa
There are loads of waterfalls to discover throughout Goa, hidden in mountains and deep in jungles. Many different hikes can lead you to waterfall views.
However, the most obvious and famous waterfalls in Goa are the Dudhsagar Falls. This often-photographed landmark is about 45 minutes from the coast, in the eastern jungles of the state. These are some of the highest waterfalls in India, rising up 310 meters (1000 ft) over four tiers. They’re so vast that the protected area is closed in monsoon season due to unsafely high levels of water.
Scuba diving in Goa
That’s right – you can also go scuba diving off the coast of Goa! There are a few different scuba companies that will take you to reefs just off the shore of Grande Island, where you can spot even more wildlife in the form of sea life, explore coral, and have a great experience while you’re at it.
Here’s a great guide to scuba diving in Goa to help you plan.
You can also book your scuba diving in Goa here:
Snorkeling in Goa
If you don’t want to dive, snorkeling is an option to see the underwater world of Goa. Some of the best spots include Grande Island, Bat Island and Monkey Beach.
Kayaking along the many rivers and seas of Goa is also very popular among adventure tourists. There are over a dozen places to go kayaking, so take your pick!
Explore beaches all over the state and rivers such as the Zuari or Mandovi, and immerse yourself into thick jungle landscapes or beautiful coastlines from your very own kayak.
Parasailing in Goa
You can get up in the air in hot air balloons or paragliding, but if you’re sticking to water sports in Goa, you can parasail to combine altitude and water. Parasailing is also called sky gliding here, and you are pulled by a speed boat while you float in the air, taking in the views of the beaches and landscapes.
You can launch from Calangute and other beaches in Goa. Parasailing in Goa is really affordable, with some options starting at about $14.
Surfing Goa’s beaches
Well, this should be one of the obvious adventure activities in Goa! As a state known for sun and sea, it may also be known for surf. As many beaches are calm, the surfing in Goa is definitely better in some regions than in others. If you’d like to rent a board or do some lessons, check out the northern beaches – generally north or Morjim. Here are more of the beaches in Goa and why you’d choose which.
Other water sports in Goa
As with most beachy tourist destinations, there are tons of water sports on the beaches themselves. At pretty much any beach, you can jet ski, stand-up paddleboard, do bumper/banana boat rides and launch on dolphin or whale watching and other boat tours.
Other things to do in Goa
Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours
Goa has actually recently gotten its very own Hop On Hop Off Bus tour, which will conveniently take you between all the main areas and points of interest in Goa in two different routes (in the north along the beaches, and in the south from Old Goa to the coast).
Choose what areas you’d like to explore or what activities in Goa you’d like to do, and use the bus as a great way to travel between them all.
Planning for adventure and water sports in Goa?
With all the adventure activities in Goa now added to your list, here’s a bit more of the practical information for planning your visit.
When is the best time of year for outdoor activities in Goa?
Winter in Goa (November through February) is the best time to visit for adventure. Why? It’s sunny and not too hot. And if you’re wanting to see waterfalls, you want to come after monsoon season has refilled the taps, so to speak. However, if you are looking to be in the water, you may want warmer temperatures.
Summer in Goa (March through October) gets very hot (upwards of 104F/40C). This can be very ideal for water sports (nice, warm waters for diving), but with very high humidity, beware of how much you will be up for activities with your body sapped of moisture. It’s especially untenable during monsoon season.
Monsoon season in Goa is typically from June to September. The most important thing to plan around is monsoon season, as monsoons really tend to rain on adventure parades. That said, if you can plan for the shoulders of the season, you will likely get better prices and miss the crowds.
Travel insurance for adventure activities
Let’s be real – there are definitely risks when it comes to getting into adventure and sports around the world. So if that’s what you’re traveling for, it’s really important to think about travel insurance, and whether your insurance covers the activities you are doing (a lot of the basic packages don’t).
Getting to Goa
Goa Airport (GOI) is the only airport in the state, but it’s of course also accessible by train and bus. You can use sites/apps like Yatra to book your travel in and out and keep it all in one place. The two main rail stations are Madgaon and Vasco de Gama.
Where to stay in Goa
There are so many options for hotels in Goa, that you really have your pick of luxury, beach and so on. Click here to check the prices for your dates in Goa.
Depending on the activities you’re looking for, Mayem Lake (and Mayem Lakeview lodge) is a great choice as the lake has lots of water sports and is even where the bungee jumping is located.
With affordable rates, Goa is a great place to consider a higher-end accommodation choice to relax from days out adventuring. The Taj Exotica and Lalit Goa are incredibly well-rated five-star options with outdoor and adventure connections. Sur La Mer is a beautiful two-star property, and Grandpa’s Inn a more affordable (but usually booked) option.
Other options to stay in Goa:
- Airbnb: Airbnb is a great option, especially for groups or longer stays. Save $40 on your first booking with this link.
- Booking: There are a few hundred options on Booking; save $20 on your first booking with this link.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. My opinions and advice remain my own. For more information on affiliates and sponsors of How Dare She, click here.
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