If you are visiting Goa, you may be wondering how you will be getting around. You will obviously need transport on your vacation. There are many options for transport all around Goa. Something for everyone, so there is no need to worry.
Your trip to the smallest state in the Republic of India can start in many ways. Goa has an international and domestic airport. Along with major Train Stations that have lines running to all the major cities. The train journey from Mumbai to Goa has been described as one of the best in the world. There are also major bus companies from all major cities offering comfortable travel options. Including our personal favorite the “full sleeper” which provides a full length bed for 2 for a very good price. Wherever you are in or out of India, getting to Goa is no problem.
It’s not well known, but there is a local bus that runs from Dabolim International Airport to the nearby city of Vasco da Gama (approximately 23 minutes), from where you can find connecting buses to Margao (for beaches in South Goa) and Panjim (for beaches in North Goa). The bus stop, or more accurately, the place in which you can flag down the bus, is a spot on the main highway to the right side of the exit doors. When you step out of the airport, head right and keep walking downwards towards the highway. When the public road begins, immediately turn left and you will see a few public buses parked, all going to Vasco. Sometimes, there are locals already there waiting, in which case you can just join them. The ticket price to Vasco da Gama is INR8-10.When you arrive in Goa there is then the issue of getting to your accommodation. Whether you land in Dabolim at the airport, or one of the towns/cities like Panaji (the capital) or Mapusa (largest North Goa town) there is plenty of safe options of travel. If you have booked with Zense we can arrange a pickup with trusted drivers to collect, you and your family. At all bus depots or train stations there will be taxi men hounding for your business. Do not pick the first guy you speak to, see his vehicle and bargain a price. If you see the vehicle looks unsafe, best not to use this driver. Be prepared to shell out in Goa for taxi rides. There is no metre system you get what you barter. The price you will eventually pay will also depend on the time of year. If it is in “Season” then you will inevitably pay more, not much more just a little on the top.
If you do not have much luggage there is always the option of Scooter taxi or “bike” taxi. This is where you will sit on the back of the bike or scooter and be taken at a cheaper rate where you would like to go. Helmets may not always be provided.
If you plan to have a rent a car ready when you arrive at your destination. It is advisable to book prior to arrival, with a reputed firm. You can look online for this by searching on Google. Though the best way would be to book through your flight operator or Hotel. Zense Resort can arrange a vehicle for you to be ready in any location from trusted companies. Always check the car to make sure that it has a yellow and black number plates, this means it is a tourist vehicle.
If you are looking for comfort and practicality and have that extra cash to pay, these are your best options. However, it should be known that travel by private taxi or auto rickshaw is the least cost-effective way to travel Goa as there is no metre system, meaning drivers can charge what they like – and they do. Officially, the fixed price allotted by Goa’s government for rickshaws is INR7 per km and for cabs, INR8 per km, however, this is most often not followed and not enforced. Both taxis and auto rickshaws can be pre-booked, alternatively, you can flag down an auto rickshaw when needed.
A scooty (local word for scooter) is a very popular option in Goa and the most preferred mode of transport, not just for visitors but for Goans themselves. Scootys can be rented from all major towns, popular beaches and even within some local villages. You can expect to pay a daily rental cost of anywhere between INR350-500, depending on the time of hire. Discounts can usually be worked out for longer term rentals and are always worth asking about. There are geared bikes as well ranging from INR400-1,000 per day. You’ll also need to rent a helmet as it’s mandatory in Goa and you could end up with a fine for not having one if caught by the local police.
If the vehicle has black and white number
plates, this is a local’s car, you will not be insured. Be prepared to present a diving license and passport for verification when renting a vehicle. With renting a car in Goa the price will depend on time of year, as with taxis. The “Season” price is more; this is the months of October to May. It works like this the 1st 2 months are the cheapest, the middle 2 the most expensive, the last 2 are priced in the middle of the other 2 price brackets.
Lastly there is always good old fashioned public transport. Goa has a public transport bus network, that goes through all towns or villages. These buses are cheap and cheerful. They can be full of wonderful characters, and décor. The buses are not uncomfortable or overly dirty, though they can have the rustic Indian charm.
Things to Remember for Transport to Accommodation in Goa
1. Tourist vehicles all have Yellow and Black number plates. This goes for taxis, mini buses, car rentals and bike rentals. Tourists travelling in a vehicle with white and black are not insured. Check your vehicle!
2. Price will depend on season, there is no regulated system, you get what you barter.
3. Always check the state of the vehicle prior to agreeing a price.
4. Check online before you come or speak to your accommodation, they have trusted partners who can provide the needful.
5. Above all don’t panic, there is plenty of safe options for all budgets.
Getting around Day to Day in Goa
Once you have arrived at your Hotel, Resort, Holiday apartment/villa the options to get around are limitless. There are quirky fun options like the Zense Resort FREE tandem bike ride (click here to find out more). This is available for everyone who stays at the Resort in Candolim. Your accommodation will be able to also arrange for taxi’s, scooter or car hire, minibus, boat trips and so forth. There is also the option of the many registered companies that line the streets of Goa if you wanted to try and barter your own price.
Getting around day to day in Goa will really depend on where you are going, and what you are doing. For example, if you are planning on staying in or around a locality like Candolim having a bicycle is a valid option, as everything you need is close by. Though if you plan to venture out a little further renting a scooter or a car are a good option. The preferred choice being the scooter for most distance between towns in the north of Goa. They are zippy, easy to use and easy to get around with. The roads of Goa can be a bit hectic or scary so be prepared, remember you are still in India. The scooter choice is cheapest on petrol and rent. Whereas a car will obviously be more expensive. Cars are available in all models or sizes. A popular one is the Jeep with open back where a group can fit facing opposite each other in the open air. Be prepared with this or any car though, due to the size of cars coupled with hectic pot hole ridden streets, it can be a very stop start bumpy journey.
For venturing further afield in Goa on long trips out into the Jungle or heading off to see the water falls and rivers the general advice would be to take a guide. If money is not an issue or if you want the complete freedom to travel as and when you like, then renting a private car with a driver is a good option. The going rate in Goa right now is anywhere between INR3,000-5,000 per day including your own driver, a private car and fuel. Most drivers are hired on a per day basis so unless you are planning to spend a full day sightseeing, then you’re better off using a pre-paid taxi service to drop you off where you need to go.There is plenty of good tourism company’s or taxi firms offering day trips all over the state. The further afield you venture the better it is to have a driver and a vehicle. Local knowledge is a benefit here, as is a seasoned driver on the roads. Trips inland can also lead to getting lost, then who better to have with you than a local. Trips and tours, are not expensive in Goa. As with everything you will have to barter your price, unless you let your accommodation do this for you. Which is the most advisable option should you have it.
A unique way to see Goa.
Goa Tourism have launched an initiative in late 2015 to help visitors and tourists see this magnificent state in all its glory. This is never seen before in Goa but it was sure to take off here, which it has. It is Goa by Hot Air Balloon ride. This majestic attraction will take you to the skies at around 2,000ft from the ground. You will see Goa from a truly unique perspective to those who have come before you. It is priced per person with a minimum number of 3 people if you want to fly the next day. Journeys take off early morning around 6.30 am to ensure you catch the sunrise, then you will fly for an hour or so over the coast lines and jungles. The cost per person is Rupees 8,500 though this price is negotiable depending on the booking from our experience.