Shacks are shut, sea-fish is off the plates, but there’s still so much you can do in Goa during the rains. Don’t let anyone tell you that Goa goes into a state of inertia during the rains, because that is exactly when it comes into its element. Rivers are bursting their banks, paddy is painting the land green, hot chai and samosas are pouring out of ‘tinto’ corners… this is the best time to be in Goa. Here’s what to do when you’re here
1. Explore Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary
Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary in South Goa has an eclectic range of flora and fauna that are particularly active in the monsoon. Expect to spot the king cobra, Russell’s viper, the rat snake, kraits of various kinds in addition to many species of spider and scorpion. If you’re lucky (or not), you may spot the elusive leopard too. If you love to click pictures to take back, this is where you should be.
2. Try Canyoning
Deep within the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is Goa’s best-kept secret. In monsoon, if you’re fit and daring, you can go canyoning around the Upper Sauri region. Your day out will include walking, abseiling, wading, and swimming through waist-deep and open waters, then scrambling, climbing, jumping, and sliding down natural slopes. Sign up with a government-certified tour operator.
3. Sail to a Goan island
One of Goa’s hidden gems, Divar Island sits just 10km from Panaji and can be accessed only by ferries, which ply from the crack of dawn to late at night. Divar is the epitome of the idyllic Goan countryside. The annual Bonderam Carnival is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of August, bringing the sleepy countryside to life. If the festivities get too late, get comfortable at Divar Island Guest House Retreat.
4. Taste the Local Cuisine
If you tend to romanticize quaint homestay living and coffee dates when it pours, you’re in luck. Few restaurants are up and running during the monsoons like Panjim (Tataki, Black Market, Route 66, Soul Chef), and old classics (Kokni Kanteen and Joseph Bar), (Hideaway) in Vagator, (Artjuna) in Anjuna, (Mojigao) in Assagao, will always come to your rescue among others.
5. Trek to a hidden waterfall
Head deep into the Bhagavan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary at Tambdi Surla in hunt of the hidden waterfall. You enter at ease, cutting through the dense foliage. But after two hours of a not-so-easy trek, you will be rewarded with the sight of five gushing streams with two vertical ascents. The best way to experience this is with the help of a local guide.
6. Go whitewater rafting
The monsoon brings the swell to the Mhadei river, which offers grade 2-3 rapids. The adventure will include exciting trips of 10km each in the waters of the river adorned by a breath-taking landscape.
7. Walk up a fort, or around the Latin part of town
Goa’s landscape is dotted with vestiges of her past. The forts of Corjuem near Aldona and Chapora Fort, near Vagator, are steeped in legend and for those not up for an adventure, Fontainhas, the Latin Quarter of Goa, allows easier access to history. Sign up with one of the several local walking tours for a leisurely Sunday morning heritage walk.
From the Goa’s heritage sites to its famous bakeries—there’s a tour for almost anything.
8. Party at these quaint clubs
With its old-world charm and quirky vibe, Goa captures the magic of a time long past. A lot of the popular places shut down during the monsoons, but there are places that stay rocking throughout like Soro the Village Pub, Cantare, Favela, Showbar Exchange, Curlies, Cavala, Cohiba, Sinq Beach Club and more.