If the most dreamed-of holiday in India had a name, it would probably sound a lot like Goa. From clear water beaches with exotic activities and themed events, and a vibrant mix of modern and traditional culture, Goa is as close to a dream paradise as you get. An ancient Portuguese colony, it boasts a historic charm, and offers many adventure sports, unwinding, and a dose of delicious Goan food. Since the declaration of a national lockdown in March, Goa has been one of the most anticipated destinations that travelers couldn’t wait to visit, a feeling most of us share.
Now that every state is easing their restrictions, the state of Goa is finally relaxing the majority of the bans on travel and inviting travelers to revive their tourism economy. In early July, Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonka announced the reopening of domestic visitors and people from all around India started flocking to the destination.
Read the detailed post-Covid travel guide to Goa below for your post-pandemic travel planning.
Goa Travel Advisory During Covid-19
The state of Goa is inviting more travelers by opening up its tourism industry slowly but the key priority is the safety and wellbeing of both the travelers and the residents. Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced that as a part of Unlock 4.0, they have removed the mandate to carry a negative Covid-19 test but all the other restrictions such as compulsory face mask, social distancing, and sanitization of public places are still in place. Here’s a list of some of the other important Covid-19 guidelines issued by the state of Goa that travelers must follow:
- COVID-19 negative certificate is no longer mandatory: Passengers traveling to Goa by land, air, or sea route can enter the state by just passing the thermal screening.
- Face masks must be worn at all times during commute and public travel or they may have to pay a penalty amount for the same.
- Casinos will be opening with a 50% capacity limit.
- Hotels and restaurants will follow the SOPs issued to them by the Home Department.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Goa is from November to April when the weather is ideal for relaxing on the popular beaches and the temperature averages between 20 to 30 degrees celsius.
How To Reach
The Goa state government has removed all travel restrictions to allow the influx of tourists from all parts of India. Please note that international travel is still not operational till 31st December 2020. The authorities have also introduced a fine for those who are not wearing their mask during commute/entering the border. The passengers will be photographed and fined for their actions.
- Travelers can take a flight from the closest airport to The Dabolim Airport or Goa International Airport to reach Goa.
- There are also a limited number of trains operating to Goa and you must check the availability on the IRCTC website before booking.
- If you are planning to travel by road, you can hire a car or drive yourself from the state border to your accommodation. There will be temperature screenings at certain checkpoints and you must wear your mask at all times until you reach your destination.
There are multiple modes of transportation available for travelers who want to go around Goa. You can rent a bike from travel dealers for an affordable price, hire auto-rickshaws, take private cabs for a more comfortable journey and also travel by ferry.
The following are the locations where ferry services are available. Please note that some of them may not be functional yet due to the pandemic.
- Betim to Panaji
- Old Goa to Divar Island
- Querim to Tiracolor
- Cavelossim to Assolna
Places To Visit In Goa During Covid-19
With countless beaches, seamless crystal blue waters, and mesmerizing local suburbs that exudes culture, Goa offers many delights to those willing to explore. Ever heard that “big things come in small packages?” This axiom certainly fits best to Goa, a land of limitless possibilities and a soothing escape for travelers.
As Goa is reopening, the way we approach travel might have changed but the beauty of the places remains the same. If you are planning to make a trip, make sure you don’t miss out on Palolem Beach, Baga Beach, Panaji, Goa Velha, and Calangute.
Things To Do In Goa During Covid-19
With soft sand, clear water, and enjoying beachside conversations with your friends and family, Goa is an absolute favorite destination for autumn and winter travelers. If you are looking for reasons to trade snow with sand, there are many things to do in Goa like Cafe hopping, water sports, Goan food tour, night bazaars, and more.
While participating in organized events like water sports or food tours, safety is the most important factor to keep in mind. As businesses are opening, the state is taking all the precautions to make sure that the travelers are safe when they experience Goa. As a traveler, you can check with your concerned facility and ask for guidelines, safety gear, and more before your departure.
The state of Goa has removed all the travel restrictions imposed during the lockdown and travelers no longer need to book a stay in advance. From short stays to week-long vacations, you can enjoy your time in Goa by choosing to stay at some of the most amazing hotels and Airbnbs. All hotels are now following the government advisory for reopening which includes a deep sanitization process during and after every guest, limited capacity of beds, closure of community areas like pools and gyms, and contact tracing.
Here is a list of measures that the state of Goa has for the hotel industry:
- Temperature screening at hotels
- Sanitizer availability at the hotel and inside all the rooms
- Disposable gloves mandatory for hotel staff at bar and restaurant
- Contact tracing forms at every hotel
The hospitality industry in Goa is reopening but the safety of the travelers and staff remains a key priority. While some of the most popular street food outlets and restaurants in Goa are back to normal functioning with a limited capacity, many of the food outlets have moved to delivery-only or takeaway facilities. Food franchises are also operational and open for customers with social distance seating and disposable cutlery to avoid any transmission.
What To Pack
A post-Covid trip to Goa calls for a smart packing list that would accommodate all your belongings and save space for safety essentials like an extra bottle of sanitizer or a PPE kit. Here’s Travel Triangle’s comprehensive list of things to pack:
- Clothing for moderate weather and two beach-friendly outfits
- A pack of disposable face masks or 2-3 reusable face masks
- Sanitizer for personal use
- Sanitizing solution for outdoor/surface use
- A personal PPE kit that will include a face shield, sanitizer sachets, and a pair of disposable glove for flight, train, or any kind of commute
- Slippers, hats, sunscreen, and other beach essentials that you may need
- Book your travel and accommodation in advance.
- Talk with your hotel/Airbnb about their sanitizing facilities and the Covid-19 related precautions they are taking.
- Download the Arogya Setu app on your mobile phone.
- Try to get tested before your travel and keep the Covid-19 negative certificate handy during your commute.
Covid-19 Prerequisites And Consequences In Goa
- All passengers traveling domestically to Goa must undergo thermal screening before they can enter the border.
- If the temperature recorded is higher than the required number, you will be asked to take a Covid-19 RT-PCR test for which you will bear the cost of the test and any commute you may have to undertake. If negative, you will be allowed to travel to your destination. If the result shows positive, the state protocol for Covid-19 will be followed.
- It is mandatory for everyone to wear a mask in public and you may incur a fine or penalty.
Further Travel Tips
- When at the beach or visiting an attraction, make sure you follow the safety marks on the floor or walls of the place for social distancing.
- If you are using the ferry services, make sure they are not overcrowded.
- People over the age of 65 or children under the age of 10 are advised not to undertake non-essential travel.
As we slowly recover from this pandemic, safety must remain our primary concern while traveling. This post-Covid travel guide to Goa is your one-stop solution for trip planning and itinerary. If you are looking for something more than a post-Covid travel guide to Goa, let us help you put together your dream Goan trip with our customized packages.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is Goa open for tourists?
Yes, the state of Goa is currently open for domestic tourists and travelers from all parts of the country. As per the Unlock 5 guidelines announced by the government, travelers no longer need to show a Covid-19 test or book accommodation in advance. You can easily travel from your home state by just undergoing a temperature check at entry points.
Is it safe to travel to Goa during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Yes, it is safe to travel to Goa only if you are traveling in a small group while following the state-issued advisory. As experts are warning to be cautious against the spread of the virus in cold weather, here are some precautions you must follow if you travel: When going outside, in public transport, or visiting tourist attractions, wear a suitable and fitted face mask that covers your nose and mouth. Always carry hand sanitizer with you and check with your hotel if they are providing you with regular sanitation facilities. Avoid touching any unsanitary surfaces and keep a pack of disposable gloves handy if needed. Avoid going to crowded places and if you are planning to visit any temples or marketplaces, make sure you maintain social distancing.
Are the casinos in Goa open for tourists?
Yes, you can try your luck in some of the most popular casinos in Goa from November 1st, 2020. All the establishments are ordered to operate at 50% capacity and follow the state government protocol thoroughly to ensure the safety of the visitors and staff.