So, you’ve been saving your pennies for months and now you want to do something exciting with all your hard-earned cash. Booking a holiday to an exotic destination like Goa is one way to go and, even if it’s costly to travel halfway around the world, I think you’ll be surprised by how little money you need once you arrive.
There are lots of things to see and do in the Indian state, many of which are inexpensive. If you want to make sure all you have to worry about once you land is your spending money, consider booking a holiday package to Goa that includes flights and accommodation, thereby allowing you to budget efficiently.
To get you in the mood for your travels overseas, here are my five top picks of cheap things to do in Goa.
1. Visit the beach
This might almost sound too obvious, but heading to the beach is a must when you visit Goa anyway, as its golden sands fringed by palm trees are renowned the world over. There are no private beaches here, so you should never have to pay to throw down your towel and do a spot of sunbathing by the sea.
Most of Goa’s beaches are also watched over by lifeguards during the main tourist season, so you can take a dip in complete safety if you get a bit too hot after catching some rays.
2. Discover the Goa Chitra Museum
This is the only ethnographic museum in Goa and it’s home to a vast collection of artefacts, including traditional farming tools and other pieces of equipment that have been used in the region over the centuries.
The museum is located next to an organic farm, where many agricultural techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation are still in use and local crops are grown. There’s also a gallery showcasing works by local artists and an amphitheatre that’s used for workshops and performances.
Cost: 100 Rs (£1.16)
3. Explore the Science Centre
From traditional farming methods to high-tech scientific experiments, Goa has it all. The Goa Science Centre and Digital Planetarium is located next to the beach at Miramar and it’s well worth spending a day here. There are interactive exhibits to keep you occupied, a 3D cinema and an entire gallery dedicated to the science of the ocean. The planetarium hosts daily shows entitled Wonders of the Universe, which will take you on an exciting journey into space.
Cost: This varies depending on which parts of the complex you visit. A basic ticket for the Science Centre will set you back 10 Rs, while the planetarium and 3D cinema cost 25 Rs each to enter.
4. Take a stroll
One of the best ways to explore Goa is on foot, so don’t be afraid to stride out during your break. Whether you want to discover the hustle and bustle of the state capital Panaji at your own pace, or would prefer to go bird watching in one of the protected nature reserves, you’ll find a trail that’s suitable.
The Bhagvan Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, which is approximately 60 km from Panaji, is an excellent place to visit if you’re hoping to spot some local wildlife, with creatures such as skinks, black eagles and leopards among the inhabitants of the reserve.
Cost: Free, except for the price of transport to/from the sanctuary and your accommodation.
5. Learn about the Hindu culture
Although the Portuguese settlers firmly left their mark on Goa, which is particularly evident from all the churches they constructed, there are still numerous Hindu temples dotted across the state. Among the places of worship you can visit are the Shree Bhagavati temple, which stands out due to the carved statues of elephants that guard its doors, and the Shree Chandranath temple, which sits on top of a hill and boasts wonderful views.
Cost: Free, although you’ll need to factor in the expense of transport.