Travel Tips - Is Goa safe?
Is Goa safe? In summary, yes, Goa is safe and is one of the safest places in India but you need to keep your wits about you, just like anywhere. Goa is a perfect place to solo travel and is a nice introduction to India, rather than jumping in at the deep end in Delhi.
Travelling the world is usually a once in a lifetime experience and it is easy to feel like you are in a little bubble when you are exploring. It is easy to forget that you are putting yourself in potentially unsafe situations. If you have a gut instinct that an area is unsafe, then it probably is.
When I was planning my around the world trip, India was one place that I was desperate to visit but a little bit nervous about. After returning from my trip around India, I have had quite a few people ask me if Goa is safe? Now I can't guarantee that your trip to Goa will be trouble free but my personal experience was a positive one and I didn't feel unsafe at all.
Getting from Goa Airport to your accommodation
I would recommend getting a government taxi from Goa Airport. To use the government taxis in Goa you need to get a ticket, which usually comes after waiting in a long queue. There are only taxis from the airport and so they are more expensive, but it's worth it and definitely the safest way to get to your destination. Make sure that you have some cash on you, as you will have to pay the tax to the driver.
There are not rickshaws at the airport, but I have talked to some backpackers who wanted to save some money and so walked out of the airport and used unofficial taxis. While this may save you a few quid, personally I don't think it is worth it.
Is Goa airport safe at night? Can you sleep at Goa Airport?
Goa airport is generally quite busy but at night time as the flights are limited it will quieten down. Goa airport is not the comfiest and there is not much by way of entertainment. If you are looking to travel in the morning if you get land late, then sleeping in Goa Airport should be safe enough. The taxis will be more expensive at night and so you may be feel safer getting a few hours kip in the airport and then getting a taxi in the morning, particularly if you are a solo traveller.
There are a few shops and the toilets are generally clean. There is Wifi in the airport but you have to have a Indian SIM card to use it.
Are the parties/raves safe in Goa?
Goa has a reputation as a bit of a party place and it does live up to its name. Personally I would recommend going to a party with someone else. If you are travelling solo in Goa, then make some friends at the hostel and go together. You can't hide the fact that parts of Goa has a big drug scene. There are horror stories of peoples drinks being spiked with drugs and just like anywhere else in the world, don't leave your drink unattended.
Is Goa safe for women?
The culture is extremely different in India and generally the women in India are maybe more reserved than in other cultures. It has been known that Indian men can mistake friendliness with flirting with westerns, so keep this in mind. Goa is generally safe for women to travel solo but it would be advisable to keep to busy areas and avoid quiet dark roads. From talking to the locals, it is not recommended to walk on the beach at night.
Safe accommodation in Goa
There are various accommodation options in Goa and beach huts are a popular choice. We stayed in a beach hut, which was slightly set back from the beach and had quite a few huts around it. I don't like the idea of staying in huts made out of banana leaves or bamboo as I don't think they are secure enough and I have heard lots of people moaning about their stuff going missing. Beach huts with a secure door, made out of solid wood are the best as you can sleep easy knowing it would take quite a bit of disruption for someone to get in.
Obviously, hostels, home-stays and hotels should be safe enough and there is a varied accommodation for everyones budget.
Is it safe to rent a scooter in Goa?
Depending on where you are in Goa, its generally pretty chilled out and it's not like trying to drive a scooter in Delhi. Just make sure you don't get ripped off. The price should vary somewhere between 150 Rs - 300 Rs per day, depending on the amount of time you are hiring it for.
If you haven't driven a scooter before, make sure to find a quiet spot to practice before heading onto busier roads. The police will be on the look out to give tickets to people not wearing helmets. As a tourist you are more likely to be stopped, so keep a few notes hidden somewhere as a bribe.
How safe is Goa at night?
Goa is generally safe but it is not recommended to stray off the beaten track or unlit areas. As there is a big drug scene in Goa, if you need to get a taxi at night, keep in mind that there could be a risk that the taxi driver is high or drunk, so avoid getting in the car. The beaches are not the safest at night, as you may come across drug users. If you stick to the towns, where there are other people around, you should be absolutely fine.
Is Goa safe for families?
Goa is safe to visit with your family and there is a large expat scene and is a popular tourist destination. If you are concerned about safety when visiting Goa, it may be worth booking a hotel, rather than staying in a beach hut, as they are much more secure. You can also ask your hotel to pick you up from the airport, to avoid having to get a taxi.
It is worth mentioning that the taxis won't have child car seats, so it may be worth taking your own, or you could buy one when in India (via amazon) if you are touring around.
I really enjoyed my time in Goa and I felt safe, but we did stay in Agonda that was quiet and didn't have a big party scene. If you keep your wits about you, just like anywhere else, you will have a great time in Goa.