Goa, India is a popular travel destination for travellers from around the world. This beachy area in southern India tends to attract a bunch of hippy-backpacker types and is famous for its Goa beaches and nightlife. Affordable accommodation and food, hot weather, and the easy-going vibe add to the allure of this Indian state.
Plus, there’s plenty to see and do in the area, including scuba diving.
Guide to Scuba Diving Goa
We recognize that although everyone would love to visit a dive destination like Goa, it can be a little daunting finding first-hand information online, that gives you enough of that ease of mind to make you comfortable enough to plan your trip.
Planning and organizing a big dive trip, far from home, and finding accurate information on where to dive, where to stay, what dive shops to use, what seasons to visit, costs, attractions you should see on land, and more makes it a bit stressful.
But it doesn’t have to be.
As fellow scuba travelers, we feel your pain when it comes to getting reliable information to organize our dive trips, so we have put together this guide to help with any information you will need!
If you still have questions about scuba diving in Goa, feel free to ask them in the comments below, or shoot us an email!
Dive Sites in Goa
Goa may not be one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world, but it definitely has some dive sites, reefs, and wrecks that are worth checking out. Visibility here can be iffy; as low as 2m up to 20m, depending on weather and currents so don’t expect perfect conditons. But, if you’re already around the waters around Goa are definitely worth exploring. With that in mind, these are the top dive sites around Goa.
Suzy’s Wreck: A shallow wreck starting at 3m and dropping to a maximum depth of 12m. Suzy’s Wreck is suitable for divers of all levels. The wreck itself is 130m long and home to an abundance of marine life including common reef fish, barracuda, and nudibranch.
Davy Jones Locker: The remains of a wreck, Davy Jones Locker is essentially a bunch of broken up metal pieces though the stern, with an intact propeller, is still intact. This is a good place to see barracuda and schooling fish but it’s best suited for experienced divers as the current here can be quite strong.
Turbo Tunnel: A narrow channel between rock and the island. It’s shallow, only a depth of 8m, but suitable for all divers. Keep your eyes on the sand around the boulders to see stonefish, porcupine fish, and some triggerfish.
Bounty Bay: A popular site for inexperienced divers of beginners. It’s a shallow site, 8m deep, and home to a variety of marine life. If you are lucky, you may seem some cuttlefish or nurse sharks here.
Sail Rock: This dive site is for experienced divers only because of strong currents and surge. Depth at this site range from 6m to 20m with the highlights being groupers, barracudas, and occasional sharks.
Umma Gumma Reef: A nice dive site with a few sections of hard corals in the shallower areas. Lots of marine life here including the occasional nurse shark.
The Jetty: Probably the best coral reef in Goa. Another shallow dive site (again, maximum depth is 8m) with lots of reef fish. Watch for lobster here as well hiding around the hard corals.
Shelter Cove: Perfect for students or beginners, Shelter Cove has plenty to see including lobsters, stonefish, triggerfish, and, on the rare occasion, hawksbill turtles. Shelter Cove is a shallow dive site at 8m maximum depth.
*Netrani Island used to be another dive spot in Goa however it is now closed to divers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Diving in Goa
What Critters Should I Look For?
Most of Goa’s marine life can be found around the reefs off the coast. You won’t find any truly special species in the water here, but you can expect to find the following:
- Sharks: While not common, you may get lucky and see nurse sharks or reef sharks at Goa’s dive sites.
- Barracuda: fairly common around Goa’s dive sites
- Cuttlefish: Rare, but keep your eye out! Especially around the shallower sites.
- Hawksbill Turtles: Very rare, but you might get lucky at Shelter Cove.
- Reef fish: You will see plenty of damselfish, sweetlips, nudibranchs, lion fish and more.
How Much Does it Cost to Dive in Goa?
Scuba diving in Goa isn’t the cheapest spot in the world, but it’s pretty affordable.
Prices will differ depending on your location, and depending on the dive shop. Please don’t let cost be the only reason you choose a dive shop, we highly recommend you read reviews about each dive operator and look for things like quality of rental equipment, instructors, boats, safety, etc. Using a trust worthy shop is absolutely worth spending a little more money on your diving experience.
Estimated average costs for diving in Spain are:
- 2 Fun Dives: Approximately 70USD
- PADI Open Water Course: Approximately $200USD
- PADI Advanced Open Water Course: Approximately $300USD
- PADI Rescue and EFR Course: Approximately $300USD
Please make sure you only dive with licensed scuba instructors in Goa.
How Do You Get to Goa?
Goa has its own airport (Dabolim Airport) which makes it easy to travellers to fly in and out of. That being said few airlines fly to Gao direct, so if you are coming from abroad you will probably have to fly into one of India’s major airports then get a connecting flight to Goa.
If you are already in India you can also travel by train, bus, or car. Trains are fairly regular from Mumbai, Mangalore, and Bangalore to Goa. If you are coming from Mumbai or Pune, however, consider renting a car. The scenery along this route is stunning as you pass through the Konan area.
How Do You Get Around Goa?
Goa is big, and it’s important that travellers remember that Goa is not a city, but rather a state with plenty to see and do.
There are a few ways to get around Goa. If you prefer independent travel and freedom you can rent (or buy if you are planning to stay awhile) a motorbike. There are also plenty of cars available for hire.
If you would prefer not to drive you can rely on taxis and busses. The tourism board of Goa operates an air conditioned hop on hop off bus to cater to tourists. The busses have English speaking staff making them a popular choice for visitors.
What is the Visa Situation for Americans?
All American travelers to India will need a visa. Visas need to be obtained in advance; anyone who lands in India without one will be immediately deported. Depending on the length of your stay and purpose of travel, you may be able to apply for an Indian visa online. Or, you can go through the nearest consulate or Indian Embassy. Rules change regularly so take the time to check the website of the nearest Indian embassy ahead of time for the latest procedures.
Is the Language Barrier Difficult in Goa?
Goa is a popular tourist destination, so English is common in many of the main tourist areas. However, English is not the first language so there may be a language barrier in some situations. As with most destinations, it’s always best to know a couple of basic phrases and words before your arrival.
Best Times to Visit in Goa
Goa is very much a seasonal destination. The best time to visit Goa is from mid-November to mid-February. This is when the weather is warm and dry. Scuba divers should note that there is a specific diving season in Goa as well. Scuba diving in Goa can only take place from mid-October to mid-May. There is no diving during Goa’s monsoon season.
What is the Food Like in Goa?
Traditional Goan food is a blend of Portuguese and local flavours. Expect lots of rice and curry dishes and a lot of seafood. Most place will ask you how you want it (in terms of spice level) so don’t worry about it being too hot.
Keep in mind, nice restaurants and hotel restaurants in Goa tend to have terrible food. The best places to eat are the shacks on the beach and alongside the road. Watch where the locals eat or ask. Most will take you to goo, authentic places however, if they take you to a nicer restaurant decline; it’s a scam they run to get commission.
What Else is there to do in Goa?
Goa has plenty to see and do to keep you busy. The area is best known for its beaches, watersports, and nightlife. However, there are also plenty of churches, cathedrals, and historic buildings in the area dating back to the Portuguese Colonial era. Be sure to check our list of places to visit in Goa for some inspiration.
What Area Should I Stay In?
Goal is a state, not a city, so it’s best to stay near where you will be doing your diving. Being such a popular backpacking destination, Goa has plenty of affordable accommodation options from beach huts to villas to serviced apartment and resorts and hotels. Check with your dive operator as well to see if they offer accommodation; you may be able to get a good deal on diving + accommodation through them.
More Goa Information
- Goa has two official languages: Konkani and Marathi.
- The local currency in Goa, and across India, is the Indian Rupee.
- Goa is famous for its nightlife. There are more than 7000 bars in this Indian state.
- Goa was under Portuguese control for over 400 years. The Portuguese influence can be seen in many of Goa’s buildings.
- Goa is a popular holiday destination for both Indians and travellers around the world. It is nicknamed as the ‘Fun Capital of India’.
- Goa is one of the only placed in India where you can get a ‘two-wheeler taxi’ aka a motorcycle taxi.