Grand Island Boat Trip with Snorkeling, Dolphin Sightseeing & Fishing

For those who are nature enthusiast and adventure seeker, Goa is the best destination in India for you! We went to India for a 3-day vacation with my friends, who happened to be seeking also for a great adventure in nature. On our last day of stay in Goa, India, it was supposed to be our rest day to prepare for our long flight back to our country. One of the hotel staff suggested us to try the Grand Island boat tour. We immediately searched it on the internet and even asked local people from Goa about the trip. The Grand Island boat tour is really the most recommended trip and not to be missed when you visit Goa, India.

Grand Island Boat Tour starts from Sinquerium boat jetty at 8:30 AM and ends at 4:00 PM. This trip is also known as the Ilha Grande tour package. It includes private transportation from your Hotel to boat jetty and back to your hotel. Lunch, fishing tools, and snorkelling gears are also provided on board.

Early morning we headed to Sinquerium boat jetty for our departure. When the tour starts, snacks were immediately given to each of us passengers on board as we sail pass through Goa’s Historic attractions which include Agenda Fort, Merchant’s Bangla, Central Prison and some beaches of the Middle Sea. The boat will stop in a couple of minutes in the middle of the ocean for the dolphin watching.

We enjoyed seeing and witnessing dolphins twist and play with the splashes of waters. All of us passengers were so amazed at how smart those dolphins are. They even swim towards near the boat. After we pass through the dolphin hub, the boat headed towards our next destination where passengers can enjoy swimming, fishing, and snorkelling. All safety gears and equipment will be provided. This water activity will approximately last for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the passenger’s request. We enjoyed snorkelling and was amazed at how abundant and beautiful Goa’s sight-seeing views underwater.

Not knowing how to swim is not a hindrance for you to try scuba diving and snorkelling while on the trip because there will be a professional guide who will accompany you during your experience. The different formations and colourful corals, the fishes, and the clear water, Goa is indeed a must place to visit as it has a lot of natural attraction to be experienced. Since my other friends don’t know how to swim, they tried fishing instead. After the water activity, we headed immediately to the beach side as known as the Monkey beach on Grande Island for our Lunch Buffet compromising of fish, chicken, vegetarian dishes, and fruits. As you sail to the beach-side, you will see and pass through a lot of cruises on your way. Since I am a vegetarian, I only ate vegetable salad and fruits for my lunch. For drinks, they serve rum, beer, and water. Your tour includes staying on the Island for a couple of hours. Passengers are allowed to stroll around the Island or go swimming at the beach. Once the given time is done, passengers have to go back to the boat. From there, you’ll be heading back to Sinquerium Boat jetty for your drop off and back to your respective hotel.

Trip Details 

Grande Island or also known as Ilha Grande is found at the northern part of Goa. The only way to reach the grand island is by boat. Grand Island Boat tour is a tour package starting from Sinquerium Boat Jetty to Monkey Beach on Grande Island with a lot of inclusions during the sailing. The travel price starts from 1599 INR per person and can accommodate a maximum of 20 persons with toilet and changing.

Rooms. There is also a private Grand Island tour where a large group of people rent the whole boat for the trip. This daylong package includes snorkeling, sigh-seeing, dolphin sighting, swimming, and a meal. A lot of people prefer this kind of Boat tour because of its popularity and a budget-friendly trip at the same time. Below is the Grand Island Boat tour Itinerary.

Tour Itinerary

  • 8:30 AM – Departure at Sinquerium Boat Jetty. Staffs begin to check if passengers are all seated. Snacks will be given to passengers once the journey commences.
  • The first destination will be the Historical sight-seeing.
  • Pass through the dolphin hub where passengers will witness dolphins twirl and twist, playing the splash of sea water.
  • For the second destination, you’ll be experiencing some fun and exciting water activities such as snorkeling, fishing, and swimming. Snorkeling kit and fishing tools will be given to each passenger.
  • After the water activity, you will be taken to the beach-side where Goan buffet will be served for lunch compromising of Fish, Chicken, Vegetarian dish and fruits.
  • Once done, the boat will be heading back to Sinquerium at 4:30 PM.

What Activities are Includes ? 

  • Swimming
  • Snorkeling
  • Fishing
  • Dolphin Watching
Goan Buffet for Lunch on the Beach
  • BBQ Fish / Chicken
  • Vegetable Biryani
  • Fruits 
  • Beer
  • Rum
  • Water

Tour Conclusion 

This trip is best for family and friends bonding which is suitable for every age, from child to adult. The journey starts at 8 o’clock in the morning and continues until 3-4 PM. This island package can also be private for two or choice of groups. Grande Island is considered as one of the most visited travel destinations in Goa and is popular for its boat tour. A lot of people are booking for this kind of trip because of its pocket-friendly price and good experiences throughout the tour. The staffs and local people are so accommodating and friendly. The food tastes good, and the Island itself is beautiful. 

The best month to visit the Grande Island is from October to March. I suggest you to bring your own water to keep you always hydrated since this tour has a lot of water activity to offer during your sailing and when you arrive at the Island. I highly suggest this kind of Boat Trip for a pocket-friendly tour that lets you experience an amazing trip with India’s nature and natural attractions. For me, it is more fun to ride this boat with different people who are stranger to you to socialise and make new friends on board. Though, it is also preferable to experience this with your family and loved ones in private for exclusive activities and less chaos. Overall, the tour really is a worth experiencing when you visit Goa.

Where to Book ?

Check Grand Island Booking Website

Five myths about Goa

 Myth number 1.  Goa – this is India, and therefore, unsanitary conditions, infections and poverty

Photo: CRSHELARE / Shutterstock. com

The standard of living in Goa leaves much to be desired, in small villages you will almost certainly see rubbish, not very tidy residents and an unfortunate level of neglect. But this is not a plagued area, people on the streets are not lepers, the infection does not fly in the air. Yes, and it is unlikely you will climb into the wilds of civilization. Well, the fact that you need to wash your hands and not drink water from the tap, you already know.

Myth number 2. Service in hotels so-so

Photo: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock. com

No, this is not entirely true. There are many small hotels in North Goa with two or three stars and really mediocre service (they will not be cleaned every day, the air conditioner may break, you will not rush to your first call). People come here for parties, so if the hotel has a bed, it already fits.

If comfort and attention from the staff are important to you, you are in South Goa – four or five star hotels and service of the European level. Here you will find complete relaxation and helpful staff.

South. Top 3 hotels on Ostrovka :

  • Joecons Beach Resort : double rooms from 6190 rub./night *;
  • Alila Diwa Goa : double rooms from 10 590 rubles / night;
  • Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa : double rooms from 17 390 rub./night.

Sever.Top-3 hotel on Ostrovka:


  • The Hawaii Comforts : double rooms from 2999 rub. / Night;
  • Hard Rock Hotel Goa : double rooms from 8671 rub. / Night;
  • Lemon Tree Amarante Beach Resort, Goa : double rooms from 10 790 rub./night.

Myth number 3. All beaches of Goa have white sand and crystal clear water.

Photo: Lena Serditova / Shutterstock. com

Alas, not everywhere. To the beach it was like the picture for him to follow, so the heavenly beaches – this is the South, where relaxation is more expensive and better infrastructure. In the North, there are beaches, but without pretending to be picturesque.

Beaches of North Goa

  • Terekol: one of the few deserted beaches of North Goa.
  • Mandrem: along the coastline there are many natural pools, the water in them quickly heats up – the feeling that you are bathing in fresh milk.
  • Small and Big Vagator: Big is famous for its incendiary parties, Small is a  more secluded and wild beach, with rocks and bays.
  • Ashwem: idyllically calm place, perfect for kiting.

South Goa Beaches

  • Bogmalo: a modern and very tourist beach with many cafes and bars serving excellent seafood.
  • Benaulim: the beach is known for flocks of dolphins, which occasionally delight guests with pirouettes.
  • Cooking and Cavelossim: golden sand, many palm trees, and luxury hotels around.
  • Palolem: the southernmost beach, where you can find the very white sand, azure water and peace.

Myth number 4. All food is fiery spicy, will have to starve

Photo: Erofeenkov / Shutterstock. com

No, I do not have to starve. Goa adapts to the influx of tourists from all over the world, cafe and restaurant owners often warn of particularly spicy dishes and offer a European menu. And in some places they even serve borsch, okroshka and dumplings. True, according to the author’s recipes.

If you went to a remote village and went to a local eatery, the chance to eat something and breathe fire is great, so be careful. Well, if you really are not afraid to cope with local cuisine, book a hotel with power on – for example, half board (breakfast + dinner).

Myth number 5. The most fun – Goa-trance parties, no more entertainment

Photo: Erofeenkov / Shutterstock. com

Of course not. Goa-trance – the direction in electronic music, originated here in the late 1980s. You can look at the transers at one of the beach parties, these parties are not legal and you can meet very strange people there, but it’s curious to watch. If this action does not interest you, here are a few places of worship where you can while away the evening.

  • Casino Deltin Royale Casino, Panajah – floating casino in the capital of Goa, in the evening turn on beautiful lighting, and the ship with a casino you would not miss. It does not matter if gambling does not entice you, go listen to live music and drink a cocktail.
  • Club Cubana, Arpora  –  one of the most popular nightclubs, from the roof of which opens a magnificent panorama of the city. Entrance fee, but drinks are included in the ticket price. The club has several spacious rooms and a swimming pool.
  • The night market, Arpora, is the best place to learn to bargain and see what the local vendors are offering. You can find a lot of things: music CDs, handkerchiefs with handmade embroidery, tea, souvenirs, spices. When you’re fed up with shopping, switch to food court and street concerts .

Myth number 6. There’s nothing to see except Beaches

Photo: sarangib / pixabay. com

No matter how wrong! Goa is a very special state of India with amazing nature and colorful mixing of cultures. Write down what you need to see.

  • Fort Chapora: this defensive fortress is a 17th century Portuguese heritage. The hill overlooks the Indian Ocean and the coast. Travelers have a tradition – to come to the fortress on the sunset of the last day and the sunset.
  • Church Square, Panaji: the main attraction – the white church of the Virgin Mary, and next to it there is a cozy garden, which is adored by the locals.
  • Dudhsagar Falls: a multi-level waterfall is included in the hundred highest waterfalls in the world. The name is not accidentally translated as “Milk Ocean”: because of the contrast with the dark stone, it seems that the water is milky white. Check detailed information on Dudhsagar Falls Website
  • Spice plantation “Sahakari”, Pond: order to usefully spend time, immediately book a tour. You will be led through the plantation and will be told what is growing here and how. As an amusement ride on elephants and teach to climb on the palm trees. Then there will be a break for lunch, you will be served dishes with grown spices. Buy your favorite spices can be right there in the shop.

Memo to the traveler

Photo: Pavel Laputskov / Shutterstock. com

When is it better to go?

From June to September there is a rainy season in Goa, so come between October and May. These are winter months, the temperature is comfortable, up to + 30 ° C, so there is no sweltering heat, you can travel around the neighborhood and swim.

Is it difficult to get a visa?

Elementary. Indian visa can be issued on the website of the visa center . The electronic visa is prepared 4-10 working days, then you download it, print it and go to the airport. Such a visa gives you the right to stay in the country for no more than 30 days.

What is the currency in Goa?

The local currency is rupee. The course is very seductive: for $ 100 you will receive 6,808, 01 rupees (1 USD = 68 INR as of January 27, 2017). For residents, this is a fortune, so at first everything will seem too cheap. But make no mistake, you will soon begin to distinguish between cheap and very cheap.

How to move?

On a moped or scooter – a safe and convenient way to travel, you can also rent an auto rickshaw. If you don’t plan to drive around a lot – order a taxi, the case when it doesn’t take a pretty penny.

Arambol Goa: Accommodation, food & attractions Guide

Arambol is a village in North Goa. This is my favorite place in India, because in Arambol there is everything! There is a long sandy beach where it is so nice to swim and walk, there is a lake, there are hills. You can rent a house and live in it all season, prepare yourself, walk every evening to watch the sunset.

But the most beautiful thing in Arambol is the audience that comes there. There a lot of talented people from all over the world gather there – singers, musicians, dancers, artists, healers, yogis, followers of Osho. As the saying goes: “Each creature in pairs.”

Arambola has many courses. There is a very good dance school “temple of dance”. Another interesting place is the “Magic park”, with a vegetarian cafe, and where many different activities take place – dances for ethnic music, singing bajan and mantras, tea ceremonies. Plus courses on massage and various other healing techniques.

In Arambol, there is a tradition of going to sunset all together (on the beach opposite the exit from the Magic Park). People bring musical instruments and play on them, someone dances, someone juggles, someone turns hula-hoop, someone does tai-chi, someone meditates. You can see all your friends at once and exchange news – it’s very convenient.

In the evenings, there are many concerts in Arambol (usually they are held in restaurants). And the music is diverse and high-quality, and the entrance is either free or minimally paid (3-5 dollars).

Several years ago, the “Ash” space was opened, which Russian musicians created and where they hold many events for the Russian-speaking audience. To learn music, too, is where.

In Arambol, as in general in Goa, there are quite a lot of Russians, so you will not be left alone if you do not know English. There are Russian restaurants, travel agencies, focused on Russian, Russian kindergarten and so on.

Love novels are also often tied up – it is painfully disposed to this atmosphere. Some there also end, and some develop even outside of Arambol.

History, nature, culture of North Goa

If we talk about nature, then the climate is hot, in the summer the monsoon . The best season for coming to Goa is from November to March. In December and January, evenings are a bit chilly and a warm shawl will not hurt.

Goa almost 4 centuries was ruled by the Portuguese. They swam here on ships and declared this land their own. Therefore, the modern inhabitants of Goa are Catholics.

In Goa, many Catholic churches (the most famous are in Old Goa). Plus the Goan old architecture clearly reflects the Portuguese influence. In general, the culture of the Goa people is unique and different from other parts of India.

Goa is one of the smallest states of India, but one of the most beautiful. Groves of coconut palms, beaches (the most beautiful beach of Goa is Palol in the south of the state), small coves and fishing boats at dawn. The sun that sinks right into the ocean.

If you leave the ocean, you will see green fields, forests, grazing cows and banana trees. The atmosphere is generally calm and peaceful, relaxing.

Prices for accommodation, food and entertainment

If you come for a long time, you can rent a house. But the house must be sought, which can take at least a few days. Therefore, it makes sense to settle in guesthouse (the benefit of their here a lot, prices an average of 5 to 15 dollars per night), and then already look for a house.

Under the New Year the house is no longer to be found, and the prices in guesthouses are growing, so this is not the best time to come. Although, it is clear, the Russians still come often at this time, since from 1 to 14 January most people have a weekend.

In general, the sooner you start looking for a house (ideally in October), the more choices you will have. Usually, directly on the homes of ads hanging about surrendering, you can also ask around friends and look into the LiveJournal on ru_goa.

Hearing the price, it makes sense to bargain, there is a chance to reduce it by 25-50 (depending on how much you want to withdraw – if for the whole season, it will be cheaper.) The most expensive in December-January (peak season).

The farther from the ocean, the cheaper. A house a few kilometers from the beach can cost from 10,000 rupees a month ($ 250), close to the beach on average from 15 to 25 thousand rupees – depends on the size of the house and its furnishings.

Usually money is taken on a monthly basis, but some owners can request for the entire season. It is better to take a receipt that the money has been paid.

There are hundreds of restaurants in Arambol, you will not remain hungry. If you rented a house with a kitchen and cook yourself, you will save a lot. Prices in restaurants vary on average one dish from 2 dollars and above.

Good restaurants are “Double Datch” (on the main street), “Cheeky Monkey” (on the beach), “Umbrella Cafe” (on the main street). On the beach there is a Russian restaurant “Hemp”.

If you want to spend your money, you can go to the night market. This is quite an entertaining event, many interesting things are sold, live music, lots of food, freaks from around Goa are going. It takes place on Saturday evening somewhere from 8 pm to 2 am.

True, good things there are not cheap, but still the prices for them are lower than in Russia.

In Arambol itself is also a great variety of shops with clothes, souvenirs, incense and other Indian goods. Prices are moderate, at the end of the season there are sales, you can buy a bunch of things for a penny.

Many massage parlors are mainly Ayurvedic massage, although it is also Tibetan. Prices for an hour of massage from 12 to 20 dollars on average – depends on the specific procedure. Quality is acceptable. If you are a woman, in a self-respecting Ayurvedic salon you will be offered a female massage therapist.

There are various tours of Goa – in Old Goa, on waterfalls, etc. Including in Russian. Announcements usually hang on poles and in restaurants.

In Assago there is a warm pool, where various therapeutic sessions are held in the water (including preparation for childbirth for pregnant women). The place is called “Watsu Goa”. I recommend!

A session with a water therapist costs $ 50, lasts an hour.

By the way, about pregnant women. Goa is a popular place for pregnant women and women with young children. It’s warm, there’s an ocean, living conditions are better than the average in India. Some even give birth here.

You can give birth in a paid hospital in Panaji (it will cost about $ 1000 together with the conduct of pregnancy, the quality is good, give birth certificate in English). There is also a center of natural birth in Assagao, led by a German midwife, childbirth into the water. Reviews are also good – if you are ready to give birth in this way.

In general, Hindus sincerely love children. So if you are with a child, you will be helped. In any restaurants, shops and so on with children start up without problems.

About the budget.

Depends on your needs. But I would say that to save money, you need $ 700 per person per month, if you come for a long time.

If you save – rent a cheap house, cook it yourself, especially do not get involved in shopping, and live with someone (family, friends and just those who want to share a house in order to save on rent), then with a scratch you can live dollars for 300 in month.

Although the prices in Goa are rising. What will happen next season, I do not know.

What should beware of in North Goa (Arambol)

The cause of the number one mortality among tourists in North Goa are accidents on bikes. Although every season thousands of people ride quite safely, yet the bike is an unsafe mode of transport.

The movement is left-handed, the roads are narrow. Plus many unexpected obstacles on the road – then the cow will stand in the middle, then the dog will run out, the cyclist will go, then the Indians go along the curve of the trajectory.

Therefore, if you still want to ride a motorcycle or scooter and at the same time live happily ever after, – drive slowly and carefully. And in any case, do not drive behind in the state of alcohol or drug intoxication.

And remember that you must have the rights of an international model (without the right to be fined, although not much).

Drugs also create a lot of problems for those who use them. It is clear that if after my article everyone stopped taking drugs, I would be given a big medal from the Indian government.

But, if you still can not imagine your life in North Goa without having to get stoned, then at least:

  • do not try to take the “grass” from India to your homeland. This is the direct way to find yourself in an Indian prison;
  • do not buy anything from unverified people. They can take you to the police;
  • Do not smoke “grass” in public places (in restaurants, on the beach, etc.). By the way, last season the authorities of Goa officially banned smoking in restaurants (and cigarettes too).
  • Do not use drugs and alcohol in a company of strangers or unfamiliar people – you can then, for example, rob, using your unconscious state.

Therefore, it makes sense to address them in extreme cases, if something really serious has happened. Stolen things are usually not found.

Theft in North Goa is quite common, close the house, do not leave valuables at the window, and generally look after the money.

It is better to keep money and passport separately – documents here do not steal specially, but can be stolen together with money, and without your passport your journey will end.

In the Russian consulate, at best, a certificate will be issued to return to Russia (for money and after filing a certificate from the police that the passport was stolen), and even look askance – they say, there are a lot of you here, so do not expect help from the Motherland.

Dear ladies, I appeal to you. Do not go late at night alone on the beach and in remote places and do not even ride a bike – recorded cases of attacks on women (robbery and rape).

Goa – and the Indian resort too. Unfortunately, the Hindus, who at home quieter than the water below the grass, come here to rest, get drunk and begin to behave disgracefully. A lot of people, you can not follow everyone.

Again, I do not want to intimidate you. I (and many of my friends) lived in Goa for a long time and everything was fine, but foresight and caution here will not prevent.

How to get to North Goa (Arambol)

In the season from Russia to Goa, the airport Dabolim fly charters. You can buy a ticket to one side. But consider – if you flew charter, you can fly back either by the same charter, or by regular flight.

A ticket for another charter will not be sold to you (so with the benefit for yourself, but with extreme inconvenience to the buyers, chartered companies from Russia agreed).

Regular flights are available all year round. I recommend “Qatar airways” – in my opinion, the best combination of price and quality.

Remember that you must obtain an Indian visa before you arrive in India. Earlier in Goa, those who arrived for 2 weeks, were given a visa at the airport, but now this is not practiced.

If you are already in India, then there are domestic flights to Dabolim from different cities of India – from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, etc.

You can reach the station of Margao by the Indian railway (although the plane is much faster and more pleasant). There is also a bus from Mumbai and from Pune (the city where the Osho Ashram is located).

Further from Dabolim, Margao or Mapes (buses come there) it’s easiest to take a taxi to Arambol. From the airport it costs 1000 rupees (25 dollars approximately). Go an hour and a half depending on the “traffic jams”. And – you are in Arambol!

Why do I want to return again to North Goa (Arambol)

I want to see Arambol, my friends, the tender sea, the hot sun, to walk through the seminars, to feel the fullness of life.

To dance contact improvisation, to hear the sound of a heng-drama (a musical instrument, similar to a flying saucer in appearance, with a meditative sound).

Sit on the beach in the evening and look at the stars. Meet the New Year in the company of friends under the New Year palm tree (Christmas trees here are only artificial and that is rare).

Walk along the beach from Arambol to Mandrem (neighboring village) at 7 am, see the dawn, stray dogs and sleepy Indians. Plus the early rising yogis meditating on the beach. Eat hot Indian dishes and fruit salad with ice cream at local restaurants.

See you in Arambol!