Goa is open again for domestic tourists – here’s what you need to know and which hotels are open
Goa, along with the rest of India, went into lockdown on 22nd March due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Initially, Goa had very few cases and became India’s first Corona free state until borders reopened with the rest of India and an outbreak in Mangor Hill near Vasco da Gama caused numbers to rise. Netherless, the numbers are not too high and Goa has been reopening slowly and on 2nd July it was announced that Goa was reopen for tourists (domestic only as international flights are still restricted)
Update Sept 2020
Goa is now open to all DOMESTIC tourists WITHOUT any Covid test, negative PCR certificate or quarantine. Bars and restaurants are open but not night clubs, casinos or schools. Read more here.
International travel and visas are still suspended but there are talks about opening up air bubbles for charter flights from UK and Russia from late October for the upcoming tourist season. Read more here.
Holidaying in Goa, or anywhere in the world, is going to look a bit different from before. I’ve been stuck in Goa for the whole lockdown and now things are quite relaxed – most supermarkets and shops are open and a handful of restaurants although we still have a night curfew and it’s monsoon so it would be off-season anyway. Bars, parties and markets are still shut and a night curfew is in place.
As part of Unlock 2.0 the ban on the inter-state and intrastate movement has been removed with effect from July 1 and Himanchal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are also now allowing the entry of tourists dependent on certain conditions being met and procedures being followed. Here’s a roundup of which states in India are opening to tourists and rules for entry.
Goa is blissfully green and uncrowded now. It’s a totally different experience being here in lockdown and in monsoon compared to the normal noise and crowds of the winter tourist season.
What you need to know about tourism in Goa now
Goa has reopened for tourists but things will be different to normal. Here’s what you need to know about tourism in Goa post lockdown from what procedures need to be followed for entry and which hotels are open.
Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar announced on 2nd July that the coastal state will be open to domestic tourists and that 250 hotels have been granted permission to resume operations in keeping with the new standard operating procedures (SOPs) put in place by the state government. International fights are still not permitted.
It is important to note that anyone intending to make a trip to Goa needs to adhere to a new set of rules and regulations, or they won’t be allowed to enter the state. It’s best to keep up to date with the latest news too as these rules might change at anytime.
Here’s what you need to know to enter Goa
You can find detailed advice and guidelines on the Goa Tourism website. Here’s a summary of what you need to do to enter Goa.
It will be mandatory for tourists to pre-book their entire stay only at approved hotels that have received the tourism department’s permission to reopen. Only hotels with the highest safety and hygiene standards have been permitted to open.
Limited domestic flights and trains have restarted and tourists wishing to enter Goa will either have to carry COVID-19 Negative certificate that has been conducted over the past 48 hours OR will have to pay Rs 2000 to get tested at the border and undergo isolation/quarantine until their results arrive.
If tourists do not have a negative Covid 19 certificate they will have to take a test on arrival and go into self-isolation till the test results are received. The isolation facilities will be provided by the accommodation units themselves, where the tourist made a pre-booking. Once results are received, if found COVID-19 negative, the tourist shall be allowed to travel outside the isolation facility. In case any tourist is found COVID-19 positive, the accommodation unit will act as per the extant protocol issued by the State Health Department. All costs for COVID-19 tests including the stay at the isolation / quarantine facilities shall be borne by the tourist themselves.
Anyone testing positive for Coronavirus/ Covid 19 would either have to go back or stay in quarantine or get treatment in Goa
Tourists need to pre-book their entire stay at a hotel that has been approved to operate by the tourism department. Tourists with bookings in a non-approved hotel, hostel or homestay will not be allowed to enter, and the same would be deemed illegal.
Tourists need to install the Aarogya Setu app on their phones and will have to undergo a basic health screening at the entry point. Any tourist exhibiting sickness or COVID-19 related symptoms upon arrival will have to take a COVID-19 test at designated testing centers / hospitals at the tourist’s cost.
Tourists shall be required to fill out a self-declaration form in the format provided at the accommodation unit for the purpose of contact tracing (if necessary).
Everyone needs to maintain physical distancing and masks are mandatory in public places.
For more info visit Goa Tourism website and also this article – https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/goa-opens-for-tourism-hotels-to-accept-guests-with-bookings/articleshow/76738710.cms
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Which hotels are open now in Goa
Here is a list of the best of the 250 hotels that have been permitted to reopen. Click here to see the full list of hotels open from the Goa tourism website. You can click on the links I’ve provided for more info about the hotels, photos, prices and to book.
Remember that you must have a confirmed booking at one of the approved hotels to enter Goa. I like to use Booking.com because you don’t need to pay upfront. It’s a good idea to book a hotel with free cancellation so if plans change you can cancel your reservation for free – essential in these uncertain times. Be warned that Booking.com is still allowing bookings for other hotels in Goa that haven’t been approved by the government so it’s best to stick to the list of approved hotels. Other bookings would be deemed illegal.
Most of the hotels permitted to open are the bigger, high end hotels so budget travellers and backpackers may have to wait longer for their holiday in Goa.
Hotels Open in North Goa
Panjim/ Panaji Area
Baga, Calangute and Candolim Area
Arpora, Anjuna and Vagator Area
Morjim, Mandrem, Ashvem and Arambol Area
Hotels Open in South Goa
Margao/ Madgaon Area
South Goa Beaches
For more about the different areas of Goa check out this post – (bear in mind that this is written in season time – things are alot quieter now.
Bear in mind that it is monsoon season now in Goa meaning the seas are too rough for swimming, there are no beach shacks or beach huts open. Goa’s famous markets and parties are still not happening and only a limited amounts of restaurants are open. Swimming pools are still not permitted to open and many properties drain their pools in the monsoon season anyway. Heavy rain can cause power outages and flooding so choose a hotel with power back up and use a 4 wheeler to get around instead of a scooter. When the sun comes out though, Goa in monsoon is gloriously lush, green and uncrowded.
As always, the situation could change so check the news and Goa Tourism website for latest updates – https://www.goatourism.gov.in/
I’m interested to know how people feel about traveling now?
Will you be traveling to Goa or still feel safer staying at home?