Wednesday, 18 July 2018
You’ve been hearing it time and again now – ‘Goa is fabulous during the monsoons’. And indeed it is. But while the pictures are pretty, it will serve you well to remember that this is a tropical paradise and it does actually rain during the monsoons. Heavily.
So here are our pro tips to enjoying a wonderful monsoon getaway in Goa when the crowds are away.
Quick dry garments
These are your best friends when caught unawares in a heavy downpour. Synthetic or quick dry clothes will help you keep your packing to a minimum and ensure you’re not carrying damp clothes that will certainly reek when you reach home.
If you love the earth, shop for sustainable quick dry fabrics such as clothes made from bamboo and hemp over polyester which can leech harmful microfibres into the ocean.
Do yourself a favour and carry your own water bottle, filled to the brim. Given that you’ll be on the road most of the day, you’ll want to quench your thirst at some point. Buying bottled water from the side of the road is questionable, not just ethically but also for your health – who’s traced the origins of that water anyway?
Fill up at your hotel and stay hydrated through the day without the stress.
Even if you see the most divine samosas silently yelling your name from a street stall, avoid them like the plague. Except if the samosawalla is making them fresh. This means straight from the deep fryer into your plate.
And it’s not just street stalls that are the problem. Ensure your food choices even in small-time restaurants are items made on the spot, for you. Flies love the monsoons. They also love food and garbage, in equal measure. It’s the perfect season for them to sit on delicious looking snacks that have been laid out all morning.
Goa, it appears, has some of the largest mosquitoes in India. They abound during the monsoons and in wooded areas, even gardens. So repellent is another best friend. Unless you want to spend the evening slapping yourself.
Wear long pants and long-sleeved t-shirts, and dab on some eucalyptus or lavender oil – mosquitoes apparently hate the smell.
Avoid the sea
Most of us know not to venture out into the sea during the monsoons. But it’s equally important to stay away from rocks or cliff edges overlooking the sea. Rocks get quite slippery and it’s not unknown for a large wave to sweep grown humans away in the blink of an eye. Mudslides can happen during heavy rains too, so it’s best to be cautious.
Zip lock bags
Water and technological devices don’t usually make great bedfellows. Carry a few ziplock pouches for your phone and music player. You’ll be safe in the knowledge that even if you fail to successfully juggle things during a sudden downpour and your phone falls into a puddle, you won’t have a heart attack.
Salt & Dettol
This kitchen essential is particularly useful when you go on walks or treks into Goa’s lush greenery. Leeches are very common in wet areas and you could have several of them on you without feeling a thing.
You could simply flick them off, but if that doesn’t work, drop a spot of salt on them and they will immediately let go. Dettol also helps, and it’s a good idea to smear it over your socks – yes leeches can wiggle their way in. Always check hemlines of trousers and shorts too.
Don’t be unnecessarily worried though. Most leeches in Goa are small and don’t take too long to fall off, so you aren’t likely to suffer major blood loss. They’re just hungry uninvited companions on your trek.