You'll see everyone whiz past on two-wheelers or scooters. Rent one for a week/duration of your stay but make sure to be safe, ride two to a scooter, and watch out for crazy driving! You'll need to watch the fuel tank and fill up before you return, so make note of the closest gas station since in most areas they are few and far between.
I have driven in America, and other countries, but I really never thought I would dare drive in India, after seeing all those videos of beeping and honking, pushing in and cars going in all directions.
After hiring a car of a local in Colva, we were off. We didnt know where we were going, only that we werent staying in Colva. We didnt give Colva much of a chance to be honest, but first impressions and all that.
After about half an hour, all of a sudden we were in Margoa, in the city centre, and I though, oh crap, straight into that crazy traffic you see on TV. But it was weird, it was as if we had a force field around us. As you move, other vehicles move with you and around you. You let people move, and they let you move.
Not like in the UK where if someone cut you up, you would curse at them or some might try to run you off the road if they thought you had cut them up. Oh no, this was so easy, you just move with it all, look ahead to where you want to go, and just gently merge and flow with the people and the traffic, it really is that easy.
Honestly, you will crap yourself for a few hours at first, but then will love it. And this is how you are really going to get to see Goa at it's best.
Vailankanni Car Rentals in North Goa (Candolim) offers several choices of cars for rent (self-drive or with driver). I would not recommend that you rent a car if you are not accustom to driving in India.
Vailankanni has been in business for over 20 years and we have rented from them a few times. The cars are clean and reliable. Rates are fixed (starting at about USD $30 per day), dependant upon type of car. Be sure to know where petrol stations are before you venture off.
Located next to Candolim football ground.
If you're interested in renting a bike (motorcycle), scooter, or car/jeep, you'll have plenty of opporuntity in Goa. You will see signs posted at many hotels, restaurants, and shops advertising rentals. Rates start at a few hundred rupees a day. Obviously you'll get a better deal if you're there for 2+ weeks. These are private rentals by locals - so no insurance, etc.
You'll get an idea of how people drive on the ride in from the airport. You may not be comfortable driving (there is little in regards to road/traffic rules), but plenty of visitors/foreigners drive. You may or may not get a helmet with a bike rental, but it's not a bad idea to wear one if you do.
There are only a few gas stations so it's a good idea to know where they are. However, gas is sold by the liter out front of stalls, shops, etc. so don't panic if you can't get to a gas station!
Hiring a pre-paid taxi from the airport to your hotel is the most convenient way to get there. The pre-paid counter is just to your left as you exit the airport.
Once you pay, you walk a very short distance to where the taxis are all waiting. The number on your receipt will correspond to the taxi number. No need to worry about finding the taxi - plenty of drivers there anxious to help you.
Rickshaws are normally a cheap and easy way to get around most places in India. I think the exception is Goa. There are no meters and no fixed rates. Rates for short journeys cost more than an hour's ride - and many times the distance than - in Mumbai. If you insist on taking a rickshaw be sure to agree on a price before you get in. I would not recommend taking a rickshaw for a long ride. Buses are very cheap and convenient and taxis are best for day/longer trips.
There are number of ways by which you cab travel around this b'ful city.You can opt from varied range of Taxis,public buses,auto(tuk tuk) but,according to me you are better off when you are in the control.You can hire a bike,jeep,a car or a scooty (non gear bike) for as less as INR 25-50 per day i.e less than a dollar.You can find it with so many local transport lender and we found it just outside the hotel.The owner gave us scooty,petrol,helmet and ask for the rent as well as the deposit(that you would get after you return the vehical back).The deposit again vary from INR 250-500(depending upon how you negotiate).You just need a Road map of Goa and you are good to go.People are friendly and helpful so incase you loose your way(which happened with us)they will help you or better you can call your hotel for the direction and they would be happy to assist you.
We found that most of the roads around this area of Goa were pretty decent, and with a scooter we got around to quite a few different places much more easily and quickly than we could have using public transport. It was great fun! See my 'things to do' tip for more details.
As in other airports and many stations in India there are prepaid taxis from the airport in Goa. There are fixed prices for different locations and you pay at the counter and nothing more to the driver.
Arriving at the airport I asked at the tourist information if the desk I saw (it said you could rent cars and taxis) was where I could get a prepaid taxi. They said there was another counter outside which was cheaper, so that's where I went.
A prepaid taxi to Arambol was 980 rupees (June 2010) and I think it took around 1 hour and 20 minutes. In Arambol the taxi driver dropped me just outside the hotel I was going to.
Calangute has a large bus station, but unfortunately the buses only go to and from other parts of Goa. If you are traveling on a longer distance you have to change bus in the province capital Panaji first.
Taxis and tuk-tuks are everywhere where hotels and tourists are.
2008, we paid about 100 rupees for a trip of 5 km and to rent a taxi for a half day up to northern Goa was about 600. Short trips with Tuk-tuk, maybe 40-50 rs.
Although there are mopeds available to roam abt in Goa, the best way is to travel with the locals using the KTC buses of Goa Govt. They connect each and every town in even the remote corners of the state. They are extremely cheap with maximum price from Terekhol to Canacona (The two towns in the extreme north and south of Goa respectively) abt Rs. 50
Firstly avoid driving in South Goa as the roads are narrow and almost all bikers seem to ride like a bat out of hell. It was a very wise decision for me to hire a cab for the day. I found that the roads to be narrow, crowded and a lot of pot holes too.. Many of the short routes takes by our driver was un signed. So Unless you have a GPS you will most likely be lost.
The Bike riders specially are very rash. The driver did confirm this, he also pointed out spots on the bridge where the cops speed trap.
So I would say.. drive at your own risk.
Goa Bus Services:
Taxis in Goa are NOT cheap, and in peak season they are quite costly (I am talking in terms of INR, for USDs/EUROs they are quite cheap :)). I was there for xMas and from Colva beach (south goa) if I had to go to Baga beach(north goa), they would charge me minimum 1600 to 1800 Rs. Return fare would be 2000 to 2500 Rs.
Because its ~60 KMs. Easier approach is to take city buses. Few facts about them
1. they operate till 8 pm only.
2. From south goa , you have to go to Madgaon bus Station to catch bus.
3. From north goa , you can catch bus on major roads, near beaches. Ask any shopkeeper/police man there and they would tell you. There are NO dedicated bus stops as such. Just raise your hand and they would stop the bus.
4. There are NO buses directly from North to South goa or Vice versa. You have to go to Panjim and change there.
5. If you are in South Goa , go to Madgaon by Auto/Taxi or Local Bus , go to counter which says NonStop buses to Panjim. Take a ticket and reach Panjim in 30-40 mins .From Panjim , take bus going to Calangate beach , chandolim beach would come on the way. Last stop is Calangate and Baga beach.
6. If you are in North Goa , catch a Bus going to Panjim from the road, reach Panjim bus stop in 20 mins time. From there go counter which says non-stop service tp Madgaon , grab a ticket ( ~22 Rs) and reach Madgaon. From there , ask for local buses at enquiry to go to place of interest.
Buses are cheap and quite fast.
About Goa Bus Sectors:::Goa is actually a state and not a city. Its got two districts, North Goa and South Goa. River Mandovi does the bifurcation.
South goa is more for family and leisure kind of place like temples, churches, ancient and historical buildings(Old Goa), museums etc though its got beaches also like Colva ( Kind of beaches in Goa ). Panjim which is capital of Goa is also part of south Goa though its almost at boundary of it.Major casinos of Goa are in Panjim. Main city of south goa is Madgaon which has got railway and bus
stations. If you are reaching Goa by train or bus, mostly you will land to Madgaon .
North Goa is more youth and happenig with beaches like Baga, Chandolim , Calangatge( queen of beaches ). Most of the night clubs are near Baga beach.
I hired a moped/scooter for a few days so as to get around and see the sights in Goa. It was my first time on one so it took a while to get used to but after that I really enjoyed it. The roads in Goa are in a better condition than elsewhere in India plus there are no cows wandering around! Just remember to where a crash helmet as you might get pulled over by the police who stop people by the large bridge near Panaji (see warning tips). It cost Rs200 per day and I hired it from a place next to where I was staying - Coco Banana's in Calangute.