As the most liberal state in an otherwise conservative country, Goa is easily the best party destination in India.

Relatively small in size (Goa is only slightly larger than Hong-Kong or Luxembourg), it attracts millions of tourists every year with its beautiful beaches, a relaxed vibe, cheap booze and tons of crazy parties. There are also thousands of long term residents, including hippies who have been living there since the 1970s.

The following review will give you an overview of Goa nightlife. If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment section below.

Best Seasons to Party in Goa
Goa experiences unbearable heat and heavy rainfall from late April to September. This is the time when many foreign residents (and some businesses) pack their bags and leave for the milder climate of the Himalayas, in northern India.

October to March is a good time to visit Goa, especially the month of January when the best parties are organized. Unfortunately, it is also quite crowded then, and everything is more expensive. It is common for hotels to charge up to twice as much during this season.

It gets even worse during Christmas and New Year Eve. This is the peak season, and it can be complicated to find a decent hotel at a reasonable price.  Some restaurants will even have a different menu with hiked prices just for these few days. Taxis charge more, motorcycle rent increases, etc. Be aware of this when planning your trip.

To summarize:
April to September: Off-season with few parties, many closed businesses (including bars, clubs, etc), but inexpensive hotels.
October to March: High-season (best to enjoy the nightlife and the beach).

Party Areas in Goa + Hotels
Just to make things clear in case you didn't know it yet: Goa is NOT a city.

It is an Indian state split between two main areas, North and South Goa, each with their own characteristics:

Generally speaking, North Goa is more known for its party vibe while the South is considered more secluded, with its pristine beaches and chic boutique resorts.

Naturally, this Goa nightlife review will focus on North Goa, even though I will also mention a few South Goa clubs as well.

In North Goa, these are the most interesting options for your stay:

Vagator, Anjuna, and Morjim beaches are former hippie destinations which have now morphed into partygoer’s paradise (nowadays, mostly Indians, Russians, British, and Israelis). If you come to Goa mainly for the nightlife, you should choose a hotel in one of these three cities (see below for the most recommended ones).

Calangute and Baga beaches are more crowded, tacky, and noisy. Its residents are beach enthusiasts who come from India or from Russia/Europe on cheap holiday packages. There is an infamous nightlife area called Tito's Lane where you will find tourist bars like Tito's or Mambo's. Beware as there are can be some prostitutes there. In the past few years, some upscale Indian bars have opened near Baga as well, such as Owl and Las Olas.

→ Candolim beach is known for its exclusive hotels and peaceful environment. The nightlife is limited to hotel bars like the one in the Hyatt Centric.

Arambol beach, further north, is almost a 3-hour drive from central Goa. It is an up-and-coming destination, where hippies, digital nomads, and backpackers from all over the world stay for longer periods of time.

Personally, I like Anjuna as I enjoy its long beach, its tasty restaurants, and its numerous affordable hotel options. This is also where you have the best nightclubs and bars.

Here are a few recommended hotels to stay near Goa nightlife (from cheap to expensive):
Jungle by the Hostelcrowd (rated 8.9/10, US$6 per night for dormitory and US$25 for a private room) - On Vagator beach, great party hostel for the budget traveler.
⭐⭐⭐The Ivy Anjuna (rated 8.9/10, US$50 per night) - Very central, near the restaurants and shops, just 7 minutes to the beach
⭐⭐⭐⭐Larive Beach Resort Vagator (rated 8.1/10, US$80 per night) - On Vagator beach, this hotel often hosts great parties
⭐⭐⭐⭐Casa Anjuna (rated 8.1/10, US$80 per night) - Beautiful colonial-style garden with a relaxing garden
⭐⭐⭐Ozran Heights (rated 8.2/10, US$90 per night) - Comfy bungalows right on Vagator Beach, next to the Chronicle bar.

Best Nightclubs and Bars in Goa
Enjoying Goa nightlife is all about knowing the right events, parties, and festivals. A great club may be packed on a Wednesday afternoon, but empty on a Friday night for instance.

Therefore, it is crucial to get up-to-date information about the latest parties before heading out.

To help you, I recommend you to follow these groups and pages:

Goa Trance Parties: A list of all the trance parties and festival
Nightlife in Goa and Events in Goa: Weekly parties and events
Goa Freaks: Info about the underground party scene in Goa
What's Up Goa: A hip guide to what's happening in Goa

Otherwise, you can go to these clubs which are normally the busiest (check their Facebook page before going to make sure they are open, though).

Shiva Valley (Anjuna)
This simple beach shack on Anjuna beach is one of the most popular hangout spots in Goa, both during daytime and nighttime. In particular, Shiva Valley is known for its beach parties every Tuesday. Then, the bar is lit with neon artwork, and it welcomes top DJs spinning trance and psychedelic tracks. The party starts in the late afternoon and the audience often leaves with the sunrise.

Curlies (Anjuna)
Another beach shack, similar to Shiva Valley (and right next to it), where the best parties are held on Thursdays. It's also a good spot to have a beer during the day.

If you walk 10 minutes north, you will find Cafe Lilliput which has some good events during the high season. Also similar is UV bar/Plan B.

Club Cubana (Arpora)
If you need a change from your beach party routine, Club Cubana offers a memorable experience on top of Arpora hills. Hosted in a large building, this club boasts several bars and dancefloors with different styles on each level (mostly commercial: House, hip-hop, EDM). The place also features a serene outdoor area with a guarded swimming pool to relax under the stars.

Opened only during high season. Stag entries (single guys) are strictly prohibited. INR 3,000 entry for couples with unlimited drinks. Go early as it closes at midnight.

Hilltop (Vagator)
As its name suggests, this iconic venue is an actual open-air hilltop. It has been known since the 1970s to host some of the biggest parties in Goa, including music festivals like Sunburn (see below).

I recommend going there on Sunday afternoons. They will have several different DJs (local and international) playing mostly trance sets. It is a huge venue so it can often feel a bit empty, unfortunately.

Hilltop parties are subject to noise pollution norms and hence they shut at 10 pm unless they have special permission, which is usually for music fests, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Bora Bora (Morjim)
Morjim’s gem Bora Bora is the only bar in Goa that stays open 24/7. It's a good place to crash after a long night out and to order some food. They have nice music and a relaxed atmosphere. Good for meeting girls as well. Most customers are Russians (the owner of the bar is Russian as well).

Chronicle (Vagator)
A multi-level all-day beach club featuring a cool bar and restaurant. More upmarket than most other venues in Goa, it attracts an international crowd. Recommended for sunset drinks.

Leopard Valley (South Goa)
Leopard Valley is an offbeat venue in the southern part of Goa, not too far from Palolem. You need to go about 5 kilometers into the jungle in order to reach it. They have a big open-air party on Fridays that lasts until morning. The music is techno and trance and there are some shows like sexy fire dancers. A great experience but a bit more pricey than the usual Goa nightclub (INR700 entrance). Beware that it does not open every year (check their Facebook page for more information).

If you stay in South Goa near Palolem, there is another party that may interest you. Called Silent Noise, this is a place where music is played in your ears via headphones (a smart way to avoid the noise restrictions). There are several DJs playing at the same time, each a different set of music. The entrance is INR800.

Music Festivals and Parties
Goa is a popular destination for music festivals and regular parties in India. During high seasons, there is at least one happening every month. Three events that stand out from the crowd are:

With the distinction of being Asia’s largest music festival, Sunburn attracts artists like Sam Feldt, David Guetta, KYGO, Martin Garrix, and many others. It was also ranked as one of the top 10 music festivals in the world by CNN. This 3-day festival is spread across multiple stages with artists playing day and night. Sunburn was hosted in Goa until 2015 before shifting its venue to Pune. In 2019, the organizers have brought it back to Goa. It usually happens just before the New Year. Prices start at USD50 for one day pass.

Located in Riva Beach Resort, this is the largest reggae festival in India. It usually features up to 50 local and international artists, for an event that lasts 3 days. Prices start at USD30 for a day pass.

Note that the Riva Beach Resort has a weekly Reggae party at its pool area every Sunday as well. Click here for more information.
Riva's Sunday reggae party

Liquid Sky parties are organized by a group of foreigners who have been living in Goa for decades. They were among the first ones to introduce underground electronic music in Goa, initially from a beach shack in Arambol. Check their Facebook page for their next events, their parties are usually great!

Indian and Bollywood Clubs

SinQ is an upmarket Indian club with different daily events (the retro nights on Thursdays being the most popular). Nice cabanas near the poolside for those who want to chill. Forbidden for single guys, but you can enter if you accompany a couple (INR 2,000 for the couple, and INR 3,000 for the guy).

LPK - Love, Passion, and Karma - is a waterfront club on the Nerul river in Candolim. Surrounded by water on three sides, this place has an old heritage feel. Popular among the upmarket Indian tourists. It is known for cocktails, Goan Chicken Cafreal, and unlimited house brand drinks at a low price of Rs. 1000 (~$14).

Some other popular Indian and Bollywood nightclubs in Goa: Owl, Soho, and Hammerzz.

Goa Nightlife Tips

Places to avoid

→ Baga / Calangute
Unless you like to be on cramped beaches with endless EDM and Bollywood music blaring out of every beach shack, you should avoid visiting Baga or Calangute beaches. These beaches were, about a decade ago, the go-to destination. Over time, they have been polluted and crowded beyond imagination. Many tourist guides and blog posts still feature them, but the authors are yet to visit them in 2019.

→ Tito's / Mambos on Tito's Lane
You will find Tito's and Mambos on most “must visit” listicles online. These two bars are one of many that are located in Baga/Calangute, on Tito's Lane. They can be OK to visit once out of curiosity, but I doubt you will enjoy partying there. The entrance fee is a whopping INR2,700 for single males, for which you get a free flow of cheap alcohol. Poor food, poor music, poor atmosphere.

Cost of partying
The cost of partying in Goa can be divided into three categories:

One is the entry fee. This can vary from season to season ranging from INR200 (~$3) to INR1500 (~$22).

The second most important cost is the transport cost to and from the party place. Goa is one state in India where you cannot find Uber or similar cab services. Taxis in Goa charge an exorbitant amount of money. The best way to go is to rent-a-car if you have one sober driver to get you back. If not, it is wise to share a cab with other people in your hotel/hostel. 

The third is the cost of booze and food. For top party places, this ranges from Rs. 500 (~$7) to Rs. 2000 (~$28). Alcohol is cheap in Goa. A can of beer will cost you less than $1.5 in most places.

It is important to follow traffic rules for safety. Many tourists rent motorcycles to save money and end up in a hospital or caught by traffic police. Locals may encourage you to rent a motorcycle but beware. If you meet with an accident, it is going to cost you dearly (for this reason, make sure you have travel insurance before heading to India - personally, I use WorldNomads which costs about US2$ per day).

Another thing to be careful about is drugs. Pay attention so that no one is spiking your drink. Do not accept drugs from people you do not know. They might sell you fake drugs or worse, bad quality substances.

Drugs are illegal in India, including soft stuff like Marijuana. That being said, they are quite common in many nightclubs and bars. In recent years, the police have started a crackdown on drugs in Goa. They keep a tab on every popular party and will barricade the roads leading out of the venue. If suspected, you will be thoroughly checked and penalized. 

Prostitution is illegal in India too. There are places where you will find prostitutes offering their services but it is important to be cautious and stay away. Just like drugs, there is a crackdown on prostitution too. If you are suspected of inviting a prostitute to your guesthouse or hotel, the staff there can report you to the police.

Finally, I should mention that I was bitten by a wild dog once while riding a motorbike. There are quite many around and it can be annoying. Again, it is useful to have travel insurance for this kind of issue.

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