I have been living in Goa for more than 2 years now. As many people have asked how it is like living here, here’s a detailed post on the experience so far.
The most common question I have received is why I chose to move to Goa.
Goa is a rural place with access to almost all urban comforts.
Access to culture
It has a fairly vibrant art scene, especially music. There are lots of indie artists, as well as a couple of large music festivals like Sunburn.
There is a very good local theatre scene, mostly due to Kala Academy. Although almost all of it is in Marathi or Konkani, there is one very good theatre in Ponda, and 2 old but still functional theatres in Mapusa and Bicholim that often have performances of popular Marathi plays.
Classical music is not as accessible, with only occasional performances.
Many Goan villages have their own festivals that are unique to them, and it is always interesting to participate in them.
The flagship arts event in Goa, Serendipity Arts Festival, happens in the second half of December and features some amazing performances in theatre, music, and dancing.
None of the large home broadband/fiber companies operate in Goa. However, there are a couple of local operators, and they are good enough.
The roads are narrow, but mostly okay. Even though petrol pumps are not as many, most shops will sell a bottle of petrol.
Plenty of rental apartments and houses are available.
Food delivery apps have great coverage, providing plenty of options to order.
Good coffee and cafes are quite important to me. Goa, especially around Assagaon, Anjuna, and Vagator area, has lots of options.1
Outside of touristy areas, you will find plenty of very good and cheap food options. If you are either non-vegetarian or pescatarian, Goa has you covered.
And it is not just local Goan or Indian food; there are now plenty of options for most world cuisines. From Lebanese to Japanese to Fusion, there are lots of new restaurants catering to a variety of choices.
Even though I do not drink much and very rarely drink cocktails, there is no shortage of choices there.
As Goa has a number of non-Indians visiting/living, it has better availability of exotic vegetables and fruits.
There are many hobby groups and communities you can join based on interests. Dance is extremely popular here. Social events centered around dancing are quite accessible; just get a few lessons beforehand.
During Winter, from November to February, many localities have open markets where local artists and creators showcase their work. There are a few permanent markets, such as Hill Top in Anjuna.
Even a few book clubs, board-gaming groups, and quizzing groups are active.
If you are a member or ally of the LGBT+ community, then there are at least a couple of groups very active that organize socializing and awareness events.
Goa has many wonderful beaches. At least a few are not as busy as the main touristy beaches of Baga and Calangute.
It also has lush green forests, hiking trails, waterfalls, and natural lakes. There is plenty to explore. There are a few abandoned quarries that become lakes during the monsoon, but do not go swimming in them; they are quite dangerous.
There are lots of wildlife, especially birds, reptiles, and drunk humans.
Sports and Fitness
There are lots of football clubs and biking groups. A few government sports complexes and private sports clubs are also available. Plenty of yoga and other fitness activities are available.
While days from 9 am to 5 pm are quite hot and at times humid, mornings and evenings are quite pleasant all year round, including summer. It is a beautiful place in the monsoon.
Goa now has two airports and is very well connected with the rest of India. Once the new airport is fully functional, it will have even direct connectivity to major European destinations. It is also well connected to parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka by road and railway.
While Goa does a great job of pretending to be an urban area, it is still very much a rural area. Electricity outages, no matter what Twitter warriors say, are frequent. Roads, while good, if they get damaged, do not get fixed as quickly.
And most importantly, you cannot live here just on public transport. The bus network is extensive, but not as frequent, and many areas are not covered due to very narrow roads. Buses are not well maintained, and the timetable is more of a guidance than a rule. There are no on-demand taxi services such as Uber or Ola, and the local taxi service is run by a mafia with poor service and exorbitant pricing.
So if you are going to live here, you have to have your own transport. You can rent motorcycles and cars on a monthly basis quite easily.
Many, or most, apartments are not designed for long-term living. They are mostly designed for short-term rentals with limited storage spaces, small kitchens, and generally a bad user experience.
It is hard to find good cooks and housekeepers. If you do not have very specific food tastes or can train someone, then finding a cook is a bit easier.
Outside of urban centers like Panjim, Mapusa, Porvorim, and Margao, it is quite difficult to find good plumbers, electricians, and other support services. The quality of these service providers is also quite low.
Goa is a rural place, so do not expect the same level of professionalism you would in say Mumbai.
As it is a popular tourist destination, many things are priced at exorbitant levels. Apartment rent, taxis, bike/car rental; the closer you are to the beach, the higher the prices.
However, there are plenty of high-quality local food options available away from touristy areas.
It is a party place. People come here to have a good time, and most of it is centered around drinking alcohol. It is extremely hard to resist over-drinking and smoking in Goa. Most places are smoking-friendly, and a very large population does smoke. Other drugs are not as overtly accessible, but not very difficult to obtain either.
If you are someone who has addiction issues or has a tendency to be influenced by peer pressure, you will find it difficult to resist those in Goa.
The culture of partying does attract specific kinds of people to Goa. If you are not one of them, you may find it difficult to build friendships, as a lot of socializing happens over late-night partying.2
Like every other place, Goa has a mix of nice and not so nice people. Rural communities across the world are not open-minded, and Goa is no exception to that. Xenophobia, especially against other Indians, is quite common. I do not think Goa has a higher percentage of it compared to other rural communities.
Overall, the benefits of living in Goa far outweigh the costs.