I typed those words into google about a million times while deciding where to spend a large chunk of plan-free time in June/July. The Yeti was heading home to surprise his family (and to drink microbrews, eat Mexican food, play basketball, and generally enjoy the US summer) and I was staying in India, and doing…. Well, I wasn’t quite sure.
After moving guesthouses every few days, spending a fair few nights on trains, eating all our meals out, and sightseeing like mad for the past few months, I was pretty keen to just stop. To cook, to unpack my bags, to get to know a place, to devote some time to drawing, and to cook (believe me, it deserves two mentions). I’d stumbled across a blog or two written by people who had spent time near Palolem, Goa — it sounded like an ideal place to chill. Cheap accommodation, a handful of little bays and friendly people. The only problem? Monsoon season. The general internet consensus seems to be that Goa is monsoon is just not worth it. When the monsoon comes, people leave. The beach shacks are dismantled, the cafés almost all close, and the sunny skies and golden sand (ie. what the state is famous for) merge into an expanse of grey.
So, that’s why I was asking the question. Now, having been in Palolem for just over 2 weeks, I think I’m ready to answer it. And the answer is, predictably, ‘It depends.’
For me, right now, monsoon season Goa is perfect. It rains enough that I don’t have to feel guilty for hiding inside and drawing*, rather than enjoying the beach. It’s sunny for long enough that I can walk or bike for an hour or two a day. The streets are empty enough for me (a fraidy-cat with a pretty serious fear of riding anywhere near other vehicles) to ride my bike happily. The accommodation is ridiculously cheap and the whole state** turns a vibrant, almost neon green. See? Perfect.
For anyone who wants to stay a few days, sunbathe, drink of the beach, and meet other travelers, however, Palolem right now would suuuuck. Extra ‘u’s to emphasize suckiness. The ‘beach’ is almost always covered by trash-filled, muddy crashing waves. There are very few traveler, even fewer open restaurants and bars, and none of those rad little beach shacks the guide books talk about. It can feel a little like a ghost town and you will pretty mcuh always be wet (whether from sweat or rain) within 5 minutes of leaving your room. See? Suuuucky.
So, Goa during monsoon might not be everyone’s ideal holiday destination, but don’t write it off entirely. If you know what you’re getting into and prepare yourself for some serious inside time, you might find that it’s completely, entirely worth it.
*I have a (possibly stupid and probably unrealistic) plan to become a tattoo artist someday, so I’m devoting some time to reminding myself how to draw.
**(I assume — I can’t really back it up, since my entire Goan experience has taken place in the same 50 square kilometres)