Of all places I’ve thought about being a nomad, Goa, India was never one of them.
Despite often hearing about this beautiful and diverse state in India, Goa long remained outside of my realm of possibilities in terms of destinations for nomads.
But then an opportunity to attend the Goa Residency with Nurall landed in my inbox.
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You are riding a bright yellow scooter past lush green palms that rise up from the burnt orange earth.
The sultry Goan air envelopes you, fills your lungs and covers your clothes in light dust.
You park out front of an airy cafe by the beach or in the heart of a historic neighborhood for the afternoon, breathe a sigh of relief in the AC as you walk in, sit down, order an iced latte, and pull out your laptop from its sleeve.
And you get to work.
After working, you go out drinking and dancing in a cute speakeasy with friends, go to the artisanal market for live music and street food, or head to your local yoga studio, drum circle, or jive bar.
That’s what a day could look like for you as a digital nomad in Goa, India.
But wait, let’s pause, and let’s keep it real.
Your day may also involve dodging crazy traffic, waiting for the power to come back on, sweating profusely anytime you are outside, wincing at hungry street dogs, scratching itchy mosquito bites, and eating spicy fish curries that you know will unsettle your stomach.
But that’s India, and that’s Goa.
And Goa is becoming one of the next-best destinations for digital nomads. Why wouldn’t it?
It has everything a nomad (like me) could ask for in a destination: Adventure, culture, community, nature, art, ecotourism, and affordability.
Plus, Goa doesn’t feel at all overcrowded as other popular Asian digital nomad destinations do like Canggu, Bali, or Chiang Mai, Thailand.
So whether or not you have ever even heard of Goa, or have ever given it a passing thought once or twice as your next digital nomad home base, there’s a lot to learn and discover about this up-and-coming nomad hub.
Here’s everything you need to know to kickstart your digital nomad lifestyle in Goa, India! 🇮🇳
The Digital Nomad’s Guide to Goa, India
Cost of Living in Goa for Digital Nomads
I was quite surprised to discover how affordable Goa is for digital nomads considering the state is one of the most popular for tourists in India.
Compared to popular nomad destinations in Mexico—where we’ve been based on and off for the last five years—monthly rentals here (specifically in Goa) cost about one-half or even one-third of the price!
So instead of paying $675 USD for a one-bedroom per month, we could pay around $250–400.
The low cost of living is definitely one of the reasons why we are considering a move to Goa in the future.
✨ That said, it’s very important not to come in as a foreigner and overpay for rent just because you can. You can read more about ethical and responsible travel here.
Aside from apartment rentals or coliving costs, activities and eating/going out is also very affordable in Goa.
For example, meals or drinks in a typical Indian restaurant or cafe will cost around 200 INR ₹ ($2.50 USD) or less while cocktails and tapas in upscale bars like Verandah in Morjim or Miguel’s in Panjim will cost around 500–1000 INR ₹ ($6–12 USD).
Whether you cook at home, dine out, eat local, or treat yourself to a fancier place, the prices in India are still extremely reasonable for many international digital nomads who are used to North American or European prices.
Other costs to live out the nomadic lifestyle in Goa will depend on your preferences, but you can expect costs for transport (scooter rentals, cabs), co-working spaces, shopping, and activities.
Essentially, if you are looking for a destination that will help you cut costs as you embark on becoming a digital nomad, then Goa (and India in general) is a fantastic option.
👉 Everything you need to know about digital nomad life in India (beyond Goa)!
Best Places to Stay in Goa for Digital Nomads
Panjim (Panaji), the beautiful capital of Goa and the former Portuguese colony is a mid-size city you shouldn’t overlook when moving to Goa as a digital nomad.
That’s because Panjim simply has it all:
- Cute cafes and restaurants
- Eclectic nightlife
- Art and culture
- Natural gems
- And much more!
A stay here as a nomad would be filled with lots of fun but also productivity.
You could take in the sights and hidden nooks of Old Goa, party all night on a casino cruise, stroll the historic Fontainhas neighborhood, go on a pub crawl with friends, or spend the day visiting the nearby islets to take a mud bath or see river otters.
As you can see, there are plenty of awesome things to do in Panjim, the best of which in my opinion is to soak up its laid-back susegad culture, which Goans are known for.
Plus, for digital nomads and remote workers, there is no better spot in the city (perhaps even in Goa!) to work on your laptop than at Café Rasa.
Overlooking the Mandovi River on one side and the quaint Fontainhas Latin Quarter on the other, Café Rasa is the perfect location to get acquainted with the city, co-work, and meet artists and travelers in the community.
(Not to mention, it’s the best place to sip on delish coffee + Indian fare while chilling in the AC!)
With its myriad services ideal for digital nomads (i.e. international airport, fast Wi-Fi, fewer power outages, nearby beaches and towns, etc.), Panjim easily tops the list for where to base yourself as a digital nomad in Goa.
Next up is the sprawling little hippie beach town of Anjuna.
Anjuna is the next obvious choice for digital nomads in Goa who are seeking out a sultry coastal town with plenty to do and see, especially at night.
Trance parties are all the rage in North Goa, for which Anjuna is the hub, but nomads looking for a more down-to-earth experience can also find their community here.
That said, Anjuna has more to offer off the (party) beaten path; yoga studios, secluded beaches, cultural events, and cozy cafes and speakeasy bars are tucked away around this popular Goa destination.
The funky Anjuna Saturday Night Market is a particular must-see for travelers, as is the Friday night Goa Collective Bazaar.
At these markets, you’ll find everything from artisanal jewelry to handmade clothing to street food to live music and more. It’s also a great place to meet other internationals and long-time Goa expats.
👉 Read all the top off-beat things to do in Anjuna and Vagator here!
If you want to move to Goa primarily for its beaches, then check out Morjim.
Morjim is similar to, but also unlike, Anjuna. You can still party all night but you can also steep in the sultry coastal town vibes and relax on its large stretches of beach.
Morjim feels a bit more rugged and connected to nature than Anjuna, with the Chapora Natural Preserve, beach shacks, and turtle nesting grounds.
However, both towns are within easy reach of natural attractions.
If I had to choose between the three, I’d pick Panjim for city life/convenience, Morjim for boho beach life, and Anjuna for nightlife.
Read more about the top things to do in Morjim, Goa here!
How to Help: Tips for Being a Responsible Nomad in Goa
As a digital nomad coming into Goa, it’s really important to stay aware of your impact on the local community, economy, and environment.
But as nomads, we have an extra duty to inspire and leave a positive impact on the temporary homes we visit—not overrun them and cause further degradation or issues.
One of the best ways to get involved in ecotourism in Goa is to volunteer with the community-driven organization called Act for Goa.
The next best way to be a responsible nomad in Goa is to review your personal choices.
- ♻️ Consume less. Reuse. Upcycle!
- 💦 Carry a reusable water bottle with you (there are water refill stations around Goa)
- 🛍️ Shop locally and sustainably, when possible
- 🏡 Rent accommodation consciously and pay fair prices
Staying aware of our impact and making seemingly small but better choices each day goes a long way!
Finding Accommodation in Goa as a Nomad
You might find it a little difficult to land a sweet apartment rental in Goa without first seeing the place in person.
While Goa is often considered a “soft landing” for foreigners, especially first-timers to the country, it can still feel overwhelming.
That’s why it is a good idea to be on the ground and see the reality of the rental (i.e. location, amenities, surroundings, etc.) before committing.
If you can make it work, you might want to take a week or two in advance and stay in a co-living space (more below) or Airbnb to scope out available studios or villas.
Nurall also offers curated workation stays starting from 720 Rs (~10$/day) to more luxury offerings (~80$/day). The local Nurall hosts can help you with a soft landing and get you set up with co-work + stay in Goa (Panjim, Anjuna, Morjim, etc.) and across the country (i.e. Himachal, Kerala, Rishikesh, Rajasthan and more).
Otherwise, the next best way to find accommodation is to search Goa rental Facebook groups.
I’ve been renting apartments from abroad for many years and I always find the best way to start is on local Facebook groups.
Here are three that I’d consider joining:
The trick to finding awesome deals on Facebook listings is to act fast and check often.
There is a lot of rubbish to sort through sometimes, but that’s just when you’ll find the needle in the haystack.
Coworking Spaces and Coliving in Goa
Traveling alone? Want to meet fellow nomads? Not sure if you want to stay long-term in Goa? In need of fast Wi-Fi and community?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you should totally check out these top coliving and coworking spaces in Goa.
NomadGao is a superb coliving/coworking space located in Anjuna.
I had the chance to meet Shahzada, the co-founder, during one evening at the CYF CON Digital Nomad Conference hosted by Nurall, and I was really impressed with the work they were doing to usher in a new wave of digital nomadism in India.
If I were traveling solo or simply in search of a nomadic hostel for a few days or weeks, I’d stay here.
Café Rasa (Coworking)
I’ve already teased Café Rasa above, but this really is an inspiring and artsy space to chillax and get some work done while getting integrated into the nomadic/travel/entrepreneurial community in Panjim.
Plus, the owner, Navneet, is a friendly and generous fountain of knowledge when it comes to anything India or Goa. If you have questions, he’s your go-to Goa guy.
Best Things to Do in Goa for Digital Nomads
From lounging on golden-sand beaches to strolling around ancient temples to wildlife watching, there is so much to do and see in the state of Goa.
- Discover Indo-Portuguese culture, history, and architecture in Panjim
- Explore incredible Goan Beaches
- Sign up for a yoga and wellness retreat
- Discover Goa’s wildlife reserve in Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park
- Shop at the local artisanal and flea markets
- Go scuba diving off Ilha Grande
- Try out new cultural and artsy community events (i.e. parties, drum circles, pottery classes)
… Just to name a few!
Goa is alive with color, sound, and smell, and it all can be entirely dizzying or exciting. For me, it’s a bit of both.
Getting Around Goa as a Foreigner
India wouldn’t be the same without its crazy traffic. But that also makes it a little intimidating to get around as a foreigner in Goa.
The most convenient way (not to mention the most fun) to get around Goa is via scooter.
Rentals in the towns/cities cost around ₹400–500 INR per day, but you could probably get a monthly discount if you were to rent more long-term.
Just know that for scooter rentals, it’s best to have an international driver’s license.
The police stationed along the roads might also ask you to stop and show your ID (it happened to us, but all went well).
If you aren’t planning to move a lot once you settle into your destination, you can always transfer between the towns by shuttle bus/van or taxi fairly cheaply.
Cabs don’t cost that much, but I also didn’t have to use them often during my nomad stint in Goa.
Internet Speeds in Goa for Remote Work
A quick word on internet speeds in Goa. Even though I haven’t stayed in Goa long-term (yet), everywhere I went had decent Wi-Fi.
I was actually quite surprised by the availability and speed of the internet in Goa compared to similar beach towns I’ve lived in Mexico.
That said, the towns of Anjuna and Morjim had more frequent power outages than when we stayed in the capital of Panjim.
While speed didn’t differ much from what I could tell (from cafes, hotels, and coworking spaces) between those destinations, Panjim definitely offers more reliability and convenience.
What you need for speed all depends on your remote job, but for me as a writer, coach and creator (working with lots of photos/videos and 1:1s with clients), the internet speed in Goa was good enough!
Besides, if ever the Wi-Fi isn’t strong enough, I know the coworking spaces will have what I need for the afternoon.
PS — I also have an eSIM as a backup for data that I can use as a hotspot. I was using Google Fi until my service expired abroad (for being away from the US for too long). However, now I use Airalo and they also have a very affordable India eSIM. I’m currently using the Asia eSIM for Taiwan and Japan.
Healthcare in Goa for Digital Nomads
Whenever I travel abroad, I go insured with SafetyWing travel medical insurance for digital nomads.
Luckily, I’ve not had to experience healthcare in Goa during my stay.
But from what I’ve seen and been told, it’s quite good. If I did need to seek medical attention while in Goa, my nomad insurance would cover me.
✨ Don’t travel to Goa unprotected! Get SafetyWing for only $40/4 weeks here.
There are 19 Primary Health Centers around Goa, plus myriad more services in reach. Also, both North and South Goa have their designated district hospitals.
You can learn more about healthcare in Goa as well as get essential emergency contact info here.
Overall, Is Goa a Good Destination for Digital Nomads?
Between the beaches and towns, cafes and coworking spaces, and cultural activities and natural gems, Goa is definitely a great (not just good) destination for digital nomads.
As I said before, Goa wasn’t really on my radar before. But now, I’m already looking at how to come back for a longer stay! Maybe later this year?
To sum it up, Goa has so much beauty and diversity to discover as a digital nomad.
The more I think about it, the more desirable it becomes too! India would make a lovely base in Asia. And personally, I’ve been itching to get back to Asia (particularly South Asia) since I moved away from Nepal in 2016, so there’s another reason for me to return.
Finally, if you’re on the fence about moving to Goa as a digital nomad, I hope this guide has been helpful in convincing you to just give it a Go-a. 😉
If you have any questions about living in Goa for longer periods of time, please reach out to me by email or contact the Nurall Team who would be delighted to help you plan your trip to Goa and other destinations in India.
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Disclaimer: This article was written in sponsorship with Nurall. All opinions and thoughts expressed here are my own and based solely upon my experience in Goa as a digital nomad.