The When, Where, and How of dolphin-spotting in Goa

In addition to sun, sand, and susegad, the tropical paradise of Goa is also a great place to spot Humpback dolphins and Finless porpoises!

Dolphin-spotting in goa
Make memories of a lifetime during your dolphin-spotting adventure in Goa! Image: Shutterstock/Naturiaphoto.

Of all the things to do in the Sunshine State, dolphin-spotting in Goa is probably the most relaxing and magical activity you’d come across. There something about watching a pod of dolphins skipping through the waves — carefree and unrestricted — against a perfect, breathtaking Goan sunrise.

The dolphins that live in coastal waters of Goa are generally from the species of Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins and Finless porpoises. Humpbacks are characterised by the noticeable hump and the extended back flipper of adult species. Known to sync-swim, spy-hop, whistle, and even playfully come closer to interact, dolphins on Goa waters are a treat to watch.

Now, dolphin-spotting isn’t an exact science, but at the very least, you might want to be at the right spot on the right time to increase the odds. Here’s a handy guide on how you can do that.

When to go dolphin-spotting in Goa?

Best time to spot dolphins in goa
Early morning is the perfect time to witness dolphins in the wild. Image: Courtesy Instagram/terraconscious.

The best time to see dolphins in Goa is between October to February when the weather is cool and balmy. That’s the time when the nature is at its best in the region. And although they can be spotted throughout the day, you must take the boat trip early in the morning when these lovely creatures in waters of the Arabian Sea feel quieter. You get a better glimpse of the dolphins swimming at the crack of the day and right before the dusk falls.

Where to spot dolphins in the Sunshine State?

You can hit up a number of beaches in Goa to spot these magnificent water beasts. Still retaining most of its natural serenity, Palolem Beach is always lined with dozens of boats that you can rent out into the Arabian sea for a minimal fee. Secluded and unexplored by the masses, Butterfly Island is just a boat-ride away and has clear blue waters perfect for the spotting.

Morjim beach in north goa
Morjim Beach lined up with boats that can be rented for a trip. Image: Shutterstock/Andrei Bortnikau.

Boasting a white sand beach lined with black0lava rocks, Cavelossim Beach is filled with local markets, shacks selling fresh Goan seafood, and plenty of boats you can rent for a trip out to sea. Morjim Beach, also home to the Ridley turtles, is another popular spot for dolphin watching. Other notable beaches to head to include Sinquerim, Vagator, and Coco.

How to plan your dolphin-watching adventure?

While you could sign up for one of the many dolphin cruises on offer, you could also rent out boats or talk fishermen into giving you a ride to the best spots. However, these boat rides often hamper the lives of these dolphins, making it difficult for them to search for food, procreate, and socialise.

Terra Conscious, a social-impact travel enterprise, runs an ethical dolphin-spotting programme, where they enable boat operators to run their trips by internationally accepted dolphin-watching guidelines. Their boat partners follow guidelines such as switching off the engines in the presence of dolphins, keeping their vessels parallel to the dolphin pods, and maintaining a distance from the animals while providing an opportunity to observe them and their habitat without creating any disturbance.

Terra conscious
The team at Terra Conscious educates its boat partners as well as the tourists on conservation of dolphins in Goa. Image: Courtesy Terra Conscious.

They also sensitise the traveller with a informative presentation before beginning their two-and-a-half hour Ocean Biodiversity Experience. All this knowledge is being passed on by them to the local boatmen from the village of Morjim in North Goa.

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