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5 Best Islands In Goa – Things to Do & Guide

Sao Jacinto Island - 5 Best Islands of Goa

Peace of mind comes with tranquil surrounding and sometimes Adventure

Getting peace of mind is so easy, you just have to land in Goa and things will perfectly fall in place.
When one hears the name of Goa, the things that come to mind are the beautiful landscape, popular water activities in the huge Arabian Sea, delicious Goan cuisines and of course the golden islands. This tiny pearl of the Orient is divine. There is just too much to explore which keeps most of Goa unexplored. I have tried exploring a few islands which are special in their own different ways. Today, I will be writing about some islands which I have shortlisted according to my liking. You better experience everything and then make a list of 5 Popular Islands of Goa. So, here I am to make your task easy.

Divar Island

Divar Island - 5 Best Island Goa
Ferry to Divar Island, Goa – Photo: Yogesh Naik

Located 10 kms away from Panjim, Divar Island was once a flourishing town full of Hindus. History says, because of an epidemic, people left the island. It can be reached by ferry services only. You can get a ferry throughout the day. There are three villages in Divar- Naroa, Piedade and Malar. There are two times in the year when the island turns lively. The two major festivals of Bonderam and Potekar which is similar to Halloween.

How to reach ?

The only mode of transport which takes you to Divar Island is by ferry. There are three ferry points that take you to the island. If you take a ferry from Old Goa, you will reach the southern side of the island. And if taking a ferry from Naroa, which falls in the Bicholim district you will reach the eastern side of the island. The third ferry point is from Ribandar which takes you to the southwest side of Divar Island.

Things to do:

Divar Islands is best known for Bonderam Festival. During the Bonderam celebrations, the locals knock down each other’s flags in memory of their ancestors’ past tradition. You will be mesmerized by the beautiful blend of Portuguese and Indian style architecture. There is a hilltop church which gives a full view of the island and the Mandovi River.

There is no lavish restaurant but yes there are some small snack joints where you can enjoy some chilled beer or chai. There are two big Portuguese houses, which the owners give on rent for a few days. If you plan to stay away from the noisy cities, spend a day or two here in Divar Island.

Chorao Island

Chorao Island Goa – Photo: Chorao Island, Goa


Another beautiful place to find inner peace is the island of Chorao. From Ribandar which is just 5kms away from Panjim, you easily get ferry from the ferry point which takes you to Chorao.

How to reach

Just like Divar island, the only way to reach Chorao is via water transport. You can either take a ferry or ride on a canoe to reach. It’s a beautiful experience as the island is surrounded by mangroves and ofcourse the deadly crocodiles. The best way to explore the island is by a canoe as it is easy to ride it amidst the dense mangroves.

Things to do

Salim Ali bird sanctuary, Goa – Photo: Shobhit Jain

The major attraction is Salim Ali bird sanctuary. The island boasts having an approximate 400 migratory as well as Indian birds. While exploring the island, you will also come across some Old Portuguese houses, out of which some are abandoned. There is a small church in the village. You will be amazed at the age old culture and custom which people still follow in the remote island.

Devi Katyayani Temple, Chorao Island - Goa
Devi Katyayani Temple, Chorao Island – Goa Photo:

While going back by the jetty, don’t forget to get a glimpse of the Reis Magos Fort and the mouth of Mandovi River.

Sao jacinto Island

Sao Jacinto Island - 5 Best Islands of Goa
Sao Jacinto Island, Goa – Photo: Aditya Surlakar

Sao Jacinto Island is the most beautiful nature’s creation. The name of the island is derived from the name of the St. Jacinto’s Church. There is a festival that takes place there. Though it is located in South Goa, it is quite a happening place. A place for the nature lover as well as photographers.

How to reach

Located at a distance of 22 kms from Panjim and 7 kms from Bogmalo beach, this island is not difficult to reach. There is a bridge that connects the island to the NH-17 Vasco-Panaji coastal highway. You can also go to the island through a jetty.

Things to do

Apart from the major attraction that’s the church, the next loveable thing about the island is the picturesque surrounding. This is the ultimate place to find solace. It is pretty near to Vasco-da-gama but still so calm as if far away from city. You can roam around the island, explore the beauty and also see some of the age-old Portuguese houses. You just have to walk through the village roads and find new things. When I was exploring the Sao Jacinto Island, I walked and found an isolated beach. Just sit there, dip your feet in the water and forget worries.

Conco Island

Grand Island Goa - Best Islands of Goa
Grand Island, Goa – Photo: Karthik C Padmashali

Conco Island is another mind-blowing island which attracts mainly foreigners.

How to reach

Located in the Canacona region, at the bay of Palolem Beach. Conco Island is popularly known as Monkey Island is a major attraction for foreigners. When you are on this island, you can only see the Arabian Sea surrounding you. There are a lot of boats which are available from the Palolem beach that takes you to Monkey Island. The name has derived because of the presence of monkeys in the forests of the island. The boat ride from Palolem beach is yet another opportunity to view some shiny dolphins in the Arabian Sea.

Things to do

You can spend the day on the island with some chilled beers and delicious food. You can play on the beach too. It’s a delightful place for beach lovers. If you want, you can go to Agonda beach or Palolem beach to enjoy some interesting watersports such as scuba diving, snorkeling etc

You can click unlimited pictures without any hassle. If there is a low tide, you can easily swim for a while. If lucky, get a chance to view group of dolphins twirling in the pristine Arabian Sea.

Butterfly Island

Butterfly Island, Goa
Butterfly Island, Goa – Photo: Sujoy Dutta

The name of the island is Butterfly Island because of the shape of the island. When viewed from a boat, it looks exactly like a butterfly which is ready to fly. The people visiting the island feels the same urge of flying just like butterflies. The island is also popularly known as ‘Honeymoon Island’.

How to reach

Butterfly Island can easily be reached by boat. There are a lot of tour packages that include Butterfly Island in the list. You can easily get a boat from Palolem beach or Agonda beach which takes you to the island. Located at a distance of 80 kms from Panjim and 44 kms from Madgao via road. This semi-circle shaped island is so peaceful and beautiful that the tranquility which make you crazy. I love this place and personally recommend to friends that on a trip to Goa, do visit this place.

Things to do

Butterfly Island (Boat View) , Goa Photo: Arindam Chatterjee

You can easily spot dolphins from this place as dolphins love to hang out around such pristine and isolated locations. Viewing the sunset from the island is quite like an achievement. The wonderful experience will stay with you forever. You can swim and play in the water as well. Canoe is the most popular activity of the place. You can also enjoy trekking and rock climbing here. Get tanned while sunbathing and have no regrets.

Review / Conclusion

All these islands are unique in their own ways. Some people want their home island to be kept away from commercialization, so you can visit those during the day, explore and come back. In some islands, you can stay at resorts or holiday homes. The experience of enjoying these islands will stay with you forever in the form of memories. Visit Goa, party hard and for relaxing visit these islands!

Popular Island Tours in Goa