Dolphin Boat Rides in Goa: Spotting Dolphins amidst Goa's Heritage

Dolphin boat rides are one of the most popular activities to do in Goa. Read on to know what ours was like!

"Let's go for a boating trip!" When you are in Goa, at one time or the other, you get to hear this from your visiting family and friends. Though boating is a nice, peaceful way to spend a day surrounded by water and nature, the usual boating trips in a river or a lake can get repetitive after a point. Goa is abundantly blessed with water bodies of various kinds and activities like boating are always a hit here. But what piqued my interest were the dolphin rides in the sea. People did warn me that there might be no dolphin sightings at all  sometimes and it just depended on luck. Well, in that case, I thought, let me try out my luck!
Coco beach

Boats ready for the ride!

An Informative Joyride

Dolphin rides start from several points in Goa; you have dolphin rides in south goa too. But the usual and the most popular ones are those that take you around the stretch from Panjim to Aguada. We boarded the boat from Coco Beach. As I gingerly stepped into the boat, I could hear hopeful whispers about spotting a dolphin!

Now what is interesting here is not just the lovely sea all around but the landmarks that you  find en-route. As soon as we approached the Aguada jail, our man helming the boat transformed into our guide, narrating stories to an attentive audience. The Aguada jail was originally a part of the Aguada fort and later converted to a prison, mostly housing drug and trafficking convicts. Currently, the jail has been shifted to another location and this one is getting ready to be a heritage monument. What a picturesque prison though!

The Aguada Prison
Then we spotted a magnificent looking mansion a little beneath the cliff. The boatman with a dramatic tone announced that this was the abode of a mysterious diamond merchant whom nobody had ever seen and that the place was heavily guarded. Everyone listened in hushed silence like kids listening to a thriller story huddled around a campfire; me included of course! Later, I was told that this unique home belonged to Mr. Jimmy Gazdar, a reclusive Parsi businessman and the place was designed by the celebrated Goan architect Gerard Da Cunha. Locally it is known as 'Jimmy's Palace' or the 'Millionnaire's Mansion'. This exotic  mansion looked straight out of some hollywood movie!

The 'Millionnaire's mansion'

Then came the exquisite Aguada fort into view! This 17th century fort might have served a more grimmer purpose of battles and security from enemies but now, whether you are looking at the ocean from the fort's ramparts or looking up at the fort from the sea below, It is definitely a sight to remember! Also, as we whizzed past the fort, we were shown to a little church somewhere on the top of the hill - St. Lawrence Church. It cannot be seen very clearly from down here but if you can go up there, the views are simply mind blowing. Every time I go to fort Aguada, I make sure to stop by at this little church.


As the boat man went on talking about the fort, we had an eye out for the dolphins; and just as I thought  that no dolphin was going to show up, a little dolphin suddenly jumped out of the water, followed by another one close behind. It was so fascinating to catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures that I kept gazing at them till they darted away into the distance and realised only after a few minutes that I had not clicked any photo of that moment.  But my brother, who had accompanied me on this trip was a little faster to react and he just managed to take a pic of  the little guy diving in! Well, something is better than nothing, right? Here in the picture below, you can spot the dolphin!





As we passed the Aguada fort, marveling at its beauty, our boat went further into the sea and then turned to the left, towards Panjim. Here, we were shown the Miramar beach from a distance and the Cabo Raj Niwas, beautifully perched on the edge of a cliff at Dona Paula, the official residence of the Governor of Goa. Quite a striking location to live!

Contended with the knowledge learnt and refreshed by the ride on the Arabian sea, not to mention the dolphin, it was definitely an unusual boat ride!

Where
Dolphin boat rides are offered by the Goa Tourism department as well as private players. Most of the tourism ones are available from the Sinquerim jetty and the Miramar beach, Panjim. Lot of private operators offer the rides from Coco beach, Nerul as well as Sinquerim and Candolim beaches. The prices range from 299-499 per head usually but the price might go up in cases where certain private operators include pick-up service from your hotel and food. And yes, bargaining does work in a lot of cases, especially if more than two people are going. So, just choose whatever suits you. 

Tipsy Tip #1: Whether private ones or government operated, all the boat rides are conducted in a safe manner and no mishap has ever occurred regarding these rides. But as a caution, please make sure you ask for a life jacket if you are not given one.





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