5 Top-Rated National Parks to Visit in Goa (2023)
India is a country with a glorious past, diverse cultures, a plethora of exciting tourist places, and many more interesting things to do. Out of the many tourist places located in this large country, Goa probably comes in the top slots. This is one state which you can find in the bucket list of many travelers throughout the country. However, if you were thinking that Goa is only about serene beaches, thrilling parties, electrifying nightlife, and hippie culture, then you clearly haven’t visited this amazing place yet. There is something or the other for every kind of traveler in this wonderful state.
Set in the serene Western Ghats, amidst the dense jungles of Goa, the variety of flora, animal, and bird species that you will find in the expansive marshes, alluring hills, shimmering lakes, and soothing rivers will totally amaze you. If you wish to see the state of Goa from a new perspective and know about the various national parks that are located here, you have arrived at the right place. In this article, we have shortlisted some of the best National Parks to visit in Goa for you. Continue reading to know more!
5 Top-Rated National Parks to Visit in Goa
1. Bhagwan Mahavir National Park: Also known as Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, sprawling over a whopping area of 240 square km, this is one of the most popular nature reserves and National Parks to visit in Goa. Located near the well – known and serene Dudhsagar Waterfalls, this national park is renowned for its unspoiled and undisturbed vegetation. Mainly the vegetation cover here constitutes moist deciduous, tropical evergreen, and semi-green forests. You will be pleased to know that within this protected reserve located in the lush green Western Ghats, there are even a few sparkling streams meandering. Apart from the mesmerizing waterfall, the forested area of this national park also serves as a home to the Dhangar nomadic buffalo herders who live here in complete harmony with the flora and fauna. The core area of this wildlife sanctuary is about 107 square km and it was declared as a national park in the year 1978.
- Popular fauna you can spot here: gaur, barking deer, porcupine, bonnet macaque, flying squirrel, occasional tigers, krait, wild boar, leopard cat, common langur, pangolin.
- Avifauna: Indian black woodpecker, fairy bluebird, great Indian hornbill, grey jungle fowl, blue Mormon, paradise flycatcher, wagtails, kingfishers, emerald dove.
- Popular things to do: This is one adventurous hub where you can go for jungle safaris and even night safaris. Apart from that you can also indulge in hiking on plenty of forest trails or try bird watching.
- Opening Hours: You can visit the place anytime from 8 AM till 5.30 PM.
- Best time to visit: For the best experience, try to schedule your visit in between the months of October and March.
2. Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary: Sprawling over an area of about 211 square km, this is one of the most pristine wildlife sanctuaries to visit in Goa. Boasting of being home to a wide range of flora and fauna, this wildlife sanctuary located in Sanguem Taluka of eastern Goa attracts wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers from all over the country and even the world. The wildlife sanctuary is named after the Netravali tributary of the serene Zuari river that flows through the dense forest of the region and serves as an integral source of fresh water in the region. You will be pleased to know that this place is regarded as one of the most photogenic national parks in Goa and hence lures in many nature and wildlife photographers too. The dreamy and enchanting foliage of the region is comprised of semi-evergreen, deciduous, and evergreen forests along with an enormous range of butterflies such as Malabar Tree Nymph, Black Rajah, and Gaudy Baron.
- Popular fauna you can spot here: Black panthers, giant squirrels, Malabar tree toad, king cobras, and slender loris.
- Avifauna: Nilgiri wood pigeon, great pied hornbill, grey-headed bulbul.
- Location: Verlem, Goa 403704
- Opening Hours: You can visit the place anytime from 8.30 AM till 4.30 PM.
- Best time to visit: The best time to visit is in the months from October till March.
3. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in the Canacona region of South Goa, the forest cover of the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary is so dense and thick that it is said that even a ray of sunlight rarely reaches the ground. With its tall trees and dense forest cover, it is considered one of the most fascinating national parks to visit in Goa. Moreover, the wildlife sanctuary is also home to some of the rarest species of plants. Owing to its expansive and diverse range of flora, the place manages to catch the attention of plenty of nature lovers and botany enthusiasts. Apart from that, the wildlife sanctuary offers amazing adventure opportunities too. There are eight natural trails which range from 500 meters to 5 km, which can assure you to keep your adrenalin rushing. Away from the chaos of city life, this is one peaceful wildlife sanctuary possessing undistorted natural beauty. It is located at a distance of just 12 km from the Palolem beach, so you can easily combine the two in your itinerary.
- Popular fauna you can spot here: flying lizard, monkey, golden back gliding snake, gaur
- Avifauna: Malabar trogon, velvet fronted nuthatch, white-bellied woodpecker
- Location: Canacona Taluka, Khotigao, South Goa 403702
- Opening Hours: You can visit the place anytime from 7 AM till 5.30 PM.
- Best time to visit: This wildlife sanctuary can be visited anytime throughout the year, but the peak season to visit is from October till March.
4. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary: Nestled in the foothills of the lush green and serene Western Ghats, this wildlife sanctuary is located at a distance of just about 50 km from Panjim city. Spread over an area of just 8 square km, this is considered as one of the smallest wildlife sanctuaries and national parks to visit in Goa. Despite its small size, the wildlife sanctuary serves as a popular spot among many nature lovers as well as wildlife enthusiasts because of housing over 150 different variety of bird species along with a large range of animals and plant species. If you are traveling with your family and young children who are interested in wildlife, then this is the best sightseeing attraction in Goa for you. You will be pleased to know that this national park even offers a variety of fun avenues to its visitors such as a zoological park, a botanical and rose garden, and a huge deer park located within its premises.
- Popular fauna you can spot here: Panther, Spotted deer, wild boar, scaly anteater, Indian bison, porcupines, leopard, Malabar giant squirrel, pythons, Indian peafowl, vipers
- Avifauna: Common grey hornbill, golden-backed woodpecker, and so on
- Location: Usgao – Ganjem VP, Goa 403105
- Opening Hours: You can visit the place anytime from 9 AM till 5 PM.
- Best time to visit: For the best experience plan your trip in the months of December and January.
5. Salim Ali National Park: The exclusive feature of this place is that it is the only national park in Goa that is a bird sanctuary. Spanning over an area of about 1.8 square km, this sanctuary is located on the western tip of the Chorao Island along the beautiful Mandovi river. It boasts of being home to a large variety of local as well as migratory bird species which also makes it a popular spot among bird photographers, bird watchers, nature lovers, and ornithologists. Owing to its enormous range of exotic and rare bird species, the place remains flooded with visitors all over the year. Moreover, the park even has a watchtower which further allows the bird watchers to have a better look at their beloved bird species. You can even take a boat ride along the Mandovi river to properly exploring the park. However, for visiting this national park, you first have to take prior permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden of the Panjim Forest Department.
- Popular fauna you can spot here: Pythons, mudskippers, jackal, fox, crocodiles, planktons
- Avifauna: kingfisher, varieties of eagles, curlew, drongo, myna, woodpecker, egret, sandpiper, heron, redshank, bittern, avocet, hoopoe, bittern, snipe, and red knot
- Location: Chorao Island, Ilhas, Ribandar, Goa 403006
- Opening Hours: You can visit this place anytime from 6 AM till 6 PM.
- Tip: For reaching the Salim Ali national park, you must take a ferry to the island of Chorao, and then, from the Chorao ferry wharf you have to walk to the reserve area.
If you are a nature lover or a wildlife enthusiast, then you have a lot to explore in Goa too as this happening destination boasts of being home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.
FAQ’s on National Parks in Goa
Q1. Are The National Parks Open All The Time?
Ans. The opening hours vary from one national park to another. Make sure to check before you go.
Q2. How Many National Parks Are There In Goa?
Ans. The city has about 7 national parks.
Q3. What is Goa Popular For?
Ans. With its historic forts, abundant natural wonders, exciting clubs, a huge variety of flora and fauna, Goa is one complete package of fun.