One of India's best-known tourist magnets also happens to be the smallest state. Nonetheless, it's become a hub for scuba diving and snorkeling activities.
This section contains information about the dive sites near Goa and what kind of marine life you should see at the offshore islands in the Arabian Sea to the west.
It is tough to compare dives made off the southwestern coast of India with the scuba diving in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Even if you get the timing right, experienced divers may not consider Goan dive sites as being 'world class diving destinations'.
Yet, there are several 'selected' spots close to the shoreline that meet the needs of the local scuba schools throughout the season.
The best time to go diving in Goa is the dry season, typically from the beginning of October until the end of May.
Thus, the winter months are when you will find the clearest water and the best visibility. In addition, having calmer seas means scuba beginners, and people who enjoy snorkeling, will appreciate the relaxed experience.
Pro Tip: The Mandovi and the Zuari rivers merge at Goa before they enter into the sea. This phenomenon tends to aggravate the underwater visibility in the near vicinity.
In general, the water temperature averages 28° Celsius (80 to 84° Fahrenheit). The majority of the dive sites are calm with predictable water currents.
Some of the common marine life sightings you can expect to see in open water at the nearby islands, includes:
Pro Tip: Another section contains a comprehensive list of vertebrate and invertebrate animals with lots of fun and interesting facts, pictures, and videos.
Taking a trip to Karnataka and Netrani dive sites offers experienced divers deeper and clearer conditions. However, you may need to take an overnight boat journey to reach these popular diving destinations.
So, which is the best place for scuba diving in Goa? You will find sheltered coral gardens surrounding underwater pinnacles and there is no shortage of derelict ship wrecks scattered around the islands.
The most popular destinations, and easily accessible dive sites for divers and snorkelers, include:
Note: If there is a negative point to make, it would be having to travel by boat for long distances to reach the best dive sites.
One of the easiest ways to reach Goa is to take a direct flight from Mumbai (e.g. the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport). It should take around one hour to reach Dabolim Airport.