Car Hire from Goa Airport
The state of Goa is one of India’s tourist hotspots. It has friendly people, incredible cuisine and a laid back vibe. With miles of idyllic sandy beaches along the warm waters of the Arabian Sea, this former Portuguese colony is an intriguing blend of east and west. For those who want to explore beyond the big beach resorts, hiring a car from Goa Airport is a great way to see some more the region.
Where to hire a car at Goa Airport
There are two options for car hire at Goa Airport. Wheels Rent-a-Car has an office inside the domestic arrivals terminal. SS Travel also offers car hire from the airport, with a meet and greet service.
Petrol Stations near Goa Airport
Depending on the fuel policy in your car hire agreement you may need to refuel your car near the airport before dropping it off.
The nearest petrol station to Goa Airport is a Sai Service station, just five minutes’ drive away. It’s located on route 17A. For drivers leaving Goa Airport on route 178, there’s a petrol station after about 10 minutes.
Driving around Goa Airport
Goa Airport is well connected by local road networks. Route 178 leads away from the airport and connects to route 17, a major highway travelling north and south along the coast.
You’ll need an International Drivers’ Permit (IDP) to drive in India. You should apply for the permit before you leave the UK. It will be valid for 12 months after the date of issue.
In India, drivers drive on the left hand side of the road, as in the UK. When driving around Goa it’s important to take things a little more slowly than you might at home. Drivers in front don’t always indicate before turning, roads can be narrow and poorly maintained, and animals can sometimes block your way. Be prepared to take your time and be ready to stop unexpectedly.
Getting to your destination
Goa Airport sits on the coast in the middle of the state so there are lots of beautiful destinations within easy reach by car. Here are a few of them:
Panjim is Goa’s state capital. It’s located on a peninsula overlooking the Mandovi River. Visitors can head to one of the city’s floating casinos, get tickets to a cultural show, take a trip to the planetarium or just wander the streets, admiring beautiful colonial buildings. The Latin Quarter is a must on any visit to Panjim. Its colourful buildings and narrow streets lie at the heart of this bustling city.
Panjim is just 40 minutes’ drive from Goa Airport, taking route 178 and then route 17 north. Drivers should avoid the narrow alleys of the old Latin Quarter and park further out of the centre. There is free street parking available but this can be a little chaotic. More orderly are a number of pay and display spaces which can be found around the city.
Colva Beach is a popular resort in south Goa. It has all the modern amenities you could want with lots of accommodation, restaurants and nightlife. The beach is the focus of activity. Its 20 kilometres of white sand, fringed with palm trees is also home to stalls selling drinks, snacks and trinkets.
Colva Beach is just 30 minutes from Goa Airport, following route 178 for a short while before heading towards the coast on smaller roads. Roads can be narrow and poorly signposted so take your time and keep an eye out for animals.
Palolem Beach is a stunning bay flanked by two headlands. Fishing boats bob in the calm, shallow waters, perfect for children and families. Activities include scuba diving, sea kayaking, dolphin spotting trips and silent discos.
Palolem Beach is around a 1.5 hour drive from Goa Airport, taking 178 away from the airport and then route 17 south. Route 17 is poorly maintained in parts and there aren’t always road dividers. It’s wise to drive carefully, paying attention to your position on the road and being alert to hazards.