Pedal across Goan Islands of Divar and Chorao - Goa, India

3rd Dec 2022
Photo of Pedal across Goan Islands of Divar and Chorao - Goa, India by Urvashi Matta

This December explore the Goa beyond busy beaches, party places and night life.

Every year, I visit Goa for work or leisure to rewind or enjoy the night life. But, this time was different, this time it was a peaceful getaway from city life to a susegad life.

As an all-year destination, Goa storms with tourists during the winter months of December and January. But you can escape the crowd and plan a day visit to Divar and Charao Islands.

Cycling Route at early morning (c) Urvashi Matta

Photo of Divar Island, North Goa by Urvashi Matta

Nestled in the middle of the Mandovi river, the Goan Islands are a tropical paradise with man-groove swamps, old Portuguese architecture and narrower ways escaping to paddy fields on either side. The lush green mangrove borders the river across the length and breadth of the island. The river streams through smaller channels into the island giving support to the life on the island.

Ferry point (c) Urvashi Matta

Photo of Pomburpa Ferry Terminal, Pomburpa, by Urvashi Matta

If you are short of time the best way to explore the island is via cycling. You can book a 3-4 hours trip either at dawn or dusk. I booked a sunrise cycling tour with Cycling Zens. Post the pick-up from the asked destination by their team, the early morning ferry ride feels surreal. The mist forms a blanket on the river, leaving you wondering as if you are entering the mysterious Skull Island from King Kong, Aha! The fog actually blankets the island, pacing up your excitement to what is it going to be. Starting your cycle ride right at the moment you exit the ferry, marks the beginning of your tour. While riding the mist pierces through your face leaving you a huge grin. The terrain of the island can sometime be difficult for you to ride uphill, so prefer taking an e-bike to leave you without soar legs.

Divar island is accessible by Govt. ferry from a) Old Goa, b)Narao Terminal and c) Ribander. Ferry runs frequently throughout the day, taking about 15-30 mins to reach your destination. The ferry ticket can be part of your tour or you can pay a small amount of 10-50Rs depending upon your vehicle.

Exit point at Choroa Island (c) Urvashi Matta

Photo of Pedal across Goan Islands of Divar and Chorao - Goa, India by Urvashi Matta

The old rickety, dilapidated blue ferry, smelling of diesel transports not only people but vehicles as well. The silent backwaters appear still while exhibiting the reflections of mangroves trees on its bank. Quite a a picturesque site for nature lovers. During the monsoon it is even greener with vast azure sky.

The ride through the scenic roads lead you to fishing spots by the local, ponds dotted with hundreds of Lillies and a spread of yellow-green fields (Dil Chahta hai vibes).

Scenic route at Charao Island (c) Urvashi Matta

Photo of Pedal across Goan Islands of Divar and Chorao - Goa, India by Urvashi Matta

Lillly Pond at Charao Island, (c) Urvashi Matta

Photo of Chorão Island, Chorao by Urvashi Matta

Activities you can enjoy at the Island:-

> Ruins of Saptakoteshwar Temple on Divar Island - an archaeological marvel from 15th Century

> Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary - Chorao island

> Our Lady of Compassion Church

> Stop at cute local food joints to rejoice Maggi, Goan Poi with Bhaji

> You can try some aimless exploration as well because the lanes are traffic free

Ruins of Saptakoteshwar Temple (c) Urvashi Matta

Photo of Saptakoteshwar Temple, Naroa by Urvashi Matta

Best Suited timings : -

> Morning Slot: 6.30 am - 10 am

> Evening 3.30 pm to 7 pm

*subject to weather conditions

You can plan to stay on the islands as well. They are away from commercialisation, so you can enjoy old-charm Goan feels.

Pro tip

> Leave the place as you found it

> Wear comfortable clothing for your adventure

> Sometimes high tide swells the river and water flow through the lanes of the island, so riding can become difficult.