The Mandovi River Cruise – Going Beyond Goa’s Beaches

Looking to on a Mandovi River cruise? Want to know the locations, timings and the names of top cruise operators? If you said yes to these questions, read on.

Goa may be synonymous with beaches but that isn’t all that this holiday state has to offer. There’s also the beautiful Mandovi River.

It enters Goa in the north and flows through 45km in Goa before reaching the sea. A cruise down this River is a beautiful way to catch the sunset and experience the unique Goan culture.

Mandovi River Cruise
© Vyacheslav Argenberg /, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Why should you take a cruise ride in Mandovi River Goa?

The Mandovi River cruises are a unique experience in Goa. On the one hand, floating down the River relaxes you.

On the other, it opens your eyes to sights you might otherwise miss. The River is calm and lets you disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and crowded beaches.

The scenic beauty of the Mandovi River is worth marveling at. It is flanked by lush mangrove forests on both sides for long stretches.

As you stand on the deck, you can spot fish in the water as well as a number of native and migratory birds on the treetops.

Along with natural beauty, you can also appreciate Goan architecture while you cruise across the River. Most cruises pass by both the Fort Aguada and the Reis Magos Fort.

The cruise conductor will also point out other tourist sites like the Penha De Franca Church and the Adil Shah Palace.

In addition to sightseeing, these cruises are an excellent way to learn about the Goan culture. Most cruise ships have live performances of folk dances that you can join too.

Read: Mumbai To Goa Cruise – Package Price, Food, Accommodation And More

Top Mandovi Cruise Operators

Aqua World 9307440959
+91 9823038245
+91 8322420920
Paradise Cruises
Lexicon Boat Cruise 9765101999
Princesa Cruise
Mandovi Cruises 92194 13164
Paulo Cruises
089997 01758

Read: River Cruises India – Top 8 Indian River Cruises For A Unique Holiday Experience

Types of Mandovi River cruises

There are many different types of River cruises on the Mandovi River. These vary by the duration of the cruise, cruise timings and the focus of your experience. Some of the most popular options for a boat cruise at Mandovi River are:

The Dolphin Cruise

This is a 1-hour Mandovi River cruise in Goa that takes you to places where you might spot dolphins. These are River dolphins that live in the Mandovi River. They’re friendly and if you’re lucky, they might swim along your boat.

In addition to the dolphins, this River cruise also gives you a glimpse of Portuguese architecture as seen in Fort Aguarda, the Light House and the Millionaire’s Palace.

A Sunset Cruise

This cruise typically lasts for 60 to 90 minutes. The Mandovi River sunset cruise is popular with couples of all ages. It’s one of the most romantic ways to spend an evening in Goa. That said, it is a popular option for young families too.

As the name suggests, the Panjim River cruise timings are set to coincide with the sunset. Many boats are equipped with a dance floor.

The evening usually begins with Goan folk dances by trained artists and flows into a dance session for everyone. Some cruise boats may also have air-conditioned seating and a bar counter.

The Dinner Cruise

While Goa has countless restaurants, scheduling in a dinner cruise in Mandovi River Goa is a must. This is a 2 to 3 hour cruise.

The ticket is inclusive of a set dinner and activities such as karaoke singing, Goan folk performances, games and so on. It’s a beautiful way to see the Goan skyline at night.

The Casino Cruise

Goa is one of the few places in India where games like roulette and Black Jack are legal. Goa has a few on-shore casinos and a few set-up inside ships floating on the Mandovi River. These ships don’t move. Instead, you can take a boat from the jetty to the ship and enjoy a night onboard.

Yacht Cruise

If you’re looking for a private experience, a yacht cruise is the ideal choice. You can hire a regular boat or a luxury yacht depending on your budget and the number of people you want to take along.

Since you have the vessel to yourselves, along with sightseeing, you can indulge in water activities like swimming and snorkelling.

Full-day Backwater Cruise

A full-day cruise will you along the Mandovi River past the usual tourist sites to the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. This is a must-do activity for bird watchers.

The cruise also goes along the Chorao and Divar islands. These cruise experiences start in the morning and end in the early evening.

Mandovi River cruise timings

Timings for the Mandovi River cruise Goa depend on the type of cruise you choose. While the dolphin cruise runs in the morning and the evening, most other cruises ply only in the evenings.

This allows you to spend the day on the beach and then schedule in River cruise time to catch the sunset or enjoy a dinner experience.

Mandovi River cruise booking

You can get a Mandovi River cruise ticket from the jetty for the sunset and dinner cruise. Alternatively, you can explore the Goa Mandovi River cruise online booking option. This allows you to plan your day in advance and makes sure you can get a seat on the cruise.

That said, seating is usually available on a first come- first serve basis. If you’re taking a cruise with cultural shows, try getting a seat at the front of the deck.

Mandovi River cruise Goa location

The Mandovi cruise has two common start points. While some Goa River cruises start from the Santa Monica Boat Jetty, others start from the Panaji Jetty. Both jetty points are in Panjim.

River cruise at Mandovi River costs

The ticket price for a Mandovi River cruise depends on the type of cruise chosen and the cruise operator. Prices may also vary according to the season. The average ticket price starts from Rs 500 per person. Tickets for children below a certain age may be discounted.

Mandovi Cruise – Top FAQs

Are Mandovi boat cruise cruises safe?

The Mandovi boat cruise experience is a very safe one. This can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s a fun-filled experience for children too.

Is Mandovi River cruise online booking available?

Yes, you can book tickets for Mandovi River cruises online. Booking options are provided by a host of private cruise operators.

What are some of the tourist sites to spot from the Mandovi River cruise in Goa?

Fort Aguada
Reis Magos Fort
Penha De Franca Church
Adil Shah Palace
Mandovi Bridge

Can you customize your cruise ride in Mandovi River Goa?

Most Mandovi River cruises follow a set schedule. However, if you book the entire cruise boat, you can customize your route and cruise time.

What is the best time for Mandovi River cruises?

November to February is the best season for a Mandovi River cruise.

Where is the Mandovi River?

The Mandovi River flows through a large part of Goa. However, the section for cruise rides is mostly around Panjim. This falls in central Goa.


Shruti is a regular contributor to The Current India. Along with writing she enjoys traveling and discovering India's hidden cultural treasures.

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