Come February, and it’s time to witness the spectacular Goa Carnival 2024. Set to unfold from 11th to 14th February, it promises to be unlike anything you’ll ever see.

It’s a chance for you to experience a kaleidoscope of music, dance, flavours and festivities. From masquerade balls and live performances to music bands and delectable food stalls, it’s four days of sheer fun. Book one of our luxury villas in the area and witness this magical event come to life. Here’s all you need to know about Goa Carnival 2024.

What to expect

The carnival of Goa takes place every year before Lent (a 40-day fasting period preceding Easter Sunday) and is held in various locations throughout the state. It goes by several names, including Carnaval, Intruz and Entrado, and has evolved into the biggest carnival in the country.

Photo credits: Edu’s World, Goa

People dress in dramatic floats and costumes and gather on the streets to party all day long. Colourful parades, evening balls and eclectic theatre performances are all organised by local cultural groups, keeping you entertained throughout.

Where it all began

Its inception is believed to have been initiated by the Portuguese, who colonised Goa for about 450 years. Celebrated since the 18th century, initially only by Catholics, it has now transformed into a diverse, multi-cultural event that is enjoyed by everyone. You’ll spot influences from Europe, Africa and India throughout the carnival.


Carnival highlights

The Goa Carnival 2024 will be led by King Momo as always. The pièce de résistance of this celebration, he’s known as the mythical king of carnivals. He’s accompanied by an entourage of musicians, dancers, entertainers and acrobats, who’re selected from numerous local participants. Together they lead the parade.

Assoltes is one of the most unusual events that takes place during the carnival. People doll up in unique costumes and prank others. Once you realise you’ve been tricked, you’re expected to treat the performers to a variety of food and drinks.

The grand finale of the carnival is the Red and Black Dance, which is organised by the Club National in the capital of Panaji. It’s a captivating spectacle of men and women adorned in stylish red and black attires, performing scintillating dances together.

You’ll also get a chance to enjoy the traditional folk dances of Goa including Fugdi, Dekhni and Corridinho, and get a glimpse of the local talent and skills the state has to offer.

Places to visit to experience Goa Carnival 2024

The carnival usually begins in Panaji and travels across different parts, including Vasco da Gama, Mapusa and Margao.

1. Panaji:

The streets of Panaji turn into a lively spectacle teeming with a plethora of processions, eateries and entertainment. Head to D.B. Bandodkar Road for its vibrant atmosphere or immerse yourself in the festivities at Miramar Beach, where you can witness dramatic costumes and fun-filled music and dance performances. Enjoy Indo-Portuguese traditions, as you potter around landmarks like Maruti Temple, Vainguinim Beach, Fontainhas, Reis Magos Fort and Bom Jesus Basilica.

2. Vasco da Gama:

The art, culture and lovingly preserved heritage of Vasco da Gama is especially evident during the Goa Carnival. Known as the port town of the state, Vasco da Gama remains ever-popular for its pristine beaches, ancient forts, captivating churches and rolling hills. While you’re here, visit the Japanese Garden, Monkey Beach, St. Andrew’s Church, Sao Jacinto Island, Hansa Beach, Mormugao Fort, Pilot Point and the Heart-Shaped Lake. You can also head to popular spots like the Municipal Garden and railway station to watch the parade.

3. Mapusa:

Situated in the northern region of Goa, Mapusa has its own rendition of the carnival. Compared to bigger cities, the festivities here are more local and traditional with fewer crowds. You can enjoy a more authentic experience. It’s tucked away nearly 13 km from Panaji and is a popular tourist spot with proximity to sought-after beaches and historical landmarks. Join the celebrations in various locations, including Mapusa Municipal Market, Milagres Church, Shree Ganesh Temple, Datta Temple, St. Jerome Church, and Shree Dev Bodgeshwar.

4. Margao:

Margao is known as the cultural and commercial hub of South Goa, with a carnival that is renowned for its grandeur. The carnival takes place at the beautiful Lohia Maidan which is a popular spot to witness this dazzling event. Do make sure to arrive early if you want to get the best vantage spot.

Things to note

Keep an eye on your belongings and watch out for pickpockets. Dress comfortably with the right footwear since you’ll be out on the streets all day. Feasting is a big part of the carnival, so make sure to indulge in local food, drinks and wines.

Tourists from around the world flock to Goa to experience this joyous event. Given the peak season, keep in mind that accommodations are usually packed and more expensive. It’s advisable to make your bookings in advance.

Where to stay

You can avoid the crowds and enjoy a luxurious stay at an elite haven. Perfect for large groups and families, you can relax in private pools and dig into sumptuous Goan cuisine prepared by a personal chef.

After an exhilarating day of dancing and lolling about at the carnival, you can treat yourself to an in-villa massage. Your dedicated and attentive staff will be sure to fulfill your every need. With the help of the Elite Concierge, you also can check out other tourist spots, water sports, local attractions and kid-friendly activities.

The Goa Carnival 2024 promises a unique opportunity to witness and partake in its infectious energy and create memories for a lifetime.

Book a luxury villa with Elite Havens for your next adventure in Goa.