Indian Rupee (₹)
Budget: Less than ₹3000
- Beach hut or hostel: ₹500–1500
- Local restaurants or self-catering: ₹500
- Kingfisher at liquor store: ₹50
- Local bus: ₹30
- Taxi/autorickshaw: ₹100–500
- Midrange beach hut or air-con guesthouse: ₹1500–5000
- Meal in beach shack restaurant or cafe: ₹500–1000
- Rent a scooter/motorbike: ₹300/500
- Drinks in shacks or bars: ₹500
Top End: More than ₹12,000
- Boutique heritage hotels or top beach huts: ₹5000–8000
- Hire car with driver: ₹1500
- Top Restaurants: ₹1000–2000
- Ayurvedic spa treatment: ₹1000–5000
Bargaining is certainly possible – and expected – at Goa's tourist markets, where the first price offered is usually inflated. Some gentle bargaining at local markets is also fine, but most shops work on a fixed-price basis.
International ATMs are available in towns and at beach resorts. Credit cards are accepted at travel agents, in most midrange hotels and all top-end places, and an increasing range of restaurants.
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
- There are many 24-hour ATMs in Goa, particularly in Panaji, Margao and Mapusa, but also in villages and smaller beach resorts such as Agonda, Palolem and Arambol.
- ATMs linked to Axis Bank, Citibank, HDFC, HSBC, ICICI and State Bank of India usually recognise foreign cards (Cirrus and Maestro). Other banks may accept major cards (Visa, MasterCard etc).
- Check with your home bank about foreign ATM charges. You'll often be charged for transactions at both ends (usually ₹200 at the ATM you're using), so it pays to withdraw as much cash as possible, rather than making lots of small withdrawals.
- ATMs dispense mostly ₹500 or even ₹2000 notes, which can be difficult to change for small purchases. Most banks have a limit of ₹10,000 to ₹15,000 per transaction.
- Some 'remote' beach or inland destinations still require a trek to find an ATM, so you’ll need to bring cash along with you.
- It pays to carry some US dollars, pounds sterling or euros tucked away for emergencies or for times when you can’t find an ATM.
- The best exchange rates are usually at Thomas Cook and the State Bank of India, while next best are private money changers. Hotels offer the least attractive rates.
The Indian rupee (₹) is divided into 100 paise (p), but only 50 paise coins are legal tender and these are rarely seen. Coins come in denominations of ₹1, ₹2, ₹5 and ₹10 (the 1s and 2s look almost identical); notes come in ₹5, ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹500 and ₹2000.
On 8 November 2016 the Indian government made a shock announcement that the existing ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes (86% of the currency in circulation) were to be withdrawn, a controversial measure to address the problems of black money, forgery and tax evasion. The notes have been replaced by a new, grey ₹500 bill, with the Red Fort on one side and Mahatma Gandhi on the other and a pink-hued ₹2000 note.
- Credit cards are accepted in many hotels and guesthouses, most travel agencies, higher-end stores and an increasing number of tourist restaurants and even beach shacks.
- MasterCard and Visa are the most widely accepted credit cards.
- With every exchange transaction you are supposed to be provided with an encashment certificate, which can be useful if you want to change excess rupees back to hard currency, buy a tourist-quota train ticket or if you need to show a tax clearance certificate.
- ATM receipts serve the same purpose, so hold on to them.
International money transfers can be arranged through Thomas Cook or Western Union; both have branches in Panaji and some of the larger towns in Goa. Western Union transfers can also frequently be made at post offices.
There’s no official policy on tipping in India, though it’s always appreciated, especially in holiday-friendly Goa: 10% of a bill is acceptable.
- Hotels In five-star international hotels, tipping hotel porters and maids is the norm (at least ₹50).
- Waiters Low-paid hospitality staff, including waiters and bar staff, expect a tip from tourists more so than elsewhere in India, even at beach shacks.
- Taxis Taxi drivers don’t need to be tipped for short trips, but if you’ve hired the driver for the day, adding 10% is fair.
- Baksheesh This is a form of tipping in India, generally defined as a small gratuity paid to someone in order to have a little extra service delivered, or to pay someone off for turning a blind eye (authorities, guards etc).
- Travellers cheques are becoming harder and harder to change as credit cards become more widely accepted. They are often more hassle than they're worth.
- All major brands are accepted, but some banks only accept cheques from American Express (Amex) and Thomas Cook.Euros, pounds sterling and US dollars are the safest currencies, especially in smaller towns.Keep a record of the cheques’ serial numbers separate from your cheques, along with the proof-of-purchase slips, encashment certificates and photocopied passport details. If you lose your cheques, contact the Amex or Thomas Cook office in Delhi.
- To replace lost travellers cheques, you need the proof-of-purchase slip and the numbers of the missing cheques (some places require a photocopy of the police report and a passport photo). If you don’t have the numbers of your missing cheques, the issuing company (eg Amex) will contact the place where you bought them.