5 reasons to do a Spice Plantation tour in Goa

India is often referred to as a “Land of Spices” and rightly so, given the spice-enriched flavors that one encounters across the length and breadth of our country. It is not unusual to find visitors to India carrying back myriad packets of these colorful and fragrant spices. However, the best way to appreciate these better is to see them in their natural habitat. A Spice Plantation tour in Goa does just that.

Tropical Spice Plantation, Goa
Tropical Spice Plantation, Goa

If you are wondering why I am recommending an educative tour, well, let me assure you that the Spice plantation tour is far more that. It is a perfect way to appreciate nature, experience an eco-friendly way of life and have some fun. I discovered this at theTropical Spice Plantation in Goa and having done so, here are my 5 reasons that make the Spice Plantation tour as one of the most recommended things to do in Goa.

1) Indian hospitality in a natural way

Reception at the Spice Plantation
Reception at the Spice Plantation

When I walked into the Spice Plantation, I felt like a royalty. Every visitor is greeted with a garland at the Spice Plantation and then led to an open area where they are offered a glass of Jasmine tea. I personally loved the Jasmine tea, even more owing to the slight chill in the monsoon air. The entire atmosphere with its open space, greenery and its earthy interiors felt like a scene straight from the ancient hermitage in the forests of India. I guess, when royalty visited these hermits and took shelter in the rain, they were greeted and received in the same manner.

At the Tropical Spice Plantation
At the Tropical Spice Plantation
Jasmine tea at the Spice Plantation in Goa
Jasmine tea at the Spice Plantation in Goa

The hospitality was not just limited to the reception of guests but was evident throughout the tour – be it their manner of serving food or guiding one through the Spice plantation itself. It was raining when we visited the spice plantation and the staff managed to line up umbrellas for the guests, ensuring that the spice tour happened in batches so that none got wet. The entire staff at the Spice Plantation was not just polite and warm but ensured that one gets experiences Indian hospitality in the most eco-friendly manner. That itself, is a reason why I loved this tour.

2) Spices in their natural home

Coffee beans at the Tropical Spice Plantation
Coffee beans at the Tropical Spice Plantation

As a regular user of spices. I have always taken their powdered and dry forms for granted. One grouse that I always had are the high prices of these spices. After doing this Spice Plantation Tour, I find myself looking at the spices differently. The 30 – 45 minutes spice tour was just amazing as we not just learnt about the various spice plants but saw them growing there. Our spice plantation guide -Pallavi was quite knowledgeable about these plants and effortlessly led us through the plantation, pointing out the various spices, their care and special properties and the special uses it was put to. What made it even more interesting was the fact that none of those hard to remember botanical names were thrown at us but only practical and informative facts were laid out to us with examples.

Pallavi was a treasure trove of information, telling us about the various spices that were used as herbal cures for several ailments and the reason why certain spices were more expensive than the others. Here are some interesting things that I learnt –

Vanilla

Vanilla plant growing up a tree at the Tropical Spice plantation, Goa
Vanilla plant growing up a tree at the Tropical Spice plantation, Goa

Vanilla, one of the most loved flavors, was not just difficult to grow but even more difficult to pollinate. All the pollination was artificially. Once the pod is ready, it lasts only for a day and needs to be plucked out asap. The beans take 4 – 5 months to dry and after that, around 100g of Vanilla seeds give you only around 1 litre of extract. No wonder it is the 2nd most expensive spice in the world.

Cardamom

The Cardamom Flower at the spice plantation, Goa
The Cardamom Flower at the spice plantation, Goa
The Cardamom Flower growing from the base at the spice plantation, Goa
The Cardamom Flower growing from the base at the spice plantation, Goa

The Queen of Spices – Cardamom, grew in two different manners – one where the pods sprouted at the top and the other where they sprouted near the base of the plant.

Roots of a Palm tree

Roots of a Palm tree
Roots of a Palm tree

You can count the rings of a palm to know its age. 4 rings = 1 year of the plant. As it grows older and older, its roots start sprouting from above the ground. And how colorful they are πŸ™‚

Feni Distillery at Tropical Spice Plantation
Feni Distillery at Tropical Spice Plantation

We also, saw the famous Feni making apparatus. Besides a local alcohol, in small doses, it is used to aid digestion. Interesting right?

From why Saffron was the most expensive to what made Nutmeg unique, I knew it all after the tour. By the end of the tour, I bet you will too, know it all.

3) Flora & Fauna at the Spice Plantation

At the Tropical Spice Plantation, Goa
At the Tropical Spice Plantation, Goa

Small butterflies, ducks  and cute little birds playing hide and seek. The plantation is full of these small delights. Punctuating its green cover are small multicolored flowers. The whole atmosphere has a forest like feel. A refreshing change from our concrete jungle.

At Tropical Spice Plantation

4) Photographer’s Paradise

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Raindrops on a leaf at Tropical Spice Plantation, Goa
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Water cascading from the roof at the spice plantation, Goa

We happen to visit the spice plantation in monsoon. With the raindrops running on the fresh green leaves and small cascades of water gushing down the roof, the entire place was a delight to photograph. Even if it was not raining, the wooden bridge leading to the main hut, the small stream running through the property and the natural beauty of the spice plantation are good enough reason for photographers to spend some time here.

5) Food & Shopping at the Spice Plantation

Lunch at Tropical Spice Plantation, Goa
Lunch at Tropical Spice Plantation, Goa

The fresh taste of spices is evident in the food served at the Spice Plantation in Goa. A buffet lunch spread with food laid out in earthen ware made in the authentic Goan style is enough to get you salivating. The food is made fresh in the kitchens and is quite simple and nice. I personally, loved the homely taste of food here.

Spices on sale at the Spice Plantation, Goa
Spices on sale at the Spice Plantation, Goa

You can buy the fresh spices, natural oils, containers and cutlery made out of coir and other natural material. I found the prices quite reasonable and the quality pretty good. I picked up some containers made of coir for myself and with that, said good bye to the Tropical Spice Plantation in Goa.

For me, this tour was an invigorating and refreshing experience. It felt close to nature and was quite unique. It definitely adds up to my discovery of “Goa beyond beaches“. If you are in Goa, the spice plantation is definitely one of the must visit places of Goa. Comment in and share your experience if you have already been there. If not. when are you planning your trip? Waiting to hear from you.

Spice Plantation tour, Goa

Getting here:

  • Goa as I have mentioned earlier here, is easy to get to. My experience was based on the Tropicana Spice Plantation tour and you can reach the same by hiring a car in Goa. It is around 29 kms from Panjim in Ponda
  • There are several tour operators that offer you a tour of the spice plantation. They include a tour of Old Goa along with this tour and also, take care of your conveyance.

Travel Tips:

  • Tropical Spice Plantation is just one of the many spice plantations in Goa. The official website of Tropicana Spice Plantation can be found here. For the other recommendations, please refer to this page of the Goa Tourism website.
  • The best season to visit these plantations is from July to March. The monsoons in July and August really enhance the beauty of these plantations.
  • I would recommend a lunch at this place. Hence try to reach the plantations around mid-morning.
  • The price of the tour with lunch at Tropical Spice plantation is INR 400 per adult.
  • Flat and comfortable, anti-slip shoes are a must, as some of the areas of the spice plantation can be slippery.

P.S: I was invited by Goa Tourism to experience this tour of the Spice Plantation.

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116 thoughts on “5 reasons to do a Spice Plantation tour in Goa”

  1. I didn’t know that Goa has some great spice farms, plus they are not even promoted. The regions seems interesting, would love to visit it soon.

    Reply
  2. A thing you’ve added on my mind when I go to Goa next! The pictures look terrific and so does your experience!

    Kudos to you πŸ™‚

    Cheers

    Reply
  3. My ex-roommate was from Goa. She told stories about her time there and how she spent most of her time at the beaches. I need to ask her about these tours though and see what she thinks about it πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Thanks. I am sure your room-mate will have nice things to say about the Goa beyond beaches. And if she has not done this tour, you both need to come back here to do one. πŸ˜€

      Reply
  4. Wow! That’s like a place I would love to go and get to know more about spices.
    I did not know about this when we went to Goa so maybe next time. Great post, Ami and wonderful pictures.

    Reply
    • It is not just you, but most of us that think of Goa as beaches. I am glad I discovered so much more to Goa this time. Thanks for your comments.

      Reply
  5. Super interesting post about the spice tour! I learned already while reading your post. It also looks like a very colorful place!

    Reply
  6. When I visited Grenada we also went on a spice tour. I loved smelling all the fresh spices and seeing how they are processed after picking. Would certainly visit the plant in Goa as well. It will be a nice break from visiting all the wonderful beaches in the area.

    Reply
  7. Your post made me nostalgic about my college days when I visited Goa several times with friends but I never visited this spice plantation. The place looks beautiful with splendid fauna and flora. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    Reply
  8. It was already something that I had wanted to do when I visit, but now I really would love to. India spices are so wonderful and I feel like this would kind of be sensory heaven.

    Reply
  9. We visited four places in India last year and currently we are in Nepal. We visited Agra, Delhi, Varanasi and Jaipur. We are getting new 10 year visas now for India and plant to be back early next year. Goa is now on our must see list.

    Reply
  10. I am very interested in this types of tours. I have never been to a spice tour before but I do love adding a lot of flavour into my cooking and I think it would be so cool to find out how they are grown. And I would love to start my tour with a nice glass of Jasmine tea. πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks Joanna. Jasmine tea is definitely a refreshing start to a gorgeous tour. And since you like flavors, you sure will appreciate this tour.

      Reply
  11. What a nice experience this should have been! I didn’t know how the Cardamom plant and flowers look like, now I do thanks to you!

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  12. Intersting! I didn’t realise there were spice plantations in Goa. You only ever hear about the beach scene there.

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  13. This is such a great post, I’ve never though to go and follow the Spices road! Now you get me envy to do so! Your photos are so genuine and great!

    Reply
  14. Another reason to visit Goa! I have been to India, but only the North and regretted not heading south. The spice plantations look incredibly appealing and I look forward to experiencing it one day.

    Reply
  15. Pretty much anything to do with local food can make a good experience, and spices seem like a perfect subject. It would be horrible if you couldn’t eat there.

    Reply
  16. I like this idea. I visited coffee plantations in Hawaii and Costa Rica in the past. It was a great experience. Spice plantation sounds even more attractive. Looking at all these spices trapped in their bags and jars, I often wonder from where they come from, how do they grown, are they berries or nuts or, perhaps, something else.

    Reply
    • Coffee and Tea plantations have a different charm. Have been to quite a few in India but this was my first experience with a spice plantation. It was quite different and nice.

      Reply
  17. This is something I would definitely consider doing in a visit to Goa. Something I love about India is all its great spices, so having the chance to see them in their local habitat must be a great experience!

    Reply
  18. I have never been to any spice plantation and I would really love to visit one. Quite interesting to see some of these plants that gives a totally different picture from the end products (spices). I am in India right now so I might just go to this place. Thank you for this post.

    Reply
  19. Wow! Super interesting – I had no idea what these spices look like outside of their powdered form πŸ˜› great tips and write up of your time there… Craving something vanilla now πŸ™‚

    Reply
  20. Wow, this is a different side of Goa that I didn’t know about. I’ve visited Goa several times but it’s always been to relax on the beach and get a break. This is very interesting!

    Reply
    • The garlands were not jasmine. Do not really know the flower name and interestingly, it did not have any smell. You can buy spices off the rack here though I did not. I already have a stock at home πŸ˜›

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  21. Hi Ami, well first of all you are a stunning travel photographer and I love the details you wrote about in your post. It’s lovely to know that visitors are treated to great hospitality and I didn’t know spices could be used as traditional cures. I’d love to go!

    Reply
    • Thank you Danni. You just made my day with your compliments. Glad you enjoyed the post. Most of the spices in India are used as traditional medicines. Some we have grown up with and some I discovered on this tour. I hope you get to go soon.

      Reply
  22. Interesting Post. I visited Goa once. It has lot more to offer than the beaches and is one of the finest vacation destination in the country.

    Reply

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