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Grand Island Entry Fee

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Grand Island Address: Ilha Grande, Vasco da Gama, Goa, 403806, India

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Grand Island Timings

Day Timing
Monday 6:00 am – 3:00 pm
Tuesday 6:00 am – 3:00 pm
Wedesday 6:00 am – 3:00 pm
Thursday 6:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friday 6:00 am – 3:00 pm
Saturday 6:00 am – 3:00 pm
Sunday 6:00 am – 3:00 pm
Links: | Map

Goa’s coastline is dotted with a number of small islands, many of which resemble foreign locales. One such island is Grand Island. Also known as Ilha Grande as per its Portuguese name, this island sits around 1 km off the natural harbor of the Goan city of Vasco da Gama.

Sometimes referred to as ‘Bat Island’, Grand Island is popular for its water activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, dolphin sighting, fishing or just swimming. The island is also called Monkey Beach, after the name of the beach that graces its shore.

History Behind Grand Island

Apart from its Portuguese name, there is very little history that relates to Ilha Grande. Spanning over 8 lakh square meters, a large portion of the land is private property, to the tune of 5.28 lakh square meters.

The State Government of Goa owns 2.78 lakh square meters of Grand Island, which was in the news for being held off from the Navy in 2013 when they asked to secure the island for marine bases in a bid to protect the aviation sector from terrorists. Currently, the Indian Marine Forces take control of the island periodically for their training operations.

Sometimes called Mortar Island, this place holds strategic importance for the local fishermen who often dock here to rest from their long days of fishing in the hot sun. The rocks at Grand Island also act as refuge to traditional fishermen when they wish to escape turbulent weather or tempest-like conditions in the sea.

In connection with the colonial times, there is a shipwreck off the coast of Grand Island which is now a popular dive site. Called Suzy’s Wreck, the site is a British vessel which measures 135 meters in length and had sunk. This place is ideal for beginners.

Grand Island Timings and Entry Fee

Grand Island can only be accessed during the day as it officially belongs to the Indian Navy. There are no hotels, hostels, homestays or other types of tourist accommodation on this island and it is not permitted to stay overnight on Ilha Grande.

In fact, it is required by law that any tourist boat leaves the island by 3 PM. In addition to the timing restriction, tours to Bat Island only open from October to June as the onset of the monsoon makes the waters choppy and the visibility low. The only way to enter Grand Island is to take an organized half-day or full-day tour.

Interesting Facts About Grand Island

There is much to know about Grand Island and even more to enjoy here. Find out about all that you can experience here:

  • This island is situated off the Mormugao Peninsula and is bordered by Ilha de São Jorge or Saint George Island which belongs to the Indian Navy.
  • Afternoons on Grand Island can be full of sweltering heat, especially in summers. Special care must be taken in terms of hydration and sun protection during these times. A sunscreen lotion with a high SPF or a hat is recommended, especially when you are just chilling on the beach. It is a good idea to carry some water and snacks with you.
  • Many tours to Grand Island do not actually stop there, as the dive spots are in the water, close to the island.
  • The depth of the sea around the shore is between 7 meters and 20 meters. This is good for both snorkeling and scuba diving. Snorkels, masks and diving kit including a mouthpiece and an oxygen tank are provided by the tour operators.
  • Not far from Bat Island, UmmaGumma Reef is a nice dive sight for beginners. It is possible to find lobsters, small turtles, sea cucumbers, white-tip reef sharks and needlefish here.
  • For advanced divers, Davy Jones Locker ship is a sunken shipwreck that is worth their professional expertise. If you have strong muscles and the stamina to swim through strong sea currents, Sailing Rock is another scuba diving site for advanced divers.
  • During your tour, you can spot islands such as San Jose and Penjueno on the way. You can also see Goa Jail and Fort Aguada from the sea.

How to Reach Grand Island

Grand Island is around 1 km away from mainland Goa. While the final way to reach this island in the Arabian Sea is by boat, there are a number of ways to enter Goa:

By Air: To reach the nearest city of Vasco da Gama, you can take a cab from Manohar International Airport in Mopa, which will take 1.5 hours to cover 60 km. The closest airport is the Dabolim Airport which is 5 km apart and just a 10-minute drive away from Baina Beach in Vasco – from where most of the boat trips to Ilha Grande begin.

By Train: The closest railway station to Baina Beach is Vasco-Da-Gama Railway Station, at a distance of about 5 km away. It will take around 15 minutes to reach the start point for Grand Island from there.

By Bus: The nearest bus stop to Baina Beach is Vasco KTC Bus Stand, about 15 minutes away. If you find a connecting bus to Baina Bus Stand, it will only take 10 minutes to cover the 3 kilometers.

By Car: As cars cannot be transported to Grand Island, you will have to leave any rental car or your personal vehicle in Vasco da Gama before getting on the boat to the island. However, you can hire a private cab from top car rental companies in Goa to reach the boarding point.

By Bike or Scooty: Bikes or scooters cannot be taken to Bat Island and must be left in Vasco da Gama before boarding your tour boat.

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Location Map for Grand Island

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