Ever wonder what its like on the islands of Divar and Chorao in Goa? Everyone wants to escape to an island, but there are few as pretty as these two!

Goa is home to more than 50 beautiful islands and it’s really hard not to jump on a ferry and navigate your way to happiness! Amongst these, anyone who has been to Divar, Goa admits that the place made their hearts skip a beat. 

So, Soul Travelling decided to weigh the pros and cons of life on Divar by speaking with the locals there. Mr. Neves Quadros, owner of a beautiful island-homestay called ‘Moradia dos Quadros’, shares his experience with us.

The image shows the island of divar goa
Drone shot of the gorgeous Divar island

An introduction to the island of Divar, Goa

The island of Divar is languidly nestled between the two talukas of Tiswadi and Bardez, on the river Mandovi. It can be easily accessed via ferry from three different locations. What’s unique about Divar, Goa is its authentic Goan. Temples, churches and houses there contribute to a very unique and fascinating narrative. Not only that, Divar also retains its pristine beauty, being draped with paddy fields and palm trees spilling to brim everywhere you gaze. The island is like an aged wine of Goan culture and heritage.

“We (the residents of Divar) are the ideal impersonations of the ‘Susegad Goenkar’, the laid-back Goan life. Care for their land, culture and the environment is second nature to these ‘Divarkars’, say Mr Quadros.

To add a cherry on the cake, the sense of community and belonging is abundant in Divar. The whole village is your family! As testimony you can just go witness the Goan festivals of Bonderam and Potekar that happen on the island.

festival of Goa Bonderam that happens every year on island of divar in Goa
The Bonderam Festival

Festivals of Goa on the island of Divar, Goa

Bonderam comes from the Portuguese word ‘bandeira’, referring to a ‘flag’. This festival stems from an ancient rivalry amongst the three communities of the island: Goltim-Navelim, Sao Matias and Piedade. The Portuguese solved this matter by introducing a system of marking boundaries using flags. In between the fights and finally using flags to mark their territory, the festival of Bonderam in Divar, Goa came into existence. When is Bonderam celebrated? This annual Bonderam Flag Carnival is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of August, bringing the sleepy countryside to life. We can only imagine the fun, frolic and laughter that fills the air on the day of the festival. 

Goans dressed as ghosts during Potekar
Sneak peak of the much-feared – by children – Potekar festival that taks place on the Divar island in Goa

Apart from this, Potekar is another popular and very lively festival in Goa that this island witnesses. It is similar to the American Halloween where one can find residents dressed like ghosts and monsters, trying to scare off the village children. They’re handed food and even beers by the residents. What’s more, the festival concludes with a community lunch where everyone gets together to eat. 

a field in Divar Goa
The rolling green fields of Divar

Why should you visit Divar island, Goa?

So if we had to look at the bright side of life on an island, we could say that the evergreen landscape has us. The soothing calm and quiet just adds a layer of icing to the cake. Just imagine driving through a noisy traffic jam while cribbing about the awful day you had at work. In between then and now, your car finds its way to Divar. You pull your windows down and the monsoon breeze takes all your troubles with it. It doesn’t smell like exhaust and the only sound that accompanies you is the sweet chirping of birds. Divar is replete with some of Goa’s most magnificent flora and fauna! Don’t deny it, you are currently wondering if you could possibly own some property on this slice of heaven! 

a Hindu temple in Divar Goa
a Goan church in Divar
Some architectural heritage on the island with its own fascinating story

The struggles of living on the island of Divar

So we’re disconnected from the madding crowd, snuggly settled into a warm island and its people. It gets better if you plan on reading a book, but what if you want to stream a movie? Moving through the island, we realised that the mobile data isn’t that strong. According to Mr Quadros the island has one tower on a hill and the broadband services are erratic and fluctuating. He does add that better internet service providers are making their way to Divar now. 

the ferry boat common in Goa to cross rivers
The ferry boat

We also asked him if he’s faced any problems as an islander. 

“Normally no…the saying ” So close ( to capital city Panaji ) but yet so far ( from the madding crowd) is apt for Divar Island.”

Although, since the island is located on the banks of a river, flooding can and has caused problems for the inhabitants. Divar’s fields are located below sea level and are prone to flooding. A system of dykes was put into place to protect these fields from any such instances, and it has held up its end of the bargain. There have also been instances on the island where there have been temporary shortages of consumables in the island stores due to delayed deliveries by suppliers. This could also have been because of the ferry, a completely marvellous and unique experience. Yet, since Divar, Goa isn’t connected to the mainland by road, complete reliance on the ferry service has its drawbacks too.

View from a ferry

The ferry workers do try their best to be as efficient as they can. Mr Quadros informed us that all late night medical emergencies are attended by hospitals that are across the island and the ferries do work 24/7 for such emergencies. They have ambulances, pharmacies and hospitals that don’t take more than 15 minutes to reach. Moreover, there is not a reason to fret since the island provides 3 different crossing points across it. Even if one does shut down, the other two aren’t too far away from each other.

What’s more, the island offers delivery services too, even Swiggy has made its way across the river!

Final thoughts

So yeah, every island has its pros and cons, and the island of Divar, Goa is no exception. You get to enjoy fresh air, majestic vistas and a community that is thicker than thieves while sacrificing maybe your high speed data. You might also have to manage without your exotic imported oats bar because the wholesale supplier got stuck in a jam or the ferry broke down. That’s okay though. Try the neighbour’s patoleo for a change, it’s healthier and tastier anyway!

If you want to experience Divar island in Goa without actually living there, then book a heritage tour in Goa with Soul Travelling! You can take a look at the magnificent architecture, go clay bathing, fishing or just spend a cosy day exploring the island.

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