About Goa Beaches
Goa is all about beaches. This is neither an exaggeration nor a restrictive statement.
People travel to Goa with mostly one thing in mind – to enjoy lazing around in the sandy beaches of Goa with swaying palms providing the perfect backdrop. Water sports activities or simply enjoying other leisurely activities also make the beaches of Goa extremely attractive proposition for tourists.
Here’s a quick guide to the famous beaches of Goa for all those who are planning to go for Goa beach tourism.
1) Cavelosim Beach : — This one of the lovely beaches of South Goa lies between Arabian sea and Sal river. The fine amalgamation of lush paddy fields, the shining Sal River and the soft sands of the beach creates an ambiance for an unforgettable beach holiday at Cavelossim. Alike other Goan beaches, Cavelossim beach offers endless arrays of beach activities like sunbathing at the beach, Dolphin spotting and sunset cruises on the river Sal.
Sleepy Cavelossim, straddling the coast road 11-km south of Colva, is the last major settlement in southwest Salcete: its only claim to fame. A short way beyond the village’s picturesque church square, a narrow lane veers left across an open expanse of paddy fields to the Cavelossim-Assolna ferry crossing near the mouth of the Sal River.
If one is heading south to Canacona, turn left off the ferry and carry on as far as Assolna Bazaar, clustered around a junction on the main road. A right turn at this crossroads puts you on track for Canacona.
Carry straight on at the junction just past the square in Cavelossim and one’ll eventually arrive at Mobor, where Colva beach fades into a rounded sandy spur at the mouth of the Assolna River. This would be an exquisite spot if it weren’t the site of South Goa’s largest, and most obtrusive, package tourist enclave.
Crammed together on to a narrow spit of dunes between the surf and estuary, the holiday inns and beach resorts combine to create a holiday camp ambience that has as little to do with Goa as their architecture.
2) Colva Beach : — Colva beach acts as a loners paradise amongst the beaches in Goa. It is a haven for those travellers who want to spend their vacation away from the hustle and bustle. Most of the time, it remains uncrowded but with the onset of October, it comes alive as Christian pilgrims come here to worship infant Jesus at Colva Church. It is also an ideal destination to engage oneself in various kinds of exciting adventure sports.
A hot season retreat for Margao’s moneyed middle classes since long before Independence, Colva is the oldest and largest of South Goa’s resorts. Its leafy outlying ‘Vaddos’, or wards are pleasant enough, dotted with colonial style villas and ramshackle fishing huts. The beachfront is a collection of concrete hotels, souvenir stalls and fly blown snack bars strewn around a central roundabout.
Each afternoon, busloads of visitors from out of state mill around here after a paddle on the crowded foreshore, pestered by postcard wallahs and the little urchins whose families camp on the outskirts. If, however, one wants to steer clear of this central market area, and stick to the cleaner, greener outskirts, Colva can be a pleasant and convenient place to stay for a while. Swimming is relatively safe while the sand, at least away from the beachfront, is spotless and scattered with beautiful shells.
Although never an established rave venue, Colva’s nightlife is livelier than anywhere else in south Goa, thanks to its ever-growing contingent of young package tourists. The two most happening nightspots are down in the dunes south of the beachfront area: splash boasts a big MTV satellite screen and music to match, and a late bar and disco that liven up around 10.00 pm.
A sandy plod just south of here, posier Ziggy’s boast Goa’s only air conditioned dance floor, a thumping Indian Ragga and Techno sound system, and a sociable terrace littered with wicker easy chairs. If one prefers to get plastered somewhere affordable and less pretentious, try Johnny Cool’s midway between the beach and Colva crossroads. Men Mar, on the Vasco Road, also serves beers, snacks and Lassis until around 10.30 pm.
3) Bogmolo Beach: — Goa Bogmalo beach is a perfect melting pot of nature’s beauty and urbanization. Prior to becoming a tourist spot, Bogmalo beach was a quaint fishing village which is bedecked with a tiny-whitewashed Chapel and clusters of beach shacks scattered under the coconut palms. Though popular, but less crowded like other Goa beaches, Bagmalo beach is an ideal for picnickers.
Immediately south of the airport, the Mormugao peninsula’s sun parched central plateau tumbles to a flat-bottomed valley lined with coconut trees and redbrick huts. The sandy beach at the end of the cove would be even more picturesque were it not for the monstrous multi-storey edifice perched above it. Until Oberoi erected a huge five star hotel here, Bogmalo was just another small fishing village, hemmed in by a pair of palm fringed headlands at the northern end of Colva bay.
A Former Fishing Village, Today’s Tourist Hangout
The village is still present at Bogmalo, complete with a tiny-whitewashed Chapel and gangs of hogs nosing through the rubbish, but its environs have been transformed. Pricey café-bars blaring Western music have crept up the beach, while the clearing below the hotel is prowled by assiduous Kashmiri handicraft vendors.
Even so, compared with Calangute Or Colva, Bogmalo is still a small-scale resort. As long as one hasn’t come to Goa to get away from it all or party all night, then one’ll find Bogmalo congenial enough. The beach is clean and not too crowded, the water reasonably safe for swimming, and there are plenty of places to eat, drink and shop. If, on the other hand, one is looking for somewhere not yet, on the package tourist map, one’ll be better off further south, at the far end of Colva Beach or beyond.
DIVING AT BOGMALO
A small dive school recently opened up in Bogmalo and is one of the few places in India where one can do PADI-approved Open water diving courses. Operating out of Joet’s guesthouse, at the far end of the beach, the British run outift also offers half day “Try Dives” for novices, guided dives to shipwreck sites and coral beds off the coast and tuition for more advanced qualifications.
For More Information: Contact – Goa Diving, House No. 145P, Chapel Bhat, Chicalim, Near Bogmalo.
4) Majorda Beach : — Located in the southern part of Bogmalo, Majorda beach is one of the most alluring beaches in Goa India. With the changing Indian tourism scenario, Majorda beach has started to beckon large number of visitors from all across the globe. It is a perfect testimony of scenic beauty of Mother Nature and Indian hisotry.
Apart from its magnificent beauty, Majorda beach is also known for its historic and mythological significance.
A Legend says that Majorda was the very beach where Lord Rama was kidnapped, during his childhood. This legend further goes that after few years, Lord Rama has once again visited the beach when he was in search of his wife Sita. During his visit, he came to Cabo-de-Rama, which lies at the southern end of the beach. This amalgamation of nature’s beauty and mythology has enhances the attrACTION of the Majorda.
5) Benaulim Beach : — Unlike other Goan beaches, Benaulim is amongst the less discovered beaches of Goa. This tranquil beach which mostly attracts solitude seekers is a famous fishing village. Every day with the descend of sun in the azure water of Arabian sea, Benaulim beach comes alive as the fishermen of nearby village returns to their sweet home.
According to Hindu mythology Goa was created when the sage Shri Parasurama, Lord Vishnu’s sixth incarnation, fired an arrow into the sea from the top of the Western Ghats and ordered the waters to recede. The spot where the shaft fell to earth, known in Sanskrit as “Banali” and later corrupted by the Portuguese to Benaulim, lies in the centre of Colva Beach, 7-km west of Margao.
A Sleepy Village
Only a decade ago, this fishing and rice-farming village, scattered around the coconut groves and paddy fields between the main Colva-Mobor Road and the dunes, had barely made it onto the backpackers map. Now, the shady lane leading through it is studded with guesthouses and souvenir stalls while the paddy fields on the outskirts are gradually disappearing under a rash of gigantic luxury resorts and time-share apartment blocks. For the time being, however, this remains a peaceful and welcoming place to unwind.
Either side of the sand blown beachfront, the gently shelving sands shimmer away almost to the horizon, litered with photogenic wooden fishing boats that provide welcome shade if the walk from the palm trees to the sea gets too much. Hawkers, itinerant masseurs and fruit wallahs appear from time to time, but one can easily escape them by heading south towards neighbouring Varca, where tourism has thus far made little impact.
Moreover, the sea is safe for swimming, being generally jellyfish-free, while the village itself boasts a few serviceable bars and restaurants, several telephone booths and a couple of stores.
6) Palolem Beach : — Sobriquet as ‘Paradise beach’, Palolem beach in Canacona town is a treasure amongst the beaches in South Goa. It is a mile long beach which is adorned with shady palm trees and silvery sands. Palolem beach is one of the unspoilt and less explored beaches in Goa. It is mostly inhabited by fishermen community of the area. Every day with the onset of dusk, the beach is beautifully lit with earthen lamp. A stone sculpture known as ‘the Money stone’ having the quote “Give if you can – Take if you have to” is a must visit site at this beach.
The Tiny Bay
Palolem, 2-km west of Chaudi, pops up more often in glossy holiday brochures than any other beach in Goa; not because the village is a major package tour destination, but because its crescent shaped bay lined with a swaying curtain of coconut palms, is irresistibly photogenic. Hemmed in by a pair of wooded headlands, a perfect curve of white sand arcs north from a pile of hug boulders to the spur of Sahyadri Ghat, which here tapers into the sea.
Until recently foreign tourists were few and far between in Palolem. Over the past five or six years, however, increasing numbers of budget travellers have begun to find their way here, and the village is now far from the undiscovered idyll it used to be, with a string of cafes, Karnatakan hawkers and a tent camp crowding the beachfront.
Souvenir stalls have also sprung up, catering mainly for the mini-van and boat parties of charter tourists on day trips from resorts further north. In spite of these encroachments, Palolem remains a resolutely traditional village, where the easy pace of life is dictated more by the three daily rounds of Todi (also spelt as Toddy) tapping than the exigencies of tourism.
With the beach now lined along its entire length with brightly lit shack cafes, finding somewhere to eat in Palolem is not a problem, although the locals have to buy in most of their fish from Margao and Karwar. The one outstanding place is the Classic Restaurant, where one can tuck into delicious, freshly baked Western wholefood and cakes.
More popular among budget travellers, though, is Sun ‘n’ Moon, behind the middle of the beach; when it closes, the die-hard drinkers head through the palm trees to nearby Dylan’s Bar, which stays open until the last customer has staggered home. For optimum sunset views of the bay, head for the obscurely named Found Things bar and restaurant, at the far southern end of Palolem beach, which faces west. Travellers on tight budgets should also note the row of tiny Bhaji stalls outside the Beach Resort, where one can order tasty and filling breakfasts of Pao Bhaji, fluffy bread rolls, Omlettes and Chai (tea) for next to nothing.
7) Varca Beach : — Counted among one of the virgin beaches of Goa, Varca beach of South Goa is an ideal site for those seeking peace and tranquility. Mother Nature has spread her beauty throughout the Varca beach. The vast expanses of white softy sands and the cool breeze which flows throughout the beach will surely usher you to a different world. The palm thatched small houses which are available here enhance the beauty of the grassy dunes of the area. It is an amazing place to see Dolphins from a close point.
If one staying in Benaulim, one is bound at some point to visit Varca: the row of beached wooden fishing boats 2-km south of Benaulim belong to its community of Christian fisher folk, whose palm thatched long houses line the foot of the grassy dunes.