Continued from my previous blog “Places to Visit in Goa – Day 4”
The spectacular South Goa beaches provide the perfect setting for lazing around – with the palm-tree groves on one side of the pristine white sands and the gentle waves on the other side. You will not find a much better backdrop to relax in India. South Goa hides some of the state’s best beaches when it comes to relaxing and picnicking and no wonder you will find many families preferring to holiday in South Goa these days.
It is indeed a very tough to short-list few South Goa beaches for your visit today as each beach holds something unique in itself. Some of the beaches in South Goa are know for their white sand beaches, few for their water sport activities and few for the sheer beauty and tranquillity they offer.
For someone who would like to spend most of the time by a shack, sipping a cool drink gazing at the blue sea over the horizon, Palolem and Agonda would be the perfect setting. For someone who would like to sun bath, take a dip and indulge in water sports, Benaulim and Varca would be perfect and for someone to who would like to enjoy the clean white sands by a good shack serving awesome sea food, Majorda and Utorda would be the perfect setting.
It would be totally unfair to spin an itinerary around someone’s personal choice & preference and thus I am not going to provide an itinerary for today :). It is best left to one’s personal choice to spend as much time as one would like to spend in the beach of their choice.
So here we go, below is the list of best South Goan beaches (well read it as, best of the best 🙂 ) that you can consider visiting today. Take your time today to relish and experience the uniqueness of each of the beaches – not to forget get your camera’s fully charged with enough storage to capture some of the most amazing landscape that you would have captured in your camera.
Palolem is one of the must visit beaches in South Goa. It is located at the southmost tip of Goa and infact is closer from Karwar than from North Goa or Panjim. If you are staying in North Goa, you will have to drive through the entire length of Goa to reach Palolem beach. It will take you a good 2.5 hours to reach Palolem from North Goa – a drive of around 80 odd kilometres. Plan to leave your resort in North Goa by around 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM so that you can reach Palolem by around 11 AM.
The first time I visited Palolem was during my visit to Goa in the year 2003. Those days, Palolem was a very small village with a beach which was not at all commercialized. There were very few shacks on the beach and it used to be a paradise for people who wanted to hang out by a beautiful beach all by themselves. Over the years, the number of tourists visiting Goa has gone up significantly and this can be seen in the way Palolem has transformed over the last 10 years. What used to a quite beach with inviting shallow blue waters has changed into a hub of activity – with countless number of shacks and water sports activities all along the beach. The action though still cannot be compared to the madness that you will find in the highly commercialized North Goa beaches. (Read here)
The beach is crescent shaped and is pretty shallow. During low tide you can walk through waist deep water and the calmness of the water makes this a paradise for tourists who are looking for a good swim under the sun. The entire landscape around the beach is lined with towering coconut palms, which makes this beach that much more picturesque. During peak season (November end to mid February), Palolem offers a wide range of accommodation for all types of backpackers who visit Goa. You can find very basic huts to the luxurious suite huts which provide a perfect setting for budget travellers. On the contrary you will not find any luxury resorts around this beach. At the rate at which South Goa is getting commercialized, I would not be surprised to see couple of luxury resorts coming up in the near future :).
Note: The nearest luxury resort would be The Lalit Golf & Spa resort in Conacona
When you are in Palolem do not miss the following activities:
a. Dolphin trip – there are many dolphins which are spotted around in this area and you will find many boats lined up by the beach ready to take you into deep sea for Dolphin sighting. Most of the times the local fishermen have very good idea about where these dolphins can be spotted and you really need to have a bad day to be back at the beach without spotting one. 🙂
b. Sea food dishes served in the shacks: Most of the dishes made in these shacks that you can find around Palolem serve fresh fish which local fishermen bring every morning. The red snapper is the most recommended dish.
c. Kayaking: If you are the adventurous kind and are not scared of deep sea, you might want to try your hand on Kayaking – make no mistake, you still need to know the basics about how a kayak works and how to steer it around. I will not recommend this to anyone who does not know swimming, has fear of deep sea and has no idea how Kayak works.
Agonda beach is very close to Palolem beach – around 10 kilometres north of Palolem. It will take you around 20 minutes to drive from Palolem to Agonda beach. The beach looks pretty similar to the Palolem beach, except for the huge crimson red boulders that grace the southern tip of this beach. The beach is also the nesting place for the endangered ridley turtle.
You will find many shacks and resorts in this stretch of the beach – this is one of the sought after beaches in South Goa for camping during the peak season. You will also find many water sports activities during the non-monsoon season.
Majorda & Utorda Beaches
Utorda beach is one of the remote beaches in Goa which have not yet been commercialized to that extent. It can also be considered as one of the most amazing and cleanest beaches in South Goa. There are 2 other famous beaches located near Utorda beach – Majorda in the south and Arossim in the north. There is a very narrow river (well more like a stream) which basically separates these beaches. This stretch of beach has one of the best white sand beaches in Goa. The sand here is very fine in texture and of dazzling light colour. The sea here is relatively calmer and thus makes is enjoyable for a swim (I am not a great swimmer, thus have not ventured into deep sea).
There are only 2 resorts located on this stretch of the beach, one being Kenilworth and the other one being Royal Orchid (located right next to Kenilworth). The entire beach is nested with great shacks to laze around – the prominent and recommended ones being Balton’s (we spent most of our time in this Shack), LLoyd’s shack, Boat Quay Grill, Zeebop, and Camillos Stack Shack. Since there are only 2 resorts located on this stretch, the beach is very clean and is practically devoid of any crowd. One can spend hours sipping a cold drink and reading a book enjoying the view without being disturbed -an ideal setting for a family.
Benaulim & Colva beaches
Benaulim beach is one of the best beaches that you can find in Goa. Though the beach does not have white sand like Zuri and Kenilworth, it is buzzing with activity during the peak season – read from October to April.There is a very interesting mythological story behind the naming of this beach – the myth says that Lord Parashurama’s ( an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) arrow landed here and thus the name of this place became Banavali. During the Portuguese era, this name gradually changed to what it is currently know by – Benaulim.
Benaulim beach is widely regarded as the Sun-lover’s paradise and attracts loads of tourists during the peak season. It is a sight to visit this place during the peak season, as the entire place is buzzing with activity. There will be no dearth of sun beds and you will find any adventure junkies trying their hand on water sports activities like parasailing, boat riding, jet skiing and bike rides.
Note: When we visited Benaulim during the monsoon season, we did not see much activity on the beach. The beach was exclusively for us (hardly found even a single soul apart from the folks staying the resort). This applies to most of the beach in South Goa during monsoon season though. 🙂
Mobor beach is one of the hidden gems located to the south of the Covelossim beach – honestly, you will not know where the Covelossim beach ends and Mobor beach starts. The only way to know that you have reached Mobor is, when you spot the Holiday Inn and Leela resorts. The beach is very close to the estuary where the Sal river meets the Arabian sea.
As the beach is located in a remote location, not many tourist take the pain of driving down to this beach. You might not find this beach being called out in many websites as this beach is not yet commercialized. A good way to reach this beach would be to plan a short trip to “Holiday Inn resort” or “The Leela” and then access the beach from there. Both these resorts have some of the best beach side restaurants and it would not be a bad idea to had a drink by the beach munching the amazing range of snacks that they provide.
Visiting the South Goa beaches would leave you spellbound by the beauty of beaches. There is something very relaxing about watching the tireless waves kissing the pristine Golden sand glittering under the clear blue skies. The pictures of South Goa beaches etched in your memory are the main reason why you might be tempted to come back to Goa – at-least, that’s the reason why I land in Goa every year for the past 12 odd years 🙂
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It’s Arrosim for me! Majorda has Albert’s shack, which we’ve been going to for the past six years, but the beach is now busier than from when we first started going. Arrosim is local to our hotel, and the Star Fish shack also serves good food, but in much quieter surroundings. At several points this year (January) my wife and I were the only people in the sea for as far as the eye could see – either direction. 🙂
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Thanks for your thoughts Jack…will definitely check out the Star Fish shack during my next visit to Goa…. Do you visit Goa frequently?
Now I’m embarrassed 😦 Being a Goan I haven’t been to half the shacks u mentioned!
Awesome pics though. Nothing like a day on the beach 🙂
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Hahahaha…it happens to me also when people mention places in Bangalore which I have not been…I guess we always overlook the things that the city we live offers… 🙂
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And moreover… I visit Goa atleast once a year..so these are compilation of all my visits 🙂
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