The Indian peninsula hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In addition, the beaches offer a unique perspective into the life of the communities that reside by the sea.
Today, we visit the sandy shores hosted by Goa on the Western Coast of the Indian sub-continent.
Goa’s 103 km coastline is blessed with some of the most enchanting beaches. There might be no better place in the world to be lazy than on one of Goa’s spectacular beaches. With palm-tree groves on one side of the white sands and gently lapping waves on the other, the best of the beaches live up to your image of a tropical paradise.
These are some of the best beaches of South Goa. South Goa has a more relaxed and lazy feel to it. Here are some of the most beautiful beaches that this part of the country has to offer.
This beach dominated by a huge 5-star hotel located right on its edge and is cut apart from both the North and South beach circuit. Being just 4 kilometres away from the Goa Airport at Dabolim, it is a favourite among the elite classes and has an air of exclusivity.
A popular and pulsating activity at this beach is windsurfing that draws hundreds of visitors every day. High on adrenaline, the sport requires you have to combine open sailing and surfing skills for this activity. The best time to visit here is from November to March.
Velsao Beach makes for a quiet place to get away from it all in the company of just a lifeguard, a scattering of tourists and a flock or two of milling sea birds. The beach road travels through thick coconut groves past dozens of old bungalows, whilst the coastal road around this stretch makes for a delicious countryside drive, fringed with lily pad– studded lakes and paddy fields, and coconut groves stretching gently down to the sea.
The lonely Velsao Beach is known for its white shells and starfish infested sands and coconuts trees that line the roads as well as a large part of the beach. This beach offers solace from the typical tourist crowds that flock most of the other beaches in Goa. No annoying loud chatter, no hawkers pestering you and certainly no dirty beaches.
The Velsao beach is quietly tucked away from the hustle of the rest of Goa and so there really is no fancy place to go to here. Local bars of course are aplenty, it still is Goa after all.
Arossim Beach is difficult to distinguish from the neighbouring Cuelim and Cansaulim Beach resorts which are actually its natural extension in the north direction. All these three beaches belong to the territory of Cansaulim Village.
It is a place for party seekers and nightlife enthusiasts. During day time it is a hot spot for adventure seekers too, water sport activities like water surfing, scooting and sailing are the major attractions.
Among great variety of exotic beaches, which South Goa is gifted with, Utorda Beach can be considered to be one of the most amazing and beautiful beaches in whole region. It is bordered with two other famous beach resorts – Majorda in the south and Arossim in the north.
Like Arossim and Velsao further north, the pretty coast is offset by the hulking Zuari Agro chemical plant, but it’s nevertheless popular with holidaymakers from the surrounding swish resorts, and comes equipped with a functioning lifeguard.
The Majorda Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand where one can enjoy the beauty of the sea and can get lost in a book or take a good nap. Filled with palm groves, the soft white sands complement the galleries of greenery. Majorda is also known for its toddy tapping business and is amongst the most popular beaches in south Goa in this aspect.
The coconut groves are the places where toddy tappers sap this heady potion. Beside this beach, there are numerous restaurants that serve tasty and authentic seafood.
The Betalbatim Beach is the place to if one wants to enjoy a salubrious holiday in the company of sun and sand. Called the Sunset Beach, the view of the sunset here is breath-taking. This place is also renowned for church of St Thomas.
One can see a lot of dolphins in the area and usually there are local fishermen that take you for a dolphin trip. Betalbatim is considered to be one of the finest beaches of Goa that offers serenity and seclusion. For all those who are looking for a peaceful and relaxing place to enjoy in their Goa beach holiday, Betalbatim is the place to be.
Located 6 kilometres to the west of Margao, this is amongst the oldest and most celebrated south Goan beaches. The coastline runs for about 25 kilometres and is made up of finely grained white sand. On one side coconut groves flank the scenery.
This beach in South Goa is exclusively for the romantics. Fancy this– a candlelit dinner, a violin being played in the background in sync with the sound of water, followed by a long walk along the coastline. Colva is as mushy as it gets.
The Menino Jesus statue is a famous landmark sculpture. A trip to this beach is never complete without a visit to this statue among other places. Water lovers can engage in paragliding, water skiing and swimming in some parts of the region.
Benaulim is one of the most enchanting beaches in south Goa. It is an ideal location for sun lovers. The myths say that Lord Vishnu’s arrow landed here and so came the name Banavali. The name later transformed to Benaulim during the Portuguese regime. Today this South Goan beach is a sun lover’s spot and attracts adventure junkies in large numbers.
Apart from the beach itself, there are tourist places nearby. Atop a hill close by is St John the Baptist church. The fishermen here are known to be gifted craftsmen as well. The artisans of this beach have carved several masterpieces that adorn churches and nearby homes.
This is a private beach which has access only to few resorts in South Goa, the beach is so empty that one gets the feeling of being on a private beach. This is not a beach for party hoppers more like a calm and relaxing beach. The tides are much stronger so be careful going deep into the sea. Very few shacks but it is great to enjoy the serenity of this lovely beach.
Mobor and Cavelossim are two southern beaches lying back to back and are breathtakingly beautiful with the famed starred hotels in their backyard. A tributary of the river Sal runs in close proximity with the beaches, which offers visitors the best of the twain. Tourists indulge in water sports, bird watching and beach volleyball.
It’s hard to say where Cavelossim ends and Mobor begins, but the further south along the sands you go from Cavelossim proper, the quieter things get. By the time you reach the lush, landscaped Leela hotel, you know you’re in Mobor, and the sands quickly head towards idyllic. Wander to the tip of the peninsula where the River Sal meets the sea, and you’ll be guaranteed beachside bliss.
If you are looking for a romantic getaway amidst natural serenity, Betul beach is a must visit. This south Goan beach has some 60 huts available for accommodation at throwaway prices. The main occupation of the villagers here is fishing so a boat ride is not too hard to experience. This beach is an ideal chance to mingle with the locals and experience their lifestyle.
Beyond this secluded beach is the hill of Cabo De Rama where the Portuguese have built a fort. From the fort a great view of the sunset on the beach can be viewed. There are very few places to stay in Betul.
Just to the south of the civilized Cavelossim and brilliant Mobora resorts, Canaguinim is a wild and beautiful Beach. Canaguinim consists of two amazing beaches North Canaguinim and South Canaguinim. These “small pieces of heaven” are surrounded by lush wild vegetation, covered with golden sand and washed by warm waters of the Arabian Sea.
Cola Beach is a stunning uninhibited remote beach located 5 kilometres north of Agonda beach in South Goa. Surrounded by coconut swaying palm trees, a breath-taking freshwater blue lagoon; and the Arabian Sea, Cola beach is the perfect place to get away from it all, and experience one of the few remaining Goa beach paradises off the beaten path.
Cola beach is a set of 3 bays, each with its own private beach resort. Most beach resorts on Cola beach offer luxury Rajasthani Tent accommodation, and some with beach huts. Most accommodations on Cola beach are exclusive and include breakfast or meal packages, since there are few restaurants on the beach.
Agonda is less crowded in comparison to other South Goan beaches. With limited network connectivity, this beach is an ideal getaway for solitude and peace seekers. The serenity of this quaint beach in South Goa guarantees a relaxing mood to pen simple thoughts like poetry, while bathing in the sun. With shacks available at almost throw away prices, Agonda beach tops the list of best weekend getaways in Goa.
This beach is simply divine; wide, quiet and picturesque, with a turtle centre in the middle protecting precious Olive Ridley eggs. This is not, however, the place for a leisurely swim; the beach shelves steeply at high tide and the surf can be rough, but for a sunset walk or a long lazy day, Agonda encapsulates romantic Goa at its very best
Butterfly beach is a tiny beach cove that lies just to the north of Palolem beach at a distance of about 37 km from Margao.
A secluded beach that can be accessed only by boat, unless you decide to access it by climbing over the mountain. There is nothing here besides the beach and the visitors and a couple of temporary vendors of snacks and refreshments.
Located in Canacona and about 40 minutes’ drive from Margao, this beach is one of un-spoilt stretches of sandy shores. It embraces you with natural beauty and rocky outfits covered by trees at one end - a part that is colloquially known as Green Island. The inhabitants here are the local fishermen and visitors who stay in the shacks.
It is about one mile long and is crescent-shaped; one can view the entire beach from either end. Both ends of the beach consist of rocks jutting out into the sea. The depth of the sea increases gradually, being shallowest at the northern end of the beach, making it safe for average swimmers, and the currents are not fast.
At the top of the island adjoining Palolem Beach there is a stone sculpture created by an American artist Jacek Tylicki called "Give if you can – Take if you have to", also called the "Money Stone".
Colomb Beach/Bay, Goa, is a picture perfect little fishing village that is located around a small lagoon towards the north end of Patnem beach, in south Goa. A sleepy, close community of fishermen for most of the year; things change come November each year, when locals move out of their houses and rent them to families of foreigners, restaurants and beach huts get rebuilt and the tourist season begins.
Colomb bay is preferred by young families and long term travellers alike. A very friendly community, clean, yet alternative vibe, and lovely safe bathing make this quiet haven in south Goa a completely relaxing beach holiday destination.
Smaller and less crowded than Palolem to the north, Patnem makes a quiet and friendly alternative. It’s backed by relaxed beach shacks and has a lively surf, making it great for swimming some days and impossible on others, when an equally lively undertow is present. Its main beach road hosts a string of stalls selling the usual variety of clothes, Kashmiri jewellery and trinkets, without the attendant hard-sell of Palolem.
Yoga, reiki and a number of other alternative therapies and healing sessions are available in Patnem beach during the seasonal months. Patnem beach definitely attracts a slightly more alternative traveller, and often more of long-term visitors.
Rajbagh Beach, also known as Raj Baga or Rajbaga, is situated 4 kilometre south of Palolem Beach, in Canacona region (Canacona Taluk), South Goa. Almost the whole Rajbaga sea coastline is occupied by luxury five-star hotels. There are no other types and variants of accommodation here.
Rajbaga Beach is not a private beach, but it has very few other visitors except hotel guests. The bar and the restaurant placed at the beach are both the property of the hotel and are pretty expensive as well.
Galjibaga beach, in the far south of Goa is a dream come true for anyone searching for solitude, seclusion and an absolutely stunning beach! The long sweep of golden sand is often completely empty, apart from the occasional fisherman or children from the local village chasing crabs.
Galjibaga is a breeding site for the protected Olive Ridley turtles which explains why the beach is so deserted and almost untouched by development. If you are in Goa in January and February you may be lucky enough to see the turtles nesting and hatching. Visitors are only requested not to touch or disturb the turtles so that the conservation program can continue its successful work.
The north side of the beach is still a completely protected turtle zone, but there are a handful of simple shacks at the south end of the beach serving sensational fresh seafood. From oysters collected that day from the river estuary, to the catch of the day simply grilled or served Goan style with coconut and spices served with a chilled beer.
Talpona Beach is located in Canacona region (Canacona taluk), which is placed in the southern part of Goa. Its closest neighbouring beaches are Galjibaga Beach resort in the south and Rajbaga Beach resort in the north.
Talpona beach, is one of the few remaining beaches in Goa where fishermen bringing in the daily catch can still outnumber visitors. Low-key and laid-back, this long stretch of golden sand with sparkling crystal clear waters was, until recently, a little known piece of paradise. But even with its gradual discovery and gentle development, it is still a perfect for those who prefer peace and quiet away from the busier Goa beaches.