Searching for that breathtaking heart-shaped lake in Goa

Photo of Searching for that breathtaking heart-shaped lake in Goa by Niviya Vas

This post was originally posted on my travel blog Commoner's Causeway. Visit the blog for more travel stories, guides, and tips.

Let me begin by stating that I am, in no way, a travel guru. I'm not a full-time traveller, a nomad, or a wanderlust-driven individual who has made travel the epicentre of her existence such that her lifestyle revolves around it. Nope, no sir. I wish I were. I immensely enjoy the comfort and security that my full-time job provides, a place to always call home, and that familiar sense of welcoming that only my cats, family and friends can offer. Sure, I love visiting new places and old, exploring cities and countryside alike, savouring details of ancient structures and marvelling at the aesthetic pleasures that Nature so often throws at us, such as an elusive heart-shaped lake in Goa. But who doesn't! Heck, almost every person I know shares these feelings about travelling. With some, there's almost a Magellan-esque quality to our tone when we talk about where we've been, or where we want to go next.

I am no authority on travel, but I, like you, have a deep appreciation for the uncharted, the seldom visited and quite simply, happy discoveries. An eons-ago weekend visit to Goa, India, where I was led through a trail that ended in a sight that I can only describe as breathtakingly beautiful, fuelled my appreciation tank by several gallons.

Goa is a coastal haven, with its flaws and all (I mean, we maketh a place, don't we!). We gave the loud, packed beaches of Baga and Calangute a miss in favour of the more peaceful locales of South Goa, a trend that creeps on us as we inevitably age, much like grey hair.

Day 1

By day two, it had already rained a bunch of times, so while we did have the R&R that we desperately craved (my then-beau and I were in the middle of our final year of post-graduation) - staying in, visiting local bars for karaoke nights, feasting on seafood and food-truck croquettes - we did want to frolic a bit in the Goan sunshine. At the first sign of the clouds parting, off we drove to get to the quietest beach we could possibly find.

Day 2

Getting there

It was peak afternoon when we reached close to the coast guard colony in Chicolna, South Goa where we were taken through a secluded trail on foot. The ocean breeze with its cool, salty aroma enveloped us while the afternoon sun felt obligated to bake our skin to an extra-crisp as we trudged on the mud path, panting and wondering - where did those dang clouds disappear? We eventually reached a clearing, and it was now obvious that we were on a cliff, not by the beach. That's when we saw it, as our vision plummeted below - that heart-shaped lake in Goa that locals talk about in hushed tones.

Walking through a cliff towards the heart-shaped lagoon

Photo of Goa, India by Niviya Vas
Photo of Goa, India by Niviya Vas

This serene sight, concealed naturally by the cliff and trees, can be reached by walking the downward path. If the cool, clear waters of the lake - which is actually a lagoon - aren't enough to captivate your attention, the serene beach and its waves crashing onto rocks forming an almost impossible backdrop to this spectacle will do the trick. The upward path, the one that we first took, gives you an aerial view of the lagoon, where its distinct heart-shaped outline can be seen.

Photo of Searching for that breathtaking heart-shaped lake in Goa by Niviya Vas

Why is it kept so hush-hush?

Not many itineraries, especially local ones, mention the heart-shaped lake in Goa. Here are two reasons why.

Over-tourism. We've seen what throngs of crowds and irresponsible tourism have done to the beaches and towns in Northern Goa. This utterly beautiful heart-shaped lake in Goa faces a similar fate - empty beer cans and bottles strewn all over the cliff, countless plastic bags caught in the surrounding thistle - it is enough to both sadden and anger us. It is quite dangerous to get here; there are no safety measures such as railings on the cliff, or on the way down to the lake. The path is made of loose mud and dirt, so it gets quite slippery in places, especially if you aren't wearing the right footwear. Monsoons are peak-disaster times; Several deaths have also been reported here, including a friend who tragically lost his cousin at this place.

Photo of Searching for that breathtaking heart-shaped lake in Goa by Niviya Vas

So, what can we do?

These reasons are in no way discouraging to head to this heart-shaped lagoon in Goa. My suggestions? Wear your grippy sports shoes, grab a few friends and a well-stocked picnic basket, head to the cliff either before or after the sun is at its peak, and spend a few hours by the lagoon - chat, play games, read a book, take pictures, or just dip your feet in the crystal-clear water. The sunsets here are supposed to be beautiful, but it is dangerous to leave the area after dusk. Whatever you do, leave no proof that you were here. Better yet, indulge in a little clean-up after. 🙂

Photo of Searching for that breathtaking heart-shaped lake in Goa by Niviya Vas