They say “third time is a charm” and it was our third and probably our last attempt in finding “Betul Beach”. Believe it or not, back in those days, Betul Beach won’t even appear on Google Maps! We roamed the streets of Cavelossium, for three consecutive years, searching for this secret beach, without any success.
In 2016, after days of persuading, I spotted a bus with “To Betul” sign. Upon inquiring, the bus conductor convinced us to return to our hotel since there is nothing to see in Betul and there is no beach called “Betul Beach”. We were back in 2017! This time, Google Maps did assist but mid-way (after crossing Assolna-Cavelossium bridge), it pointed towards a jungle leading nowhere. A passerby said he has never heard of “Betul Beach” and navigating the jungle could be risky to which both Ayan and I agreed upon (and silently dropped the idea of “Betul Beach” hunt).
The next year, we decided to opt for a relaxing beach vacation where I will gaze at the endless sea and Ayan will entertain me with his enthusiasm to continuously hurdle with the crashing waves! But Goa had different plans for us! We were staying at the Lazy Frog, Carmona, Goa owned by Roy (must visit budget stay with a swimming pool, badminton court and delicious food!). One day, over a casual discussion with Roy, we told him about our “Betul Beach” quest. Now, we felt like Indiana Jones while narrating our story to him but he looked at us as if we were Joey Tribbianis!
Next, the Good Samaritan tells us that Betul is a Fishing Port and Village located south of river Sal. The major attraction is the Betul Lighthouse which is around 6 km away from the Cavelossium-Assolna bridge. The route to the Lighthouse is available on Google Maps. Otherwise, it’s a pretty simple route and can be navigated easily. Once the Cavelossium-Assolna bridge ends, you need to take a right and head straight for a couple of kilometer till you reach a crossroad. At the crossroad, don’t take any turn but continue straight until you see an uphill road on your left which leads to the lighthouse. An easy hike to the lighthouse offers a panoramic view of Betul Village and the stretch of Cavelossium-Mobor beach.
On your way back, after the downhill, you can either take a right and head towards Cavelossium, or take a left to visit Betul Port/Village. This is where River Sal meets the Arabian Sea, making it a favorite fishing spot amongst localities. The Betul lighthouse can be seen from the port and few lucky ones have even spotted dolphins here. The place is also home to the ruins of Betul Fort.
At the opposite end of the port lies a beach known as “Betul Beach” amongst tourists. In fact, we came across few articles stating this beach is owned by JW Marriott in South Goa! However, in reality, the beach is an extension of Mobor Beach (south of Cavelossium Beach). The luxury resort-The Leela, Goa shares this beach along with the famous Mark’s shack. A long stretch of white sand beach is very common in South Goa but this beach offers a lot more. Eagles and kingfishers skimming the sea surface for fish adds a flavor of wilderness balanced by the fishing boats sailing in and out of the port. When you see men and animal hunting for food at this spot, you realize they are both driven by similar needs and yet, act so differently. Both of them are primarily looking for food and shelter. The only difference is animals have learnt to live in harmony with nature while human beings have learnt to destroy our ecosystem in order to cater to their needs.
We walked into the beach cum port to find a group of kids fishing off the shore with basic fishing rods. Upon approaching them to see their catch of the day, it seemed they were running out of luck. They explained they will need to catch at least one fish if not more before the low tide hits and almost immediately got back to work. We realized what appeared to be a mere game to us meant so much more to these little ones and thus left them alone with their problem at hand. On the other side, a couple of fishermen were sailing towards the sea in their medium sized fishing boats and unlike the group of kids, they had huge fishing nets on board. Eventually, the boats sailed away far across the sea, until they became invisible to our eyes. We could not help but wonder, what does it take to be able to wake up everyday, even before the dawn breaks? What does it take to sail in extreme conditions, to catch us our meals, and yet, not being able to feed one’s own family? In front of us, the mighty waves of the Arabian Sea met the River Sal. This union was pretty evident when the undesirable brownish color of the otherwise known as muddy water from the river changed into an emerald blue delight.
Our most memorable moment at Betul was when a water-bird plunge dives into the sea and catches a fish only to be chased by another water-bird trying to snatch away its catch of the day. We had seen something like this only on television before and by the time we could get our cameras rolling, the winner had already flown away with its trophy! Our verdict is- Nature is beautiful. If you are willing to preserve the magnificent Betul Lighthouse, acknowledge the hard lives of the fishermen at Betul Port and protect Betul Beach from plastic pollution to be able to watch the glowing colors of the sunset, go ahead and spill the beans, tell everyone about this secret place. But, if you cannot respect local and cultural heritage, and care little about environmental pollution, kindly skip this place.
About The Author
We are a husband-wife duo who are sad IT professionals on the outside and Spirited Travelers from the inside. We aim at appreciating different cultures, lifestyle and food. Often, the roads taken the most suffer adverse effects of tourism and through our writing, we want to encourage our readers to be responsible towards environmental preservation. To be a part of our adventures around the globe, follow us on Instagram @ the_spirited_travelers.