A Full-Disclosure Guide To The Best Part Of Goa, Which Is Criminally Under-Loved 

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Goa might be India's smallest state, but it is also the country's most beloved escape. If you're dreaming of winding down with nothing to do besides chomping on Euro-Indian delicacies and guzzling down beer, then you've got Goa on your mind, and trust me, I know what that's like.

While the north part of Goa attracts the most number of tourists, the beaches in south Goa are sans chaos, but with a quiet glamour, and a lot of fun. So if it's a recharging of batteries you're looking for, skip the usual Goan tourist traps and take a detour to south Goa.

Here's a roundup of all you need to know before you throw your clothes into a backpack and set off.

Photo of A Full-Disclosure Guide To The Best Part Of Goa, Which Is Criminally Under-Loved  1/1 by Himani Khatreja
Credit: Akhil Verma

The best beaches

There are about 127 beaches in south Goa. But don't worry, I'm not going talk about all of them. Instead, I've handpicked five of the best ones that you should a place on your south Goa itinerary.

Butterfly Beach. Credit: Nicolas Mirguet

Photo of Butterfly Beach, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

Accessible only by boat, Butterfly Beach is a secluded gem. The few who know about it, come here to sit by themselves and quietly reflect while staring into the aqua blue waters. There are no shops, hawkers or beach shacks to disturb you or break your trance. So pack your own picnic and eat while you enjoy the calm. Locals have also spotted dolphins here once in a while, so keep your eyes peeled while you're around.

Agonda Beach isn't as off-the-radar as other beaches in south Goa, but it's popularity (read: crowds) is nowhere close to Baga and Calangute. You'll find all kinds of beach pubs and eateries here. The choppy waves makes the sea a tad uncomfortable for a swim, but the romantic setting makes it lovely for walks and time on the sand. If you're here from October to May, you might even see Olive-Ridley turtles nesting in the sand.

Palolem Beach. Credit: Carlos Zambrano

Photo of Palolem Beach, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

One of the most picture-perfect beaches in south Goa, Palolem is where you'll get those great "Goa clicks". Palm trees line the sand and classy timber huts offer food and accommodation. It makes for a great family destination, as the beach is guarded and thus super safe for swimming and kayaking. Many kinds of recreational classes such as yoga and cooking are also held nearby; ask locals for more information.

Patnem Beach is located only 10 minutes away from Palolem, but has a more chilled out vibe. The best thing to do here is laze in the sand, sip on a drink and occasionally flex your muscles and go paddle-board on the water. Go here to get away from beach shacks and people.

Cola Beach. Credit: Between the shadows photography

Photo of Cola Beach, Cola, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

You'll have to rent a motorbike or a car to get to this beach, but it'll be well worth it. Hidden Cola Beach in Canacona, is surrounded by towering coconut trees and is supposedly one of the most scenic beaches in south Goa. The beach lies in the middle of forested cliffs and next to a beautiful shining emerald lagoon!

Experiences beyond beaches

Here are some options, if you are looking to experience Goa beyond its beaches:

Dance non-stop at Leopard Valley

Credit: Leopard Valley

Photo of Leopard Valley, Canacona, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

Leopard Valley is a one-of-its-kind magical dance club, hidden in a lush valley in Agonda Village, Goa. One of the biggest open-air clubs in India, Leopard Valley is situated in the middle of a jungle quarry. The stone decor blends seamlessly in with its natural surroundings and the long bar serves all kinds of drinks. But this isn't just a night destination. You can enjoy its greenery and dance non-stop in the day as well. But its psychedelic lights and lazers and electric atmosphere only comes alive after it gets dark.

Route: You'll see the club's signboard as you go to Agonda from Palolem. As you take the dirt trail, an iron gate will welcome you into a steep descent towards the valley.

Spend an afternoon exploring the Cabo De Rama Fort

Credit: Michael Scalet

Photo of Cabo da Rama Fort, Palolem, Canacona, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

One of the oldest forts in Goa, Cabo De Rama is named after Ramayana hero, Ram, who is believed to have lived here during his exile years. Though built by Hindu rules, the fort changed hands many times, and even functioned as a prison at one point in history. Today you can get a stunning view of the Arabian Sea and the Goan coastline from the top of Cabo De Rama. The fort itself is exciting to explore. You can also visit the small church of Saint Antonio near the fort.

Getting there: You can take a bus from Madgaon, which is close to the fort. But a more convenient way would be to hire a vehicle (a scooter or a car) and drive to the fort via NH17

Stop at Bat Island for a snorkelling adventure

Bat Island, also called Pequeno Island, is a small island a kilometre away from Vasco da Gama's Baina Beach. The island houses a single lush green hill and a small rocky beach with white sand. The main attraction, though, is the vivid coral reef and beautiful marine life that make Bat Island prime estate for snorkelling. The calm water surrounding are also perfect for kayaking. You can even find trainers here, if you are keen on learning these activities. Contact your hotel for more information.

Bust a move to some jazz and rock at a bistro bar

While Goa is known for its clubs and discotheques, most tourists are unaware of the state's musical heritage that goes beyond the conventional venues. This time when you're in Goa, spend a night with the locals swaying and busting a move to a jazz event at a neighbourhood joint. Try the family-owned Firefly Goan Bistro Bar at Benaulim for some retro rock and jazz. The place is owned by the makers of feni (Goan liquor) brand Cazulo, so you know the alcohol will match the music.

Take a fragrant tour of some spice plantations

Credit: Sahakari Spice Farms

Photo of Tropical Spice Plantation, Ponda, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

Experience authentic Goan flavours by touring the spice plantations around the temple town of Ponda. There are two: Tropical Spice Plantation and Sahakari Spice Farms. Enter the plantations to be greeted with a cup of herbal tea. There is much to see hereafter. Roam the plantations to inhale the smell of fresh spices such as cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander and betel nut. You will also get to see fruit trees such as custard apple, cashew and citrus fruits. While you are there, try to catch the acrobatic fruit-pickers in action as they climb the trees to bring the fruit down.

Besides these interesting activities you can also inquire about beach walks by locals, shop for clothes and intriguing trinkets at the many flea markets on the beaches and take a trip to the fascinating Salulim Dam for a sight of its 100ft deep mid-river chasm. If you fancy a small road trip, head to the popular Dudhsagar Falls, around 60km or an hour and a half away from Goa.

Where to eat

Gluttons have the most fun in Goa, for this state serves all kinds of cuisines – everything from Indian, European, Chinese, Italian to authentic Goan fare. But that doesn't mean there aren't those who go wrong with the food. Here's my pick from the very best.

Credit: Fisherman’s Wharf

Photo of The Fishermans Wharf, Mobor Beach, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

The Fisherman’s Wharf on Mobor Beach is one of the best places to eat in south Goa. The restaurant's location on the river offers a great view, and the menu features some delectable seafood such as Prawn Recheado, Pomfret in Butter Garlic Sauce, and the classic Goan Prawn Curry with Rice. For those looking for more conventional options, the Fisherman’s Wharf also offers Indian and Mediterranean options. Though this place is a bit costly, but it is well worth it.

Cost for two: Rs 1,100

Credit: Chef Fernando's Nostalgia

Photo of The Fishermans Wharf, Mobor Beach, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

Once Chef Fernando's Nostalgia used to be south Goa's best kept secret. But a lot has been written about this traditional restaurant that serves classic Goan and Portuguese-Goan dishes. Locals especially love it for it whips up recipes such as prawn almondegas , which you won't find anywhere else. Run by Chef Fernando's wife, the eatery in slow-paced Raia Village comes alive at night when a band plays and alcohol is served. Remember to try the urrak, a light cashew-based alcohol.

Cost for two: Rs 1,200

Martin's Corner in Betalbatim is where the celebrities go. Or at least that is what the pictures say on the wall of this restaurant that seems to be a favourite with locals and tourists alike. Located on the beach amidst tall palm trees, they have a live band, all kinds of seafood and free-flowing alcohol. This is what Goa is about.

Cost for two: Rs 1,600

Credit: Blue Planet Cafe

Photo of Martins Corner, Majorda, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

For those who don't want to give up on eating healthy even in Goa, Blue Planet Café promises to be a food paradise. The award-winning vegan eatery serves nutritious food without compromising on taste and flavours. Located in a remote location near Agonda Beach, the cafe serves everything from enticing smoothies to salads, soups, main course and dessert.

Cost for two: Rs 1,200

Where to stay

Depending on how large your pockets are, here are some great options for a fantastic stay in Goa:

Indulgent

Photo of Planet Hollywood Beach Resort, Majorda, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

The Planet Hollywood Beach Resort, Goa is the first branch of this luxury hotel to open up outside of the United States. With a giant swimming pool, spa, restaurant, gym and games room, a stay at this resort on Utorda Beach is all you need to complete your luxury Goa vacation.

Rates: A room with a double bed starts at Rs 12,500 per night. Book here.

Photo of Alila Diwa Goa, Majorda, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

A 10-minute walk from Gonsua Beach, Alila Diwa comes with 5-star facilities. Featuring rooms with a modern Goan decor, a private terrace, bathroom with a tub, library, swimming pool, restaurant and much more!

Rates: A room with an extra large double bed starts at Rs 17,000 per night. Book here.

Comfortable

Glamorous camping near the beach

Photo of Alila Diwa Goa, Majorda, Goa, India by Himani Khatreja

Glamorous tents face Talpona Beach and offer a luxurious and romantic stay. Run by Ally, who studies Behavioural Science, the camps have all kinds of facilities such as air conditioning, wi-fi and all other essentials.

Rates: Rs 3746 per night for two people. Book here.

Beach huts with a sea-view

Photo of A Full-Disclosure Guide To The Best Part Of Goa, Which Is Criminally Under-Loved by Himani Khatreja

These eight wooden huts surrounded by coconut trees are perfect to stay in touch with nature and hear the sounds of the ocean. All essentials, including wi-fi are provided as part of the package. They don't have a restaurant on the premises, which they feel helps the surrounding stay quiet and peaceful.

Rates: Rs 2409 per night for two people. Book here.

Backpacker-worthy

A beach hut

Photo of A Full-Disclosure Guide To The Best Part Of Goa, Which Is Criminally Under-Loved by Himani Khatreja

A single room in a lovely beach hut a minute away from Agonda Beach, with all essentials and complimentary breakfast is the kind of deal most backpackers look for. Well, this is it.

Rates: Rs 1472 for a room for a night per person. Book here.

Beach apartment

Photo of A Full-Disclosure Guide To The Best Part Of Goa, Which Is Criminally Under-Loved by Himani Khatreja

Below a 1000 bucks a night, a room in this apartment is a steal for those on a budget. Located on the white sands on Zalor Beach, the price includes access to the pool and facilities such as hair dryer, cable TV, air-conditioning and a kitchen to cook meals. There is no wi-fi here though.

Rates: Rs 737 for a night per person. Book here.

Have you ever been to the beaches in south Goa? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts with the travellers on Tripoto and help them plan their trips.

2 Comment(s)
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Thanks for sharing these information. Some of them beaches are unknown to me. I'll be really eager to visit them in December. Check out My GOA Trip : An Amazing Experience - Forummantra
Thu 11 23 17, 20:57 · Reply · Report
nice
Mon 07 17 17, 01:39 · Reply · Report