Goa beaches have put Goa tourism in the international tourist map for a very good reason. The 125 Km coastline of Goa is bejeweled with some of the finest beaches of the world. Broadly speaking Goa Beaches are classified into North Goa Beaches which is where the action is, and South Goa beaches where you find some peace and calm. However each of the 50 plus beaches of Goa have something different about itself. Read on for a review of Goa Beaches along with suggestions for hotels in Goa.
If you are young at heart, looking for a hip and happening Beach with a pulsating night life, then North Goa Beaches are the one for you. October to March is the best period to visit to avoid the hot summers and monsoons.
Baga Beach is the one for you, if you are looking for a scenic Beach, watersports or Dolphin spotting or love shopping at a Flea Market! Baga Beach also makes sense if you are with kids who are not ready to swim in the Sea. The Baga Creek or River provides a safer alternative to beginners. Baga Beach stretches over 30 KMs and is located 10 Km west of Mapusa and adjacent to Calangute Beach.
A fine experience at Baga Beach is just to watch and listen to the waves crashing against a set of Black Rocks located at one end of the Beach. The Saturday night Flea Market of Baga Beach is an unforgettable experience where you can shop for jewelry, a new haircut, clothes, trinkets, palm reading while savoring some of the most amazing snacks and eats in a shack under the open night sky. Para sailing, wake boarding, windsurfing, kite surfing, jet skiing and Dolphin cruising are the water sport options at Baga Beach.
Titos is the most popular night club of Goa and is located on the Baga-Calangute Road. Started in 1971 during the Hippies era by Tito Henry de Souza, today it is run by his sons. Contact no Is +91 832 2275028. Titos houses the most famous pub of Goa called Cafe Mambo. Mambo lives up to its tag line 'where the world gets together’!
Baga Marina is a clean and comfortable Hotel with a friendly staff located 5 minutes from the beach. Tariff starts at Rs 6000 per day for a Superior room. Contact no is +91 832 663 1111. Lazylagoon Sarovar Portico is also good for service, food and ambience. Tariff starts at 5000 per day and Contact no is +91 832 2269 520-25. Angelina Beach Resort is a good option if you are looking for a budget accommodation. Located near Tito’s night club and run by a Goan couple Stanley and Preciosca, the tariff starts at Rs 900 per day. Contact no is +91 832 2279268.
Baga Beach is easily accessible by bus from both Panjim and Mapusa. While Panjim is half an hour away, Mapusa to Baga takes only 15 minutes. Tivim is the closest Railway station. However if one is alighting at Madgaon station, then buses are available from Madgaon to Kadamba, Kadamba to Panjim and Panjim to Baga.
Calangute Beach is the one for you if you are looking for a scenic beach to just chill out, not looking to party all night and don’t mind the crowds. Calangute Beach is often called the Queen of Beaches and is the most popular beach of Goa. In fact the Beatles used to come to Calangute in the late sixties to enjoy its Beach Life.
While at Calangute Beach you can chose between dancing all night, water sports, or just chilling with a beer in the countless shacks on the Beach. Remember that Night life is a little tame and most establishments close by 10pm. The World Famous Decades Bar is a must visit. This British Bar has live entertainment in the form of bingo, karaoke and Football. St Alex Church and Kerkar Art Complex are worth making a visit while at Calangute Beach.
Gabriel’s Guest house is a budget accommodation and a clean place located very close to the Beach. The restaurant serves Goan Food and has Wi-Fi. Non AC rooms start at just Rs 700 and AC rooms are charged Rs 1400 onwards. Contact no is +91 832 2279486. If you don’t mind splurging a bit for a luxury boutique hotel with 5 star amenities as well as a homely experience, then Pousada Tauma is worth a try. Tariff starts Rs 11000 a day. Located in Porba Vaddo, the contact no is +91 832 2279061
Calangute Beach is easily accessible by bus from both Panjim and Mapusa. While Panjim is half an hour away, Mapusa to Baga takes only 20 minutes.
If you came to Goa looking for wild partying all night or Bungee Jumping, then Anjuna is the place for you. Located about 18kms from Panaji and situated in Bardez taluka, Anjuna Beach is most famous for full-moon parties and the Wednesday flea market. Partying all night amidst swaying palm trees and white sand, leaves you in a trance at Anjuna beach!
You can indulge the wild side in you by Bungee Jumping from an 80-ft tower. Water-sports facilities like paragliding and windsurfing are also available. Some suggestion for eateries at Anjuna Beach is The German bakery, White Negro, Sea breeze café and Martha's breakfast home. Tofu balls in mustard sauce with parsley potatoes and salad are a must have at the German Bakery.
Bathing is popular in Anjuna as a rocky headland in the southern end of the beach keeps the waters calm. Wednesday Flea Market is another popular haunt at Anjuna for tourists where you can shop from dawn to dusk. Getting a permanent souvenir from Goa in the form of a tattoo is possible at Andy’s Tattoo Studio. It is attached to San Francisco Restaurant and located where the Anjuna Cliffside slides down to meet the beach. Contact no is 9871514054.
Christmas and Ney year is the best time to visit Anjuna Beach when the most colorful parties are held.
The Paradiso club is the most popular Discotheque in Goa. Parties run all night across the 4 levels looking out towards the sea. Contact no is +91 9326100013. Curlies is one of the first ever Beach Shacks to come up in Goa. It has a roof top lounge bar, restaurant, well stocked bar serving liquor and s cocktails, and also hosts party nights with international DJs. Waitching the sunset is a popular activity at Curlies. The weekly trance parties of Curlies are very popular and not to be missed. Contact no is +91-9822168628
Banyan Soul is a charming place just behind the German Bakery. With clean rooms and good food it is a value for money deal. Tariff starts at Rs 2000 per day and contact no is 919820707283. Spazio Leisure Resort is located near Starco junction and has clean rooms, nice pool and helpful staff. Tariff is Rs 3000 per night and contact no is +91 832 227 4866.
Anjuna beach is easily accessible from Tivim Railway station. Buses connect Anjuna to Tivim with a change over at Mapusa. Dabolim Airport and Margoa railway station is 1 couple of hours drive away from Anjuna Beach.
Vagator Beach is perfect for people looking for peace and quiet. Located near Anjuna, Vagator Beach is not for people looking for water sports or any other form of action. The emerald green waters are unique to Vagator. Red Cliffs and fresh water springs are other specialties of Vagator Beach.
Asterix Hostel is a value for money accommodation perfect for backpackers. Located near Mango Tree restaurant, Asterix Hostel provides hot showers, complimentary breakfast, lockers, Wi-Fi connectivity and laundry. Tariff starts at Rs 500.
Tivim Railway station is closest to Vagator Beach. One can reach Vagator within an hour from Tivim through a taxi. You can also take a bus from Tivim to Mapusa and change over at Mapusa to a bus going to Anjuna or Vagator.
The journey from Dabolim Airport and Margoa Railway Station to Vagator beach would be 2 hours. The taxi fare would be around Rs 1000.
Arambol is the beach for you if you came to Goa looking for an un-spoilt & secluded Beach, pristine sand, palm trees and not much trace of “development”! Located near Mapusa, Arambol beach is 55 KMs from Panjim. Wildlife enthusiasts can visit Jungle Valley which also features the famous Banyan Tree of Goa. Water Sports and Dolphin cruises are also available to those looking for some action. Food is not an issue at Armabol, with stalls along the beach dishing out both local and European fares.
God’s Gift is a family run guest house at Arambol Beach. You have a choice of rooms and beach huts. Internet, Laundry and Hot Water are available. Tariff ranges from Rs500-2000. Contact no is 0832 2242391.
Buses are available at regular intervals to Arambol from both Panjim and Mapusa. Arambol is also well connected by buses to Chopdem.
Folks looking for a Beach close to Panjim to sun bathe and take moonlight walks but are not too keen on swimming can head to Miramar. The strong currents make swimming a risky affair at Miramar Beach. Nature enthusiasts would love visiting Dr. Salim Ali bird sanctuary located close to Miramar. Miramar Beach being so close to Panjim is heavily commercialized. The upside of this is the availability of a plethora of accommodation for all budgets.
Miramar Residency is a hotel run by the Goa tourism corporation and is right on the Beach. It is very conveniently located just 4 KMs from KTC bus stand in Panjim. Tariff starts at Rs 1800 and contact no is (91)-(832)-2463811.
Compared to the beaches of North Goa, South Goa is calmer, peaceful and less crowded.
One can head to Palolem Beach if one is looking for an un-spoilt beach and the idea of stay in Beach Cottages appeals to you. Palolem is a natural bay surrounded by lofty headlands and the beach here is one of the most beautiful in all of Goa. The walk to Monkey Island is a recommended activity at Palolem Beach. Several trails are there in the island and worth exploring. Couples looking for privacy can head to Honeymoon Island not far from the Beach. The boat ride would take an hour and cost around Rs 800-900. Incidentally the movie Bourne Supremacy was shot on Palolem Beach. Kayaking is one of the activities possible at Palolem Beach. Mopeds and bicycles are available for hire.
Ciaran Beach Hut has hot showers, mosquito nets, Fans and library. Rooftop sun decks and AC are also available in some huts. Tariff starts at Rs 2500. Contact no is +91 832 2643477. Chattai Huts is another option which is located on the beach and is made of straw mat. Bar and restaurant are available and the huts have attached bathroom and sit outs. Tariff starts at Rs 1000. Contact no is +91 98224 81360. Caffe De Sol Cottages are made of bamboo and cane. All cottages have attached bathroom and western toilets. Beach bungalows and log cabins are also available here. The complex also includes a bar and a night club. A highlight of Caffe De Sol is the seafood barbeques right on the beach with candle lit tables. Contact no is +91 9823313983.
Canacona Railway Station is just a 5 minute drive from Palolem Beach. State Government Buses are available from Margoa to Canacona and the journey will take an hour and a half. The 3 km distance from Canacona to Palolem can be covered by an auto rickshaw or even by foot if it not a very hot day.
If one is looking for a clean, calm, and secluded and hawker free Beach, Varca won’t disappoint. The 10 KM stretch of Varca Beach is dotted with palm trees and has white sand. Black lava rocks make up the shore. Varca Beach is one of the few beaches where you can spot Dolphins. Some of the best resorts of Goa are located here at Varca and that’s where the Nightlife is.
Club Mahindra is probably the best place to stay at Varca. But it is pricey at Rs 9000 +! The ambience, food and service are all great. Contact no is 0832 274 4555. Varca Palms Beach Resort is a good option is you have a tighter budget. It has a fitness centre, swimming pool, bar, lounge and restaurant. Tariff starts at Rs 2500. Contact no is +91 9422059688. Dolphin View hotel is another option with decent food and service. Double rooms cost Rs 3500. Contact no is 0832 2772732
Varca is 14 KMs from Margoa Railway Station and a taxi ride would cost you around Rs 200. Buses and Auto rickshaws are also available from Margoa to Varca beach. Dabolim Airport to Varca is a distance of 32Kms and it would cost you Rs 650-700 in taxi fare.
Located just 7 KMs from Margoa, Colva Beach is made up of white sand, palm fringed, and sun drenched beaches. The Church of Our Lady Of Mercy in Colva is famous for its miracle statue of Menino Jesus. Pinacolada Beach Shack is a popular restaurant famous for its sea food and variety of liquor.
Colva Residency Beach Resort is run by the Goa Government, is on the beach and offers Cottages. Tariff ranges from Rs 500-4000 depending on room and season. Amigo Plaza is 200 meters from the Sea. It has a mix of AC and non AC room. Facilities include swimming pool, ayurvedic massage, laundry and power backup. Contact no is 91-832-2789285.
Colva is easily accessible from both the bus and railway station of Margoa. One can take an auto rickshaw to reach Colva Beach from Margoa. The charge would be around Rs 200. Prepaid taxis are available from the Railway Station.
Folks who find Colva a little too noisy and crowded can get some peace and tranquility at the nearby Benaulim Beach. Benaulim is also famous for its handicrafts. Legend has it that the arrow shot from Lord Parshuram from Konkan landed at Benaulim! Shoppers can visit the Benaulim market located 2 KMs away from the beach at Maria Hall.
Benaulim is 2km from Colva and 10 KM west of Margoa. Buses are available to Benaulim form Margoa, Colva and Varca.
Furtados is a popular place for stay at Benaulim. They have both AC and non AC rooms and its restaurant is famous for sea food. Tariff starts at Rs 1200 and contact no is 91-832-2770396. O’Palmar Beach Cottages are on the Benaulim Beach. It is a simple set up with clean rooms and a bath. Tariff starts at Rs 600 and contact no is +91-832-722901. Tansy Cottage is another budget option and Contact no is + 91-832–2734595.
Couples and Picnickers would love Cabo de Rama Beach. If you are looking for restaurants and bars, Cabo de Rama is not the place for you. This beach is for people looking for a hidden and lesser known beach away from all the crowd and hoopla! Located 28 KMs from Margoa, Cabo de Rama Beach has greenish blue waters. There is also a small river towards the north of the beach. Towards the south of the beach is the Cabo de Rama fort of Ramayana fame, where Lord Rama and Lady Sita were supposed to have spent some time during their exile.
One has to go to Agonda for stay options. Agonda Beach retreat is a decent option with beach facing huts and rooms. The tariff starts at Rs 1000. Contact no is +91 (0)8322647111
The easiest way to reach Cabo de Rama Beach is to take a bus from Margoa to cover the 28 KM distance.
For my travelogue on hidden secrets of Goa, visit Goa beyond Beaches.