BEACHES OF NORTH GOA

Introduction

North Goa beyond the north of River Mandovi with a long stretch of Beaches namely Betim, Reis Magos, Sinquerim, Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Chapora, Siolim, Chopdem, Morgim, Mandarem, Asvem, Arambol, Querim, and Terekol.

BETIM

Across the Mandovi River linking Panaji with the north goa beaches Betim is the fishing and boat-building village.There is a ferry that shuttles to Panaji's old steamer jetty. The village is inundated with traffic during day. Here you will find a small Sikh temple or Gurudwara, whose gleaming white Mogul domes and saffron pennant are visible from opposite shore.

REIS MAGOS

The coastal road veers inland to a small market crossroad.A Hindu tree shrine, 20 mts., before this marks the turning to Reis Magos, 3 K.M., west of Betim Bazaar. Reis Magos Church was built in 1555. Historians believe the original church was constructed on the ruins of an old Hindu temple and the bas-relief lion figures flanking the steps at the ends of the balustrades lend credence to the this theory, being a typical feature of Vijayanagar temple architecture in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Two viceroys of Portuguese are buried inside the church. The centrepiece of the church's elaborately carved and painted recedes, behind the high alter is a multicoloured wood relief showing the Three Wise Men - or Reis Magos, after whom the village is named . Each year this scene is re-enacted in the Festa dos Reis Magos held in the first week of January during Epiphany. Crowning the sheer-sided headland immediately above the church, Reis Magos fort was erected in 1551 to protect the narrowest point at the mouth of Mandovi estuary. These days the bastion surrounded by sturdy laterite wall studded with typically Portuguese turrets is used as a prison and not open to the public but you can climb up the steep slope to the ramparts for the view over the river.

SINQUERIM BEACH GOA

sinquerim beach goasinquerim beach goaThe first tourist beach of North Goa is also the site of Aguada Fort, one of the best preserved Portuguese coastal forts. West of Reis Magos, a long laterite Peninsula extends into the sea bringing the seven kilometers long Calangute beach to an abrupt end. Fort Aguada which crowns the rocky flattened top of the green headland is the largest and best preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa. Built in 1962 to guard the northern shores of the Mandovi estuary from the attack by Dutch and Maratha raiders, its name derives from the presence inside of freshwater springs-the first source of clear drinking water available to the ships arriving in Goa after long sea voyage from Lisbon. Now is the Goa's largest prison. sinquerim beach goaThe fort can be reached by heading south past the Taj village towards Nerul and turn 1 K.M when you see a right lane striking uphill towards the woods. In 1970 this picturesque spot known as Sinquerim Beach was the first place in Goa to be singled out for upmarket tourism and to some extent that has continued even until today. Fort Aguada Beach Resort, one of the cluster of three Taj Group hotels, is also here. The other unusual feature of the fort is the four story Portuguese lighthouse erected in mid 1864 and the oldest of its kind in Asia. A New lighthouse outside the complex replaced the function of the original. Superseded by a modern lighthouse only erected in 1976, it is used to house the colossal bell salvaged from the ruins of the monastery of St.Augustus in Old Goa which now hangs in Panaji's Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. This beach is well known for water sports, as there are two or three water sports companies which operate from this beach.sinquerim beach goa

CANDOLIM BEACH GOA

candolim beach goacandolim beach goaCandolim at the far southern end of Calangute beach is a surprisingly sedated resort. Now with the increase in tourism the beach has been slightly transformed, to some for the best, to others for the detriment. To the south of Candolim, along peninsula extends into the sea, bring the seven kilometre white sandy beach to an abrupt end, Aguada Fort, which crowns the rocky flattened top of the headland is the best preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa. On the north side of the fort, a rampart of red-brown laterite juts into the bay to from a jetty between two small sandy coves. This picturesque spot is Sinquerim Beach.

CALANGUTE BEACH GOA

calangute beach goacalangute beach goaA 45 mints. bus ride from the state capital, Calangute is Goa's busiest and most commercialised resort of the state. The Charter boom, combined with a huge increase in the number of Indian visitors, is burden on Calangut's infrastructure. Buses from Mapusa and Panaji pull in the market at the centre of Calangute. The beach is walkable distance from here. The road from the town to the beach is lined with Kashmiri -run handicraft, boutiques and Tibetian stalls selling Himalayan curios and jewelry. The quality is high and so are the prices. The beach itself is nothing special - its sand shelves steeply but is more than large enough to accommodate the large number of high season visitors. To escape the muddle, head fifteen minutes or so south of the main beachfront towards the row of old wooden boats moored below the dunes. This is virtually hawker- free zone, you will only come across team of villagers hauling in hand- nets at high tide or fishermen fixing their bamboo sunshades. Night life here is mostly restricted to Tito's which is in Baga Beach, open until 11 p.m., other popular hangouts are Pete's bar and Bob's Inn.

BAGA BEACH GOA

baga beach goabaga beach goa 10 K.M west of Mapusa is basically an extension of Calangute, you can't find out where Calangute ends and Baga begins. Lying in the lee of a rocky, wooded headland, the only real difference between the two is that the scenery here is marginally more varied and picturesque. A small river flows in the sea at the top of the village. Most of the action revolves around the sandy square and the bus park close to the river mouth, below a broad spur of white sand. Baga has developed more rapidly than anywhere else in the state and now the main road running across the village is lined with gaudily lit bars, tandoori terrace and handicraft shops. One of the few developments of Baga's burgeoning tourist scene has been the emergence of the flea market, held here on Saturday on the headland beyond the box bridge, it kicks around 4 p.m and lasts till the cool hours till 11 pm. All the usual handicrafts, jewellery and snacks stalls are represented and there's temporary stage for the visiting local musician. Baga's nightlife is the liveliest in Goa. Here you will find the perfect blend of Western and Goan culture.

ANJUNA BEACH GOA

anjuna beach goaWith its fluorescent painted palm trees and infamous full-moon parties, Anjuna 8 K.M west of Mapusa is Goa's most alternative". Designer leather and Lycra may have superseded cotton kaftans but most people's reason for coming here are same as they were in 1970: drugs, dancing and lying on the beach. One of the main reason of Anjuna enduring popularity as a hippy hangout is the beach. Bathing is generally safer than at most of the nearby resort especially at the southern end. The season in Anjuna starts in early November when most of the long staying regulars show up. Anjuna's Wednesday flea market is the hub of Goa's alternative scene and the place to indulge in souvenir shopping. Buses from Panaji & Mapusa drop passengers at various point s along the tarmac road across the top of the village. The cross roads have couple of small stores and a taxi stand.

VAGATOR BEACH GOA

Barely a couple of Kilometers of cliff tops and parched grassland separate Anjuna from the southern fringes of its nearest neighbour, Vagator. Dominated by the red ramparts of Chapora fort, Vagator's broad white sandy beach known as Big Vagator is undeniably beautiful. Far better to head down to the next cove south. Backed by a steep wall is Little Vagator beach is more secluded and much less accessible than either of its neighbourAt the southern end of the beach, a row of makeshift cafes provides shade and sustenance for the predominantly Israeli crowd. Nearby, a sculpted Shiva face stares contemplatively out of a rock, and a fresh water spring trickles through a lush tangle of vegetation into a shady pool at the foot of the cliff which is ideal for washing off the salt after swimming. Like Anjuna, Vagator is relaxed, undeveloped resort that appeals to the travellers on tight budget. Buses from Panaji and Mapusa, 9 K.M east pull in here every fifteen minutes near the main road near Chapora. From here one kilometre walk over the hill and down the side of the beach you'll find most of the villages accommodation and restaurants.

CHAPORA

Crouched in the shadow of a Portuguese fort on the opposite, northern side of the headland from Vagator, Chapora, 10 K.M from Mapusa, is busier than most north coast villages. Dependent on fishing and boat-building, it has retained independent of tourism. Tucked away under a dense canopy of trees on the muddy southern shore of the river Chapora's estuary, it lacks both the space and the white sand. Vagator is on the doorstep, Anjuna is a short ride to the south and the ferry crossing at Siolim-gateway to the remote north of the state is barely 15 minutes away by road which leads to Chopdem, Morgim, Mandarem & Terekol. Chapora's chief landmark is its Old fort, easily reached from Vagator. The red-laterite bastion, crowning the rocky bluff was built by the Portuguese in 1617. Now the fortress lies in ruins, still one can see the heads of two tunnels that formerly provided supply routes for defenders of Muslim tombstone. From the fort are the superb views from the bastion's weed infested ramparts, which took not to Morgim and Mandarem beaches and south towards Anjuna. Direct buses from Panaji arrives three times daily and every fifteen minutes from Mapusa with departures until 7 p.m.

SIOLIM

On the banks of river Chapora barely fifteen minutes away by from Chapora is Siolim. There are limited social bars and cafes to hang out. Accommodation is tin apart from guesthouses along the main road, most of the places to stay are little houses in the woods, most of them are rented out for the whole winter to long-stayers. Ferry crossing at Siolim is the gateway to the remote north Goa which operates every 15 mints.

CHOPDEM

On the banks of river Chapora to the north is Chopdem. There are limited social bars and cafes to hang out. Accommodation is thin apart from guesthouses along the main road, most of the places to stay are little houses in the woods, most of them are rented out for the whole winter to long-stayers. Ferry crossing at Siolim is the gateway to the remote north Goa which operates every 15 mints.

MORGIM

A seemingly endless expanse of soft white sand stretches north from, rounding a rocky headland where the local fishing fleet is beached, after which it widens and empties completely. The car ferries to cross the river Chapora from Siolim will get you here.

MANDAREM

3 K.M from Morgim is Mandarem, with its palm-fringed dunes and acres of space is perfect. Apart from the odd fisherman or tourist buzzing along the hard sand at low tide, the only sign of life are a couple of makeshift cafes serving tea, soft drinks and rice. The accommodation here about lies a couple of K.M north of Mandarem, in the scattered village of Asvem.

ASVEM

Few K.Mt., from Mandarem lies Asvem sheltered in the shaded of a palm grove. There are limited social bars and cafes to hang out. Accommodation is thin apart from guesthouses along the main road.

ARAMBOL

Of the fishing settlements dotted along the north coast is Arambol, 32 K.M Northwest of Mapusa is remotely geared for tourism. If you are happy with basic amenities this is the most appealing village in this area. Beyond an idyllic, rocky bottomed cove the trail emerges to "Paradise Beach" a broad strip of white sand hemmed in on both sides by steep cliffs. Behind it a small freshwater lake extends along the bottom of the valley into the thick jungle. Fed by the boiling hot springs the lake is lined with sulphurous mud. Buses to and from Panaji pull into Arambol every half hour until noon, and every ninety minutes thereafter.

QUERIM

Querim is at least three miles long and half a mile wide. Every evening fishermen emerged in the estuary in their dugout canoes. The incredible thing about the estuary is the bird life that can be seen like kingfisher, brown eagles and an endless list of wading birds. This is a bird lovers paradise.

TEREKOL

The very northern part of Goa Terekol is wild, beautiful, unspoiled and totally uncommercialised and is one of the last idyllically peaceful spots in Goa. North of Arambol, the sinuous cost read climbs to the top of a rock, undulating plateau, then winds down through a swathe of thick woodland to join the River Arondem, which is then follows for 4 K.M through a landscape of vivid paddy fields and coconut plantations dotted with scruffy red-brick Villages. The fort, which was captured by the Portuguese in 1776 with St.Anthony's church in the middle, is set spectacularly on the hilltop. From the battlements one can look across to Querim Beach. To cross the Terekol River takes twenty minutes on an ancient Goan ferry operates every 30 mints.

SOUTH GOA BEACHES

Introduction

South Goa is predominantly virgin countryside. The beaches of South Goa are fantastic. Most of the beaches are isolated from anything that might disturb the peace, all you have to do here is enjoy the beaches, wonderful food and hospitality of the locals. The long stretch of beaches are Miramar, Dona Paula, Vainguinim, Bambolim, Vasco da Gama, Bogmalo, Velsao, Cansaulim, Arrosim, Utorda, Majorda, Betalbatim, Colva, Benaulim, Varca, Cavelossim, Mobor, Betul, Cabo DA ram, Agonda, Palolem, Galjibag and Polem.

Miramar beach goa

Miramar beach is located south of Panaji with a 2 K.M of dark sand stretch overlooking Aguada Bay. Though the beach is noisy and less attractive than other places in Goa, if you want a quick escape from Panaji, this is an ideal place. The best time to be there is in the afternoon when you will only find the fishermen fixing their nets and few odd cafes serving the tourist. It would be a waste spending your holiday near this beach. Buses to Miramar ply from the Kadamba bus stand every fifteen minutes.

Dona Paula beach Goa

Dona Paula, is 9 K.M south west of Panaji on the south side of the rocky hammer shaped headland that divides the Zuari and Mandovi estuaries. The views from the top of the peninsula over the Miramar beach and the Mormugao harbor are quite pleasant enough. Another attraction is the old fishing jetty which shuttles across the bay to the Mormugao harbor four times a day, this twenty minute ride is a great fun There are regular buses from Panaji till 9 p.m dropping the passengers at Institute of Oceanography, where you can usually pick up an auto-rickshaws into the town. There are lot of water sport activities in this beach.

vainguinim beach goa

The beach runs around in a bay from Dona Paula is Vainguinim beach where hotels stretches along much of it. The beach is totally safe from beach traders. The Jesuits had occupied this area towards the end of the 16 th century. It was an orchard, watered by two springs, that were surrounded by an acre grove.

Bambolim beach Goa

Bambolim beach is five kilometers from Panaji, towards South Goa, via the village of Santa Crux, It is very popular among early morning swimmers and is also considered a lovely spot for a picnic.

Vasco Da Gama

Travellers flying into Goa land at Dabolim airport, 4K.M Southeast of unappealing Vasco DA Gama, the south's first and largest Port. Vasco is laid out in a grid, bordered by Mormugao Bay to the north, and by the train line on its southern side.

bogmalo beach goa

bogmalo beach goaBogmalo is only 4K.M from the airport. Mormugao peninsula's sun-parched central plateau tumbles to a flat-bottomed valley lined with coconut trees and red-brick huts. The sandy beach at the end of the cove is known as none other than Bogmalo Bay. Bogmalo is still to this day a small fishing village, with the beach being hemmed in by a pair of palm-fringed badlands. Due to its size and location there are some excellent about this beach. It is generally very clean, safe and free of persistent beach sellers. Bogmalo is very well known for its scuba diving as the boat sails out from this beach brings the guests back for a relaxing drink on the beach.

Velsao / Cansaulim / Arrosim

Sandwiched between Utorda Beach and Bogmalo are these loveliest beaches in South Goa. The best way to explore is to hire a bicycle which you can cycle along the whole stretch of South Goa beaches at your leisure.

Utorda beach Goa

Seven kilometers from north of Colva is Utorda, idyllic strip of palm-ringed shore. Towards the north is Arrosim and towards the south is Majorda Beach. The entire long stretch of beach is lovely and peaceful.

Majorda beach goa

majorda beach goaTo the north of Colva, the beach stretches 5K.M towards the headland of Bogmalo and Mormugao. Further to the south is Betalbatim and Colva. Towards the north is the most peaceful beach Velsao. Majorda beach is idyllic thing in our minds about these beaches is the total solitude that you will find, as you can walk for hours on end and only pass a handful of people. There are also a few excellent shacks that sell exquisite sea food, after you have worked up a good appetite with the walking.

Betalbatim beach Goa

To the north of Colva, the sand stretches for 12K.M to meet the Mormugao peninsula. To the south of Betalbatim beach is Colva which is 3K.M along the cost, towards the north is Majorda.

Colva beach Goa

Colva Beach is approximately eight kilometers from Margao, the commercial centre of South Goa. It is the most popular beach of South Goa and hence the most crowded. Colva beach has good number of beach shacks. On weekends and festivals the beach gets fairly crowded with the city crowd of Margao.

Benaulim beach Goa

Benaulim beach is another secluded beach, along the southern coast of Goa. Here the fishermen of the village may be seen wearing their traditional red loin clothes, held up by a silver waistband. Water sports facilities are available on this beautiful white sand beach though developers are moving in quickly, but comparatively empty stretches lies between a two-mile wide on either side.

Varca beach Goa

varca beach goavarca beach goa 10 Kilometre stretch of pristine beach of south of Benaulim has for several years been Goa's resort beach. There are many large four and five star hotels scattered along this beach with little lies in-between. At various intervals you will find an array of shacks, some with their own sunbeds for hire and some without. One when you find your own shade then Varca beach is excellent for peace and quiet. On this beach is the fact that many of the hotels hire bicycles which you can cycle along the whole 26 K.Ms at your leisure.

Cavelossim beach Goa

Cavelossim are near a number of deluxe hotels. This beach is famous for their cleanliness and the white sand. The sea also provides a rich variety of fish and it is at nearby Betul that is Goa's largest mussels are brought ashore by divers. By walking southwards is Mobor Beach. Mobor beach Goa

The main road from Cavelossim continues south across a two kilometre long tract of exposed rolling dunes, coming to an abrupt end at Mobor, terminus for buses arriving from Colva Benaulim and Margao In this tiny toddy-tapping and fishing village there are no less than seven ritzy resort complexes amid the coconut plantations.

Betul

Opposite the narrow peninsula occupied by the Leela Palace is the fishing village of Betul, reached either by boat or by bus from Margao via Chinchinim or Cuncolim. North of the village is the harbor for fishing vessels.

Cabo De Rama

Cabo de Rama, the long boney of land that juts into the sea at the south end of Colva Bay, takes its name from the hero of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. Cabo DA Rama , however, is more grandiose than most, commanding spectacular views north over the length of Colva beach and down the sand-splashed coast of Canacona. The easily defensible promontory was crowned by a fort centuries before the Portuguese cruised in and wrested it from the local Hindu rulers in 1763. They erected their own citadel soon after, but this now lies in ruins, lending to the laterite headland a forlorn world's end feel. The road to Cabo DA Rams, leading past Canaguinim's huge wind turbine, ends abruptly in front of the fort's gatehouse. Here you can see a crumbling turret still houses a couple of rusty old Portuguese cannons and the chapel, swathed in colourful bougainvillaea bushes.

Agonda

Heading south from Cabo DA Rama, the coast road climbs through fragrant cashew forest to pass over Karmali Ghat, from which it descends against a stunning vista of wooded spurs and plains that sweep into the sea. 14 K.M southeast of Cabo de Rama, or 7 K.M Northwest of Chaudi lies a three kilometre spread of white sand beckons. Backed by three tree-covered hills, the beach ranks among the most spectacular in Canacona taluka

Palolem Beach Goa

Palolem Beach is about 37 kilometers south of Margao. This 'C' shaped beach, with a backdrop of the Western Ghats, is one of Goa's most beautiful southern beaches. The hill at the north end is partly submerged at high tide to give the impression of an island in the middle of a calm lagoon. In this small village, accommodation is available in the form of tents and simple cottages. This beach has become one of the favourite site for overnight beach picnics among the youth of Goa. At one end lies Canacona Island, linked to the land by causeway. Palolem village lies a hundred meters from the soft golden sands of the beach, to which it is connected by a short street.

Galjibag

One of Goa's remote beach, Galjibag, 16K.M south of Chaudi, is reached by turning left off NH17 after a large double-river bridge. The approach to the beach, fringed by wispy fir trees, hugs the south bank of the Talpona River, passing a string of Hindu hamlets and a massive new railway bridge. You need your own transport to get here and the village. Sandwiched between two estuaries, is devoid of tourist facilities, but its tranquil beach is refreshingly unspoiled and well worth a foray from Palolem if you feel like a change of scenery.

Polem

Nestles within a stone's throw of the state border, Polem, 30K.M south of Chaudi, is Goa's southernmost beach and sufficiently secluded to have been overlooked even by the sand-hopping hippies heading between Goa and Gokarn in Karnataka. The hundred meter strip of smooth white sand, enfolded by a pair of rocky headlands, is thus far immaculately clean and unspoiled, visited regularly by dolphins and fish eagles. This is a conservative village whose inhabitants are unused to Western sunbathing habits.