Exploring South Goa
Goa is for everyone.. you can do all sorts of touristy stuff, enjoy the adrenaline-filled experiences and still find time to do some soul-surfing. Every corner of Goa…every beach has a different story to tell. Go North to experience the wild side of Goa.. while South lets you ramble in your own thoughts.. and meanwhile Central Goa acts as the pivot and maintains the balance. Goa is your gateway to a carefree and non-judgmental life, which though short-lived, can be lived again and again.
Not being a huge fan of crowds, we prefer visiting Goa during the rainy seasons. Monsoon in Goa adds on to its already overwhelming romantic essence. If you are not a big fan of the rains, you still have the choice of just lazing around in any beach-side resort and perceive the real meaning of serenity.
With that thought in mind, we had planned for our trip in early July. But the rain-Gods played spoil-sport and our plan had to be rescheduled to August. We took a flight from Bengaluru to Dabolim International Airport, which is around 26 Kms from Panjim. Depending on which part of Goa you want to visit, you would need to hail bus or cab from the airport. The local cabs charge a higher rate and the Kadamba Airport buses ply only to Panaji and Calangute. If you are not in a hurry, you can take a bus to Panaji, and then catch local buses to reach your destination. Another option and the one we opted for was GoaMiles . You will find booths setup near the Airport exit gate and the representatives will guide you. Phone signals do not work properly in Goa Airport, so you will need to use the WiFi provided at the GoaMiles booth to book a cab. Its similar to hailing an Uber and the rates are decent.
We wanted to explore South Goa and our first halt was at Benaulim. We had booked our stay at L’Amour Beach Resort. We stayed in a beach view cottage for the night and enjoyed the privileges of having a private beach access as well! We were greeted with sporadic showers but still managed to make an evening out of it while enjoying good food and music at the shacks.
Next day, we again took GoaMiles to reach Palolem which is famed to be the most happening beach of South Goa. Here, we were booked at Crystal Goa for two nights. The hotel is at walking distance from Palolem Beach. There are various shopping options available but you have to be really good at bargaining to land the best price. There are lots of shacks on Palolem Beach, try the pressed coffee at Ciaran’s and catch of the day at Dropadi.
The best way to explore Goa is on a two-wheeler. We rented an Activa from Palolem and after completing the formalities, we rode of to our next destination, Cabo De Rama Fort. The drive is lets you enjoy the lush greenery of the Western Ghats. The ruins of the Fort is open for public access and you get a breathtaking view of the sea from there.
We stumbled upon our next stop by chance. Its a small fishing village called Nuem. A canal flows into the sea here and the place is surrounded with coconut trees.
We were searching around for more such places where tourists don’t frequent much and found Betul Fort. There is nothing much left of the Fort except for one rusty canon, but you get a good view of Betul beach, the jetty and the mouth of River Sal flowing into the Arabian Sea.
Our last destination of day two was Agonda. Agonda beach is serves as a nesting ground for Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Although its a tourist hub, during Monsoons you will find it pretty deserted. there are beautiful rock formations around the beach where you can put your photography skills to play. Most shacks remain closed during the rainy season but the beach road offers lots of good options to eat.
Day 3 had lots of more beach-hopping in store for us. The shoreline of south Goa is a one beautiful stretch of white sand broken and classified as different beaches by intrusions of land. We started from Majorda, and made our way further south to Betul Beach traversing through BetalBatim, Colva, Varca, Cavelossim and Mobor. Colva is again a tourist hub, but all the other beaches are deserted and serene. Varca Beach has the whitest sands and is a hidden gem of South Goa. Betul Beach lies just across the sea from Betul Fort and is the delta region where River Sal meets the Arabian Sea. It serves as a major fishing jetty for South Goa.
Day 3 ended with us gobbling up Goan Cuisines at the FisherMan’s Wharf near Mobor. It gives a good view of the River Sal while you enjoy Goan delicacies like Sorpotel or Cafreal and sip Fenny, a Goan brew made from coconut or cashew.
We had half a day of day 4 at our disposal and we tried to make the most of it by getting beached as much as possible. We explored the small and lesser known beaches near to Palolem and each of them were a treasure to cherish. Patnem beach is about a 15 minutes walk from Palolem and there is a hidden fisherman’s cove which gives an excellent view of the shoreline. Colomb beach is a small beach but we found it very beautiful due to its rock formations. Talpona Beach is near the Talpona Jetty, which is the mouth of Talpona River. Galgibaga Beach is also a delta region as the Galgibaga river flows into the Arabian Sea here. It’s another hidden gem of South Goa and is a nesting ground for Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. From the beach, you will get a good view of the river as well. Rajbaga beach is accessed through the Lalit Golf Resort and Spa and is on the opposite shoreline to the Talpona Jetty. All these beaches are very nearby and can be covered in 2-3 hours.
At the end of Day 4, we returned our two-wheeler at Palolem and caught a local bus to Margao. From there we again hailed GoaMiles to reach the Airport. If you have time in hand, you can change two buses to reach the Airport via Panjim as well. We returned back to Bangalore with our souls filled with memories of a lifetime.