South Goa: A Haven For Relaxation

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South Goa

Since ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ released in 2001, the idea of a Goa trip has been on the horizon. It started with school friends, shifted through high school, moved to college buddies, and then became a plan with office mates. Eventually, it found its place in my life with my husband, shaping up just three months before our 10th marriage anniversary. This trip has seen more revisions than any phone number.

It was the end of November 2023, and being in our late 30s, my husband and I decided to experience Goa for the first time. Known for its lively atmosphere, we opted for South Goa, famous for its pristine beaches and chill vibe. Figuring our knees might not be as cooperative, we chose relaxation over the energetic nightlife of North Goa. So, our Goa journey began with soaking up the sun and enjoying delicious seafood in the serene surroundings of South Goa.

Being a water baby, selecting a resort near Colva Beach was a given. This 2.5 km stretch of paradise boasts stunning sands, adorned with greenish-blue hues, and a backdrop of lush coconut and palm trees. Beyond its natural charm, Colva Beach is a hotspot for tourists, teeming with numerous beach shacks, shops, hotels, and lively pubs.

Parasailing in the Goa sky
Parasailing in the Goa sky

During our stay for three days in South Goa, the first day was all about enjoying the sea from the beach shacks. Sipping our favourite drinks, we soaked in the breathtaking sunset views. As dusk settled, the beach shacks transformed into quiet restaurants with candlelit dinners, offering delicious Goan seafood while the waves provided a soothing soundtrack. If you love beach activities, there’s plenty to do – from water skiing to boat rides and parasailing, ensuring a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure by the beautiful South Goa coastline.

Before we continue our Goa trip, here’s a tip: don’t make the mistake we did on our first visit. We didn’t know how to ride a scooter, so we ended up spending a lot on renting cars, which isn’t the best way to soak in the full spirit of Goa. A scooter rental is a much more budget-friendly option, costing around Rs 400-500 per day, compared to a minimum of Rs 2,500 for hiring a car for sightseeing.

The next day, we started our beach hunting with Palolem Beach. It’s a beautiful spot surrounded by dense coconut trees. For anyone exploring South Goa, a visit to Palolem is an absolute must. For those travelling with family and kids, the northern side of Palolem Beach is the ideal choice due to its calmer tides. 

Palolem Beach offers opportunities to spot dolphins and embark on kayaking adventures. Beyond the thrill of water activities, you can indulge in a bit of retail therapy right behind the beach. Palolem has numerous shops selling clothes, jewellery, and souvenirs. So, if you’re looking to purchase beachwear or bring back some Goa mementos, this is the perfect spot to explore.

Agonda Beach is around 10 km from Palolem and is a favourite among foreigners. It’s less crowded, has beautiful sea-facing resorts, and is surrounded by lush coconut trees and serene white sands. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere like us, Agonda Beach is a great choice. Agonda Beach is well-known as a nesting place for olive ridley sea turtles. If you’re lucky, you might see some of these cute friends.

The Dudhsagar Falls is breathtaking
The Dudhsagar Falls is breathtaking

Throughout our journey, as we made calls back home and raved about the beauty of the beaches, a common question arose: “Isn’t the beach the same everywhere in Goa?” Well, when it comes to Goa, the answer is an absolute no. From the shacks to the people, the food, and the overall charm, every beach has its own personality. Even my mountain-loving husband couldn’t resist falling in love with the pristine beaches of Goa.

In Agonda, make sure to check out Butterfly Beach. Take a boat ride from Agonda, which cost us around Rs 2,000. Although a bit pricey for just the two of us, it was worth it. This semi-circular beach is known for its romantic vibe, making it popular among couples. If you’re in a group, it’s a must-visit. Plus, during the boat ride, you might spot dolphins again.

Sunset in Goa is as beautiful as its soothing
Sunset in Goa is as beautiful as its soothing

Next on our list was Cabo de Rama Beach, another enchanting paradise in South Goa. This secluded beach is embraced by coconut and palm trees, creating a serene ambience. Overlooking the beach stands a vintage fort, offering a breathtaking view of Cabo de Rama. One of the oldest forts in Goa, it was originally built by the Portuguese. On our way back, we made a pitstop at Patnem Beach to witness the beautiful sunset.

Our next day was all about Dudhsagar Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in India. Ever since watching ‘Chennai Express’, where Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan brought this breathtaking location to life, I had set my heart on visiting it if our Goa plans ever materialised. Located about 56 km from Colva Beach, this four-tiered waterfall stands at 1,000 feet within the Bhagwan Mahavir wildlife sanctuary. It turned out to be the highlight of our Goa trip.

To visit Dudhsagar Falls, make sure to book your tickets online and avoid travel agents promising access. Leave your hotel early. We started at 5.30 am and reached the Kulem ticketing counter by 7 am. At Kulem, jeeps from the Dudhsagar Association are assigned, and you’ll need a life-saving jacket. Jeeps can carry up to seven passengers, and arriving early allowed us to share a jeep with four other tourists. The scenic jeep ride takes you through dense forests and streams, leading to a trekking point after about an hour.

During the trek, watch out for monkeys, but avoid feeding them to prevent trouble. The short trek brings you to the stunning Dudhsagar Falls. My advice is not to swim or bathe owing to steep rocks. However, several tourists jumped into the waterfall. So, don’t forget to carry an extra pair of clothing if you want to take a bath.

A tired trawler anchored on the beach
A tired trawler anchored on the beach

We were fortunate to witness a train passing through the area, reminiscent of a scene from ‘Chennai Express’. If you’re on the Madgaon-Belgaum railway route, you might catch glimpses of the Falls. Trekking to Dudhsagar Falls is also an option for the adventurous, but keep in mind that visits are closed after 6 pm, and getting tickets after 2 pm can be challenging.

St. Anthony Church
St. Anthony Church

South Goa is full of experiences, and it feels like there’s always more to enjoy in this beautiful place. Upon returning to the city, we missed the relaxing vibe of South Goa. My husband and I made a pact to return, specifically to Palolem Beach, and stay at an Airbnb for a month or two to fully soak in the Goan atmosphere. We may not have the energy of college-goers anymore, but that’s the beauty of Goa—it has something for everyone.

All images by the author. 

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