Beach Hopping in Goa

Back in November, I spent two weeks exploring some of the many beaches of Goa, a state in the south of India, with my friend Alan. Goa is India’s smallest state and retains much of its colonial culture and architecture from when it was colonised by the Portuguese for more than 400 years. The Portuguese influence was quite interesting to see and some parts of Goan towns and cities (particularly the cities Panjim and Margao) made me feel like I could have been in Europe.

Made famous by the hippies of the 1960s, I found Goa to be beautiful and relaxing, and left feeling completely recharged, with my recently-quit 9-5 office job a distant memory. We spent nearly all of our time in Goa hanging out on the beach and doing a lot of eating and drinking…

Beach 1: Arambol

Straight from the airport, we headed to Arambol, which is a beach town in far north Goa. Jet lagged, we wandered towards the beach after a quick nap, and found a beautiful and very long stretch of sand dotted with colourful beach shacks. These beach shacks were owned by local Goan families, and most were bars or food stops. Arambol cuisine was probably the best that we found in Goa, and you could spend months trying out all the restaurants as there are hundreds of them lining the beach and cliffs. We grabbed a cold drink from one of the shacks and soaked up the laid-back atmosphere of Arambol. We stayed here for about 2 days before heading onto Palolem in the south.

beach arambol goa

beach arambol goa

beach arambol goa

beach arambol goa

beach arambol goa

beach arambol goa

Also during our time in Arambol, we paid a visit to a Baba (guru/teacher) who resided in the jungle behind the cliffs and apparently welcomed tourists to go and meditate with him. It turned out to be quite an experience- you can read my post about the Baba here.

baba arambol goa

The Baba

 

Beach 2: Palolem

Easily my favourite place we visited in Goa, Palolem may be one of the top beaches I’ve ever visited. Alan and I rented a beach hut for 5 nights here, which was of questionable cleanliness but was right on the beach so we couldn’t complain too much. The top end of Palolem beach provided a stunning sunset which we watched most nights and the sea here was the clearest we found in Goa, and perfect for swimming.

beach palolem goa

beach palolem goa

beach palolem goa

beach palolem goa

At the top end of the beach is a river, where a dozen or so boatmen will be waiting to take you on a boat ride around the backwaters. We decided to do this one day, and for an extremely reasonable price, were taken through the mangroves, where we could see monkeys playing and dozens of eagles swarmed over our head during feeding time.

beach palolem goa

beach palolem goa

beach palolem goa

We visited Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary during our stay in Palolem- we went for a hike through a safari where I’m quite certain we should have been in a vehicle. We did see a fair few monkeys, but leopards apparently reside in the sanctuary too and we were pretty nervous that we would run into one. Luckily, we made it out without being mauled by a leopard, but it was definitely the most nerve-wracking hike I’ve done. We also hired a taxi for a day who took us to some churches and temples, as well as a crocodile spotting tour.

goa india

Monkeys at Tambdi Surla Temple

Monkeys at Tambdi Surla Temple

Tambdi Surla Temple

Tambdi Surla Temple

 

Beach 3: Vagator

From Palolem, we headed to Vagator for 3 nights, where we stayed in a hostel called Bunkker. This hostel was set out with rooms inside containment tanks, which I really enjoyed. There was also a dog that lived here who I completely fell in love with after she followed us to the beach on the first day.

Vagator is split into two beaches by a headland; as you face the sea, Big Vagator is to the right and Little Vagator to the left. I personally preferred Little Vagator as I thought it was prettier and had a much more laid-back vibe, as opposed to Big Vagator where you can do things like rent jet skis.

beach vagator goa

beach vagator goa

beach vagator goa

beach vagator goa

beach vagator goa

Vagator is home to Chapora Fort, which was built by the Portuguese in 1617. The fort is situated high up on the cliffs, so provides a great view of the beaches below.

chapora fort

chapora fort

chapora fort

Beach 4: Anjuna

From Vagator, we made the short journey to Anjuna, where we stayed in a really nice hostel called Funky Monkey Hostel. Anjuna is pretty well known for its flea market, which takes place every Wednesday and sells a whole host of goods from clothing and jewellery to musical instruments and home decor. The market was originally created a few decades ago by foreign hippies who were trying to fund their stay in Goa by selling their crafts and skills. However, it has since become a huge market selling products from all over India: spices from Kerala, colourful saris from Rajasthan and so much more.

beach anjuna goa

beach anjuna goa

anjuna flea market

Anjuna Flea Market

anjuna flea market

Anjuna Flea Market

anjuna flea market

Anjuna Flea Market

anjuna flea market

Anjuna Flea Market

Beach 5: Baga

Anjuna beach was pretty, but there wasn’t a lot to do there, so we headed to Baga beach some days during our time in Anjuna. Baga is a very long and lively strip of beach, with water sports and countless bars as far as the eye can see, and a strong Mediterranean influence. We affectionately nicknamed it “Bagaluf” due to its more upbeat vibe than the other beaches we’d seen so far in Goa. We had some good evenings here and also went parasailing!

beach baga goa

beach baga goa

beach baga goa

beach baga goa parasailing

beach baga goa parasailing

beach baga goa

 

 

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beach hopping in goa

 

20 Comments

  1. February 9, 2018 / 5:26 am

    As a local, it feels good to see people covering Goa on their blogs. As a person who works away from home, it made me so nostalgic!

    • Lauren Pears
      February 9, 2018 / 12:48 pm

      Oh wow, where in Goa are you from?

  2. February 9, 2018 / 2:52 am

    It looks like you had a great trip. I have to admit when I saw the picture of the cow laying on the beach I giggled a little. That just seems like such an odd sight to me. LOL! Thank you for sharing!

    • Lauren Pears
      February 9, 2018 / 12:49 pm

      Haha, there’s cows EVERYWHERE. I never got tired of seeing them hanging out on the beach 🙂

  3. February 8, 2018 / 9:35 pm

    The cows are so cute!! So cool that they were right on the beach with you! They all look really beautiful and it sounds like each beach/area has its own distinct personality.

    • Lauren Pears
      February 9, 2018 / 12:51 pm

      Yeah, it was great to share the beach with dogs and cows! It adds a new edge to people-watching haha. And yes, each beach we visited definitely had its own personality, which makes Goa a great place to beach hop in my opinion 🙂

  4. February 8, 2018 / 9:35 pm

    Those huts on the beach are absolutely gorgeous! I want to rent one!! Such a beautiful place, thanks for sharing!

    • Lauren Pears
      February 9, 2018 / 12:52 pm

      They really are gorgeous! I definitely recommend renting one 🙂

  5. February 8, 2018 / 6:08 pm

    Goa is more relaxing in monsoons. Did you visit the Butterfly beach? its more secluded and offers amazing views 🙂

    • Lauren Pears
      February 9, 2018 / 12:45 pm

      No I don’t think I’d heard of Butterfly beach, where abouts in Goa is it?

  6. February 8, 2018 / 5:57 pm

    Such beautiful beaches! And I love all the dogs and cattle just hanging out lol. The bungalows are soooo cute too! Definitely looking into how much it would be to rent one of those.

    • Lauren Pears
      February 9, 2018 / 12:57 pm

      Yes they were beautiful, and the dogs and cows on the beach made it even better in my opinion! The beach huts aren’t too expensive at all to rent 🙂

  7. February 8, 2018 / 3:45 pm

    Been to Goa several times but sill haven’t viisited the palolem and the arambol beach. Those wooden shacks/houses looks pretty and so colorful. Hope you also enjoyed the goan food to the fullest… thats my fav part when in Goa

    • Lauren Pears
      February 9, 2018 / 12:54 pm

      Palolem and Arambol were my two favourites- you should see them on your next visit! And yes, I ate way too much food, Goan food is amazing 🙂

  8. February 8, 2018 / 2:42 pm

    I have heard a lot about Goa, now I understand why! Your pictures (and therefore the landscapes!) are gorgeous!

    • Lauren Pears
      February 9, 2018 / 12:53 pm

      Thank you!

  9. everywhereforward
    February 8, 2018 / 2:38 pm

    I love all of the colorful buildings at Palolem! I always love visiting local markets. They’re always a great way to see local culture and crafts.

    • Lauren Pears
      February 9, 2018 / 12:55 pm

      The beach huts were beautiful, and so was the market at Anjuna!

  10. February 8, 2018 / 12:53 pm

    Wow, all these beaches look so beautiful. My favortite one is PALOLEM as well. The colorful beach houses make me wanne go there NOW 🙂

    • Lauren Pears
      February 8, 2018 / 1:01 pm

      It really was beautiful!

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