The beaches of Goa are the highlights of travel in this state, making Goa the premier beach vacation destination. The first beach stop over in Goa is Anjuna beach also famous for its flea market and rave parties, then visit Baga and Dona Paula beaches that can make any beach holiday a memorable one. All in all Goa's 100-km long coastline gives an enthusiastic beach lover an opportunity to discover new secluded beach sites every day.
With its fluorescent painted palm trees and infamous full moon parties, Anjuna, 8-km west of Mapusa, is Goa at its most "alternative". Since the 7o's the one reason that lure the people to visit this beach is the dancing and lying on the beach slurping tropical fruit. While browsing in the area have a day trip to the famous flea market.
If you like a little isolation to watch the sun go down, Baga beach is just the place for you. 10-km west of Mapusa, Baga is basically an extension of Calangute; even the locals are unable to decide where ends and the other begin. Lying in the lee of a rocky, wooded headland, the only difference between this far northern end of the beach with the rest is that this Goa beach is marginally more varied and picturesque.
At the place where two of Goa's famous rivers meet the Arabian Sea is the secluded bay of Dona Paula with a fine view of the Marmagao Harbour. 7-km from Panjim, nestled on the south side of the rocky, hammer-shaped headland that divides the Zuari and Mandovi estuaries, this former fishing village and today's commercialized beach resort makes an idyllic spot to relax and sunbathe.
A mere 45 minute bus ride up the coast from Panjim will take you Calangute, Goa's busiest and most commercialized resort, and the flagship of the state government's bid for a bigger slice of India's package-tourist pie. During the 70's and 80's this peaceful fishing village became the favourite haunt of the hippies.
Named as Benaulim by the Portuguese, lies in the centre of Colva Beach, 7-km west of Margao.
As this place is a like a large fishing joint tourists can easily become gourmets and try out various culinary delights of the seafood. Moreover, the sea is safe for swimming, being generally jellyfish-free, while the village area near beach side itself boasts a few serviceable bars and restaurants, serving the most succulent, competitively priced seafood in Goa.
Sleepy Cavelossim, straddling the coast road 11-km south of Colva, is the last major settlement in southwest Salcete: its only claim to fame. When here do plan a visit to Mabor, South Goa largest, and most obtrusive, package tourist enclave. Crammed together on to a narrow spit of dunes between the surf and estuary, the holiday inns and beach resorts combine to create a holiday camp ambience that has as little to do with Goa as their architecture.
Crouched in the shadow of a Portuguese fort on the opposite, northern side of the headland from Vagator, Chapora, 10-km from Mapusa, is a lot busier than most north coast villages. Dependent on fishing and boat building, it has, to a great extent, retained a life of its own independent of tourism. The leisure purpose is very well served by the Main Street, lined with as many regular stores as travellers cafes and restaurants.
Because of good options to stay, many of them tucked away down quiet sandy lanes and offering better value, make this beach site a good first stop if one has just arrived in Goa and are planning to head further north after finding one's feet.
When compared with Calangute Or Colva, Bogmalo still seems a small-scale beach resort, still there's something about seclusion that one finds over here that makes one visit this beach area every time one visit's Goa. Beside this beach site is a reasonably safer site for swimming and have quite good eating joints and shopping options in Goa.
On the way to Dona Paula, 1-km ahead of the confluence of the Arabian Sea and Mandvi River, under the palm shade, is "Gasper Dias" or Miramar Beach and is just 3-km away from the capital city of Panjim.
Palolem pops up, as a favourite beach destination in Goa because its crescent shaped bay lined with a swaying curtain of coconut palms, is irresistibly photogenic. Frem accommodation point of view, there are beautiful beach huts and family room to choose from in Palolem.
Barely a couple of kilometres of cliff tops and parched grassland separate Anjuna from the southern fringes of its nearest neighbour, Vagator. Yet to be disturbed by the hustle and bustle of tourists, life goes on peacefully, in the background, in Vagator and Chapora. It is cool rural area, without offering the tourist any big shopping complexes.
If one is staying in Benaulim, one is bound at some point to visit Varca. Do check out the row of beached wooden fishing boats 2-km south of Benaulim that belong to its community of Christian fisher folk, whose palm thatched long houses line the foot of the grassy dunes.