Every winter my news feed is filled with photographs of friends living it up in the forever sunny Goa. India’s one and only beach party capital, Goa appears in the bucket list of every Indian youngster who is looking to let loose and party it up with friends. It is also one of the most preferred honeymoon destination, not to mention the state with the maximum inbound tourist traffic with holidaymakers from around the world flocking to Goa for some sun and sand. After all, who can resist Goa’s beachy vibe! However, the mandatory Goa check-ins on my news feed are more often than not restricted to the crowded and highly commercial beaches of North and Central Goa, while the south remains a relatively unexplored territory among tourists.
Over the years I have explored several beaches and little known destinations in South Goa. These beaches may not be buzzing with activity as those in the north but they certainly have a charm of their own. South Goa is a heaven for nature lovers and those looking to enjoy a more relaxed vacation amidst the serene surroundings, away from the crowds.
Here are my top picks to explore in South Goa.
1. Palolem Beach
Palolem Beach is probably the most commercialized beach in South Goa and on this list. This beach has a number of beach shacks with a variety of sea food options available. Both ends of this beach have rocks jutting out into the Arabian Sea, making for a majestic view.
This beach is characterized by calm clear waters making it one of the most ideal beaches in Goa for swimming. Kayaking is another popular adventure sport available to tourists on this beach. There are a number of cafes and restaurants in the vicinity to satiate your hunger pangs and if you are traveling on a budget, multiple bagpacker hostels are within walking distance from the beach.
2. Agonda Beach
Agonda is another popular beach in South Goa known for its pristine sand and clear blue waters. That said, don’t let the seemingly calm sea fool you. With rapid currents and often aggressive waves, this beach isn’t ideal for a swim. But for those seeking a little chilling by the beach, there is plenty to do and explore. Agonda has a number of beach shacks that serve food, drinks and even offer stay. Some of the most luxurious accommodation options as well as pocket-friendly hostels are located along the beach, so your stay is sorted no matter what your budget is.
3. Kakolem Beach
You may have heard about the previous two beaches but we bet Kakolem is a name you aren’t familiar with. Probably the most secluded beach in South Goa, Kakolem is located quite close to the comparatively more popular Cola Beach. To get here, one needs to follow GPS and then go off-road for a short distance leading to a series of stairs that finally lead to this serene beach haven. There is only one shack located on this beach and that has pretty much everything you need to make the most of your time here.
Kakolem beach is probably the least crowded beach in Goa with breath-taking views, aquamarine blue waters and unspoilt sands. The awe inspiring view of the sun setting into the sea on this beach is hands down the most beautiful I’ve ever witnessed in Goa!
You can read my entire travelogue about Kakolem Beach here
4. Cola Beach
Cola Beach is located within close proximity to Kakolem beach and is yet another secluded beach in South Goa. Previously unheard of, Cola Beach has gained prominence very recently and is undoubtedly one of the best places in India to enjoy views of the cast ocean akin to the exuberant international destinations. One needs to go off road for about 10-15 mins and then descend a few stairs to reach this beach.
Another highlight of this beach is a freshwater lagoon located only a few meters away from the sea which is an ideal place for Kayaking or simply taking a dip. There are a few beach resorts and restaurants located on this beach as well.
5. Fort Cabo De Rama
Cabo De Rama is another hidden gem in South Goa. It is one of the largest and oldest Forts of Goa. It is believed that this was one of the places where Rama, Lakshmana and Sita had stayed during their 14-years of exile and hence the name. Some of the most important battles in the history of this coastal state have taken place at this ancient Fort.
Despite its rich history, this Fort is sparingly visited by people owing to it being located in a remote corner of South Goa. The fort offers spectacular views of palm trees and clear blue ocean, especially during the Sunset hours.
6. Polem Beach
Polem beach is probably the southernmost beach of Goa lying along the Goa-Karnataka border. Almost 60 kms from the Dabolim airport and 70 kms from Panaji, Polem is generally visited only by the locals because of its far flung location.
The beach is sparsely crowded with only a few shacks on the shores and is a good option for people who wish to stay away from the otherwise crowded and buzzing Goa.
7. Talpona Beach
The Talpona Beach is another virgin beach of South Goa located in the relatively calmer city of Cancona. This beach is located near a river by the same name and a fishing village. The Talpona river joins the Arabian sea here.
A tranquil beach with clean golden sand and a couple of shacks on the shores, it is an ideal place to enjoy some quite time while being surrounded by stunning views. The Talpona river nearby is also an abode for bird watchers.
8. Galgibaga Beach
The final diamond in the rough on our list is Talpona’s next door neighbor – Galgibaga beach. Located barely a kilometer away from Talpona, Galgibaga has even fewer visitors than its peer. This beach is famous as a nesting ground for Turtles and hence has restricted tourism infrastructure. There are only a few restaurants located at a distance from the shores and there are no shacks or signs of commercialization on this beach, making it an ideal destination for tourists seeking solitude.
There are a few more places in South Goa that have piqued my interest lately, which include the Betul Beach, Benaulim Beach, Cavelossim Beach, Butterfly Beach, Honeymoon beach and Canaguinim Beach. I look forward to exploring them during my future trips. But for now, these are my top picks. If you are done with all the partying and being surrounded by the crowds, and are looking for some ‘me time’, head on down to one or more of these hidden gems in South Goa. I promise you, it will be worth the drive!