Goa is justifiably famous for its beaches, and westerners have been flocking to them since the early '60s. Goan beaches are still magnificent and most people find them extremely difficult to leave.
The only problem is deciding which one to head for. Calangute became a travellers cliche in the '60s and early'70s and tourist literature is fond of referring to it as the ' Queen' of Goa's beaches. Baga, a little further north, is a better beach and a more relaxed place to stay.
If you want to stay long-term Anjuna or Chapora may be good places to try. There are few hotels at these beaches but rented houses are scattered among the coconunt plantations. Both beaches have retained their charm.
Colva is nothing short of paradise, with 40 Km of uninterrupted white sands fringed with coconut palms along the whole of its length and a warm, calm sea. Go a little way in either direction from Colva village and you will find the nearest thing to a deserted beach. The other main beaches at Aguada and Bogmalo are largely for the jet set and sport expensive five-star resorts.
It's wise to be at least a little security conscious on the Goa beaches.
North Goa Beaches
(50 Kms.) A unique beach in North Goa, it is both a rocky and a sandy beach. It has a sweet water pond right on the shore.
(18 Kms.) A popular beach area adjacent to Chapora fort. In Anjuna there is a magnificent Albuquerque Mansion built in 1920, flanked by octagonal towers and an attractive Mangalore tile-roof.
(22 Kms.) It is a popular beach dominated by Chapora Fort to the north, on its imposing head land. To the south of Vagator is Calangute beach.
It is a secluded and pleasant beach with good recreational facilities like river cruises, water-skiing, yachting and fishing. Staying here is no problem as there are many lovely, small cottages available.
(16 Kms.) It is the most popular holiday resort in Goa for its splendour. Excellent accommodation facilities are available, particularly at the Tourist Resort and cottages.
With a magnificent 17th century fort which has now been converted into a prison. It is one of the best beaches in Goa with international class facilities for water-skiing, para-sailing, fishing, scuba-diving and wind-surfing. You can stay here either at the Fort Aguada Beach Resort, Taj Holiday Village or at the Aguada Hermitage which is situated on the hillside, overlooking the sea.
(7 Kms.) An idyllic picturesque spot. Commands a fine view of the Zuari estuary and Mormugao Harbour. Water Scootering facilities are available here.
(Gaspar Dias), (3 Kms.) A lovely golden beach of soft sand gridled with palm trees facing the blue Arabian Sea, is the nearest to Panaji.
South Goa Beaches
(About 6 kms from Margao), Colva beach is the pride of Salcette and the only rival to Calangute by its scenic splendour. Here, sand, sea and sky blend in enchanting natural harmony unspoilt by men. Has good accommodation facilities, particularly at the tourist cottages.
Another one of Goa's irresistible beaches, it is a secluded, crescent shaped cove. An exclusive beach, it has a single luxury hotel. South of this beach are the Velsao and Majorda beaches.
A pretty fishing village, with quaint old Portuguese houses and a secluded beach. Perfect for a quiet little break. You can get 'family-house' accommodation here, which being easy on your budget can give you terrific insight into the local tradition.
Completely untouched by tourism, Betul offers total seclusion, magical beaches and a wonderful view.
(37 Kms. from Margao) A small, picturesque and secluded beach in south Goa much sought after for its serenity.
(About 37 Kms. from Margao) Just west of Chaudi one of the most enchanting beaches in Goa and relatively deserted, with a backdrop of the Western ghats, situated in Southern Taluka of Canacona.