Fifteen days after we touched Indian soil for the first time, our arrival to Goa marked the halfway point in our one month tour of India. It also marked a halfway point in other ways: crossing the line from northern to southern India also brought a change in climate, food and cultures.
Goa’s biggest attraction is its beaches and the atmosphere that comes with it. The entire state’s population is less than two million, which is partly made up by its many villages and towns hugging the coastline. You will be spoilt with all the choices really.
If you are looking for a party scene with crowds of foreign tourists, water sports and never ending beach parties, then North Goa is for you. In South Goa you can find a much more laid-back atmosphere with small villages, deserted beaches and delicious food.
We decided to split our trip to Goa into two parts, so that we could leave in between to visit Hampi.
For the first part of this trip we stayed a twenty minute drive away from Vasco de Gama (Goa’s main town) in Arrosim. This sleepy village did not have much going on except for a few small shops and seemed completely unaffected by tourism.
A fifteen minute walk from here, down a small road and past a couple of quiet resorts will see you arrive at Arrosim Beach. Our first thoughts when we saw it were how vast and empty it was. Perfect.
A tiny snake we found at the entrance to Arrosim beach
At the entrance to the beach there is a restaurant called Star fish beach shack. We ate here on both days as there weren’t many options in the area, but also because of the great seafood, sound owners and free sunbeds for customers!
Fresh red snapper and chips from Star fish beach shack
The sunsets at Arrosim beach are the best that I have seen anywhere. It’s easy to get a front row seat and watch as the sun gradually changes to a burning shade of red, before disappearing into the Arabian Sea directly in front of you, bringing daytime with it.
The sun preparing to set at Arrosim beach
Where we stayed
We stayed in an Airbnb just outside of Arrosim village and only a ten minute walk to the beach. It was a great place to stay and the host Celiano was really nice. We chatted for a good while and he gave us some advice that made the rest of our travels in India a little bit easier. Here’s a link to his Airbnb page.
After we came back from Hampi we headed to another village in South Goa called Agonda, 50km south of Arrosim. This is a large village that has embraced tourism and is buzzing with activity from its multiple bars, restaurants, shops and the beach which is lined with resorts ranging in style from basic to luxurious.
Even with all of the people around, the beach never seemed to get very busy. This is probably helped by the fact that it is both wide and really long. Agonda was a winner for us, it’s really nice and clean with plenty of places to eat, drink and sleep only metres away.
Where we stayed
We stayed in a resort which sits right on the north part of the beach called Velvet Sunset. This place was great; the staff were really helpful and it has a great restaurant and bar.
From the porch of our simple wooden hut you could see the ocean. We went with the cheapest option available when booking our room, which got us a fan and cold, salty shower!
What we could have gotten if we splashed out!
The best way to get to most places in Goa from the railway station is by taxi. There are local buses, but when you’ve just gotten off an eight hour overnight train you just want to get out of transit as quickly as possible.
One way to save money on a taxi is to look out for other travellers who are going to the same area as you so you can share the fare. This is especially easy in Goa as the majority of people are going to the same few places.
Once you get to your village or town you will easily be able to walk everywhere as the places are usually quite small.
Our only regret about Goa is that we didn’t give ourselves more time here. We loved it and easily could have stayed for another week or more just living a simple beach life.
So technically we went to Kerala after Goa, but remember we left in the middle for a few days to visit Hampi, an ancient city which was once the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This magnificent site covering an area of 26km² is dotted with ruined temples and structures which will leave you inspired by what people were able to build hundreds of years ago and in awe of the unique natural landscape that surrounds it.