Lives in New Delhi
Since Oct 2010
25-34 year old female
I'm a freelance travel writer/guidebook author specialising in India travel. I'm the author of Moon Living Abroad in India and Moon Taj Mahal, Delhi & Jaipur and a co-author of Fodor's Essential India. My interests include language learning, arts and culture, politics, running, yoga, and vegetarian/vegan travel.
Although Anjuna isn't the best place in Goa for swimming and sunbathing, it is an excellent spot for partying and shopping. The sand here is a bit redder than further north, but it’s still a pretty enough beach, and its lack of huge resorts has kept it popular with the backpacker set year after year.
On the northern coast of Goa, Arambol is one of the last bastions of the state's long-celebrated hippie culture. The main road of this little beach town is flanked by shop after shop selling inexpensive clothing popular with the backpacker set, while most of its best restaurants are set right on the beachfront. A cliffside footpath also leads north to a second, smaller beach, with its own freshwater swimming hole.
An ideal home base for those seeking a calm, laid-back vacation, Ashwem is among the quieter spots in Goa, but still has a fair few restaurants, yoga retreat centers, and low-key guest cottages. The water is among the calmest in North Goa, making it ideal for swimming, plus its beach is also a favorite nesting spot of Olive Ridley turtles.
One of North Goa's quieter beaches, Mandrem is a good spot for travelers looking for lots of whitish sand and clean water, but without the party scene prevalent on many of the other nearby beaches. Here, while there are a few beach shack restaurants and lounging areas, the vibe remains pretty low key.
South Goa's Palolem Beach was until recently considered one of Goa’s last hidden gems. Yet while this beautiful southern beach has become an increasingly popular vacation spot over the past decade or so, it's still among the prettiest stretches of sand the state has to offer. The water is also calm most of the time, making it an ideal spot for those who prefer swimming to sunbathing.
If you're headed to Goa for the beach party scene, Vagator may very well be your ticket. Surrounded by beautiful red cliffs (one of which is topped with the ruins of the 18th-century Chapora Fort), Vagator is a reasonably relaxed stretch of sand that's popular with domestic and international tourists alike. Though the swimming isn't great, the party scene is lively, and come sundown, you'll have a good selection of spots to drink and dance at.