Who doesnt like a beach holiday? At least I dont know anybody who doesn’t. All you do is book yourself into a luxury resort with all the trappings and then watch the days pass by, in a pleasurable haze of ice cold beer, lots of seafood, live music and sometimes books to read too, that is when you’re not spending all your time either wading into the beach or staying soaked in the hotel pool, 24/7.
In India, the beach state of Goa is just perfect to do that. And while I have been here many times; I have always stayed in action packed North Goa. That’s where the crazy party is.
But when you go on a family holiday with the husband and two small boys in tow, the best place is really South Goa, if you’re looking to spend quality family time together. Been there, done that is what I feel about party scenes now, so having fun with the kiddies is more like a real holiday that lets me destress too.
And while you have people complaining that South Goa is boring, let me tell you that one needs to stay in both the south and north, to really compare. So here’s what I found out. And what’s not to like about South Goa? The beaches are not at all crowded, a bit cleaner and most resorts here have the entire experience packaged for families that just want to relax and destress.
So when I chose South Goa for the serenity and pretty laidback holiday it offered. I wasn’t disappointed. We stayed seven nights at the Zuri Whitesands Resort and Spa in Varca. Overall good. Opens out into a big beach, so easily approachable. The swimming pool is as long as the entire length of the rooms in the resort go, so it’s like a long Venetian canal that’s just outside your room, making impromptu dips very convenient. Even in the nighttime when you hear birds chirping as you hold on to your precious cocktail inside the pool.
If there, make sure to taste Executive Sous Chef Sudipta Ray Chaudhuri’s special dishes that he can customise for you. Watch out for weekends though, where hordes descend like there’s no tomorrow and you better reach at breakfast early, else you land in a queue. Other places to hole up there are aplenty. Stay at the Leela, Holiday Inn Resort, Radisson Blu, The Lalit, Alila Diwa.,etc
What to do: If you don’t want to drive all the way to North Goa, explore South Goa only, there’s plenty of stuff to do, see and watch. Just take a self drive car on rent or get taxis on hire to visit nearby beaches like Varca, Fatrade, Benaulim, Colva and many more.
There are sights aplenty and of course, a whole lot of driving in between coconut tree lined roads that can lead you to the strangest and remotest of destinations, if your google map goes awry. Like it did with us and many times we found ourselves driving over the edge of the beach and almost into the water!
Not to mention the scare we got when we landed in between patches of a lonely graveyard, while hunting for a cafe. Well, they made the experience a bit surreal, though we abandoned our coffee cravings then!
If it’s off-season, most beach shacks are closed and yet you could get lucky like us. As for the best beach this side, go to Benaulim. Eat at Johncys or Pedros restaurant. Excellent Goan food along with all other cuisines plus unlimited beers to keep you going. Nights here see a lot of live music so it’s a lovely experience.
You can also pop by to Margao town and visit a church of just sit by at a cafe as you watch life, roll by. Though Colva is touted to be the cleanest beach in this area, I have to beg to differ! All these beaches plus Margao town is about 15 to 20 minutes drive from Varca, where we put up.
You could also drive down to the famous Fishermans Wharf restaurant of the Holiday Inn resort, if you want to wine and dine with the sound of the crashing waves under your feet in Cavellosim, that is just about 20 mins from Varca. Churches, waterfalls, watersports, the beaches and of course museums are aplenty, if you want to take the conventional sight seeing route.
Else, just celebrate the beaches, the setting sun, the rains and meeting a lot of new, friendly people, that for me, are the highlight of any trip. Get a smile on your face or at best a tattoo, a relaxing, luxurious massage or spa therapy, eat local, drink like a fish and explore Goa by driving a car or scooty.
My idea of heaven. I live it each time there.