May 16, 2017

Beaches of North Goa


When you hear north Goa, what mostly flashes though one’s mind would be the crowded beach stretches of Baga- Calangute, Candolim or Anjuna.  Instead, when one heads further north, beyond Chapora river, it leads to the bohemian beaches less frequented by the crowds. The beaches of Arambol, Ashvem and Morjim are known for their lovely sands, serene setting and are a favourite with the discerning travellers who would like to look beyond the crowded beaches of Goa. Once a favourite with hippies and the bohemian crowd, they have slowly caught attention of travellers over the last few years. Located in Pernem taluka, all these beaches are either separated by a creek or a hill. Situated close to each other, there are five prominent beaches here in the northern corner of Goa. Being away from the maddening crowd doesn’t make them any less friendly for a visitor. There are lovely shacks to choose from and many cafes that serve delicious food.

Morjim:

Just across river Chapora lies the small hamlet, Morjim. Morjim probably has the most serene beach of the lot and is also known for the endangered olive ridley turtles that come ashore to nest and lay eggs. A walk early in the morning on the soft white sands is an ideal way to start your day. There aren’t many activities to explore here other than strolling on the beach or opting for a dolphin sighting boat ride. Walk till the extreme left of the beach to see river Chapora disembarking into the Arabian sea. Chapora fort can be seen atop the hill, across the estuary.  Though there are a few cafes by the beach, most of the accommodations are in the by lanes that lead to the beach.



Ashvem:

Known for its long sandy stretch and rocky outcrops, Ashvem is a favourite with European travellers. A beautiful creek in the background accentuates the charm of this beautiful beach known for gorgeous sunsets. The evening breeze also brings many kite flyers to this long beach. The sea is safe here and a dip in the waters is well recommended. Ashvem has numerous cafes along the beach and a wide range of accommodation options by the road that runs parallel to the beach.






Mandrem:

Mandrem is one of the least explored beaches on this stretch. Located at the base of a cliff, a walk down through a garden leads to a wide creek, across which lies the beach. Look down at the marshy patches of the creek and you can spot numerous colourful crabs. The sea is rough here and there is high tide frequently, but that doesn’t stop people from having a dip here. There are only a few cafes here and accommodation options are very limited. Except for sunbathing, Mandrem doesn’t offer any other activities for visitors. That also makes it one of the least crowded beaches in Pernem.





Arambol:

Beyond the cliff at Mandrem lies Arambol beach, a favourite with hippies since the 70’s. It is now the most popular beach on this stretch in north Goa. Arambol is the corrupted Portuguese name for Harmal, the local village. Walk north along the beach and that leads to numerous stalls that sell myriad items. Further ahead lies Paliem beach, a small beach which is a part of Arambol. This beach is a favourite with foreign backpackers. With stilt huts, Waghcolomb hill in the backdrop and a nice little freshwater lake, this definitely seems close to paradise. A climb up the hill offers panoramic vistas of the sea and Arambol. The long Arambol beach has a number of cafes and shacks lined up which get quite lively and vibrant as the sun sets with trance music and showcase a spread of the day’s catch. Our Lady of Mount Carmel church located on the road that leads to the beach is a popular attraction in Arambol apart from the beach.






Keri:

Also referred as Querim, Keri is the northern most beach of Goa and is located at the mouth of Tiracol river. It is secluded, has very few shacks and that makes it an ideal one for solitude seekers. Lined with casuarinas in the background, the sand here slopes down into the waters and the tides are pretty strong too. A swim here is not recommended. To the north of the beach lies the estuary of Tiracol. Take a ferry and cross the river to visit Tiracol fort. Though it has been converted into a heritage hotel now, visitors are allowed to go inside the fort and enjoy the vistas. The fort also houses a lovely church.




Travel Tips:

  • Make Morjim or Arambol your base to cover this northern stretch of Goa.
  • All the beaches are a short ride away from each other.
  • There are cafes on all the beaches.
  • As these are not very lively beaches, it is not advised to loiter around too late in the night.
  • Hire a two- wheeler to move around these beaches. You hotel/ hostel can arrange for the same. Risky to rely on public transport as they aren’t frequent.

Navigator:

The nearest airport is at Dabolim- 49 Kms from Morjim and 58 Kms from Arambol. The closest major rail head is at Thivim- 19 Kms from Morjim and 29 Kms from Arambol. Arambol and Morjim are the major villages. The frequency of buses connecting between these places is less.

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