North Goa Beach Guide
Goa does not necessarily means party, yoga and hippie. No! Goa can also mean relaxation, massage and water sports. It all depends on where you go. The coastline is long and thus there are many, many beaches. Some more touristic and some spots almost empty. Here is the ultimative beach guide (including my personal number 1 beach) of the most famous spots in North Goa.
Well, it is not really off-beaten-track but by far less touristic than elsewhere. Arambol North Beach offers also a sweet lake with healing water thanks to its minerals. The beach is protected by mountains and cliffs, you can access it only by a short hike. There are no hotels but three restaurants with very cheep but also very poor Indian and European food. The beach-merchandises have also discovered this beach and it is almost impossible to not buy jewelry, towels, bags or drums while spending a day at North Arambol. Paragliding for 2000rps (negotiable) available.
Here is the party! South Arambol is what you might imagine when thinking about Goa. A kilometer beach front with bars, restaurants and pubs lined up. You see as much colored umbrellas as people. Once a week free yoga-classes at the beach (check Facebook: Arambol Events). You can meet all type of tourists, from families to solo-backpackers, groups and of course "hippies". Spending a night at South Arambol Beach made me distinguish two types of hippies: the grey-hair-dread-lock hippie who has been in Goa since years and who is living his/her alternative lifestyle day by day. Type two: Wanna-be hippie who just got a tattoo in Old Goa, alibaba-trousers from Mapusa and who just signed up for a yoga course in Arambol. In other words: Short term hippie.
"Dobre djin, kak djela, sa znakomstwa". No idea what this means? Then Morjim beach is nothing for you. Locals call it "second Russia" and as people say, the Russian "invasion" started four years ago. Tobias and I spent like two hours there and were so annoyed! Everybody, including the Indians, were speaking to us in accent-free Russian! Do we look like Russians? Do you also speak English? Menus in restaurants, street signs, hotel names, tourist advertisement - everything in Russian. And so is the beach: Russian tourist that come with a ready tailored tour package in order to consume - attention: stereotype - as much alcohol as possible in their ten day-holiday. Even if the beach has its protected turtle nestling area, the experience was not the nicest.
Anjuna Beach is one of the last strongholds of the original hippies who arrived on these sandy shores in the late 60s (some of whom have stayed). Anjuna today still attracts a steady crowd of urban nomads, or the modern-day hippie who make this town their home during the winter season, as well a large number of student backpackers and young vacationers. Trance parties still rage on this beach, but wind down quite early into the night. There are kilometers of labyrinth-streets with shops to buy everything from yoga-mats to shishas to handmade arts. "Curlies" probably marks one of the most famous beach shacks in Anjuna, were people party nearly 24h. Wednesday is the big famous flea market.
Aswem beach is one of the best kept secrets of North Goa. This beach offers delightful ocean vistas fringed by the green fronds of the sway coconut palms that pepper the shore. The long, pristine stretch of sand is tucked away from the crowds and is an ideal place for tourists who want a quiet vacation soaking up the sun, sand and surf. You can relax still further by pampering yourself with a spa day at one of the nearby resorts of going for a relaxing Ayurvedic massage. There are a number of beach shacks and resorts that line the shores of the Aswem and are perfect for a mid-day meal or a stay in the area. The Aswem beach is known for its beauty and solitude and is not a hub of activity like other, more frequented beaches like Calangute and Baga. There is a surf school renting out SUP and kayaks.
Mandrem Beach is just the right place for you if you're not into that hippie-yoga-hoola-hoop-meditation thing. (at least not all the time) Like paradise, with its palm trees and white sand. The beach strip of Mandrem is quiet and tranquil. Most people only pass by, walking from nearby Arambol beach or so. However, you should really consider staying over night here, because o'saiba restaurant offers one of the best paneers in Goa and dolphin hotel has roof top rooms with sea view for 10 Euros. Also, here is a kite surf school, called kite guru, offering all kinds of water sports from November to April. Mandrem Beach has less restaurants and bars compared to the other beaches, but it is still enough. My personal favorite beach!
Once known for its night-long trance parties, Vagator attracts mostly Indian tourists these days. The small beach stripe offers everything that you can imagine: banana-boat, jet-ski, paragliding, parasailing and speed boat. However, im my opinion the beach has lost its charm. The fancy W-Goa hotel is in Vagator and if you are willing to pay 10 Euros for french fries, you can enjoy the magic-mystic hill terrace of this pricey hotel, overlooking Vagator beach. Known for its dramatic sun sets over the famous red cliffs.