You can visit a place multiple times and yet find new things about it with each visit. That’s exactly what happened when I visited Goa this time. This was my 5th visit to Goa but it felt like my first visit because this time around, we chose to go to South Goa.
When I covered each bit of my trip on my Instagram stories, I got crazy response from people because even they had never expected to see such a lesser known side to Goa.
Where the North of Goa is famous for it’s crazy nightclubs, fancy casinos, beach parties, alcohol with friends and making memories that you can’t remember later, the South of Goa is the complete opposite. The South is for lazy afternoons, slow sunsets, endless swims in the ocean and days that seem to go on. It’s about making memories that you’ll cherish for days to come.
We stayed on the popular Palolem Beach and I mean we literally stayed on the beach. We found a really cute beach cottage and just decided to take it. We could hear the rhythmic sounds of the ocean waves from our bed, we could see the beautiful blue waters from our porch, above us were tall, swaying coconut trees. Ah, it was paradise.
Palolem beach was another kind of paradise. Firstly, I could not believe it was a beach in India because it was just so CLEAN. We hardly saw any litter, plastic or pollution. Secondly, it had really clear blue water, not murky at all. Thirdly, it was filled with foreigners (around 60-70%, I would say). There are multiple shacks lining the entire coastline, like colourful little dots. Oh, and the best part? The beach huts! So many colourful beach huts with all the colors of the rainbow. It really reminded me of the beach huts in Australia. It’s unbiasedly one of the best Indian beaches I have visited.
But wait, please don’t assume that South Goa is all about chilling (though that’s equally amazing!). There are many amazing things you can do. So I’m just going to list them down here:
Here are the best things to do in South Goa:
- CHILL, CHILL, REPEAT-
I cannot stress enough on this. South Goa is really the best place to unwind and take a break from our stressful lives. Take a dip in the ocean, sip on Kings beer, gorge on seafood in a shack, sleep under the shade of the coconut trees, admire the sunsets that sets the sky on fire. Just live life and enjoy the moment.
- BEACH ACTIVITIES-
Since the beaches here have good waves and clean waters, you can spend some time on activities like water scooter, kayaking, paddle boarding and tubing. There are shops all along Palolem and Agonda where you can rent out the equipment. I didn’t do any of these except tubing because I’m a bit of a sissy (lol) but I saw others really enjoying it. Otherwise, just chill in the water. It’s lovely.
- ISLAND HOPPING IN PALOLEM-
There are tons of colourful boats stationed on Palolem, each of them waiting to take you into the ocean. From the moment you step onto Palolem, you’ll find many boatsmen asking you to go island hopping. The ‘’Island Hopping’’ tour covers 4 things:
– Butterfly Beach
– Monkey Island
– Honeymoon Island
– Dolphin Watching
Butterfly beach is a small island that gives you the feeling of being on your own private island. We asked our boat guy to drop us off and come back later. So for 30 minutes, we were literally the only people on that island. It was really an amazing experience! Especially in a country like India where every corner is so crowded.
And yes, there are actual dolphins in the ocean. We spotted two. But make it clear to your boat guy that you won’t pay him unless you spot dolphins. They’ll try and dupe you otherwise!
I suggest you opt for only Butterly Island and Dolphin Watching.
- BEACH HOPPING:
The South is all about the beaches, baby! Let me tell you, some of India’s best beaches are here. Rent a two wheeler or car, stock up on essentials and just hop from beach to beach. Who knows, you might even come across completely isolated stretches.We visited Agonda and Cola. Cola was an absolute delight. You have to traverse through a very bad road to reach there but it’s worth it. It has just a handful of shacks and resorts, giving it a private feel. There’s also a natural lagoon right next to the beach.
My husband and I made a pact to stay in Cola next time!
Other beaches you can visit are Colva and Cabo De Rama.
- VEGAN CAFES:
There are some amazing vegan cafes that serve scrumptious salads, bowls and smoothies but guess what? We didn’t go. For some reason, we just didn’t feel like leaving those beach shacks.However, I’ve heard from reliable sources that these vegan cafes are fab. Some must visit ones are:
Kopi Desa and Zest Health Food Cafe (Agonda)
Little World and The Space (Palolem)
Jaali Boutique Cafe (Canacona)
Road trips in Goa are unlike anything else. Find a sea-side road and keep riding. Our road, however, led us to Panjim. Yes, it is crazy to travel 150 kms in a day on a bike but hey, what’s life without some adventure?
Leave early in the morning and go directly to Fontainhas, which is a Latin quarter in Panjim. It’s full of the most colourful buildings where you can find all the colours of the rainbow. And it’s the perfect place for some Insta worthy pictures too.
You can head to Cafe Bodega for lunch. It’s set in a traditional Goan bungalow and has a cosy space, an art gallery, really wholesome food and refreshing drinks. Be warned though, this ride is not for the faint hearted. Prepare yourself for sweaty legs and aching bums.
- PARTY PLACES:
Sundowner, Palolem: Sundowner is located on the tip of an island and can be accessed from Palolem only during low tide. The sunset is just magical, especially when coupled with their rustic ambiance and drinks. I would definitely suggest visiting here for sunset. It’s got a magical vibe to it.
Silent Disco: There are some regulations regarding noise around Palolem so the concept of Silent Disco came up. This where you wear headphones and dance to music. Imagine a bunch of drunk people dancing to nothing. Crazy, right?
Here are some other party places in South Goa.
- DINNER BY THE OCEAN:
If you have visited Baga or any of the other popular beaches, you would have dined with your feet in the sand. But the experience here is different.
Since the shoreline of Palolem is very narrow, the water keeps hitting your feet while you dine. It’s a crazy experience. We even celebrated my husband’s birthday here with a nice candle lit dinner.
Some of the shacks even have cultural performances to lure crowds. One such shack called Mystical World had Rajasthani Folk Music and I had fun dancing to it.
- STAY ON THE BEACH:
I suggest you stay right on the beach in Palolem or Agonda in these bright, amazing beach huts (that are also reasonable) and wake up to spectacular beach views every morning. And this is definitely a unique experience to the South because the North doesn’t give us this opportunity. The prices are anywhere between Rs. 1500-500 per night, depending on type of accommodation and season.
This below is our beach cottage and the view from it:
Okay, i know most of this revolves around Palolem but that’s only because I stayed there + it is the most happening beach in the South.
I’m definitely heading back to South Goa and will add more pointers next time. Hope you find this blog on Complete Guide to South Goa helpful.
Check out my Instagram highlights for more information and feel free to DM on Instagram or comment below if you have any queries.
Happy beach days, people!