ARAMBOL, 32km northwest of Mapusa, is by far the most populous village in the far north, and the area’s main tourist hub. Traditionally a refuge for a hard-core hippy fringe, the village nowadays attracts a lively and eclectic mix of travellers, the majority of whom stick around for the season, living in rented rooms, hut camps and small houses scattered behind the magnificent white-sand beach. Hedonistic, well-heeled young Russians way outnumber the older, more alternative, spiritually-inclined types from northern Europe who have long formed Arambol’s mainstay. But the two groups rub along harmoniously enough, and the overall vibe here is inclusive and positive, with plenty of live music to enjoy in the evenings, lots of relaxed places to eat and drink, and more opportunities to learn new yoga poses and reshuffle your chakras than you could get through in several lifetimes, let alone a winter. Moreover, beach life is generally laidback too – except on weekends, when day-tripping drinkers descend en masse in SUVs from nearby Maharashtra.