India // Goa //

South Goa

Goa’s south coast is fringed by some of the region’s finest beaches, backed by a lush band of coconut plantations and green hills scattered with attractive villages. An ideal first base if you’ve just arrived in the region is Benaulim, 6km west of Goa’s second city, Margao. The most traveller-friendly resort in the area, Benaulim stands slap in the middle of a spectacular 25-kilometre stretch of pure white sand. Although increasingly carved up by Mumbai time-share companies, low-cost accommodation here is plentiful and of a consistently high standard. Nearby Colva, by contrast, has degenerated over the past decade into an insalubrious charter resort. Frequented by huge numbers of day-trippers, and boasting few discernible charms, it’s best avoided.

With the gradual spread of package tourism down the coast, Palolem, a couple of hours south of Margao along the main highway, has emerged as the budget travellers’ preferred resort, despite its relative inaccessibility. Set against a backdrop of forest-cloaked hills, its beach is spectacular, although the number of visitors can feel overwhelming in high season. For a quieter scene, try Agonda, just up the coast, or Patnem, immediately south of Palolem. Among the possible day-trips inland, a pair of elegant Portuguese-era mansions at Chandor and Quepem are your best options; and in the far south, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary affords a rare glimpse of unspoilt forest and its fauna.

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  • Margao
  • Quepem
  • Colva
  • Benaulim
  • Agonda
  • Palolem
  • South of Palolem: Colom, Patnem and Rajbag
  • Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary