ARAMBOL, 32km northwest of Mapusa, is easily the most populous village in the far north, and the area’s main tourist hub. Traditionally a refuge for a hard-core hippie fringe, it 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. As in most of north Goa, there’s also a showing of young, often quite alternative, Russians here, joining the spiritually inclined types from northern Europe who have long formed Arambol’s mainstay. The overall vibe is inclusive and positive, with plenty of live music, 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. Beach life is generally laidback too – except on weekends, when day-tripping drinkers descend en masse in SUVs from nearby Maharashtra.

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