A hot-season retreat for Margao’s moneyed middle classes since long before Independence, COLVA is the oldest and largest – but least appealing – of south Goa’s resorts. Its outlying waddos are pleasant enough, dotted with colonial-style villas and ramshackle fishing huts, but the beachfront is dismal: a lacklustre collection of concrete hotels, souvenir stalls and flyblown snack bars strewn around a bleak central roundabout. The atmosphere is not improved by the heaps of rubbish dumped in a rank-smelling ditch that runs behind the beach, nor by the stench of drying fish wafting from the nearby village. Benaulim, just a five-minute drive further south, has a far better choice of accommodation and range of facilities, and is altogether more salubrious.

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