|In north Goa, Arambol beach attracts travellers from all over the world. Laid-back by day and lively at night, Arambol is the capital of hippie culture in Goa.
The narrow road leading the beach (dubbed "Glastonbury Street") is stuffed full of boutiques selling a bizarre and wonderful array of clothing, musical instruments, gemstones, figurines, art, music, jewellery, lanterns, smoking paraphernalia and anything else that can possibly be shifted to the charas scented crowd that saunter through this Festival That Never Ends.
The narrow lane gives way to the beach, and as the sun begins to set the beach shacks put out their seafood platters as yoga students practice the sun salutation. A herd of cows meander single file along the shore, past fire jugglers and brightly dressed beach traders carrying home their fluttering sarongs. Incense and cooking season the air as the yellow moon rises.
As night sweeps over Arambol, party animals come out to play, the beach becomes a galaxy of fairy lights, candles and bonfires and venues in town host musicians from all over the world to entertain the appreciative crowds.
|             Arambol Beach Highlights
A slow walk along the shore at sunset, observing the people / animals / sea and sky.
Watching musicians play live at Loeki's Cafe, anything from Indian classical music to psychedelic sounds - open mike nights are popular and the place fills up fast.
Hire a scooter for the day to explore the surrounding countryside. It is especially beautiful early in the season when the plants and fields are a million shades of green.
Climb around Arambol's rocky headland to the north of the beach to take a dip in the sweet water lake at Paliem beach (also referred to as Kalacha). If you are feeling adventurous, continue north to the secluded Keri beach.
Pick up silver jewellery, Rajasthani art or party clothes on the narrow market path leading to the sea.
Find Arambol's hidden culinary gems, where you can eat some of the best Western and Indian food in Goa (see Eating below).
If you are getting around Goa on a scooter as many visitors do, you will need to cross over the Chapora River bridge and then turn right at the T-Junction by the market and huge Banyan tree. Take a sharp left towards the coast and continue along the road towards Mandrem and Arambol. The left turn towards Arambol beach is before the market and petrol pump.
Frequent buses run the 32 km journey between Mapusa and Arambol (every 30 mins or so), just ask a driver at the main bus stand at Mapusa to point you to the right vehicle. A private minibus can be arranged from Panjim, which would shorten the Panjim-Arambol public route. Arambol's bus stop is on the main road, near the left-turn towards the school and St Carmel Church.
Taxis, rickshaws and bike taxis are easy to arrange in Goa, though prices in season can be high, especially for foreign tourists. Try negotiating with your driver, or asking a few people to find the best rate. Expect to pay several hundred rupees for a taxi between Mapusa and Arambol beach, less for a bike taxi or rickshaw. If you arrive at Margao train station, the pre-paid taxi booth is just outside the station. Other travellers may be glad to share the journey, taxis should carry four to five people.
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In this image, the main road is shown in yellow to the bottom right, and the road to Arambol is in white, ending with Glastonbury Street that ends on the sand!
Just before you reach the sea on Glastonbury Street, look out for a pizza place called Fellini's. Their delicious wood fired pizzas, or authentic pasta dishes are well worth a taste, and the busy venue is a great place to people-watch.
Relax Inn is one of the many restaurants that open out on to the Arambol beach. These places serve freshly caught sea food, cocktails, Indian dishes and Western fare. If you are choosing fish, look for the freshest catches and try bartering a little on the price. Also on the beach (across the small stream) the German Bakery does good, healthy breakfasts and will fill your water bottle with purified water for free.
If you fancy some music while you eat, try Loeki's on a small lane just off Glastonbury Street (to the left if you face the sea). Further down the lane, The Mango Tree is also known for its live music.
Arambol beach caters mainly for long-term budget travellers, so the accommodation is inexpensive and usually fairly basic.
Cock's Town has cheap, basic beach huts on offer right on the beach (south of the small stream). Bathrooms are not attatched, but lockers are available, and you can wake up and jump straight in the sea! Almost all of the sea front restaurants have some kind of accommodation, especially as you head south down the beach.
Tip: If you arrive with friends, try leaving your bags with one of the group and sending someone out to scout for a deal. View a few and negotiate on the price, since you will almost certainly be able to bring down the first offer. Stays of more than a couple of days should work in your favour when bargaining.
Taking a small track left just opposite and beyond the police station (before the main road through the village veers left) you will find several accommodation options where you will get a quieter stay away from the shops and bars. Of these, Ivon's, Ave Maria and God's Gift are definitely worth a try.
For Kerala's answer to Arambol, have a look at the quieter Varkala beach where a line of boutiques, restaurants and bars cling to a steep, laterite cliff that gives sweeping views of the sea.
|Beside The Sea
Arambol beach merges seamlessly with Mandrem and Ashvem beach to the south. It is possible to walk the north Goa beaches from Keri beach at the northern tip of Goa, to Morjim beach where the wide Chapora river meets the sea. If you decide on this, take a few days, since walking in the heat of the sun is not advisable!
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