Goa’s hippie connections can be traced to Arambol, where the community started settling down in the mid-1970s. This was how the previously ‘inaccessible’ Arambol – a Portuguese corruption of the village name, Harmal – became Pernem Taluka’s first tourist beach.

The beach today is a favourite with European ravers and backpackers. Arambol certainly isn’t the unspoilt paradise that it once was but in it’s quieter parts, you’ll find the echoes of a secluded beach.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Arambol Beach has shacks and a few stalls selling sarongs and assorted stuff, and you can spend your time browsing through the items on sale. Climb up Waghcolomb Hill for the best possible views of the sea.

TIP Arambol is not safe for swimming and there are no lifeguards here, so it’s best not to venture in more than waist-deep. At Keri Beach, stay well away from the Tiracol river, as it has a particularly strong undertow

Madhu Kapparath
Arambol Beach
Arambol Beach

Paliem Beach and Lake

Arambol’s most wonderful feature is the tiny Paliem Beach at the foot of the Waghcolomb Hill. Here, there’s a small freshwater lake barely 200 m from the sea, fed by springs, at the base of the surrounding hillsides. A dip here after bathing in the sea is recommended to wash off the salt. There are no ‘hot’ springs feeding the lake, as some people would claim.

Watersports and Paragliding

Apart from dolphin-spotting trips, which are offered by nearly every outfit here, there’s also a Surf Club W surfclubgoa.com) on the beach that offers windsurfing, boogie boards, kite-surfing and sand-speed sailing – this is for true adventure freaks as the board can hit 30 kmph on water. Rates: 500 upwards for a ride. Kite Club Goa (W kiteclub northgoa.com) is another outfit here that offers courses on kite-surfing, and also rent out the requisite gear.

During season, paragliding takes place from the top of Waghcolomb Hill over the lake. Charges can be anything from Rs. 1,500 upwards for a 20-minute flight.

Tiracol Fort

North of Arambol, the road ends at the Keri-Tiracol ferry point. On the opposite shore is Goa’s north ernmost outpost, Tiracol Fort. It was captured by the Portuguese from the Bhonsales of Sawantwadi in 1746, during the Novas Conquistas. Tiracol was and even now remains a cheeky Goan toe hold in Maharashtra. Till recently, the fort functioned as a hotel. The chapel of St Anthony, inside the fort, is open only when guided tours arrive. But the ramparts afford a spectacular view of the river and the sea. A new bridge has come up now but you can also take the ferry.

Keri-Tiracol ferry vehicles 30 Ferry timings 6.00am-9.30pm, departs every 30 minutes

WHERE TO STAY

Most of Arambol’s seaside hotels are on the north side of the beach, along the path to Paliem and hence parking might get a bit difficult.

TIP Most places here are seasonal. Call ahead

Famafa (Tel: 0832-2242516/ 17, Cell: 07507859842; Tariff: 1,600-3,000) is located in a concrete building, but the front rooms have sea views. The seaside Om Ganesh Naik Guest House (Cell: 09049561092, 08390152869; Tariff: 700-2,000) is one of the nicer hotels in the area with great views and clean rooms. Ivon’s Guest House (Tel: 2242672, Cell: 09822127398; Tariff: 500-1,500) is a budget option near the beach in Girkar Vaddo with a restaurant and bar. Gods Gift Guesthouse (Tel: 2242391, Cell: 09923427570; Tariff: 675-2,200) also in Girkar Vaddo is a family-run guesthouse offering beach huts as well as a multicuisine restaurant. Ave Maria (Tel: 2242137, Cell: 08421235235; Tariff: 700-1,400) is a decent option on the beach and has a restaurant and swimming pool.

WHERE TO EAT

Double Dutch is an excellent bakery run by the Dutch couple Axel and Lucie. Little Italy and Laughing Buddha, both on the beach, have decent food. Sushi Café and Pizzeria has good food and lovely views. Rice Bowl serves authentic Chinese and Asian fare. Another nice option is Oasis, on the path to the lake. Relax Inn, also on the lake-side path, has the best Italian food in Arambol. Outrigger in Modlo Vaddo serves great seafood. Cheeky Monkey has Continental food, while the sea-facing Residences is favoured for its ambience.

When to go The best time is winter but it’s also the most expensive season. The monsoon is another option for those who like to holiday in the rains Location Arambol is in Goa’s northernmost taluka of Pernem, just south of Keri Beach Air Nearest airport: Dabolim Rail Nearest rail: Pernem