North Goa: Arambol
Arambol was our first destination in Goa. I read about the hippy vibe and long stretches of beach. It’s quite a built up area with lots of shops and restaurants. We stayed here for three nights which was enough for us.
After a gruelling 17 hour bus ride from Hampi we landed in Mapusa in torrents of rain. We asked the taxi guy to take us to the beach so we could find a guesthouse. Note. everything is much harder to do in the rain. Finally we decided on a place just two minutes up from the beach. It should rain more often for businesses because all we wanted was some comfort so opted for the more expensive room. The power went off everyday in Arambol. Once it was off for about 2 hours in the evening so everywhere was dark, it gave us a good opportunity to talk to the locals on the street.
Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of our guesthouse. It was above a mini-market, next to a jewellers and opposite a bikini shop. Does that help? Our Australians friends we met in Kerala decided to move from their beach shack to the room next door to ours. Sometime you just need a decent room to sleep in.
Another place to stay is Lotus Sutra, located in a secluded area away from the busy restaurant and bar seen along the beach. There are single and double rooms on offer or you can stay in a wooden cottage with sea views. Book online here.
The beach front is lined by many restaurants, our favourite being 21 Coconuts which served delicious hummus and warm pitta bread.Everywhere has a laid back vibe with low backed chairs and minimal decor. We saw lots of fresh fish outside restaurants caught that day which you can have cooked for you.
There’s lot of market stalls and shops all along the road towards the beach. Prices are much more expensive here than Rajasthan due to the tourist industry. We found a very hippy/festival vibe shop run by a Western woman selling Topshop and Primark clothing, it was so weird seeing Western labels for sale!
We found the beach not exactly enticing to sunbathe on. It’s too busy with people walking, restaurants buzzing and sellers calling you over than to lay down and relax. Nor was it the prettiest beach I’ve seen…. There are far nicer beaches in other areas of Goa.
We arrived right at the beginning of the season in November so whilst there were people, it wasn’t busy and nor were there any parties. I heard Arambol can really pick up in the high season, Loeki’s is a well known place to visit with live bands performing on Sundays and Thursdays.
How to get there
We took a taxi from Mapusa taking around 30 minutes. Buses run from Panjim via Mapusa every 30 minutes until midday then it’s every 90 minutes thereafter.
Would I go back?
I had fun in Arambol but I wouldn’t go back. There are far nicer places to visit in Goa and so much prettier. Arambol felt quite crammed in with too many buildings piled on top of each other.