I’m fond of South Goa beaches. These include Colva (my new home to be) and heading south from there to Benaulim, Varca, Mobor (Cavelossim) and ending up at Betul beach where the River Sal meets the Arabian Sea. I wrote a bit about River Sal in my previous Goa blog here.
I am not against North Goa beaches that are well known to all like Baga, Calangute, Anjuna and so on but that’s not my game, its too white (population of Brits, European and Russian I mean), too commercialized, too crowded, too many things going on and very happening. For me, I’d like the quieter parts that South Goa offers. I won’t include other famous South Goa beaches like Palolem for now but let me give some glimpses Mobor and Betul here.
Mobor-Cavelossim (as it is known) has some fine hotels in the vicinity of its famous beach. The hotels are mostly for the well heeled and in a way keeps out riff raff. Some of these hotels have beachfront like property that looks like the Hotels own stretches of this beach but that is not true, the beaches are indeed public. Elite Hotels like the Leela Palace are on top of the list in this stretch and moving on down the list to The Holiday Inn and further to budget hotels nearby that are quite good frankly, although without immediate beach access. There’s something good to suit all budgets.
(Fishing boat at the mouth of the Sal and Arabian Sea)
My favorite time at Mobor is in the evenings. I like this a lot, warm waters gently lapping at your feet while you walk on the edge of the water and the soft sand of the beach. The sunset in the horizon, changing hues of orange to somewhat deep red before plunging below. The soft sounds of the waves and the gentle breeze. I like stopping by and watching little birds run behind small crustaceans on the exposed wet sand when the tide goes out and then they come running back when the waves return towards the beach. For me that’s what a piece of heaven would feel like.
(Sunset at Betul)
One can relax by the seaside into the evening and night, there are a few good “shacks” where one can order up cocktails, mocktails and whatever else one fancies. I like the starts showing up as the sky darkens, the breeze still soft and less humid. It is seafood paradise, Goa is, and I’d encourage everyone to try some of the local dishes. Vegetarians don’t despair, there are options available, although it may not be extensive. South Goa beaches are a series of villages by the sea, all very clean and some villages still offering some very fine examples of old Portuguese architectures in their Casas.
(Islets formed by the Sal and the Sea)
I like that short stretch of walk between Mobor and Betul beach, reaching a point where the River Sal meets with the Arabian Sea. The Leela is located at this spot. Its really picturesque. There’s Betul Beach, soft sand bordering the river Sal’s mouth and on the other side is a line of Hills. The beach itself has various small channels that bring in water from the river to the sea and vice versa. One can stand on sand banks in low tide and watch water all around the little “island” that you are on. Some of the pictures accompanying this post would help imagine this.
(Sunset over the sand bar)
I normally just take the village road that runs parallel to the sea, from The Madgao-Colva road past villages and rice fields, going South. In high season this narrow road can have lots of traffic going at high speed, so if you are renting a two-wheeler, wear a helmet and be careful! If you are coming from Madgao side, on the road going to Colva, you’ll see a lot of signboards showing either Leela Palace. Take a left and drive till you see Mobor beach or till you drive into the River Sal eventually because the road ends there! The turn off to the left, facing Colva beach side is at a cross road just before the famous Colva Church of Our Lady of Mercy. If you go past the Church (Church on your right side), you have missed the turn. Never mind, take the next left and that road joins up with the road that you missed!
Betul is famous for this "river meets sea" location. I have also seen tour operators who take people out in boats to watch for Dolphins in the area and also motor up the river to a fishing village and take a look at the fresh catch of the day. I’d just go there to un-clutter my otherwise cluttered brain and let the feeling of peace and tranquility wash over me.