Santa Barbaras and Miamis are 'hot', but if 'warmth' matters more, the beaches of India, with Ayurvedic Spa Resorts & lip-smacking seafood, are the best bet for that vacation of a lifetime..
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Goa Beaches

If there is one maverick joint in India where 'fun' is the buzzword - it is Goa! And with a 50 mile beachfront breezing with the pleasantest of weather, needless to say, you will find it swarming with humanity - multi-colored, jovial, nocturnal, and what not. Goa's reputation as one of the most-haunted beach destinations is well-deserved and the palm-fringed acres of golden sands bustling with sports, fisher-women, vendors, sun-basking vacationers, and the arresting aroma of sea-food and feni (local beverage) - all make it a brand per eccellenza (par excellence). All located at few miles distance from the Capital Panaji (or Panjim), the legion of luxurious Beach Resorts are just another slice of spice to the already simmering toast - Goa!

North Goa Beaches
Two majestic Forts stand as the guarding sentinels at Goa's northern beach stretch - Tiracol and Agauda - from where the best sweep-of-vision can be had. The quaint seaside hamlets and their quainter rituals made this stretch more than a sunbathing lounge.
Arambol Beach
Arambol Beach (60 km from Airport): The northernmost beachfront of Goa after Keri, Arambol is both rocky and sandy and for the best views you will have to climb up the Waghcolomb Hill, which again has the tiny Paliem beach at its foothill. Go dolphin-spotting, paragliding and kite-surfing during the day and let your hair down for the wacky jam sessions at night at one of the many ravers out here.

Vagator beach (50 km from Airport): The mammoth Fort and stark red cliffs are the landmarks to look out for. Vagator, with the fresh water springs on the north, small hamlets with pleasant bars and cafes, low budget accommodation, the 18th century Chapora Fort (shooting site for the Bollywood flick 'Dil Chahta Hai'), is the kind to head for a languid vacation.

Anjuna Beach (57 km from Airport): The Anjuna - Baga - Calangute beach-belt north of Panaji is most populous and developed. Ask any Goan and hew will load you with galores about Anjuna's Wednesday Flea Market where everything from lovely trinkets and seashells to yak cheese and sarongs can be sampled. This one is rocky and not a good bet for watersports. But for nocturnals there are trance bars and rave parties that rock the beach almost everynight.

Baga Beach (15 km from Panaji): The crescent-shaped Baga with its soft white sands is a popular joint for water-sports activities like para sailing, jet skiing, body boarding and surfing. The dolphin cruises in the sea is a rage with tourists. Nocturnals stay back for the late-night parties here.

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Calangute Beach (16 km from Panaji, 48 km from Airport): The massive white dome of the Church of St. Alex announces that you have reached Goa's busiest of beaches. Right from hippies, roadside trinket sellers, Chapels, seafood eateries, to swanky Malini Ramani boutiques and exotic resorts, this is the hippest place to be. Its nickname, the Queen of Goan beaches, explains it all.

Candolim Beach (45 km from Airport, 13 from Panjim): The sequestered Portuguese Fort Aguada, the Chapel of St. Lawrence, Candolim Church - all conspire to give this beach its reclusive look. The crocodile and dolphin-spotting trips, fishing expeditions, river cruises and some exotic buys make it one of the noted names amongst the tourists.

Dona Paula Beach (32 km from Airport, 37 km from Margao): As pretty as its name is to the ears, Dona Paula is comparatively peaceful. The variegated water sports facilities like water scootering, angling create all the stir. Besides, it is a very picturesque locale commanding a grand view of the Zuari river and Mormugao Harbour, and an idyllic spot to relax and sunbathe. The legend of the Portuguese Governor's daughter Dona Paula and the local fisherman's son Gaspar's love story lend the place its romantic aura.

South Goa Beaches
It is an uninterrupted coastline, yet the beaches take on a different name each as you trail through, which is because the Goan beaches are named after the village in its vicinity. Tidbit apart, welcome to quieter stretch - a 26 km frill of grainy, white sand, that is best called 'best'.

Colva Beach
Colva Beach (26 km from Airport, 36 km from Panaji): Though agog with vacationers, this is one place where you can slice your own space amidst parasailing enthusiasts, swimmers, devotees (that swarm the place in October on their way to the church of Infant Jesus), crowded shacks, fishermen and what not. It's silver-gray, powder-fine sand has served a good bait inspiring a number of folk songs and some branded resorts to set up their abodes here.

Benaulim Beach (28 km from Airport): South of Colva is this legendary place, where according to Hindu mythology, the arrow of Lord Parsurama landed when he created the state of Goa. The church of St. John the Baptist on the hill is a wonderful example of Goan Christian architecture. With the first drops of the Indian monsoon, the village breaks into a celebration of thanksgiving for the Feast of São João. The crocodile and dolphin-spotting cruises are a favorite at this pristine beach.

Palolem Beach (67 km from Airport, 43 km from Margoa): It is rated amongst the most beautiful beaches in the world, with the backdrop of the Western Ghats, where one visit only whets your appetite for more. The large InterContinental Grand resort, Pandava's Drum - a cup-shaped rock which produces echoes if pelted on particular spots, a little island across the stream, the dolphin-spotting trips, a strange balming aura, make Palolem a must-go beach down south in Goa.

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Agonda Beach (10 km north of Palolem): This one is just perfect for back-packers who are looking for some solitude. The waters are crystal clear and one can actually see the bottom of the shore while swimming. Just watch out for the sharp barnacles if you decide to climb the cliffs there. The more adventurous can rent a bicycle in the village and cycle cross country to the beach.

How to Reach
Goa's international-cum-domestic airport, Dabolim, is 29 km from Panaji, on the coast near Vasco da Gama. You can fly in from Mumbai or opt for the eight-hour trip to Goa by Konkan railway or a sixteen-hour bus journey from Mumbai.

Snore by the Shore
Wake up with the fishermen's call and clear your curtains to let in the tranquil rays of a benign sun that has just buoyed itself out from a turquoise sea. This and a plethora of active pursuits on and off the beach awaits you at the luxuriant beach Resorts. Check out our Resort section for details. Budget accommodations and shacks also available around the beaches.

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