Discover Betul, a gem hidden deep in South Goa

Betul beach, in Goa, is where the sea and the river kiss, but still stays away from the harsh realities of tourism
Betul, in South Goa, offers a tryst with nature.
Betul, in South Goa, offers a tryst with nature.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

Betul, in South Goa, boast of a uniquely small beach that nestles below a forested hill and is visited by tourists that stay in lavish hotels on Mobor beach, which is a stone’s throw away.

Despite being bordered by a river on one side and the sea on the other, Betul has yet to feel the bite of tourism because of the place’s natural layout of rocks that bound the river and shoreline.

The last vestiges of the fort in Betul.
The last vestiges of the fort in Betul.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

As one enters the village tinto (market) a signage indicates the way to Betul fort.

Driving through a typical village road, one reaches a board that indicates an old and uninhabited Customs House, that is close to crumbling, and a little ahead is the fort.

“I did not expect this experience. This would not look like a fort if not for the lone cannon. The view from here is nice, but there seem to be no facilities for tourists,” says Shayla, who with friends, has driven there from Mobor.

Below the Customs House and the fort is a spring, from where no water flows, but is testimony to the presence of the Portuguese influence of the past years.

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“There is no water flowing but one can draw water from the bottom,” discloses local man, Viresh.

The only vestige of tourism on the road to the fort in Betul is a well-managed home stay.

“This place is run by a five-star property, and most of our guests are those who come to Goa to enjoy the serenity,” discloses an employee, unwilling to part with more information.

Although no water flows from the spring, one can draw water from the bottom.
Although no water flows from the spring, one can draw water from the bottom.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

“We have quite a few tourists coming to visit, but it is of no use to us at all. We have not been able to benefit from a touristic point of view because there is little we can offer to visitors in this part of our village,” says Alfie, who is angling at the spot and hopes some fish will fall prey to his bait.

“Many of us come here to fish as the catch is good because of the presence of rocks. Fishing largely depends on the tide and villagers go out into the high sea with their boats, too,” remarks Alfie, as a big-sized fish bobs around his line.

The only home stay in Betul.
The only home stay in Betul.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

“This place is used more by local boys. See the empty bottles and all the chips packets strewn around… they have no care for nature and once they are high, they don’t care,” snaps a middle-aged housewife collecting firewood from the forest that kisses the shoreline.

“We are fisherfolk and unlike other beaches, infrastructure around the place has not developed. This place can be beautified, but as you see the board there, I think the responsibility is of the Customs, as the land is theirs,” says Shambu, as he sips tea at the tinto.

Lack of civic sense is evident from the garbage strewn all over the beach.
Lack of civic sense is evident from the garbage strewn all over the beach.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

Many visitors to Betul, according to taxi driver, Shrikant, are guests who get a glimpse of the place from their luxury resorts hotels on Mobor beach.

“These hills are so close to the beach. This is a first-time experience for me, and it looks even better from the beach opposite," thinks Amanya from North India.

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"It didn’t take us long to reach here by cab and the home stay seems to be offering some tranquility not associated with beaches,” adds Amanya.

Betul is the one place in Goa where the sea kisses the river and the encounter with nature becomes boundless.

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