Sunny Goa is the smallest state in India, but unlike any other. Goa lies within the Konkan region and attracts international as well as Indian tourists, who come here and fall in love with its white, sandy beaches.
When it comes to beaches, everyone talks about Calangute, Candolim, Baga and so on in North Goa. However, if there is an explorer inside you, head South, keep going deep and don't turn back until you see a board saying, 'Welcome to Canacona'.
Originally known as Kankon, this taluka in extreme south has some of the most mesmerising beaches where one can chill out this summer with a chilled beer or whatever poison suits you the best to beat the heat.
SCENIC ROUTES: TAKE THE OPTIONS
Now that you have decided to head South, a scenic road trip on the NH66 (earlier NH17) route is guaranteed. The highway is hot-mixed and there is no room for travellers to complain.
While sticking to the highway will take you to Canacona faster, taking a less-travelled route via Chinchinim, Assolna, Velim, Betul, and onwards, will lead you on to a much more scenic route.
Taking this less-travelled route will give you several photo options and finally you will arrive in Canacona on a high.
Not that if you plan to stick to the highway, the road is not scenic. In the last five years, the traffic on this route has increased so much that it gives no room for one to get distracted while driving.
Just before you enter the Karmal Ghat section, paddy fields on the hills Canacona is known for its deck farming), coconut trees and deciduous vegetation greet you and welcome you to a world full of green.
The winding roads on the Karmal Ghat may cause some trouble to those who have motion sickness. Of late, this road has witnessed many accidents, so advisable to ride or drive with utmost caution.
The best time to take this route is in the day, especially morning hours when the sunlight cuts through the trees giving the route a gleaming effect.
It is advisable you hire a rent-a-cab or bike so that you are not at the mercy of public transport to see the interior places of the taluka where bus service is unreliable.
Now, let’s tell you what all you can do when you reach Canacona. Without doubt, the beach belt is simply breathtaking, peaceful and quiet. If you are on the highway, the first location you reach is Char Rasta and then a kilometre away is Chaudi, which is the main town.
Most of the people living in surrounding areas like Palolem, Patnem and Char Rasta come to Chaudi for their shopping needs.
HEAD TO PALOLEM
Once you familiarise yourself with the main town, the next thing would be to head to Palolem, which is known as Goa's paradise beach -- it is more like the Anjuna of South Goa, but it’s less crazy. This beach is known for its calm waters and shack life.
Over the last five years, Palolem has been catapulted to the hall of fame by social media as a result of which it attracts tourists from all over the country. In the peak season, the only road leading to the beach is choked with traffic, especially on weekends.
What makes matters worse is the many shops that have come up on both sides of the road one kilometre till the beach entrance. At the entrance, it may take some time for you to get parking for your vehicle at the only parking lot there is.
Once you find the parking and get on to the beach, you will realise it was worth travelling so far. The moment you set foot on the sandy shores of Palolem, it is instant love.
For those who love quieter places, Agonda is a better option than Palolem. This beach is ideal for those who are looking for a getaway or relaxation space. There are not many tourists around here and not many shacks too.
The shore is long and wide and desolate. You can have the beach all to yourself. You can take a swim in the sea, walk on the beach with your loved ones or simply play a football match with your friends.
This beach, which is 7 kms away from Palolem, is known for its Olive Ridley turtle nesting sites. The beach is lined with casuarina trees giving enough shade for picnickers who come there. It has a peaceful setting and calm environment with minimal civilization and there are no shacks on the beach.
Keep in mind, while at this beach respect the environment and ensure no inconvenience is caused to the Olive Ridley nesting sites.
Along the beach belt in Canacona, there are a number of accommodation options. Here are some:
· Sand Sapphire, Agonda
· Aquila Boutique Resort, Agonda
· The Lalit Golf & Spa Resort Goa in Raj Bagh
· Anand Yoga Village, Palolem
· Talpona Paradise Beach House, Talpona