Arambol beach, situated a couple of kilometers before the famous sweet water lake, is turning out to be quite a draw with a certain class of tourists, different from other beaches with the accent on quality, tranquility and acceptance.
“The majority of Indians come by car. The Russians, many of whom live on the hills, come on motorcycles and a few old timers live around. There is not much of a crowd in the morning but activity picks up by evening,” says Constancio as he helps his family mend fishing nets on the beach.
Fishing is still the main business of locals. “How else would we all be able to live? We venture out into the sea depending on the tide and the catch is good most of the times. All the boats lined on the beach are operational,” discloses Constancio.
Unlike most beaches in Goa, apart from the shacks allocated by the Department of Tourism, the beach is dotted with cafes, beach houses and restaurants that serve Goan, Indian, Russian and Continental meals.
The beach is lined with beds with one side being used by Indian tourists and the other by foreigners and the two seem to co-exist enjoying the setting sun at the end of a hot afternoon.
“I drive down here because the beach appears very even and the waters very calm. I sense an element of safety when my wife and child wade into the water,” admits Sohail as he keeps a watch on his family playing in the water.
Arambol is a beach that offers space to Hare Krishna bhakts, to enthusiasts wanting to meditate, to artists wanting to practice fire dancing or couples just wanting to soak in the sun with sips of alcohol and little nibbles.
“Business is not booming but I cannot say it is bad. We are making the most of what we can. We have learnt to accept the role Indian tourists play in keeping the industry afloat,” says Pratik who believes the government could have handled the business of issuing shack licenses better.
“The government could have acted faster. I opened my shack on December 28 and I still haven’t got my liquor licence and electricity connection. The customers from my shack are using the washrooms of the private restaurants,” claims Satish.
Music can be heard from a few shacks but it is not loud and this is because, as Alifa says, “Most of the people who come here do so to enjoy their own space. We have parties in the evening but they are not loud.”
All the cafes provide service to clients using the beach beds and though prices vary marginally, nibbles and beers for two cost around Rs 1,000.
Most foreigners enjoy some beach volleyball and also bathing in the sun. As the sun begins to set, foreigners with musical instruments can be heard in pockets of the long beach.
No beggars can be seen and as the evening progresses, a beach cleaning team is seen picking up the unwanted waste and giving the sand its white luster.
“I lived in Arambol for many years in my younger days. I have come back after years and can still feel the vibe of the past. It is crowded now but the spirit of the people has not changed and hence the difference is minimal,” says 70 plus Alfi from the Netherlands.
Arambol was once known for its sweet water lake at the northern end of the beach. Now, it is the beach that leads to the lake, past the rocks that is adding allure to the place.