Goa – Must Visit Untouched Places

A few things that first pop in our mind when we here about Goa are beaches lined with shacks and tourists enjoying all types of water sports at the beach. But there’s an untouched and relatively unknown part of Goa that is beautiful and everyone should must visit them when on a trip to Goa.

The most known and commercialized part of Goa is North Goa and is very crowded especially in the Holiday seasons. South Goa is its polar opposite. You won’t find it crowded and the beaches there are beautiful and serene. The beach shacks are similar to those you find in Baga, Calangute or Vagator, but the view of the sea is unobstructed. And the best part, since it is less frequented by tourists, you get lovely places to stay at a budget cost.

On our recently concluded 3-day tour, we covered 5 beaches of South Goa and all our travel was done on a rented two wheeler, which is the best and the cheapest mode of transport available in Goa. We rented the scooter from a rental service called “Damodar Bike Rentals” right outside Margaon Railway Station.

They charge Rs. 300-500 per day for the vehicle depending on the model you choose. Fuel cost is to be born by you. We found this to be a steal deal as our total expense on vehicle resulted to Rs.1300 only (Rs. 900 for 3 days rent and Rs. 400 for the fuel).
Riding on the streets of Goa is quite fun. The roads are well maintained and give a cute vibe on your journey.

Exploring Virgin Beaches

The highlight of our trip was exploring the less visited but aesthetically soothing beaches. We stayed in Benaulim which is 5 km from Margaon and is well connected to all the beaches we were about to explore.

That was our journey map. Though we exactly didn’t follow this but this will give you an idea about the locations of the beaches we explored. So let us break the beach experiences one by one.

Palolem Beach

We first heard about Palolem while we were pursuing our post graduation at Manipal. Apparently, Palolem was only 6 hours drive from Manipal, but we as it happens often with Goa plans, it didn’t get materialized.

Nevertheless, 2 years hence we successfully make it to the shores of Palolem. On appearance, it looks like another beach of Goa, with a street market leading up to the main beach. A few shacks on the beach that serves good food (read: Sea Food) and cheap alcohol (read: A lot cheaper than Mumbai). The beach is spread across a wide area and the main activity on the beach is the boating rides to a few nearby islands and beaches.

We took a motor boat ride which costs Rs. 2000-2500 for the entire boat, for around 1.5 to 2 hours. It is up to you whether you want the entire boat for yourself or share your ride with fellow tourists. We shared our ride with a family since we didn’t want to spend that amount on a boat ride. So it turned out to be Rs. 1200 for the two of us for the boat ride.

Our ride started with testing our luck at dolphin spotting and luck was shining on us brightly that day as we did spot a dolphin in close proximity of our boat.

After spotting the dolphins, we headed towards two islands that were included in the itinerary. These islands go by the name of Butterfly Island and Honeymoon Island. Both these places have a small beach area and have hardly any people coming there. Interestingly, Butterfly Island gets its name because when seen from the boat, it appears to be in a shape of a butterfly. Besides, there are many species of butterfly found in the forests behind island.

Butterfly Island. Can you draw the shape of butterfly?

Honeymoon island is next to Butterfly Island, and has a rocky beach which helps a great deal if you are looking to get some good photographs. There’s nothing much to do on the beach, 10-15 minutes of the time is more than enough for it.

Back on the beach, we indulged in a king sized meal with a Kingfish Masala Fry on our table. Served with chips and salad, the fish was soft, juicy and full of flavors, best complimented with chilled beer.

Cola Beach

This was the best of all the beaches we visited in Goa. It is a perfect place to hide and stay put for a couple of days as it is off the main road and covered with forests and coconut trees. The sea and the backwaters lie within touching distance of each other and it is very satisfying spectacle to witness.

The Ocean
And the back waters..

There are two resorts adjoining each other on the beach and they have a hut and cottage kind of accommodation. Not recommended if you are on budget trip, but the visit to the beach is definitely recommended. It is one of its kind beach, something you don’t get to see very often in our country.

However, the last stretch that leads to the beach is complete off road. Make sure your vehicle is in good condition, else it will succumb to the notoriety of the route.

There are no street lights on this road and no mobile network too. Hence it is advisable to reach the beach early, enjoy the atmosphere, have some beer and leave before the sun gets down.
P.S. The view was definitely worth the 2 km off road bumpy ride.

Cabo De Rama Beach

This one was a kind of show stopper for it offered a setting similar to a Bollywood Song Location. A rocky plateau that opens up to the beautiful Arabian sea.

How beautiful can Goa get…
Bird’s eye view of Cabo de Rama

The best part about the beaches in South Goa was owing to smaller beach area, it draws lesser crowds. Also the limitation of the water based activities is a reason which draws less people here. So if you are looking for some quiet time on the beach at a budget rate in Goa, South is where you should be looking for.

Riding Experience in Goa

One of the fun part was riding a two wheeler as we mentioned earlier. We took the narrow allies and roads where we experienced an old Portuguese town that has remained still in time.

The houses were so colorful and pretty, you just can’t take your eyes off them. The architecture is also different and each house has a story to tell in itself. That’s how wonderful it was.

So, when someone tells you that Goa is over hyped, make them aware about the unexplored part of Goa, a Goa that has stood still in time and is just too beautiful to ignore.

Ganeshgule – A hidden alternative to Ganpatipule

Are you looking for a secluded beach getaway but do not want to burn a hole in your pocket? Then, Ganeshgule will provide the answer to your search.

Photo of Ganeshgule: Relax & Rejuvenate on this Remote Beach #offbeatgetaway 1/14 by Krutarth Vashi

As a working couple, we were in dire need of a break since we hadn’t had one in a while. Just as we were searching for places nearby, I recollected this place suggested by a friend. Ganeshgule ticked all our boxes since it is near to Mumbai, it is within budget and it is quiet and peaceful.

Ganeshgule is literally a small village about 30 km from Ratnagiri along the Konkan Coast in Maharashtra. But despite it’s remote location, it gives you an experience worth cherishing for a lifetime.

Photo of Ganeshgule: Relax & Rejuvenate on this Remote Beach #offbeatgetaway 4/14 by Krutarth Vashi

Ganeshgule is in a polar opposite direction to Ganpatiphule, a popular temple town off the Ratnagiri Coast. While Ganpatiphule is a commercialized spot, Ganeshgule is its exact opposite. It is untouched, unaltered and pure. Here are the complete details from our experience closet.

How To Reach?

The best way to reach Ganeshgule is via train. The nearest railway station is Ratnagiri (30 km). All the important trains heading towards Goa and Kerala like Matsyagandha Express, Netravati Express, Marusagar Express, Tejas Express etc halt here. From Ratnagiri, you can either hire a Tuk-Tuk or board state transport bus. The frequency of the state transport buses from Ratnagiri to Ganeshgule is every 2 hours. So if you are on a budget tour, our advice would be to choose the later. Anyhow, the journey time is the same, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Staying Options

Currently, there’s only one stay option available at Ganeshgule, and we opted for the same. Oceano Pearl, a property of hospitality firm O’Nest, that gives you the comfort of a hotel at the cost of a home stay. You have options of different types of rooms, we selected a standard room that costed us around 2500 bucks for a night.

The place has its own restaurant that serves good Konkani/Malvani cuisine along with the regular North Indian food. They also have decent sea food options, we tried Pomphret Fry there and we liked it. The restaurant, however, does not have liquor serving license. Hence you’ll have to make arrangements for alcohol. The nearest town where you’ll find liquor shop is in Pawas, 6 km from Ganeshgule.

Our Itinerary

Day 1

As this was a last minute plan, we boarded a Holiday Special Train from Bandra Terminus on previous night at 11.30 PM and reached Ratnagiri in morning at around 9.00 AM. We had our check-in at 12 in the noon, so we had breakfast at Ratnagiri station before starting our journey towards Ganeshgule. We took an auto ride which costed us around 400 bucks. The auto guys will quote exorbitant rates, it all depends on how well you can bargain and strike a deal. The journey wasn’t too great, nor it was too boring. In between, you will find yourselves driving parallel to the ocean and the very next moment you will be in dense forest.

We reached the hotel at around 11.00 AM and after freshening up a bit, headed straight to the beach walking past the palm trees and betel nut trees in the property. On Google Maps, you will find the demarcation of the beach as Ganeshgule Beach. However, it serves as a private beach to the property.

We sat on the beach for some time, taking in the fresh oxygen in our face and soulful rhythm of the waves crashing on the shores before we headed for lunch. As mentioned earlier, the in house restaurant serves some good sea food. 

Photo of Ganeshgule: Relax & Rejuvenate on this Remote Beach #offbeatgetaway 6/14 by Krutarth Vashi

There are many ways to pass your time at the property. You can indulge in board games, read books, play carom or outdoor sports like football, badminton and volleyball. The hotel staff is friendly and courteous. Their service is also quick and efficient.

Beach Experience

As the evening approached, we were again at the beach and it looked beautiful than ever before. The golden hours cast a spell in the environment like Midas Touch, turning everything to Gold. We walked up and down the beach, feeling the softness of the sand beneath our feet and cool mild breeze in hair. The experience in itself was so soulful, it felt as if the time just stands still.

Photo of Ganeshgule: Relax & Rejuvenate on this Remote Beach #offbeatgetaway 7/14 by Krutarth Vashi
Photo of Ganeshgule: Relax & Rejuvenate on this Remote Beach #offbeatgetaway 9/14 by Krutarth Vashi
Photo of Ganeshgule: Relax & Rejuvenate on this Remote Beach #offbeatgetaway 8/14 by Krutarth Vashi

Sunset was at its usual best, as the skies kept on changing its shades till the moment the sun went past the mighty ocean. It was both surreal and pristine, so much so, we didn’t move away till the last bit of light faded off.

Day 2

We made an early start to the day as we decided to climb the cliff by the shore we discovered the previous day. The temperature was pleasantly cool and it helped the small trek pretty enjoyable. Once atop, the view offered was just mesmerizing. The sound of the waves crushing against the rocks of the cliff was similar to the ‘riyaz’ of musical maestro.

Photo of Ganeshgule: Relax & Rejuvenate on this Remote Beach #offbeatgetaway 11/14 by Krutarth Vashi

And then there was this magical moment when the sun made its presence felt. It was a sight to behold as the sun emerged from behind the palm trees to awaken the mighty ocean. The sight was similar to that from a picture postcard.

Photo of Ganeshgule: Relax & Rejuvenate on this Remote Beach #offbeatgetaway 12/14 by Krutarth Vashi

After spending some time on the cliff, we returned to our base and had fresh Neera straight from the palm trees.

Photo of Ganeshgule: Relax & Rejuvenate on this Remote Beach #offbeatgetaway 13/14 by Krutarth Vashi

We had our complimentary breakfast at the restaurant and had a few hours in hand before the arrival of the local transport bus. We utilized the same in doing some odd stuffs like playing carom and failed attempts at climbing the palm trees.

Photo of Ganeshgule: Relax & Rejuvenate on this Remote Beach #offbeatgetaway 14/14 by Krutarth Vashi

All good things come to an end, and so did our little trip to this unexplored beauty off the Konkan coastline. In our opinion, taking these short trips to uncharted places really helps in rejuvenation of mind and soul. On that note, we bid adieu with the search of unexplored places being on.