Goa: Places to Explore

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Arambol, Ashvem, Mandrew, and Morjim

The sands of Arambol are far less congested than those at Baga and Calangute, and as a result the area has become home to a new generation of hippies and free-spirited travelers. You'll catch this bohemian vibe in the European cafés and cheap hotels and shacks that cater to long-haul visitors.

The beach, also known as Harmal, is rugged and lovely. The best stretch is tiny Paliem Beach, at the foot of Waghcolomb Hill. The scenery is spectacular: a freshwater pond stands at the base of the hillside barely 200 yards from the sea. The sea is rougher here than at other beaches—it's still good for swimming, but a bit more fun for those who like a little surf. To avoid the crowds when it's high season, walk past the pond, and you'll find quieter tidal inlets and rock ledges.

A little farther south are the lovely, quiet beaches of Ashvem, Mandrem, and Morjim. Divided by little creeks, the beaches have spectacular windswept stretches of sand, a far cry from the overcrowded beaches south of the Chapora River. Mandrem offers the most accommodation and entertainment options, including a couple of well-tended luxury shacks. Morjim is popular because of the Olive Ridley turtles, which use its dark sands as a nesting ground during the winter. Hatchlings emerge at night after an eight-week incubation period. Conservation efforts have proved difficult, and it's unclear whether turtles will continue to return to nest here. Ashvem is quiet and relaxing in the daytime, but once the sun goes down this is where you'll find the open-air beach parties in high season.

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