Colva, Goa

Colva, Goa

Goa was nothing other than a convenient stopping place between Hampi and Mumbai and I wasn’t really looking forward to coming here, that’s why we were only due to stay for 2 nights which gave us only one full day.

As we were due to only stay for such a short time we decided to pick the closest beach to Margao where our trains arrive to and later depart from. The beach of choice was Colva, a place hardly even mentioned in our Rough Guide as apparently it’s awful.

One reason for choosing Colva was that Jane stayed here a little over 22 years ago, when she was a little over 22 years old. She stayed for almost two weeks at the Hotel Silver Sands so that’s where we headed for, although to be honest I don’t think I ever thought we’d actually stay there as the reviews of it are awful. And it is. Truly awful.

Arriving at the Silver Sands we were shown the sea-facing room and it was dreadful, dusty, smelly, run-down and they still expected to get Rs3000 plus Rs500 for each extra bed, so Rs4000 (£57) plus tax per night. We walked straight out of the hotel without even saying “no thanks” to the receptionist. Leaving the others enjoying a well-earned Subway – for the first time in India this trip – I did the rounds of some hotels and finally made my choice, a lovely room at the Skylark Hotel, with a lovely pool for a good price.

So, the worst beach area in Goa, at the worst possible time of the year, it really shouldn’t have much going for it. So why are we enjoying it so much? I guess after three weeks of travelling India we’re used to the dust, so this place appears clean and fresh; we’re used to cows; we’re used to dogs; we’re used to lots of litter everywhere so again this place appears clean.

Inadvertantly the Rough Guide’s slating of Colva has helped us – there’s hardly any westerners here and that’s fine by us. Given that it’s off season and the prices are low it’s enabled us to find a very clean, small, family-run hotel. We’re in heaven.

On Saturday night we ate next door at the Leda restaurant, a fairly happening place linked to the Skylark, which had live music with a very pretty singer, who clearly was singing just to me. I didn’t even need to look at the menu as I knew they’d serve the dish I’d been waiting to have again since the last time I was in Goa, 14 years ago: Chicken Xacuti. I wasn’t disappointed although it cost three times more than most other meals I’ve had, it was Rs270 rupees, that’s just under £4 but a high price considering most dishes I’ve had in India have been about Rs90, or £1.30.

Chicken Xacuti
Chicken Xacuti

On Sunday morning we went for a walk to Jane’s breakfast haunt from 22 years ago, the Lucky Star Restaurant just behind the beach and a little north from where we’re staying. It was undergoing renovations and was closed, so we ate next door at Longuinos, which was almost closed and undergoing renovations too, but at least it was open for breakfast, even if it was served in room 102 of the hotel. I felt lucky as I’d almost booked this place online without seeing it in the flesh, just going on the web site pictures; I’m glad I didn’t.

The walk along the beach before breakfast was lovely; Goa is lovely, monsoon or not, even in Colva.

Here’s some photos:

Amy, Jane and Emilia on our pre-breakfast beach walk
Amy, Jane and Emilia on our pre-breakfast beach walk

Emilia enjoying the beach
Emilia enjoying the beach

Colva Beach, Goa
Colva Beach, Goa

Fish Eagle - at least I think it is
Fish Eagle – at least I think it is

Guys pushing the fishing boat across the beach. Hard work
Guys pushing the fishing boat across the beach. Hard work!

One of the local fishing boats
One of Colva’s fishing boats

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