South Goa is a teeny bubble of magic, offering plenty of nature and many more travelers interested in holistic health than raves. Goa is a gentle way into India, providing sandy beaches and foreigners in bikinis, international diversity in cuisine and traditional South Indian charm. Goa is a great way to begin your journey into India, or even better to end your travels, with a sigh of relief as you reach ocean and enjoy more relaxed, beachy bohemian vibes.
The Space Goa, Patnem
Known for its Mediterranean inspired menu (mezze style), fresh salads, vegetarian/vegan deli items and raw vegan deserts, this is an ultimate foodies paradise. Set in an old Goan home, The Space is nestled off the main road with plenty of shade and lush plants to create a beautiful cafe and ideal working environment. It also doubles as holistic retreat hosting daily yoga classes, weekly workshops (everything from Ayurvedic skincare, women's circles, kirtans to raw food classes) and spa treatments onsite.
This quaint cafe is cornered on the the main road of Patnem Beach. It’s simple, white washed interior provides a zen experience as you enjoy one of their many healthy vegan specialties. Think homemade vegan ‘cardamon chai’ and ‘mango vanilla’ ice creams and healthy, tasty superfood smoothies. Get there early as space is limited and this little gem is usually packed!
Magic View, Colomb Bay
This may be the only restaurant with plastic lawn furniture that has a cue down the road and sells out of pizzas — yes, its really that good! Owned and run by an Italian family, Magic View creates simple, thin crust pizzas, homemade pastas and sauces & deserts. The food is fresh, light and always consistent. When you have had enough spices, Magic View is the perfect place to tempt your tastebuds. Go before sunset and walk past the restaurant to the small path that leads you out to the rocks over looking both Patnem and Colomb Bay for a secluded sunset spot. Pizza begins from 6:30, arrive on time if you are serious about your food!
Blue Planet, Agonda
A vegetarian/vegan cafe which is set 2km from the beach and surrounded by jungle. Blue Planet is run by a lovely family who create intricate dishes which flavors always surprise me, in a wonderful way. Enjoy veggie juices, creamy smoothies, fresh green salads, millet chapatti with avocado cream and definitely leave room for their famous gluten free chocolate cake or carrot coconut cake! Blue Planet also offers daily yoga classes, luxury huts and a Watsu therapeutic pool.
Surrounded by lush coconut trees, meters from the sea is Home, a Mediterranean infused restaurant and chill out. Brunch is a favorite with potato rosti, poached eggs and strong coffee. Home was also known for its incredible deserts (the once head chef is no longer there but word is that he has passed on his recipes to the current staff) chill out music and oversized hammocks which are luxurious and deeply relaxing.
More quiet than Patnem and Palolem, Agonda is the perfect place to escape the busier beaches, but still enjoy plenty of restaurant and cafes, beach bungalows to stay and a wide open beach to enjoy.
A reserve for the turtles which nest each year, this beach is protected and has little development on it. Only 15 minutes by scooty from Patnem, yet this beach provides an entirely different experience and is a sweet drive along the river through local villages.
Once a best kept secret, this small bay is a mini paradise. Walk down old steps among the lush coconut grove and you find yourself on a small beach which is wild with palms, black volcanic rocks, deep clean blue waters for swimming and the best part - it's usually empty. There is one local restaurant with a few huts, hammocks and swings from trees, and if your lucky you will be the only one enjoying this teeny slice of heaven.
Khaama Kethna Eco-Retreat, Agonda
A back to basics experience, Khaama Kethna is the host of Lotus Yoga Retreats and provides an authentic holistic jungle retreat, complete with yoga, treatments and Ayurvedic cooking. Perfect for couples or single travelers...anyone who is looking to immerse themselves deeply in nature and detox from technology and modern day luxuries.
Art Resort, Palolem
A charming boutique beach hut resort which overlooks the Arabian sea and includes evening events of art, music and culture.
La Mangrove, Turtle Beach
Luxury tents along the calm river provides a relaxing and zen atmosphere. Perfect for couples or if you are in need of a few days off the beach and away from the business of India.
LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here