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For most of the people heading towards Goa, it is one long beach.

Of the 75 miles of coast line in the Indian State of Goa, over 50 miles of it is beach. And while the rest of Goa - its culture, food, inland scenery, and cities - are all well worth visiting, Goa's beaches are what makes the state one of India's major tourist attractions.
Goa's coast faces the Arabian Sea and runs in almost a straight, uninterrupted line - broken only by the outlets of the state's seven rivers.

Beaches of Goa are much ahead of other beaches in India in terms of popularity and the facilities that are available here. The beaches here have been accepted as a way of life, there are exotic cuisine backing the pleasure of the sun and sand, and water sports facilities that include from water scooters to water gliding. Add to that, you can shake your legs for some time with a glass of feni and beer, engage in shopping on the beachside, or have a midnight bonfire on the beach.

There are acceptable beaches in the area of Goa's capital, Panaji. But while the beaches around Panaji are clean and acceptable, there is no need for a visitor to Goa to settle for beaches that are simple "acceptable".

Palolem is Goa's southernmost beach, about 35 miles south of the capital city, Panaji. The beach is white sand on a blue bay hemmed in by two headlands. Locals will offer to take you out in small boats at watch the dolphins.

If you're looking for a lonelier beach, Agonda Beach is just north of Palolem. It is edged by palms and casuarinas; a large hill sits to the south. You'll find no shops or facilities here. Mabor Beach is nearby - one of South Goa's most clean and beautiful beaches. Ignore the warning notices on the beach; the local hotel would like you to stay away, but all beaches in India are public property by law and there is no such thing as a "private" beach. It should be noted that beaches in Goa are usually named for the closest village. It is the existence of some village, therefore, and not geography itself which explains why the name of some beach changes as you follow it up the uninterrupted coast.

Moving north from Palolem and Mabor beaches tourists will find that Colva Beach is another broad, beautiful stretch of sand. A brook bubbles across it and the beach is sheltered by palm trees. It is a popular beach, with shops, restaurants, and something of a carnival atmosphere. It is a place where vacationing Indians come to lay in the sun and sand while their children dog-paddle around in the waves.

Among the safest beaches for swimming is Bogmolo Beach, just south of Panaji. It was among the first of Goa's beaches to be discovered by tourists. Fishermen also work the beach. Palms are plentiful.

Inside the Goan capital, Miramar beach (or Gaspar Dias), is only about 2 miles from the centre of the city. The beach is popular with the public, but it is not really considered safe for swimmers. Dona Paula Beach near Panaji is a land of water scooters and speedboats.

Not far north of Panaji is Calangute Beach. This was the first of the hippie resorts back in the 60's and 70's. The hippies left, though, when mainstream tourism over ran Calangute. It is small, crowded resorts area today and does a thriving business in the holiday season. Despite the crowds and popularity of the beach, it is long enough to allow some privacy.

Further north, if not quite the capital of the hippie world, Anjuna Beach was at least a leading travel destination for the Woodstock generation. It was once the most celebrated of Goa's beaches. Not far from Anjuna is Vagator Beach, where steep slopes of run down into a picturesque bay protected by small rocky peninsulas on each end.

A centuries-old Portuguese fort overlooks the mouth of the Tiracol River in northern Goa. The beaches in this area (the Pernem district) are the state's least developed. The crowds don't come here and there are no big hotels. Visitors camp, or rent one of the small shanties along the beach.

The beaches throughout Goa have an abundance of seas shells. The local Indians string the small brown and black littorin shells into curtains. Yellow-tinted conch shell (hemifuses pugilinus) is common. And a variety of other shells are numerous.

A word of caution: swimming is hazardous throughout Goa. The coast has some strong undercurrents. Speak to the lifeguards before you go out into the waters.

Goa's beaches are difficult surpass.
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