Arambol Beach, Goa, is unlike any other place in India.
Oftentimes you will hear people describe it as “India-lite” as if to say it doesn’t bear the weight of some of the more spectacular tourist-drawn places on the map. They are completely wrong.
The reality is that Goa is not India—it’s Goa. It consists of Catholic Portuguese Indians, Hindus, and expats from all over the world. The Western tourists who come here, come for the season, living in community, creating works of art, going deep into their practices, and falling in love with the simplicity of living in nature.
Indians who visit Goa are coming on vacation, to let go of the traditional religious rigidity, to relax, and to have new experiences outside of the limitations of their cultural upbringing.
Most tourists miss the point of Goa because they are rushing from site to site to fit it all into their travel time. Arambol Beach is a place to slow down, to immerse oneself in the culture of community, and to enjoy beachside living.
You will make many friends in Arambol, getting to know the Indian café owners, the musicians gigging night after night, the acro yogis and fire spinners, and those in the drum circle taking center stage on the beach at sunset. You’ll also get to experience the garlic cheese nan, the paratha, the chai, the lemon honey ginger, the fresh lime soda, the tantric yogis, the magicians, and so much more.
Retreating in Arambol pierces the veil of our Western limitations whilst being amongst Westerners. The accommodations are simple. There will be bugs on occasion—mosquitoes, ants, and otherwise. There are cows that roam the beach daily and men, women, and children selling items on the beach to earn money. There will occasionally be loud music coming from venues along the beach or parties that happen throughout the season.
You will sometimes have challenging and difficult days, followed by the feeling of miracles taking place from deep within your own being. India, no matter where you are, is pure magic.
There will be plenty of time outside of classes to explore the scene and to participate in events being offered across the community.
It is okay to wear Western clothes, swimsuits, and bikinis while on the beach. You must take into account that Indian tourists are not used to seeing so much flesh and a few may stare at you and even try to photograph you. It’s best to have a cover up option just in case you become uncomfortable
The food has gotten an upgrade in Arambol. There are now multiple spots that serve clean raw veggies and kombucha where you won’t have to worry about getting sick. Because Arambol is such a community, the establishments compete for good reviews. Here is a round-about price list for food, although it can vary depending on the place.
Lentils, paneer, subji, etc. 2-3$
Pizza – 4-6$