The Countryside Heaven
Of the fishing settlements dotted along the north coast, only Arambol 32-km northwest of Mapusa, is remotely geared to tourism - albeit in a very low-key, low-impact fashion. If one is happy with basic amenities, the village offers two very fine beaches and a healthy dose of peace and quiet. Parties are occasionally held here, drawing revellers across the river from Anjuna and Vagator, but these are rare intrusions into an otherwise tranquil, out of the way enclave.
Beaches Of Arambol
Modern Arambol is scattered around an area of high ground west of the main coast road, where most of the buses pull in. From here, a bumpy lane runs downhill, past a large school and the village church , to the more traditional end of the village, clustered under a canopy of widely spaced palm trees. The main beach lies 200m farther along the lane. Strewn with dozens of old wooden fishing boats and a line of tourist café bars, the gently curving bay is good for bathing, but much less picturesque than its neighbour around the corner.
The smaller and less frequented of Arambol's two beaches can only be reached on foot by following the stony track over the headland to the north. Beyond an idyllic rocky-bottomed cove, the trail emerges to a broad strip of soft white sand hemmed in on both sides by steep cliffs.
A Freshwater Lake
Behind the surrounding of the second beach lay a small freshwater lake extends along the bottom of the valley into a thick jungle. Hang around the banks of this murky green pond for long enough, and one will probably see a fluorescent yellow human figure or two appear from the bushes at its far end. Fed by boiling hot springs, the lake is lined with sulphurous mud, which, when smeared over the body, dries to form a surreal, butter coloured shell.
Nearby, in the woods immediately behind the lake, other members of the lunatic fringe have taken to living in the branches of an old tree; the scene resembles a cross between Lord of the flies and apocalypse now.
Road: Buses to and from Panjim pull into Arambol
every thirty minutes until noon, and every ninety minutes thereafter, at
the small bus stand on the main road. A faster private minibus service
from Panjim arrives daily opposite the Chai (tea) stalls at the beach end
of the village.
Boat: Boats leave here every Wednesday morning for the ninety-minute trip to the Anjuna Flea Market. Tickets should be booked in advance from the Welcome Restaurant by the beach, which also rents out motorcycles. The post office, next to the church, has a Poste Restante Box; to change money, however, one will have to head for Vagator, as Arambol's State Bank Of India has no foreign exchange facility.
Apart from a couple of purpose built chalets on the edge of the Village, most of Arambol's accommodation consists of simple houses in the woods behind the beach. Some of the more posh places have fully equipped kitchens and showers, but the vast majority are standard issue bare huts. Long stay visitors either bring their own bedding and cooking stuff or kit themselves out at Mapusa Market.