KERALA BEACHES

Bordering the Arabian Sea, Kerala’s 600 kms of coastline has some of the most stunning beaches you could wish for. Because they are never crowded, sunbathing and swimming can be enjoyed in peace, against a backdrop of palms and paddy fields or rocks and cliffs. Many of Kerala’s beaches have been used as film locations.

Some excellent hotels and resorts have access directly onto the beach, in fact several actually have private beaches only for their guests.

The following list, starting in the south may help you find your ideal beach:-

Kovalam

In the 1960s/70s, Kovalam beach was popular with backpackers and has subsequently become a favourite with all tourists, making one of the busier beach destinations. There are plenty of hotels from upmarket to budget, making accessable to all independent or package tourists.

Varkala

Less commercial and therefore more chilled out than Kovalam, Varkala beach is situated north of Trivandram beneath steep red cliffs. Once again, there is plenty of accommodation and there are numerous bamboo coffee shops along the cliff top. During the day you are likely to spot dolphins, and later, there are spectacular sunsets over the sea.

Mararikulam

This is a truly picturesque coastal village in the Alleppey district, home to fishing communities that have lived here, in the same way, for centuries. In the morning you can watch the fishermen launch their boats, then later maybe watch them return with their catch. Marari beach is one of Kerala’s most beautiful, white sand with a backdrop of waving palms. If you are a swimmer check the water before diving in, sometimes it can be polluted. A good alternative is to hire a bicycle to ride through the villages and coconut groves, enjoying local life at first hand.

Hotels and resorts are plentiful in the surrounding area, and being only a 20 min drive to Alleppey, it is easy to combine a beach and backwater houseboat holiday.

Alappuzha

This beach is often referred to as the Venice of the East because of it’s proximity to the backwaters with it,s many waterways. With it,s golden sands, lighthouse and nearby park, Alappuzha is a popular picnic spot, ideal for relaxing or for family fun. A long pier extends out to sea, a historical remnant of the time when this was an important landing port for cargo ships.

Kollam

This is an attractive beach, great for sun worshippers, but less so for swimmers, the waves can be enormous and there is a dangerous undertow, life guards patrol the beach to make sure no one tries to swim. The lighthouse and nearby Techno Park are worth seeing.

Payyambalam

This beautiful beach in Kannur area is approached through attractive gardens with a designated kids play area. There is an enormous statue of Mother and Child by the famous sculpter Kanayi Kunjiraman. The white sands attract a lot of people, local and tourist, but if you walk further along the beach you will find quieter areas with plenty of room. Closer to town you can find watersports such as para-sailing and boogie boarding, the waves here can be quite big. Evenings can be special if you are blessed with a great sunset, bathed in a golden glow everything takes on an aura of magic.

Kappad

This is a good clean beach which is considered safe for bathing and swimming, situated 16 kms from Khozikode town. On May27th 1498, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese mariner, landed here on his first visitor to Kerala, there is a plaque stating this at the beach. Popular with tourists, the beach is big enough for everyone without ever getting crowded. The local fishermen launch their boats from the beach, returning in the evening to land their catch. Sometimes you can watch them spread the fish on the sands to dry.

Cherai

Just 30kms from Cochin, Cherai beach is 15kms of clean golden sands while the sea is suitable for bathing and swimming. Lack of commercialisation means that Cherai is ideal for total relaxation, you can wander in Cherai village, or explore the coconut groves that fringe the beach, otherwise just lose the stress, chill out. There are a number of good hotels and resorts to choose from overlooking the beach or the backwaters.