Arambol is a small town in North Goa, roughly a two hour drive from the Airport Daborim (GOI).
You may find better beaches throughout Goa, but you won’t find another spot to match the unique charm of Arambol. The town combines traditional Indian culture with a hippie-infused lifestyle that draws travelers from around the world. Many people decide to live in Arambol for years at a time, and even send their children to school here, though I’m not sure how the hippie lifestyle melds with the strictness of Indian schools. Regardless, the unusual population of locals, ex-pat-hippies and travelers converge to create the laid-back but undoubtedly lively atmosphere. Most residents live either on the beach or the town’s only main street leading directly to the seaside. Some things to do in Arambol with children:
Small shops line the energetic street, selling all manners of homemade goods, including spices, tea, sarongs, clothes, drugs and even bongo drums.
The spot appeals to children and adults alike, and it’s certainly worth a stop on any India trip.
Where to stay:
Guesthouses, beach shacks and small hotels populate the main street, all of them well-marked by signposts along the roadside. The beach shacks are mostly clustered together right on the sand beside the Horizon restaurant. In keeping with the low-key lifestyle, Arambol has no major hotels. For a typical Indian-style room, you shouldn’t pay more than 1500IDR, equivalent to 20€. For a higher end room offering AC and a view of the sea, you’ll likely pay upwards off 2500IDR, or 35€, per night.
Where to eat:
Thanks to the high volume of international visitors, cuisine in Arambol is refreshingly safe for consumption. Unlike the rest of India, you’d be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that doesn’t serve food suitable for most westerners. Many of them offer live entertainment while you eat, so you can dine to the soothing sounds of salsa or reggae depending on which eatery you choose. Many beach restaurants specialize in different types of breakfast, including American, English, continental and Israeli. The town also boasts two German bakeries that serve delicious breakfasts, cakes, bread and buns.
For dinner you shouldn’t miss the chance to see the gorgeous sunset at one of the many seaside restaurants further south along the main beach. It isn’t often you’ll see such a beautiful sunset while sipping on Pina Coladas (200IDR = 3€) and dining upon delectable Fish Tikka Massala (190IDR = 2,80€).
Things to do in Arambol with children:
Life in Arambol is based entirely around the beach. Rent two sun loungers and an umbrella for only 100IDR per day (not even 2€), and soak up the soothing seaside sun for hours on end. Most restaurants are only too glad to serve the sun loungers food and drinks, so you won’t even need to get up to order food. Arambol with children meant to us loads of Mango Lassi.
Keep an eye out for the paragliders flying down the small high on the northern side of the beach when you take a dip in the crystal clear ocean waters. If you feel adventurous enough to scratch something off your bucket list, this is the time and the place to do it.
India is well known for its yoga schools, so your time in Arambol is the perfect opportunity to try one. Follow the signs on the main road, and soon you’ll find one of the many early morning classes. Most start at 8:30 – 10 a.m., but there are afternoon classes for those of us who value sleeping in.
For wellness lovers, Arambol offers myriad beauty corners and massage salons to suit any budget or preference, whether you crave a Tibetan, hot stone or chocolate massage.
Or, if the live bands so inspire you, seek out one of the musical workshops available in town. Again, the varieties vary and include classes on drumming and Indian-style singing.
We were pleasantly surprised to find Arambol’s nightly market located right on the beach, and even more pleasantly surprised to see how superior it is to most of its kind. The livelier of the live music comes out at night, the nightclubs open for business, and spontaneous parties start from nothing just inches from the surf. Thanks to the lax hippie lifestyle, you won’t need to worry about drawing judgmental stares if you’re bringing children along with you for the nightlife in Arambol.
Stick around long enough and you’ll catch the local artists selling their paintings, bracelets and other handmade right after dawn. Entering the beach at the restaurant Horizon, head south for a bit and you’ll find their stands lined up and illuminated by lamplight.
How to get there:
Arambol is thankfully easily accessible via three modes of transport: bus, train or rental car. It’s roughly 2h from Goa Airport.
Motorbike and scooter rental in Arambol:
Scooter rentals in town are cheap and easy, costing on average 250 IDR (3,20€) for a full day’s use, no driver’s license required. The only catch is that the rental office will require a copy of your passport and payment in advance.
Alternatively, if you’d rather try your hand at motor biking, the rental office will keep your passport to cover the cost of any damages. It’s a risk, but it’s one many are willing to take. If you count yourself among them, you can choose from many brands, including Local Enfields, and you almost certainly won’t have to worry about wearing helmets or encountering police to scold you for not doing so.
You’ll find most anything you’ll need along the town’s main drag. There are small supermarkets, fruit stalls and a few drugstores offering gear you might need to care for young children (nappies, soothers, etc.).
Have you been to Arambol with children? How did you like it?