50 kms before Goa, lies this little coastal town – Karwar. At the sangam (Confluence) of River Kali and the Arabian Sea, Karwar is a relatively lesser developed beach destination than its neighbour Goa. But this is not to say that it is any less interesting than Goa. Here are 5 things that I recommend whilst on a holiday in Karwar –
1) Go Snorkeling and Dolphin Spotting
Karwar offers a lot of water sports – from snorkeling to dolphin spotting, kayaking and banana boat rides. There are several adventure centers that are available in the town, most of them associated with the various lodges and resorts. Rates for the same are quite reasonable. Snorkeling is best done during October to February. During the other months, it may not be available as the water is not clear all round the year. Unfortunately for me, I missed the same in April, but hope to catch it some other time. The water is fairly safe for activities with the kids. Of course they will be guided by the instructors.
Dolphin spotting is available all through the year and is a delight for the smaller kids. If you are lucky, you may even spot them jumping out of the water. Most of these activities are available near the Kurumgad Island . A 45 minutes journey by boat from the mainland, Kurumgad island is a landmark and a definite visit. There are day trips available through the Great Outdoors Island Resort. One can do all the water sports here through the resort.
The Island itself has a bit of history, with a little temple situated at its top. As you climb up, the ancient steps, you can spot Eagle nests and lots of Eagles that circle the island. On the top you can also, see some canons.
Another fun activity with the kids is the banana boat ride. Of course, be warned, you will be deliberately turned into water – but then, isn’t that the thrill of it all?
2) Explore the Beaches
Being in a beach town, this seems to be the most obvious but what most of us miss out is the numerous options that Karwar offers. The main beach is called the Rabindranath Tagore beach – perfect for a swim and some good beach time. Along this beach is the Warship Museum which displays life in the Indian Navy. Right next to it is a small aquarium. In the evening, there are plenty of food carts around the beach
Devbagh beach is quite popular. One can do various water sports at this beach. The beach is actually on an island and one needs to cross over with a boat. The famed Devbagh beach resort is located along this beach. The beach is quite unique with dense forest vegetation on one side and beach along the other.
Besides these two beaches, note Majalli beach, Binaga beach and Tilamati beach that are a good visit, the last one popular for its black sand.
3) Trek along those rocks
Head to the little town called Yana, 60 kms from Karwar. Yana is famous for its unusual limestone rock formations and is a delight for all trekkers and rock climbers. There are two key ones – Bhairavi Shikhara and Mohini Shikhara. While it is a religious destination owing to a temple amongst these rocks, the place has been developed further for the trekkers. As you climb up these rocks, you will find several caves – some with bats occupying the space. Climb up these rocks and experience the limestone caves and the captivating view once you are on the top.
4) Go River Rafting
About 100kms from Karwar – a day trip away, lies the town of Dandeli. The town is on the banks of the same river- Kali that empties itself into the Arabian Sea at Karwar. The River Kali in Dandeli is known for its Grade 3 rapids, making it a thrilling experience for those who enjoy white water rafting. Besides rafting, one can also, enjoy activities like Rapelling, Kayaking, Cave exploration, Natural jacuzzis etc.
And I am sure, you will be tempted for a complete day visit to Dandeli after seeing the above list.
5) Savor the local food
Karwar is a place for foodies, especially if you are a fish-eater. There are numerous small restaurants that serve authentic Karwar cuisine and amongst the dishes, one must definitely try out the Rava Fish Fry, Fish Masala and Fish biryani.
Fret not my vegetarian friends, there is something for you as well. Try out their ghee rice combo with the Dal Tohi as well as Solkadi and the breadfruit starters. To guide you to some good restaurants – my first recommendation would be Sweta Lunch Home,followed by Hotel Amrut. Click the respective links for detailed reviews by me. For dessert, try out the local Gadbad ice-cream – a combination of local ice cream with nuts and fruits.
All in all, Karwar offers you enough of outdoors with some amazing food – what more would anyone want when on a holiday 🙂
Getting to Karwar:
Karwar is easily accessible by road from Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai. The road conditions are fairly good and the drive really scenic.
The nearest airport to Karwar is Dabolim in Goa. This is around 100 kms from the main Karwar town.
By rail, one can reach Karwar through the Konkan railways. Click here to access information on various trains to this town.
The best time to visit Karwar is from October to May. The weather is quite pleasant during this time. However, for the water sports, note that the best time would be till February while the water is clear for snorkeling. For Dandeli, September to December would be ideal for river rafting.
The town is fairly well-developed and one can easily find essentials here.
There are plenty of good resorts, eco-resorts and home-stays available in Karwar. The Devbagh jungle lodges is quite recommended. Most of these places are well connected with the providers of adventure sports. People are quite friendly here and are happy to guide the travelers around.