Dona Paula Beach
Dona Paula, a small village bordering the Arabian Sea is today a prominent tourist destination. It is part of Panaji suburban area and home to several tourist attractions. Dona Paula Beach in Goa is within vicinity of the Marmugao Harbor and the Miramar Beach. Tourists visiting the Miramar Beach do not miss touring Dona Paula as well. The beach here is part of a secluded bay and is shaped like a hammer. The erstwhile fishing land is now a commercialized region full of resorts and restaurants.
Several legends are attached to this place as well and tourists are often engulfed in fascinating stories of Dona marrying Paula. Dona according to Portuguese culture is a name given to married women. Gong beyond tales, tourists enjoy the tropical climate, the sea stretch and shopping here. Machado Cove is one of the main commercial and posh area in Dona Paula with luxury hotels and café.
Seven kilometers west of the Indian state of Goa’s capital Panajim (Panaji), Dona Paula Beach is nestled on the southern side of the rocky hammer-shaped headlands that divide the Zuari and Mandovi estuaries. Providing a good view of the Mormugao harbor, this beach is fringed by palm trees and casuarina groves. The proximity of the beach to the capital city makes it a popular tourist sight.
The climate is equable and moist throughout the year. While it is pleasant and temperate from October to May it is rainy from June to September. Temperature variations throughout the year are mild. May is the warmest month with a temperature of around 30°C and January is coolest with a mean daily temperature of 25°C. Due to its proximity of the sea, the territory is generally humid and even during the summer months humidity is generally above 60 percent.
Best Time to Visit March to November is the peak tourist season in Dona Paula region. Also people arrive during Christmas and New Year break.
Where to stay Cidade de Goa is one of the best hotels in Dona Paula.
By Air The nearest airport is at Dabolim, which is 29 km away from Panaji and 36 km from Anjuna.
By Rail Goa is connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Mangalore, and Thiruvananthapuram by train. The nearest railway station is at Karmali, which is 15 km from the beach.
By Road The Dona Paula Beach is well connected by road. Seven kilometers from the capital city, regular bus and taxi services are easily available. The Kadamba Transport Corporation (Government of Goa Undertaking), and Maharashtra and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporations operate buses from and to Goa.
Some of the prominent activities in Dona Paula beach are:
- Beach sports
- Horse rides
There are several shops along the beachside, which sell variety of goods ranging from eatables to clothes. Fishermen-turned-local vendors also sell straw hats, lace handkerchiefs, and spices in these shops. Feni and port wine—the two Goan liquor specialties—are a must buy and local liquor is easily available. Indian handicrafts and jewelry are available at the Indian Arts Emporium in Dona Paula.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
Places to visit around Dona Paula are:
Miramar Beach – The beach of Dona Paula is just a kilometer ahead of Miramar. This 2 km long beach is famous for its yellow sand beds, coconut coves and palm fringes. Water sports, idyllic afternoons and long walks are what will keep you busy here.
Panaji – Miramar, Panaji and Dona Paula falls in the same stretch of tourist map heading to north Goa. This is city is well connected by the Dabolim Airport and has several colonial buildings, churches, museums and art galleries.
Water Sports - The most important attraction of this beach is the water sport facilities available here. The Dona Paula Sports Club offers water-scooter, cycle, and motorboat rides. Other water sports include windsurfing, parasailing, water-skiing, toboggan ski-biscuit, skibob, sports fishing, snorkeling, harpoon fishing, kayaking, and yachting.
National Oceanography Institute - Set up in the 1960s, the National Oceanography Institute delves not only upon marine biology, but incorporates almost all the major branches of coastal and marine oceanography. The major attraction of the institute is its Marine Biology Museum and Taxonomy Reference Center.
Cabo Raj Niwas - The Cabo Raj Niwas (the Governor’s House) is half a kilometer away from the National Oceanography Institute. It houses the tomb of Dona Paula de Menzes in the Cabo Chapel. The Raj Bhawan offers an excellent view of the nearby coastline and the Aguada Fort.
Magos Church and the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary - Other main tourist attractions near Dona Paula Beach are Reis Magos Church and the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Approximately 10 km from the beach is one of the oldest churches built in Goa, the Reis Magos Church. It is dedicated to the three Magi (the wise men of the East)—Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar who, according to a legend, were guided by a star to Bethlehem to greet the newborn Jesus. This church was once the residence of all dignitaries and a mission center of the Franciscan order.
The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is situated on the western tip of the island of Choro, along the Mandovi River, about 9 km from Dona Paula Beach. Spread over 2 sq km, this sanctuary is a mangrove forest. Local and migratory birds are found here all through the year. However, permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden is required for visitors.
Two other beaches are also within the proximity of the Dona Paula Beach. These are the Miramar beach, which lies 4 km north of Dona Paula, and the Vainguinim Beach, which is situated 1 km west.
Fair and Festivals at Dona Paula
The festivals of Janmashtami and the Feast of St. Lawrence are particular to the Dona Paula Beach. In addition, the beach also has a colorful water sports festival in November. The highlights of this festival are the water scooter and cycle races and surfing competitions.
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