It’s been how many weeks that we’ve been staying at home, cooking, cleaning (and binge-watching shows)? We are at our wit’s end, sitting with bags packed and shoes tied, eagerly awaiting an announcement that brings an end to this dreaded lockdown. With restrictions being lifted gradually, it may soon be possible to head out somewhere. But when the country does re-open and travel can resume, it’s important not to dive into the crowds, as tempting as it might seem. Relaxing with a book on the secluded sands of these isolated beaches is on our bucketlist for a safe, post-COVID trip.
Butterfly Beach, Goa
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Butterfly Beach is so secluded people mistake it for an island!
Goa draws a huge number of tourists to its sandy shores every year, so if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, the lesser-known Butterfly Beach is the way to go. North of the popular Palolem Beach, Butterfly is a semi-circular beach which is accessible via a boat ride from Palolem or Agonda. For the more adventurous traveller, a tough, two-hour trek from Palolem is an option, and since no vehicles can make it through this route, Butterfly Beach can be a great spot for some alone time.
This beach is a great spot for spotting eponymous butterflies and a host of marine life. The secluded coast means that dolphins can often be seen frolicking in the water, undisturbed by the noise tourists spread across the rest of Goa’s beaches. The white sands and clear blue waters of Butterfly Beach are perfect for watching a peaceful sunset. Because the beach is so remote, the closest restaurants and accomodation can only be found in Palolem or Agonda. So if you want to spend multiple days in Butterfly’s peace and quiet, pick your lodging in these places for easy access.
Gahirmatha Beach, Odisha
Nestled within Odisha’s mangrove forests lies Gahirmatha Beach, a secluded spot on India’s east coast. The mangrove forests lying between the beach and the city keep the hustle and bustle at bay, allowing travellers to relax and unwind without being disturbed. The beach is close to the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, famous for housing millions of Olive Ridley sea turtles during their breeding period (from October to May). You can also head out to the nearby Bhitarkanika National Park.Photo Credit: Shutterstock
The beach is accessible via a boat ride through mangroves. Accomodation is available on the city side of the forest in the form of a number of village and jungle resorts. The location is far from any creature comforts, you will have to venture into the city to get that.
Tilmati Beach, Karnataka
The black sands of Tilmati Beach are in complete contrast to the silver sands of Goa’s Palolem beach to its North and Majali beach to its south, and so is the experience. Away from the crowds and watersports of its neighbouring beaches, Tilmati is a secluded spot with not much to do beside throwing up your feet and enjoying the tranquility of the waves crashing against the shore. Aside from the local fisherman and the odd adventurous traveller, you’ll have the black-sand beach all to yourself.
Getting there means a quick trek from Majali beach, about a kilometer away, which is also where you’ll find the closest accomodation in the form of small beachside inns and homestays (though Karwar is close to Majali and lodging and civilisation can be promptly returned to). The more adventurous of the lot may choose to camp out on Tilmati itself, but beware of the bugs!
Guitar Island, Andaman
An island shaped like a guitar is enough to arouse the interest of any adventure-seeking traveller. It’s the jaw-dropping beauty of its pristine waters, and the complete seclusion that makes Guitar Island a unique experience. Travellers can enjoy snorkelling and sea walks to take in the stunning aquatic life and corals in the shallow waters off the island’s coast. Kayaking through mangroves is another activity that visitors can spend the day engaging in. You can also take a nature walk through the island’s empty forests to the lake that forms the ‘soundhole’ of the guitar.
The island has no infrastructure; no restaurants or accomodation, and camping is not allowed, so you can only do a day trip. Limited accommodation is available on close-by Long Island (which itself is accessible by a ferry from Havelock Island that plies every alternate day). Not the easiest place to reach, but that’s what makes a visit to Guitar Island so special.
Ranpar Beach, Maharashtra
Ranpar Beach is completely cut off, taking peace and quiet to a whole new level. No infrastructure, no signs of civilisation, only the odd fisherman trying to earn his living is what you’ll find here. If you’re looking to meditate, isolate, and take some time off from, well everything, Ranpar Beach is the place to go. The closest town is Ratnagiri where you will find a number of hotels and restaurants. But Ratnagiri’s populated beaches and attractions cannot match the peace that Ranpar’s isolation can provide.Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Coconut trees line Kerala’s Marari Beach
Marari Beach, Kerala
Named after the quaint fishing village or Mararikulam, Marari beach provides a nice change of scenery from the backwaters of Alappuzha that acts as the main tourist draw of the region. Not widely featured on many travel itineraries, the pristine sands of Marari are largely untouched, and while there are many hotels and resorts on the beach, one doesn’t need to hunt too hard to find a secluded nook to rest undisturbed. A variety of hotels are present on the beach itself with varying degrees of luxury (and price tags).