A firm favourite on the hippy trail since the 1960’s, Goa has gained popularity as a place for backpackers, spiritual seekers, dropouts and freethinkers. While in the north of the state you’ll still find Goan trance parties, nightclubs and beach drumming circles, the South of Goa retains a more relaxed vibe.
Here, Indian and western culture blend, beaches melt into villages and life is barefoot and relaxed. Jenn Russell aka The Travelling Yogi shares her tips on the best places to practice yoga, beach, and eat in South Goa.
The south Goa area thrives around three main beaches. Agonda, the most northern … sprawling and quiet, Palolem, in the middle … lively and busy and Patnem the furthest south, relaxed and with a yoga vibe. Just 90 minutes south of Goa airport and you’ll find yourself in the land of beautiful, uncrowded beaches, great healthy eating choices and of course … lots and lots of yoga. Below are some of my favourite places to practice and eat.
A big yoga centre with teacher trainings, workshops and daily drop in classes. Well qualified teachers and conveniently located right next to the awesome Zest Cafe (more on that later!).
A locals and expats favourite, Millies is a small family run place on the road from Agonda to Palolem and opens from 12pm – 3pm each day for the most amazing vegetarian thali and homemade Kombucha.
Another gem on the road south from Agonda nestled in the jungle, Blue Planet offers yummy vegan, vegetarian and organic food. Look out for the daily specials board. Blue Planet is also the home of Watsu therapist Daniel who offers a truly blissful and restorative water meditation not to be missed.
A firm favourite since it opened in 2015, Zest has restaurants in Patnem, Palolem and Agonda. Comfy chill out areas, good wifi, awesome juices, raw vegan desserts, buddha bowls and the super yummy mexican bowl make this a great place for a post-yoga refuel.
Set right on the quiet end of Patnem beach, Bamboo offers residential yoga holidays and retreats throughout the year with great teachers, beautiful eco bamboo hut accommodation and the best post yoga brunch you will ever eat (promise!) With four yoga shalas, a beachfront chill out lounge, restaurant and treatment rooms there is plenty of space to practice, relax and play.
Patnem Road Juice shop
A tiny stall halfway down Patnem beach road, this juice shop / fruit and veggie stall churns out fresh juices and coconuts to the yoga masses.
Patnem Chai Shop
Get here early to start your day with fresh chai, chana masala and samosas for less than £1 (they usually sell out by 10am!) … a favourite with local, tourists and ex-pats, this is a Patnem institution
A stunning addition to the Patnem scene, Jaali is set back off the road from Patnem to Palolem and has a menu to die for. Proper coffee, seriously good breakfasts and tapas in the evenings. It is also home the excellent Dadu’s Ayurvedic Massage and Jaali boutique.
Just 2 words ‘Bean Soup’ has me salivating! The lovely guys at Nada’s cook up really high quality tasty food with a relaxed vibe and awesome music. The sunset views are pretty epic too
A beachfront resort surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, situated on the pristine and sandy Ashwem beach, providing an idyllic setting for a yoga environment. Anahata brings together yoga facilities, beautiful eco-chic accommodations, delicious healthy food and a supportive staff.
The meaning of “Anahata” in the Sanskrit language is “unstruck” or “unchanged”. This is the reason for their construction method to be extremely organic: minimal concrete, no land modification, very low carbon foot print. The retreat centere also attempts to minimise their environmental impact. The resort hosts both retreats and teacher traininings.
A beautiful yoga centre offering drop ins, workshops and retreats at the south end of Palolem beach. Great class schedule with excellent teachers offering a variety of styles
Another new place for great yogi eats. As the name suggests these guys are the master of the avodaco. Try the veggie breakfast with sautéed mushrooms, roasted potatoes and of course … yummy creamy avocado. Their veggie thali is great too.
On the corner of Palolem beach road is the air cooled fan goodness of Cafe Inn. Their fresh local menu and particularly their veggie breakfast is amazing… think breakfast tapas where you get to pick exactly what you want. Also a great place to work from if you need peace and quiet and good wifi.
Another favourite on the yoga scene is The Space on the road to Agonda. Health food restaurant, grocery store, community space, boutique, yoga shala and treatment centre, they host regular workshops, meditations and courses in their beautiful garden shala. The sprouting seed salad with paneer or tofu is always my go to.
The best chai in Goa, hands down. Make a pitstop and have a glass roadside from the huge urn or pop inside for the most amazing veggie pancakes and fruit salads. On Wednesday nights they do a set dinner menu that is to die for
Columb Bay (between Patnem and Palolem)
Arguably the most beautiful view in South Goa. While away a few hours lounging on their floor cushions and working your way through their tasty menu. The onsite ocean front yoga shala offers daily classes, flamenco dance workshops, women circles and kids dance and acro classes.
Nestled high up in the gardens of La La Land resort, Yoga Land has a spectacular wooden yoga shala that sits under the shade of a banyan tree. Yoko’s hatha vinyasa morning classes come highly recommended or fly high with aerial yoga in the afternoons.
Thank you to Jenn Russell (The Travelling Yogi ) for sharing her tips! Jenn is the owner of Soul Tribe Retreats, running year round yoga retreats in South Goa, Ibiza, Andalusia and Bali. For the current schedule go to www.thetravellingyogi.com