One of the most famous beach haunts of Goa , the Dona Paula Beach has got a history behind its name. Some refer to the Dona Paula beach as a 'Lovers' Paradise' due to the love story associated with this beautiful beach in Goa which incidentally ended in tragedy.
The beach is believed to get its name from Dona Paula de Menezes, daughter of a Viceroy, who reportedly committed suicide at this Beach when she was objected by her family over her marriage to the man she loved, thereby ending her life by jumping off the cliff.
However there are also a few other theories doing the rounds in Goa relating to her death and the Beach. Some claim that her spirit is still seen to be emerging from moonlit waves wearing only a pearl necklace.
The Dona Paula Beach has also been a favourite with bollywood with many movies having been shot at this location, the famous among them being “Ek Duje Ke Liye” starring Kamal Hassan and Rati Agnihotri. Given this added attraction, Dona Paula Beach has become the most popular tourist spot in Goa.
Where is Dona Paula located
Dona Paula is ideally located at the place where two of Goa's famous rivers, the Zuari and the Mandovi meet the Arabian Sea at the secluded bay of Dona Paula which provides a fine view of the Mormugao Harbour.
Located at around 6 km from the capital city of Panjim and nestled on the south side of the rocky, hammer-shaped headland that divides the Zuari and Mandovi estuaries, this former fishing village of Dona Paula is a big draw among tourists from all over the world .
An idyllic spot to relax and sunbathe, there are Water scootering facilities also available over here. The beautiful setting with swaying palm trees and casuarinas make it one of the foremost tourist attractions in Goa.
The National Oceanography Institute is located nearby . This institute was set up in the 1960s has various interesting artifacts dealing with marine biology and oceanography and incorporates almost all the major branches of the subject.. The marine biology museum and the Taxonomy Reference centers are among the major attractions of the institute.
The official residence of the governor of Goa is the Cabo Raj Niwas at the Raj Bhavan , which is located close to the beach on the westernmost tip of Dona Paula and is a major tourist attraction. Along the road leading to this place lies the ruins of the small military cemetery the British built at their brief occupation of the Cabo, to deter the French from invading Goa.
You can get a magnificent view of the Aguada fort and the coastline from here. The tomb of Dona Paula de Menezes is housed in the Cabo chapel.
The Miramar beach and the Vainguinim beach are in the closest neighbourhood of the Dona Paula beach the nearest beaches from Dona Paula.
River Cruises on the Mandovi and Zuari are very popular among tourists. The main attractions near Dona Paula Beach are Reis Magos Church and the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary where people regularly take excursions.
With its tranquil and blue ambience, Dona Paula unravels the aquatic sport and fun within you. Dona Paula abounds in water sports activites and there are lot of facilities available here for the same. 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.You can thus have a gala time at Dona Paula.
The annual water sports festival is held here in November. Shopping enthusiasts can look forward to a wide range of seaside goods, garments, Feni - the local liquor, Port wine, and handicraft items.
Temperature variations throughout the year are mild in Goa. May is the warmest month with a temperature of around 30degrees C and January tends to be the coolest with a mean daily temperature of 25 degrees C. Due to its proximity of the sea, the territory is generally humid and in the summer months humidity is generally high.
How to get there
Dona Paula beach is located about 6 kilometers from Panjim. The nearest airport is Dabolim, 33 kms away.
The Karmali railway station is the nearest station which is located at a distance of around 20 km.
Frequent buses are available on a regular basis from Panjim. The taxis , auto rickshaws and motorcycle pilots are available in plenty.
A large number of accommodation options are available in the vicinity of the beach. A good resource to book accommodation in advance is "Goa living styles" where you can book accommodation in advance online.
Approximately 9 km from the beach is one of the oldest churches built in Goa, the architecturally rich Reis Magos Church. It is dedicated to the three Magi (the wise men of the East) Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar who, according to the Bible, 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 Chorao, along the Mandovi River, about 8 km from Dona Paula Beach. Spread over an area of 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.