Alibaug, beach playground for India's rich and famous, is a refreshing Mumbai getaway. It's possible to enjoy Alibaug in a day. However, if you can, take the extra time to relax and unwind there, and go beach hopping.
Alibaug is located 110 kilometers (68 miles) south of Mumbai.
Getting to Alibaug:
Alibaug is best reached by private boat or ferry from the Gateway of India, in south Mumbai's Colaba area. The journey takes around 45 minutes to get to Mandawa Jetty. From there, the beach is another 30-45 minutes away by bus or auto rickshaw.
Ferries to Alibaug operate from morning until evening (around 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) throughout the year, except during the monsoon season from June to August. Services usually resume again in late August, but it depends on weather conditions. The fare is 100 rupees ($2), including the bus ride.
Alibaug can also be reached by road. The journey takes around three hours from Mumbai.
When to Visit Alibaug:
Visit Alibaug from November to February, when the weather is the coolest. From March onwards, the temperature starts rising before the monsoon sets in in June. Due to its close proximity to Mumbai and Pune, Alibaug has become a popular weekend destination. It often gets crowded then, as well as during summer school holidays in April and May. Weekdays are the most peaceful.
Alibaug isn't just a well known beach destination. It's also got quite a bit of history behind it. Established in the 17th century, there are numerous old forts, churches, synagogues, and temples all waiting to be explored. Kolaba Fort is the main attraction. Most of the time, it's surrounded by ocean. However, you can walk out to it during low tide, or go in a horse pulled cart. Otherwise, take a boat. Kanakeshwar Temple, on a hill near Alibaug, is also worth visiting. Those who can climb the 700 steps to the top are rewarded with the sight of colorful conclaves of smaller temples and miniature god statues.
Alibaug beach has an energetic vibe. Kolaba Fort draws plenty of sightseers, along with food vendors to cater for everyone. Venture a little further south and you'll discover the less frequented Akshi, Nagaon, and Kihim beaches. Secluded Akshi is the most uncrowded and laid back beach of the three. It's popular with nature lovers and birdwatchers. Volleyball nets are available on Nagaon beach, for those who are feeling energetic. The beach also offers boat access to Khanderi and Undheri forts.
The new Radisson Resort comes fully equipped with a health spa, perfect for pampering. Rooms cost around 5,000 rupees ($100) for a double. Outpost @Alibaug is a similarly priced new boutique resort. If you're looking for a reasonably priced place right on the beach, you can't go past Sanman Beach Resort. It's on quieter Varsoli beach, around 10 minutes from the city center. The Goan food there is superb. Rates are around 3,000 rupees a night for a hut. Mango Farm House & Spa has four luxurious cottages (eight rooms) with pool near Kihim Beach, priced at 8,500 rupees per night with all meals included. Those who appreciate nature and delicious food will delight in a rustic homestay at Mauli Village, with double rooms starting from $30. It's close to Kihim Beach. If you're after a boutique private villa close to Mandawa Jetty, Ccaza Ccomodore is the place! Sidz is a comfortable cottage near Nagaon Beach, ideal for groups or families. There's also Ghanvatkar Bungalow at Zirad. It's an excellent place for a budget stay, with rooms starting from 1,500 rupees a night, per person -- with a swimming pool and meals included!
Alibaugh is more of a calming city escape than a party place. Therefore, it's best to go there with a group of people and make your own fun. There are plenty of bungalows for hire in the area, so you can have a private party. Alternatively, the Radisson Resort has a disco.
Alibaug Dangers and Annoyances:
Alibaug becomes dangerous during the monsoon, when tides are strong and the ocean rough. There have been instances of people getting swept away from Kolaba Fort, and drowning. Therefore, it's best to avoid the water at this time of year.