Kerala beaches are amongst the best in India and are an excellent alternative to Goa. Some of the beaches remain relatively deserted. Yet, in case you don't want to relax, you'll find plenty going on at others. This Kerala beach guide will point you in the right direction of the most suitable beach for you. The best time to visit, weather wise, is from December to March. However, you'll get some fantastic off season discounts (often 50%) during the monsoon.
1. Kovalam Beach
If you want action, you'll definitely find it at Kovalam beach -- the most popular and most developed beach in Kerala. Often likened to Goa's Calangute and Baga beaches, Kovalam is located not far from the capital, Trivandrum. It's actually made up of two main coves -- Hawa (also referred to as Eve's beach) and Lighthouse. Lighthouse is the biggest and busiest of the two, with its promenade lined with open air restaurants. If you'd prefer somewhere a little more secluded, you'll find nearby Samudra beach to be a better option.
2. Varkala Beach
Varkala beach is the pick of the beaches in Kerala, in terms of ambiance and facilities. Although more and more tourists are flocking there every year, it's still less crowded than Kovalam and the scenery is striking. The beach lies at the bottom of a long stretch of cliff that's bordered by beach shacks and shops. You can stay right on the cliff, overlooking the ocean, or set back from it. It's incredibly romantic! Lots of young foreigners and couples enjoy this beach.
3. Marari Beach
Quiet Marari beach is located not far from Alleppey, making it convenient for those who'd like to spend some time at the beach in between going on a houseboat trip along the backwaters. A big attraction there is the earth conscious Marari Beach Resort. It's set on a sprawling property filled with coconut groves and lotus ponds, and amongst other things offers Ayurveda treatments and yoga classes on the beach. It is a luxury resort, so it is costly. However, you can get a good deal by comparing prices on the booking engines. Otherwise, there are cheaper places to stay.
4. Bekal Beach
Bekal beach, in far north Kerala (around one hour's drive from Mangalore airport in Karnataka) is famous for its old fort -- apparently the largest one in Kerala. The beaches are clean and unspoiled, but luxury hotels have already started moving into the area, making it the place for a pampered getaway. The most popular resort is the gorgeous Taj Vivanta. It's possible to stay there for under $200 per night. The secluded Lalit Resort and Spa Bekal is located on a private beach with backwaters running through it. However, it's pricey. Room rates are around $400 per night. Do try to save money by comparing prices on the various booking engines.
5. Cherai Beach
The 10 kilometer long Cherai beach makes an appealing side trip from Kochi. It's located on Vypeen Island, which can be reached from Kochi by ferry and then a bus or auto rickshaw ride through the villages and paddy fields -- yes, it is isolated. A substantial portion of the main beach was recently beautified, which included the addition of a new walkway. One of the remarkable sights there is beach and lagoon so close together. If you explore some of the surrounding lanes, you'll get great views! It's possible to stay at Cherai beach. Cherai Beach Resort has the best facilities.