Pristine golden-sand beaches and spectacular sunsets abound in the picturesque town of Kovalam. Kovalam started as a quiet fishing community set on the shores of the glorious Arabian Sea. It became a favored hangout of bohemian travelers in the 1970s and today is one of Kerala’s most popular coastal resorts. The town revolves around three crescent-shaped beaches, which stretch along miles of palm-fringed coastline.
Along the beaches you’ll find ample space to relax or try watersports amid Kovalam’s natural beauty and safe, shallow water. Go surfing, windsurfing, parasailing or Jet Skiing. Lighthouse Beach, at the southern end of town, is the main beach. Walk out along the headland and climb to the top of Vizhinjam Lighthouse for sweeping coastal views. Browse the beachfront stalls for brightly colored textiles, trinkets and handcrafted souvenirs.
Visit quieter Hawa Beach (aka Eve’s Beach) and watch as locals bring in the day’s catch. Enjoy a ride on a catamaran, a centuries-old wooden fishing boat powered by a bamboo paddle. Snap postcard-perfect shots from the Edakallu promontory, one of Kovalam’s best sunset viewpoints. Escape the crowds and see more traditional fishing activity at Samudra Beach. Alternatively, spot ancient Indian paintings at the Kovalam Art Gallery.
Be sure to sample delicious Keralan cuisine at the waterfront restaurants, food stands or the Kovalam Fish Market. Typical dishes include fish curries and karimeen pollichathu, a grilled freshwater fish served on a banana leaf.
Catch a rickshaw to nearby Vizhinjam Beach, a humble fishing hamlet that presents a curious contrast to Kovalam’s commercial development. Visit religious monuments such as the pink Kodiyil Kalluppalli mosque and Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave.
Kovalam is about a 30-minute drive from Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. Get around via low-cost taxis and rickshaws or explore the laid-back coastal roads on a rented motorcycle. Kovalam is a good starting point for trips into Kerala’s fascinating backwaters. Get a glimpse of this natural treasure on a cruise along the mangrove-fringed Karamana River.