I loved Varkala! It was 10x better than Kovalam in my opinion, which is another popular beach a little further south in Kerala. Varkala is up on a cliff and kind of reminds me of Vagator in Goa. It’s a huge tourist destination for Indians and foreigners alike, and it’s chilled out enough to swim in a bikini, wear dresses, and drink at the bars “special tea” since no one has alcohol licenses.
Before I get into the sporty fun we got up to, I want to share where we stayed and a few good restaurants I tried. I can’t really give a great guide since I was there only a couple days, but will include places that our French SUP instructor recommended, and that two girls on the trip said were good as they stayed through the week after I left.
Where to stay in Varkala:
If you want a hostel, we stayed at Vedanta which was 450 Rs. per night for a dorm. There were a LOT of travelers staying there. It’s off the main beach road, but is my favorite of the Vedanta hostels we stayed at in Kerala.
I checked prices at the cute places along the cliff top and it looks like a double room without A/C goes for 1,000 while an A/C goes for 1,300. Clafouti Beach Resort looks cute.
Where to eat in Varkala:
We ate at Abba almost every meal! It was damn good! The girls got their AM coffee at Coffee Temple which was always packed with foreigners/travelers. El Italiano was recommended to us by our SUP instructor.
What are the adventure sports in Varkala?
Although you can get henna, swim, take yoga, shop, get Ayurveda massages, visit the Janardhana Temple, meet other travelers, ride a scooter around, and just basically chill – there is SO much more to do if you’re up for the adventure and if you have the budget.
SUP (stand up paddle board) on the backwaters
This was really hard, I have to admit. The current is kind of strong so we did 4 km which meant 2 of them were against the current. It was so worth it to see the sunset, but I could have done maybe 2 km all together and been satisfied.
Cost: 1,500 Rs. per person. To me, this seems very expensive for India, but I would do it again because we had a lot of fun. You can think of it as a backwater tour & work out to justify spending the money. It’s definitely a unique experience.
Surfing in Varkala
We took “lessons” which were 1,000 Rs. even though two of us had tried surfing before. The surf here was definitely not like Hawaii. The waves further out were dropping off, making them dangerous that even the good surfers weren’t taking them. The whitewater was where we were told to practice. It wasn’t ideal waves, but we had a lot of fun.
I guess it felt like since we were starting on whitewater, there was no momentum. This was in September, so the surf will get perfect by November and is considered some of the best on the West coast. I recommend waiting. I also recommend if you’re on white water to just rent the board and try yourself rather than taking lessons unless you go with Soul & Surf.
To end, I want to share some of the amazing sunsets we saw!
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