Come, renew your wedding vows in Dona Paula also called the Lovers Paradise. A poignant myth surrounds the beach. It was said that a Viceroy's daughter jumped off from a cliff after her family objected to her love affair with an impoverished local fisherman. The beach is named after the girl Dona Paula de Menzes. And it is said that her spirit continues to haunt the area where few visitors report of having sighted the girl emerging from the waters.
If not the legend, the picturesque beauty of the place and the availability of a range of water activities are enough to entice any traveler. A mere 7 kms from Panaji, Dona Paula stands at the confluence of two of Goa's most famous rivers, the Zuari and Mandovi. At the southern end of the hammer-shaped promontory dividing the two rivers is a former sleepy fishermen village which has become a big commercial area today. Being a popular shooting destination for Bollywood movies, do not be surprised if you chance upon the bigshots of the Indian film industry.
Getting There: The most preferred means of transport are the hired bikes. Otherwise, if you are in Panaji, you can catch a bus every 15 minutes from Kadamba Bus Stand that will take you directly to the beach. Motorcycle-taxis are also available from Panjim. From MarmaGoa, you can catch a ferry ride to Dona Paula.
Accommodation: Lodging is not an issue in Dona Paula. There are a number of hotels, guesthouses, resorts and beach side huts. Most of the backpackers stay in rented houses at the village but for a little more comfort the resorts are a good choice and they reportedly come pretty cheap.
Attractions: Dona Paula is famous for seaside shopping, water sports and food shacks.
It is also the perfect place to sunbathe and relax.
Jet Skiing is the most common sport at Dona Paula but kayaking, motorboat riding, windsurfing, parasailing, water-skiing, toboggan ski-biscuit, yachting, skibob and snorkeling are other activities that are worth a try. If not, spend the day doing a little more relaxed activity like harpoon fishing. If you are there in November you must attend the fun-packed water sports festival.
Shopping at Dona Paula will be an experience you will never forget. Very few beaches in Goa will offer an assortment of choice like Dona Paula. The tiny shops at the beach sell anything from jewelry, handicrafts, and artifacts to simple items like straw hats and best of all, port wines and feni and various types of spices.
The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is another must-see, along with the Reis Magos Church and the grand official residence of the Governor of Goa, if you want to take a short break from the sun and sand.