Kovalam in Kerala has come a long way from being a sleepy fishing village to being one of the best surfing destinations in India. Best known for its three crescent-shaped beaches, Kovalam still retains some of its laid-back culture with the days beginning rather late and activities continuing into the night.
The most prominent of the three beaches here is the Lighthouse Beach with its candy-stripped lighthouse at one end. Hawa Beach to the north is popular with day-tourists and surfers while Samudra Beach, though steep, is where upmarket resorts and restaurants are housed.
Kovalam seems to have something for everyone. A leisurely swim or a surfing lesson, a herbal body massage or a cultural program — take your pick and it’s all there. Take a break from the beach hopping and head to the numerous shopping complexes and ayurvedic health resorts that abound in the beach town.
Water sports like kayaking, surfing and water skiing are very popular and you can also go fishing all by yourself on a sail boat. Kovalam has its share of nightlife with parties going on till late at night. Some restaurants and cafes organize music recitals on the beach which create a nice ambiance to enjoy a nice meal with family and friends.
Kovalam assumed importance when Maharani Sethu Laskhmi Bai, the Queen of Travancore, built a palace, the Halcyon Castle, on the top rock near the beach. In 1936, the then queen chose to spend her honeymoon with consort Prince GV Raja. It was GV Raja who saw the tourist potential of Kovalam and invited Thomas Cook and Sons from the United Kingdom to develop the region. The Maharaja of Travancore started having regular gatherings here and Halcyon Castle would house his European guests.
The popularity of the region grew and it became one of the favorite holiday destinations for European guests who lived in Madras and other nearby regions.
Post Independence, Kovalam was relatively unknown but it came to the limelight in the seventies when hippies arrived here and transformed the village into a tourist destination with their wild parties. The Kovalam Beach and the Vizhinjam Marine Aquarium are places you must visit. Also visit Poovar, a hamlet 17 km southeast of Kovalam.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN KOVALAM
Budget hotels in Kovalam are close to the Light House Beach and provide decent amenities and facilities. Mid-range hotels offer parking spaces and room service. They are located mainly near Hawa Beach. Luxury hotels are located near ITDC Road, Chowara and Light House Beach. They offer excellent facilities like pick-up and drop from the airport, spa and laundry services among many others.
Kovalam also has an Ayurveda Wellness Center and India’s first Ayurveda Resort.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN KOVALAM
The best place to eat is near Light House Beach where there are many restaurants that serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Fried Chicken in red masala paste are made well in restaurants near Kovalam Junction. You can get a wide variety of chicken dishes in Kovalam. Other favorites of Kovalam are beef fry and fish fry. The best vegetarian dishes are served in restaurants on Light House Beach.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Kovalam is as given below. The best time to visit Kovalam is also specified.