Talpona Beach, Goa: Summer Road Trip With The Dogs

The view at Talpona Beach

In the summer of 2018, we went on a road trip with the family and our dogs to Talpona Beach, Goa. This is how we enjoyed the rustic life.

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I love peace and quiet, so that’s exactly what I choose when I go on vacation. This time I wanted to take my dogs with me too, instead of leaving them in a pet hostel in Pune.

The last time I went on a road trip with my dogs was to Murud beach in Dapoli. That was a trial to see how well they took the road journey, which was a long 7 to 8 hours. Since they seemed to enjoy it, I decided that our next road trip would be to Goa, around 12 hours away.

Vacationing with pets is like going on vacation with little kids. There’s extra stuff to carry, things to worry about – such as will there be aggressive strays on the beach? Will they puke all over the car? And so on and so forth and what have you. (Any fans of The Middle out there?)

To complicate matters, a few weeks before our trip, my 8-year-old lab, Tiara, was diagnosed with urinary bladder stones and had to undergo surgery to remove them. Luckily, she recovered from her surgery faster than I did.

Tiara looking sad as usual

To plan the perfect summer beach vacation with our dogs, I turned to my favorite hotel search engine, Booking.com, because they allow you to filter your choices so you can see only the pet-friendly stays.

I first booked a place at Agonda, one of my favorite beaches in Goa. Then, I realized we’d be traveling with my brother, and the driver too. So, beach resorts wouldn’t work for us. Hmm, cancel the booking.

I looked again for family rooms or cottages on beaches nearby and found a cottage intriguingly called Talpona Paradise Beach House, at Talpona Beach in Canacona. So I made the booking and contacted the owner. After some back and forth, he offered me the cottage with air-conditioning for the same price.

  • Pet-friendly? Check.
  • Family-friendly? Check.
  • Free Wifi? Check.
  • Air-conditioning? Check.
  • Available for a week? Check.

Having booked our cottage months in advance, we set out at around 7 am on the 19th of May, 2018. We had packed everything we could think of – dog food, bowls, drinking water, a whole bag of food, and snacks for us (because we had no idea what to expect).

Chewie enjoying the drive and the view

We picked up my brother and I opened up Google Maps. It showed us a route that completely bypassed Mapusa and Panjim, going instead via Belgaum and Molem sanctuary. The route was also much shorter (9 hours) than I expected (12 hours).

The route from Pune to Talpona Paradise Beach House

The dogs and we settled in for our long road journey. The road to Belgaum (or Belgavi, as it is now known, thanks to our frustrating tendency to never be happy with the way things are) was pretty straightforward. A highway with two one-way lanes.

Once we crossed Belgaum, things got interesting. The long and winding road now led through lush, green forests and wildlife sanctuaries, such as Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kali Tiger Reserve, Castlerock Wildlife Range, and Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary.

From Belgaum to Talpona, the road passes through a number of wildlife sanctuaries

The drive through these woods was quite a treat, with green, verdant foliage all around us. When we were on the ghats (hills) the road weaved and turned in hairpin bends until our stomachs lurched and the dogs woke up from their deep slumber.

I was thrilled with Google Maps for leading us through a route that was so scenic, beautiful, and most of all, almost free of traffic. We made good time, despite two pit-stops, and reached the beach house by 5.30 in the evening, around 10.5 hours after we left Pune.

The house itself was very comfortable. I wanted peace and quiet, and I got it in spades. Talpona is a small village that has little but a small grocery store and a couple of restaurants that serve (the almost non-existent) tourists. To actually buy anything you need, you have to drive to Canacona market, about 15 minutes away.

Talpona Paradise Beach House

The air-conditioner was in the living room, but it cooled the entire house. The owner gave us the number of the caretaker, a sweet girl called Prasanna, who greeted us when we arrived. He also gave us the number of Deepak, who ran a restaurant nearby.

Deepak’s wife makes a mean crab curry, with the result that I pigged out on the stuff till I had crab coming out of my ears. The rest of the seafood was delicious too.

Deepak’s restaurant just down the road

The Wifi started out excellent, then failed a couple of days before we left. Deepak’s 15-year old son, Shantanu, installed a Jio router for us, but it was extremely slow. Other than those few hiccups, the place was perfect.

There was a pack or two of stray dogs, but we managed to intimidate them into staying away while we took our dogs swimming every day. Being Labs, both our dogs love water and enjoyed their swims thoroughly.

The dogs enjoy a swim with our driver, Ashok

The sand and the waters were clean and free of garbage, thanks to the conscientious villagers. However there’s a strong undercurrent that can pull you into the water if you’re not careful, and there are rocks under the waves in some parts, so swimming is not as safe here as it would be at, say, Baga beach.

A view of the cottage from the beach

Spending a whole week here was heavenly. A lot of the time I would just sit and look at the waves or watch lizards sun themselves lazily, heads bobbing on the porous laterite walls.

Eagles circled the cliffs nearby, while a murder of crows cawed and teased my dogs, and mynah birds cooed in the trees. Butterflies floated past in a daze. Blades of grass eagerly pushed out of a bed of dry needles from the two casuarinas in the small garden.

The steps and bamboo gate leading to the sea

A row of steps led to the sea, while a flimsy gate of thin bamboo sticks strung together kept out cows and people. We ate our meals looking out at the waves, sitting in cane chairs with blue cushions around a grey plastic table, in what passed for a balcony.

Relaxing at Talpona Paradise Beach House
Chewie finds a coconut to play with

A large white bougainvillaea growing in the garden reminded me of the Singing Bush from The Three Amigos.

The bougainvillaea that reminded me of the Singing Bush

I noticed that the sun would set not in the middle of the horizon like it did at Agonda, but in the north-west. I guess we were much further south than I thought.

Sunset at Talpona beach happens in the north-west

The route to the beach house is just as scenic. A river meanders down through patches of mangroves, while pillars of a half-finished bridge stand in the river just ahead of a mangrove forest, like lovelorn lovers waiting to be united.

Bridge being built across the Talpon river

Thick mangroves line the river all the way to the sea. In a little bay at the mouth of the river, behind a spit of sand, sits the Rio de Talpona Guest House with an enviable view of the river and ocean.

The view from Rio de Talpona Guest House

Small houses built with locally-sourced laterite stone line the roads, sometimes painted in garish colours.

Most houses in Goa are built out of locally sourced laterite stone

My child and I also went on an excursion to the nearby Galgibag beach, a nesting point for turtles. I woke up a man called Samir, one of the guards who was supposed to be keeping an eye on the new nesting site cordoned off with nets (to prevent stray dogs from digging up and eating the turtle eggs).

Turtle nesting site at Galgibag beach

He told me the forest officer sits at Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary while forest guards watch the nesting sites in shifts. However, turtles have been decreasing at Galgibag, while more come in at the Agonda nesting site.

Two days before we left, to our delight, my aunt and cousins from Panjim dropped in and spent the day with us.

When my cousins came to visit

They loved the house and the beach and decide they would come again sometime for a picnic. All of them being ardent dog-lovers, my dogs were thrilled with all the extra attention they were getting.

On the last day of our vacation, we experienced the highest tide, probably because of the onset of the monsoons. The seas may have been choppy, but the sunset was sublime. Even Chewie agreed.

High tide at Talpona Beach
Chewie enjoying the sunset

As we were leaving, I gave Prasanna, the caretaker, a generous tip, and told her we’d be coming back every year with our dogs. I really meant it.

As we passed through all the wildlife sanctuaries on the way back, I stayed alert and even managed to spot a peacock running into the forest. Thank you, Google, for taking us through such a lovely route. However, I do have a wishlist for you.

It would be nice if Google Maps gave us advance notifications of fun things to see and do along our route, and also if we were offered a choice of the faster or the more scenic route. Imagine how much more fun our road trips would be!

Road Trip with Dogs to Talpona Beach Goa
Road Trip with Dogs to Talpona Beach Goa
Summer Road Trip with Dogs to Talpona Beach Goa

Summer Road Trip with Dogs to Talpona Beach Goa

37 thoughts on “Talpona Beach, Goa: Summer Road Trip With The Dogs”

  1. So timely Priya. Last night I watched the Bourne Supremacy. Matt Damon’s character opens the movie living in Goa, running on the beach. Your post and the flick brings me back to my Kovalam Beach days. Beaches in India have that special feel; fisherman boats, lovely palm trees, craggy outcroppings.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


  2. Wow Priya, what a lovely place to spend time with family. The dog seemed to have enjoyed so much in Goa. I have never heard of Taplona beach before though I have been to Goa multiple times. Thanks to you, now I know. Great share!

  3. Yor trip with your dog was lovely! I loved the house you rented with direct steps to the sea. It’s my favorite kind of place: quiet and relaxing like the journey you shared in this post. 🙂

  4. My pupper would have LOVED a trip like this! Anywhere where she can run around, sniff things, and get into water is the best for my dog. I bet your pups felt spoiled.

  5. I never realized how much work it would be to take your pets on vacation with you! Glad to know that there are options for pet accommodations. Looks like you had a great vacation and your pups too.

  6. It’s nice to see how they actually enjoyed 😀
    I love the beaches where you can go with your dog and nobody is looking at you, because if there is a lot of people I always get a strange look.

  7. Heh. I am from Russia and we know Goa mainly as a party place. You travel bloggers open up the whole new world for me. I look on things differently 🙂
    but… I would still go there for parties though 🙂

  8. Goa is so versatile and has so much to offer, Prya. I went there last year and it won my heart. I haven’t been to Talpona beach but it seems like a perfect holiday please, especially when in the quest for peace and quiet!

  9. I’ve never been to India, but Goa looks like somewhere I’d enjoy. I loved reading about this Talpona Beach, but honestly I was distracted by your gorgeous dogs! Chewie and Tiara are wonderful, I love labs, would love one myself one day!

  10. Definitely my kind of place, I’m getting less and less tolerant with big crowds as I grow older. Your Labradors look very well-behaved by the way, not an easy task congrats 🙂

  11. Your pups are so incredibly precious! I already love them so much. How did you make sure they were comfortable in the car? Are they used to traveling around in a vehicle?

  12. Blair villanueva

    Wow, it was a lovely vacation for you and tiara. She seems enjoying the whole trip. Glad you didn’t had a difficulty on finding a pet-friendly accommodation. Hotels and resorts should add this services, coz pets are family.

  13. Hey.. nicely written. Thanks to your blog we will be taking the same route from Pune while I am travelling with my 5 dogs. We shall also make it a point to visit this beach. Though for staying we have already booked a place in Palolem.


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