A journey to connect more deeply with yourself, others and the world around you

Varkala Beach

DESTINATIONS

VARKALA BEACH

INDIA

A cute town in the southern state of Kerala, located along a beautiful cliff overlooking the ocean. Think crystal shops, yoga retreats, and a beautifully long stretch of sand. One of those small hippie vibe beach towns that you visit and choose to get stuck in longer than you originally planned.

THE BASICS

LANGUAGE: Malayalam, English

CURRENCY: Indian Rupee

CLIMATE: Tropical (hot & humid), ADD RAINY SEASON

DRESS CODE: Casual by the beach, The more inland you go, the more conservative you should be

GETTING AROUND: Tuk-Tuk, Local Taxi

COST OF VISITING: $ – Hostels start at $4 per night and street food is a little as $1 to $3 (USD) per meal

TIPPING: On totals ranging from 300INR to 1,000INR,  you can tip 7-10%, on higher amounts, 5-7% is sufficient

SAFETY: Varkala Beach is generally a safe city, use normal precautions as you would in any city

PACKING ESSENTIALS: Sunscreen, Shawl

VISA: eVisa prior to entering the country, $100 for 60 days for US passport holders, can also apply for a 10 year visa for the same price (see website for info)

GETTING THERE

FROM TRIVANDRUM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (TRV)

If you fly into Trivandrum International Airport (TRV), you can then take a train to Varkala.

TRAIN

Varkala Train Station is the nearest station that has access to trains coming from Thiruvananthapuram. You can create an account on the IRCTC website (you will need an Indian phone number or can trying using 0123456789) or someone can purchase them for you at any travel ticket broker (they have many shops around town and only charge a minimal fee – this is what I did because I had trouble creating an account).

Once you arrive by train, there will be tuk-tuks waiting for you at the train station to take you to your accommodation. 

BY TRAIN

You will take a train to Varkala Train Station. In order to do this, you can create an account on the IRCTC website (you will need an Indian phone number or can trying using 0123456789) or someone can purchase them for you at any travel ticket broker (they have many shops around town and only charge a minimal fee – this is what I did because I had trouble creating an account).

Once you arrive by train, there will be tuk-tuks waiting for you at the train station to take you to your accommodation. 

WHERE TO STAY

HOSTELS

SHIVA GARDEN HOMESTAY & APARTMENTS

North Cliff Kurakkanni, Varkala, Kerala 695141, India (Map)

Great hostel with private rooms starting around $10 USD per night. Restaurant on site. Good location. Good reviews on Hostelworld as well. Requires a minimum stay of 3 nights.

THE LUNGI VIBE

Varkala, Kerala 695141, India (Map)

Super cheap, dorms starting at only $3 USD per night. Laid back atmosphere and staff. Great outdoor area where you can work, chill out, or order food. Walking distance from the cliffs, shops, and beach.

THE LOST HOSTEL

Varkala Helipad Rd., Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695141, India (Map)

A popular hostel amongst travelers. They offer an open kitchen, free wifi, en-suite bathrooms, and common places to hang out.They offer an occasional bonfire and barbecue as well.

HOTELS

ARYAVILLA HERITAGE

Vaishakom Building, Helipad Cliff, Kerala 695141, India (Map)

Yoga on the rooftop. Excellent location, right next to Varkala Beach. Continental breakfast included with most rooms. Budget rooms starting right under $18 USD per night.

INDA HOTEL

Varkala, Kerala 695141, India (Map)

Extremely cute place with amazing decor. A little pricer at around $33 USD per night but excellent reviews and did I mention super cute?! Breakfast is included and it is in an excellent location, walking distance from both the cliffs and the beach.

SOUL & SURF

Golden Beach, South Cliff, Janardhanapuram, Thiruvananthapuram District, Varkala, Kerala 695141, India (Map)

Stay here and fill your holiday with yoga, meditation, surfing, or simply pure relaxation. This place has amazing reviews and also gives back to the community. They support their local charity SISP in Kerala and have a commitment globally as they donate to 1% For the Planet to Surfers Against Sewage.

SHARANAGATI YOGAHAUS

Thiruvambadi Rd, Varkala 695141, India (Map)

Another top rated place to stay that offers yoga retreats. All rates include accommodation, 2 times yoga, morning pranayama and mediation, morning tea with breakfast, one Kerala-style lunch, home cooking, and drinking water refull.

WHAT TO EAT

WHERE TO EAT

Did I mention that India has the best food? Eat as much as you can! 

DARJEELING CAFE

$S-SSS, Indian, Cafe, Seafood

Middle of North Cliff | Near Clafouti Beach Resort, Varkala, Varkala 659141, India (Map)

An extremely cute cafe with tiered seating that faces the ocean. A great view and excellent food. They have everything from smoothie bowls to Indian specialties. I came here a few times and wish I had stayed longer just so I could eat here again.

COFFEE TEMPLE

$$-$$$, Italian, Mexican, Cafe

North Cliff | Near Helipad, Varkala, Varkala 695141, India (Map)

A restaurant located right by Varkala Beach which has an extensive menu with both Italian, Mexican, Salads, and much more. They also have excellent coffee of course. This place is always crowded, most likely because everyone wants to come back and try more of the menu!

ABBA RESTAURANT

$S-$$$, Italian, Indian, Seafood

Cliff Top, Varkala Cliff, Varkala 605141, India (Map)

Everyone I spoke with recommended this place when I asked them where to eat. I tried going here but they only accepted cash at the time so I had to go somewhere else (all I had was a card). Have heard nothing but good things about the food. Please go and let me know what you think!

WHAT TO DO

STROLL ALONG THE CLIFFS

There are restaurants, shops, yoga studios, and the beach all along the cliffs. Such a beautiful view that I spent most of my time just walking back and forth or sitting in a cafe, reading a book, and admiring the beautiful ocean.

YOGA

If the place you are staying doesn’t offer yoga classes, you can find many studios along the North Cliff. You can also do a yoga teacher training course!

GET AN AYURVEDIC MASSAGE

Ayurvedic massage is a key part of Ayurvedic therapy and has been used throughout India for centuries. An Ayurvedic massage combines oils, music, and bodywork techniques to balance the body and mind. You can find many Ayurvedic therapy retreats in Varkala, or simply walk along the cliffs and find a place to book one for the day.

GO TO THE BEACH

Varkala Beach is the only place in southern Kerala where the cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea. This beach is also known as Papanasham Beach. The word Papanasham means wash away sins. Some believe that taking a dip in these waters will wash away all of the sins in one’s life.

WATCH THE SUNSET

You can see the sunset from pretty much any of the cafes and restaurants along the cliffs or walk down to the beach. Either way, India had some of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen in awhile, much like in California.


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