Varkala is known for its hippy vibe, calm blue beaches and show-stopper sunsets. It’s a small place with loads to explore. If you plan a trip to this picturesque cliff town, here’s what you can do to keep yourself occupied:
Sunrise/ Sunset Boating at Munroe Island
If you have watched When Chai Met Toast‘s Nature Tapes version of ‘Yellow Paper Daisy’, you’ll notice that they were all on a boat cruising through a small water channel. They shot this video in Munroe Island, Kerala’s hidden gem. Munroe Island has a cluster of eight islands separated by narrow water channels. You should either try the canal cruise or the three-hour boating service over there. It’s beautiful, serene, and as pretty as a picture.
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Visit Jatayu Earth’s Center Nature Park
Here, you will find the world’s largest bird sculpture that represents women’s safety and honour. Adventure junkies might find this place interesting as there are many activities they can take part in such as rappelling, zip-line, jummering, bouldering and more. Do note that you will need to spend an entire day here to experience these activities.
Spend a day at the South Cliff
The South Cliff in Varkala has the cleanest beaches you’ll ever see in Kerala. This isolated location is more relaxed and peaceful compared to the touristy North Cliff. I’d suggest you stay there for a day or two as they have quaint stays that overlook the sea.
Cycle on the cliff in the morning
Since the cliff is predominantly a walking path, cycling can get exhausting when there’s a crowd. That’s why cycling in the mornings would be ideal. There are many vendors who rent out cycles at cheap rates (starting at INR 70 per day). Once you are done cycling, make a stop at Bindu’s Cafe for a hot cup of delicious coffee with coconut milk or a smoothie made with fresh fruits.
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Visit Janardhana Swami Temple
This temple dates back to the 12th century. Visitors come to this temple to pray to Lord Visnu. Locals believe that this temple has healing powers. Thus, you will find people with different aliments come here to seek the lord’s blessing.
There are many surf schools and retreats in Varkala. If you are a first-timer, this will indeed be a memorable experience for you. A couple of places that you can get in touch with to learn surfing are Surf N Sea, Soul & Surf Kerala, Sanaa surf club, MOANA SURF CLUB, Moon Waves Surf School, and Elixir Surf Club. It would cost you around INR 1500 per lesson.
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Kayaking Through The Mangrove forest island in Paravur Lake
Imagine paddling through a thick canopy of mangrove forests. Beautiful, right? You will literally be in the middle of nature.
Paragliding and Paramotoring
Wouldn’t you want to seek adventure in Varkala’s blue skies? There’s a helipad in the North Cliff where most paragliding begins. You will be able to fly over the vast Arabian sea and have an experience of a lifetime. The prices usually start from INR 3000 for a 20-30 minute ride.
One of the best attractions in Varkala is its wide variety of cafes spread over the cliff. Every cafe has something unique to offer its customers. Plan to trip in a way where you can cover as many cafes as possible. Some of the well-known cafes are San Francisco, Darjeeling Cafe, Cafe Italiano, Clafouti, Abba and The Rabbit Cafe.
You don’t really need to leave the country to witness your first bioluminescence. It can be seen from the cliff and beach in Varkala.
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Visit Kappil Beach
If you want to see the place where the backwaters meet the sea, you must visit Kappil Beach. Over there, you can also visit the black sand beach.
Shop Till You Drop
Over the North Cliff, you will find many shops that sell a variety of stuff. From clothing to handicrafts, you will get it all there at affordable rates.
These are some of the unique activities that you can partake in while in Varkala. Do let us know if we have missed out on any other pursuit.
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You will hardly find an ATM around so carry a bit of cash. That said, people do accept UPI and online payments. If you are planning to visit Varkala in the summer, it’s going to be extremely hot, especially at noon.