With its sun kissed beaches, bays fringed with verdant coconut palms, Ayurvedic massage parlours all amongst the pristine aura of the environs it is no wonder that Kovalam is called the "Paradise of South". This jewel among Kerala's beaches beckons the traveler seeking calm and solace, the couple wishing to have a romantic outing to the adventurous with equal vigour. Three crescent shaped beaches-the Lighthouse Beach, Hawah beach and Samudra beach, separated by rocky outcroppings, form the main attraction of this coastal land. Along the coastal line the tangled mix of open-air restaurants, curio shops, internet kiosks, beach equipment hirers and massage parlours all add on to impart an mystic quality to this popular tourist spot.
For beachcombers swimming, surfboarding and sun bathing are the main attractions at Kovalam. A ride offered by local fishermen on their Catamarans, spectacular view of the setting sun, getting a feel of the local culture through a village trip and a soul-soothening Ayurveda massage are among the unique experiences on offer at Kovalam. So welcome aboard to the 'Land of Kings' and treat yourself to an experience of a lifetime.
Location : 14 km from Thiruvananthapuram city or approximately half an hour journey time by road, Thiruvananthapuram district, south Kerala.
Climate/ Best Time to Visit : The climate is humid with temperature ranging from 30 C to 35 C. The best time to come here is between August and March. Early June to August heavy monsoons lash the coast.
Good to know : Kovalam is the first tourist destination in Kerala discovered by backpackers and 'hippies' in the 70's. This inflow of tourists catapulted this sleepy village to world fame.
What to see around
Lighthouse beach is the largest and most popular beach in Kovalam. A lighthouse at the southern end of the beach which protrudes into the sea is the reason why the beach is called so. The 35 meter tall red and while painted lighthouse is a popular joint for tourists here. It area around the lighthouse tower offers a spectacular view of the lighthouse beach and Hawah beach.
This beach is primarily used by native fishermen who get their catch from its shores. At dawn we can see some fishing activity leaving the crescent shaped beach peaceful for the rest of the day. Catamarans seen dotting the shores is a sight in itself.
Hawah beach or Eve's beach named so after European women beachcombers who used to stroll in hordes along its sands is the second largest beach in Kovalam. This relatively less crowded beach is popular for swimming, sunbathing and surfboarding and is famous for its beachfront open-air restaurants and resorts. The beach offers an awesome view while dining on the seafront patios enjoying the exquisite Kerala cuisine.
Situated about 32 km from Thiruvananthapuram, Poovar is a peaceful getaway with the quality of any other beach sans the crowds. It is a pristine, unspoilt beach a few kilometers from the famed Kovalam. Poovar which is enveloped by the most serene backwaters offers a clean, sandy beach. It is totally worth your money here. Poovar also offers an unparalleled experience of rural Kerala.
Activities & things to do
A ride around the sea on lighthouse road will give you an opportunity to see miraculous view points and admire the beauty of the sea.
The humid coastal climate of Kovalam is ideal for curative and rejuvenative Ayurvedic programmes as the condition in the environs makes the skin receptive to herbal oils applied. High quality massage centers offering accommodation and special Ayurvedic vegetarian food are very popular among tourists in Kovalam.
Kovalam is a great place to collect souvenirs and traditional artifacts with many curio shops and art galleries around the place.
On all three beaches local fishermen offer rides on what is locally called Kettu-maram which means bundled wood. 3 logs of light wood are tied together to form a low cost capsize proof catamaran.
Hire a two wheeler and set off to explore the hinterland and get a glimpse of the coastal life of fishermen and boat builders in the area.
Swimming/ Sunbathing/ Snorkeling
These are the most popular activities in the soul soothening beaches of Kovalam. Sign boards have been made to indicate safe swimming zones. Snorkeling equipment is made available by licensed operators and if you are lucky you can witness some underwater life.
Interesting cultural programmes like Kathakali, the dance drama of Kerala are organized in resorts in the evenings or nights.
How to Reach
By Air: Kovalam does not have an airport of its own; the most convenient airport is Trivandrum is nearly half an hour's drive from here. Trivandrum, being the capital city of Kerala, has a very good air network and is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Kochi and Kolkata.
By Road: Kovalam is just 14 km away from Trivandrum which means a half an hour ride by road. A good network of roads connects Kovalam to Trivandrum. Trivandrum in turn is the linked by road to all the prominent cities in South India.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is Trivandrum Central and Kovalam can be reached by road from there within half an hour. Trivandrum is a well connected rail head to most cities in India