Located in the southern-most coast of Kerala, a state in southwest India, Kovalam, once a regular fishing village, has moved on from being a hippy destination in the early seventies to becoming one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Together with Goa and Mamallapuram, Kovalam forms a popular triangular tour of South India that most tourists take. Kovalam has three beaches separated by rocky promontories, the northern Samudra, middle Hawa and the most popular southern Lighthouse beach. The shallow waters of the beach extend to about a hundred metres making it ideal for swimming. However, it is important to follow the safety flags at all times as unpredictable rip currents especially during the monsoons, could make it unsafe.
Kovalam is a typical beach town with shops lining the beach selling all sorts of curios, from handicrafts to antiques. Thiruvanathapuram district is otherwise famous for its intricate wooden carving, bronze items, kathakali masks and traditional fabric. Other smaller items could include coir and coconut products.
Eating options are plenty in Kovalam serving Keralan, Chinese, Continental and north Indian cuisine. There are numerous open-air restaurants by the beach offering ‘live’ cooking of seafood, where preparation is done in front of the guest. Grilled lobsters, tiger prawns and a huge variety of fish are all there for the asking. Visit Vizhinjam, about 3 kms away which is famous for its special varieties of fish or simply go for ‘sadya’, a typical Keralan platter of rice and 15 vegetable curries served on a banana leaf.
There is very little temperature variation between summer and winter, minimum being 24C and the maximum being 31C. With a temperate climate, it is a year-round destination and perfect for snorkeling and surfing.
Its nearest railhead and airport is Thiruvananthapuram which is 20 kms away and is connected to other major metros by a good network of roads.
Kovalam offers accommodation to suit all pockets, ranging from budget cottages to the more luxurious Ayurvedic Resorts. Being a popular destination, most hotels are often choc-a-bloc weeks ahead, so it is a good idea to book well ahead.
The Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach
This 182-roomed 5 star resort perched on a rock-face is the largest beachside resort in Kerala. It offers a range of delectable dining and entertainment options, ayurvedic spa, beach-view rooms with private sundecks and a host of other facilities making it the ideal getaway for the discerning traveler.
Kadaloram Beach Resort
Set among coconut palms a few kilometers away from the Kovalam beaches, and spread over 2 acres of green, the red-tiled traditional cottages offer at Kadaloram Beach Resort offer luxurious, elegant comfort. An ayurvedic centre and a gourmet restaurant are among the many facilities available to pamper you.
Located in the middle of Kovalam beach stretch, this resort boasts of being awarded the best property in its category in South India. It offers exclusive discounted Ayurvedic programmes.
Swagath Holiday Resorts
A property of the International Best Western Group of Hotels, it offers all modern amenities and facilities including health packages and Ayurvedic treatments.
The Travancore Heritage
A sea-side resort set in 15 acres of lush, landscaped gardens, it is lodged on a cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea. This resort has been developed as a heritage property to preserve the distinctive traditional design of the ‘Nalukettu’. Indulge in the many Ayurvedic packages it offers apart from the modern amenities and facilities
Situated on a rocky promontory between two beaches, this eco-friendly beach resort has 23 wooden houses set amidst coconut palms, bamboo, banana and other wild shrubs. The resort offers yoga, meditation, health, recreational and Ayurvedic programmes.
Isola di Cocco
An Ayurvedic Beach resort listed as one of National Geographic’s “50 best must see destinations”, this resort is built in typical Keralan architecture amidst coconut groves. Relaxing by the beach, backwater cruise, ayurveda are just a few of the things one can indulge in.
Poovar island resort
With 64 land cottages and 16 floating cottages, the Poovar Island Resort experience is a unique one indeed. A host of Ayurvedic programmes leaves you spoilt for choice. The resort has an endless list of entertainment and recreational facilities as well.
The Temple Garden resort is a seaside resort set in 2 acres of coconut palms. It provides independent twin cottages with all modern facilities and Ayurvedic treatments at affordable prices.
Estuary Island Resort
As the name suggests, this resort is uniquely located at the confluence of a lake, river sea and beach. It has 71 well-appointed rooms with a range of facilities to suit all kinds of demands and also an Ayurvedic spa.
Beach and Lake Resort
A privately owned Ayurvedic resort it is situated on an island nestled between the Arabian Sea and the Parvathi Puthanar, Karamana rivers. There is a wide range of programmes and packages to choose from. With its perfect setting, one can get totally lost in nature
Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort
This Ayurvedic, health and Yoga Resort sits atop a hill on a 15- acre spread of lush green. Traditionally styled cottages scattered over the hills amidst coconut groves welcomes the guests to a warm relaxed atmosphere where one can choose from among various rejuvenating, holistic and healing programmes of the ancient ayurveda.
Coconut Bay Beach
This idyllic private beach resort of 22 deluxe villas and 5 beach-rooms offers comfort, leisure, fun that make for an unforgettable experience. Amidst lush coconut palms, the list of ayurvedic treatment packages on offer is endless. Yoga sessions are provided under the guidance of expert and qualified instructors.
Taj Green Cove
In it’s unique combination of being a beach resort, backwater retreat and spa, this property of the Taj Group spread across 10 acres is the perfect getaway to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.
The exclusivity of this 4 star beach hotel set just 15 metres away from the sea, makes it a destination in itself. Its setting, facilities, cuisine and spa are designed to cater to your personal wellness.
BW Swagath Resort
Situated about 5 minutes from the Kovalam beaches, this resort built on a hillock caters to every comfort of the guest. Ayurvedic treatment is also available.
Le Meridien Resort
An exotic resort set in 65 acres of lush green vegetation, this is the biggest five-star beach resort in Kerala. It has a variety of restaurants, three swimming pools, recreational and leisure activities, water sports and an ayurvedic health centre.
Manatheeram Beach Resort
With cottages built in traditional Kerala style amidst the sand, sea, surf and lush green, this resort offers the perfect escape back to nature. One can indulge in the exclusive ayurvedic packages provided by the resort
Ashoka Beach Resort
This 196-roomed resort offers all the amenities of a regular five star hotel with the addition of three swimming pools and an Ayurvedic Centre.
A private resort perched on a little slope that is adjacent to Kovalam beach it provides the perfect holiday of leisure. Traditionally styled, well equipped cottages offer all the comforts of relaxation and privacy.
Dr Franklin’s Panchakarma Institute and Research Centre
Dministered by a crew of 52 qualified Ayurvedic therapists, it was established to provide treatment to all sorts of physical ailments as well as for overall wellness, rejuvenation and body purification programmes.