Konkan Coast – the thin Coastline between the Western Ghats and Arabian Sea – will please those travellers really longing to stay from the routine track. It’s a detached, less explored fringe of stupendous beaches, chlorophyll-green paddy fields, heaped-up hills and crumpling clifftop forts.however its a region where accommodation is scant, tedious food , transport pathetically slow and the locals completely unaccustomed to travellers but the prize for your efforts are beaches of which the Maldives would be envious.
Alibaug is the northern most beach of this trail and the starting point of this trail. Most of the travelers do this trail in smaller patches and some does it till Vengurala which is considered as the southern most point of this trail.
I will be discussing information with regards to budget accommodation, public transport and other tips useful for independent travelers. During my various trips to Konkan in varied seasons, I have covered almost all the side of this pristine coastline.
The best way to start with would be dividing the coastline based on districts and these are Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.... You can also name those North Konkan, Middle Konkan and south konkan respectively.
I am chalking out the list of coastal attractions in all of these districts.
Carry mosquito repellent
One might be surprised but Panvel (Outskirt of Navi Mumbai) falls in Raigad district itself and generally the entry point from the travelers to Mumbai...
Alibag (60 km from panvel, 2 hours by bus): Well connected with frequent ST busses from Mumbai (Via Panvel). Got commercialized in recent years with number of sea side accommodation. These all are high-end accommodation options. Budget accommodation options lie a bit inland towards the town in main street. These are nasty in usual fashion. Beach is mundane but promenade is well maintained for beach walkers. It's a typical tourist town with restaurants serving all type of dishes. Town itself is crowded and dusty. I will not recommend it for backpakers or for those seeking "The beach" sort of experience away from the tourist trail. Alibag is undoubted the most popular beach of Konkan coast. One can also reach Alibag from ferries those run from Gateway of India, Mumbai. These ferries does not operate during monsoon season. In my opinion, its worth a voyage and land you to the entry point of your konkan itinerary further south.
Kihim (10 km north of Alibag): Generally done as a day trip from Alibag, Kihim is an untrodden beauty of Raigad district. It can be approached by private/shared autos from Alibag. One can get homestays sort of accommodation but need to hunt in the villages. Most of these accommodation shut down during monsoon so you may find problem getting a place if visiting during monsoon. You can also lodge in some high-end beach resort (will be heavy on the pocket of budget travelers).
Nagaon(10 km south of Alibag): One of my favorite with untouched stretch of palm fringe sand. You can take a shared auto from Alibag those ply on this route further south to Kashid. I believe there is thin connectivity with private busses as well. Nagaon does not has high-end tourist facilities, resorts etc. There are few but those are private I believe. Backpakers can stay in the villages close to the shore. These are more of homestays kind of where you can get a basic room in 200-300 INR. For Budget travelers/Backpackers/Independent travelers, Nagaon is a better place for overnight stay than Alibag. Carry food items, snacks etc if traveling during monsoon time because you won't find any dabba sort of thing open.
On the way to Kashid Beach: From Nagaon, One can take the road further south which runs very close to the coastline. It's a scenic route with lush green surroundings, creeks, bridges over the estuaries and usual stretch of white sand with costal rocks. Kashid is some 23 km from Nagaon and you can catch one of those shared autos, Jeeps sort of vehicle. On the way you will find number of resorts, farm houses but cheaper accommodation options are in the Kashid village where you will also get roadside dabba. I visited Kashid during peak monsoon season so I only have dreary memories of that place...gustling wind and heavy downpour. Kashid is worth a place for breaking your journey and overnight stay. Cheap and nasty rooms can be availed in 200-300 INR per night. Cell phone network (Airtel) was a intermittent when i visited there but now i believe it should be fine. Traveling by your own vehicle gives you a freedom to pull over anywhere and explore any unknown beach.
Murud Beach and Janjira Fort (16 km from Kashid): Murud will be the next stop in your journey. Murud is mainly famous for Janjira fort which falls on an Island close to the shore. Catch one of those shared Autos (Tam, Tam) and get down at Murud town. Nandagaon is another pristine beach in between where you can stop or visit during your stay at Kashid or Murud.