by Santorini Dave • Updated: August 5, 2019
River Castle – Quaint, quiet, and budget-priced guest house in a village setting alongside the river.
This grandly-named but simple guest house is beautifully set among a cluster of local homes and is only a quick bus trip from first-class facilities. Positioned on a peninsula, it’s between a Crusoe-esque beach, three minutes away on foot, and the Sal River. The handful of rooms feature a mishmash of colorful linen, walls, and curtains, as well as balconies. (Two offer river views and one has a distant view of the sea.) The furnishings and facilities are modest but guests have air-con, Wi-Fi, and cable TV, and can use a fully-equipped communal kitchen. It feels isolated, but in a good way, because only a few minutes by frequent buses are terrific places to eat, drink, and shop, as well as moneychangers and agencies for boat trips.
River Castle – The Location
- Address: Mobor, near the main tourist region of Cavelossim, midway along South Goa. (Most places in Goa don’t have an address.) Signposted (also with ‘Shanti Residences’) from the main road. The guest house is another 150m down the lane. Rooms are on the second floor, while the family owners live at ground level.
- Area: The guest house is among a cluster of family homes along the river. With excellent bus services (see below), it’s not as isolated as it seems: about 2km south of Cavelossim, a delightful and compact enclave of shops, restaurants, and hotels. Less than 500m from the beach.
- How to Get There: From the airport (35km, 60-minute drive), there is little choice except overpriced pre-paid taxis. The nearest major train station is at Margao (Madgaon), 15km away (30-minute drive).
- Handy to: Facilities and beaches at Cavelossim and Mobor.
River Castle – The Basics
- Guests: Budget-minded independent travelers. Some return year after year.
- Views: A couple of rooms offer river views (although obstructed) at the back. One provides some distant (and also obstructed) sea views. The others face homes in the village 50m away.
- Kitchen: Guests can use the large and well-equipped communal kitchen, which includes a washing machine and clothes dryer.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Certainly not expected (or provided) at this sort of low-key guest house.
- Wi-Fi: Should be available for free, but check when booking.
- Parking: No proper spaces, but should be safe enough outside the guest house.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +91 98221 84369
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: rivercastlegoa.com
River Castle – Amenities
- Pool, Spa, & Fitness Center: Certainly not expected (or provided).
- Other Facilities: Book exchange. Tours can be arranged.
River Castle – Food and Drink
- Restaurant & Bar: Nothing on-site, which is expected at this sort of place. Guests can order meals which can be delivered, use the kitchen to cook food, or take advantage of the great facilities at Cavelossim via a short bus trip.
- Breakfast: Not provided. Guests are expected to make their own using the kitchen.
- Room Service: Not expected or provided.
River Castle – Rooms
- Room Types: All the rooms are the same inside.
- Smoking Rooms: No smoking in the rooms, but permitted on the balconies.
- Best Room: Those facing the river offer the finest possible views.
- For Families: An extra single bed can be added to each room, but this would be a tight squeeze. With such low rates, booking 2 rooms is affordable.
River Castle – Local Transport
- Walking & Cycling: Less than 500m from the beach (see below). Avoid walking (2km) to the facilities at Cavelossim because the road has no shade or sidewalks, and buses are frequent. Ask around Cavelossim about renting bicycles as it’s a great area for cycling, especially south of the guest house.
- Public Transport: One advantage of staying at the guest house is its accessibility to local facilities and onward connections by bus. From where the lane to the hotel meets the main road, flag down a bus. These pass by every 10 minutes towards The Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant (1km) in the south and Cavelossim in the north (2km), before going further on to Margao (Madgaon), a major regional town with frequent connections across Goa. No metro or any local trains of use to tourists.
- Taxis & Auto-rickshaws: No auto-rickshaws or metered taxis. Uber/Ola don’t operate anywhere in Goa, but app-based rides can be arranged through Goa Miles, though really, the only option for longer trips are unmetered private ‘taxis’ arranged through the resort. Rates are overpriced but negotiable.
- Cars & Motorbikes: Goa is the only place in India where renting a car or motorbike is feasible. No internationally-recognized agencies are present, so renting at a local shop presents obvious risks. Best to organize this at the resort. Rides on the back of a motorbike (called a ‘pilot’) are possible; ask around.
River Castle – What’s Nearby?
Restaurants & Bars
All the places below are accessible by public bus (see above).
- Betty’s Place +91 (0)832 287 1456 – Breezy and reasonably classy setting and fabulous seafood. Boat trips available, too. About 800m south (i.e. away from Cavelossim) and just past the Holiday Inn. 2-minute drive.
- The Fisherman’s Wharf – Attractive position along the river and opposite the bustling harbor. Elegant setting, attentive service, and pleasing prices. Look for the signs just past Betty’s. 2-minute drive (1km).
Otherwise, take a bus north to Cavelossim (1.4km, 2-minute drive) and get off at the Novotel. These places are within 500m of that resort:
- Robin’s Ark – Spacious and tasteful roadside setting. Very popular for hearty western meals. Directly opposite the Novotel. 1-minute walk (90m).
- Mike’s Place – Long-established hangout down a side street that starts almost opposite the Novotel. Lovely setting in a converted mansion. Also, beach parties and live music. 2-minute walk (140m).
- Hungry Shark – Casual and charming riverside position for seafood and live music. Down a side street just up the road from the Novotel. 4-minute walk (300m).
- Beach Cafés – Down the lane marked ‘James’s Beach Hut Café’, just south of the Novotel. At the end of the lane (200m) are numerous cafés on the sand. The best is Q-Ba. 4-minute walk (350m).
- A couple of minimarts and souvenir shops near the gates to the Holiday Inn, 800m south of the guest house (1-minute drive). Plenty more and other useful facilities (e.g. moneychangers and agencies offering boat trips) at Cavelossim.
- From the guest house, walk to the main road (150m). Directly across the road is an unsigned path to the beach (about 300m). The wide, clean, and white sands are amazingly undeveloped, so there are no sunbeds, drink stalls, or umbrellas – or any natural shade. In front of the Holiday Inn resort about 800m south via the beach or road are some beach cafés and a modest selection of water-sports. Always swim between the flags. Lifeguards are on duty from about 10 am to sunset, but only in front of the Holiday Inn and at Cavelossim.
River Castle – The Hotel
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