The beach is named after Dona Paula de Menezes, daughter of a viceroy (in colonial India), who threw herself off the cliff, when refused permission to marry a local fisherman, Gaspar Dias. The myth says that Dona Paula is entombed in the Cabo Chapel of the Raj Bhawan and is supposed to be seen emerging from the moonlit waves wearing only a pearl necklace. With the romance and myth attached to it—haunted by Dona Paula de Menezes—tourists throng the Dona Paula Beach not only in search of the deceased beloved, but also to indulge in water sports on the clear waters.
This beach has also been the location for many Indian movies, the most famous being Ek Duje Ke Liye. Given this dual attraction, Dona Paula Beach has become a popular tourist spot.
The climate is equable and moist throughout the year. While it is pleasant and temperate from October to May it is rainy from June to September. Temperature variations throughout the year are mild. May is the warmest month with a temperature of around 30°C and January is coolest with a mean daily temperature of 25°C. Due to its proximity of the sea, the territory is generally humid and even during the summer months humidity is generally above 60 percent.
The nearest airport is at Dabolim, which is 29 km away from Panaji and 36 km from Anjuna.
Goa is connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Mangalore, and Thiruvananthapuram by train. The nearest railway station is at Karmali, which is 15 km from the beach.
The Dona Paula Beach is well connected by road. Seven kilometers from the capital city, regular bus and taxi services are easily available. The Kadamba Transport Corporation (a Government of Goa undertaking), and Maharashtra and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporations operate buses from and to Goa.
Bus, taxi, auto-rickshaw, and motorcycle services are the available means of local conveyance in the area. A bus or motorcycle-taxi from Panajim or the ferry service from Mormugao can be availed of to reach the beach. In fact, buses to Dona Paula leave every fifteen minutes from Panajim's Kadamba stand.
An interesting mode of conveyance in Goa is the motorcycle taxi. Unique to this state, these “taxis” carry only one passenger. However motorcycles can also be hired for personal use, on the basis of financial guarantee.
A picturesque spot, commanding a fine view of the Zuari river and Mormugao Harbour. The main attractions near Dona Paula Beach are Reis Magos Church and the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Approximately 10 km from the beach is one of the oldest churches built in Goa, the Reis Magos Church.
- Reis Magos Church. It is dedicated to the three Magi (the wise men of the East)—Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar who, according to a legend, were guided by a star to Bethlehem to greet the newborn Jesus. This church was once the residence of all dignitaries and a mission center of the Franciscan order.
- National Oceanography Institute. Set up in the 1960s, the National Oceanography Institute delves not only upon marine biology, but incorporates almost all the major branches of coastal and marine oceanography. The major attraction of the institute is its Marine Biology Museum and Taxonomy Reference Center.
- Cabo Raj Niwas. The Cabo Raj Niwas (the Governor’s House) is half a kilometer away from the National Oceanography Institute. It houses the tomb of Dona Paula de Menzes in the Cabo Chapel. The Raj Bhawan offers an excellent view of the nearby coastline and the Aguada Fort.
- Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is situated on the western tip of the island of Choro, along the Mandovi River, about 9 km from Dona Paula Beach. Spread over 2 sq km, this sanctuary is a mangrove forest. Local and migratory birds are found here all through the year. However, permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden is required for visitors.
Two other beaches are also within the proximity of the Dona Paula Beach. These are the Miramar beach, which lies 4 km north of Dona Paula, and the Vainguinim Beach, which is situated 1 km west.
Dona Paula is an idyllic spot to relax and sunbathe. The most important attraction is the water sport facilities available here. The Dona Paula Sports Club offers water-scooter, cycle, and motorboat rides. Other water sports include windsurfing, parasailing, water-skiing, toboggan ski-biscuit, skibob, sports fishing, snorkeling, harpoon fishing, kayaking, and yachting. Water scooter facilities are also available here.
The festivals of Janmashtami and the Feast of St. Lawrence are particular to the Dona Paula Beach. In addition, the beach also has a colorful water sports festival in November. The highlights of this festival are the water scooter and cycle races and surfing competitions.
There are several shops along the beachside, which sell variety of goods ranging from eatables to clothes. Fishermen-turned-local vendors also sell straw hats, lace handkerchiefs, and spices in these shops. Feni and port wine—the two Goan liquor specialties—are a must buy and local liquor is easily available. Indian handicrafts and jewelry are available at the Indian Arts Emporium in Dona Paula.
Eat a lot here.
Dona Paula is very close to the Capital city Panaji. Therefore a Tourist or a Business Traveller who is on a official visit to the state of Goa can stay here and also be very close to the hustle bustle life of the Panaji city. Many 5 star resorts along with budget hotels are located in Dona Paula. One can stay in 5 star resorts like Vainguinim Valley Casino Resort Goa and Cidade de Goa for a luxurious stay in Goa. Besides there are many budget hotels like Swimsea Beach Resort, Prainha Cottage, O Pescador etc.