Kovalam has cheap hotels, laid-back places to hang out and coach-loads of tourists arrive daily, usually heading to the swell protected northern beach that is mostly flat. Hawa Beach faces directly into the SW swell and wind, making for messy lefts forming off the scattered rocks at the southern end.
Life guards patrol and it’s one of the few topless bathing beaches in India, drawing weekend voyeurs and plenty of middle-aged tourists. Those expecting a replica of Goa will be disappointed. Kovalam has cheap hotels and laid-back places to hang out and there’s even a couple of local surfers.