>  Explore   >  Oh Island in the sun….CINTACOR ISLAND RESORT, KARWAR

Taking advantage of a visit to my home town, Mangalore to escape the pollution over the NCR, I decided to drive on the scenic 4 lane NH 66 which winds its way along the coast from Mangalore to Goa. The highway runs through the Kundapur estuary where the Haladi river meets the Arabian sea and is truly a sight for the Gods!! A couple of Kms later the Honnavar bridge offers views that reminds one of the picturesque Halong bay in Vietnam.

After a comfortable 4.5 hour drive covering 245 kms I arrive at the “Swaswara” a CGH wellness retreat spread over 26 acres and located on Om beach. Unfortunately, my stay was in the midst of the Pandemic, so apart from enjoying my accommodation in the spacious Konkana villa, taking a stroll on the half moon crescent shaped beach and tasting the delectable cuisine,  the wellness facilities at the retreat were not operational. Hence I left it to my imagination the reason for Swaswara which in Sanskrit means “my own rhythm” USP to attract guests for long stays from faraway Russia, Scandinavia & Europe.

Day two- Sometime after breakfast I depart Swaswara and an hour’s drive later I arrive at the Karwar pier where I am met by the Chef of the Cintacor island resort who escorts me in a speed boat to the island with the shape of a tortoise in silhouette. As my boat pulls up at the quaint pier I was reminded of country singer Harry Belafonte’s hit song:

Oh Island in the sun

Willed to me by my Father’s hand

All my days I will sing in praise

Of your forest waters, your shining sand …

In 1498 Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer dropped anchor in the Arabian sea near Calicut or Kozhikode as it is known today and discovered the sea route to India around the Cape of Good hope. This allowed for settlers from Portugal to arrive and establish bastions in Goa, Mumbai, Daman & Diu and rule the roost until Governor General Antonio Vassalo e Silva led the last ships out 4.5 centuries later post the liberation of Goa in 1961. However, the Coelho family, who happen to be the owners of Cintacor bought this surreal island which extends to about 53 acres 120 years ago even whilst the Portuguese were around. 

The resort offers 15 cabins and three options – S is the most spacious, O & H . One of my favourite movies seen during my childhood was the “Guns of Navarone” and my instinct told me to look out for the large cannon emerging out of a cave. I realised I had only 2 nights hence did not waste any time to discover the island and its treasures- there is the Jolly Rogers bar and game room, the Dining room, Terrace and the infinity pool for spectacular vistas,  the beach and the Spa which hangs at the edge of the cliff with the waves hammering away at the rocks below and could have been aptly named as “Where Eagles Dare”!

The walking trails are interesting- there is the 400 year old temple for those seeking divine help, the ramparts of the Kurumgad fort built by the Sonda dynasty in 1705, the mystery creek and many spots to shoot pics of the panoramic views. There is also an opportunity for fishing and to drop the bait over the side, rock climbing, water sports such as Banana boats, Zorbing, tubing, Kayaking, Jet skiing, water scooter rides and speed boat runs.

The Chef is a happy soul who recommended I taste his signature dishes… living on an island I chose seafood for my main course and the kitchen didn’t disappoint. I was not looking for five star Valet & Butler service but the friendly staff went out of their way to curate a wondrous stay.

As the speed boat left Cintacor’s pier to head back to shore the Eagles hit song “Hotel California” reverberated in my thoughts – “You can check out anytime you want but you can never leave”…

To Quote M L Steadman-The Lights between the Oceans

The isolation spins its mysterious cocoon, focusing the mind on one place, one time, one rhythm, the turning of the light. The island knows no other human voices , no other foot prints. On the offshore lights you can live any story you want to tell yourself and no one will say you are wrong… not the sea gulls, not the prisms, not the wind .

Getting there

Dabolim airport, Goa is a 2 hour drive and 90 kms/54 miles from the pier in Karwar

Mangalore airport- is a 5.5 hour drive and 275 kms/164 miles

Best Times to visit- October to February

Closed- The resort is closed from June to September

Recommended- As a Buy out for 30-45 guests to celebrate milestone birthdays, anniversaries , engagements and weddings   

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