Colvá is a coastal village in Salcete, south Goa, on the west coast of India. Colvá beach stretches for around 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi), part of a beach consisting of about 25 kilometres (16 mi) of powder white sand, lined along its shore by coconut palms and extending from Bogmalo in the north to Cabo de Rama in the south. Colvá is a famous tourist destination, visited for its beaches, budget hotels, guest houses, beach shacks, food stalls, restaurants, pubs and bars. The beaches are constantly monitored by lifeguards, and the swimming areas are flagged for warnings.
The village had significant importance to Portugal and was the retreat for Goa's high society, who would come to Colvá for their "Mundanca" or change of air. Today the Portuguese area is dotted with houses or villas, including many ruins. On weekends, huge crowds of tourists, visitors from around the World as well as local Indians, enjoy the sunset and various activities. The beach is particularly busy in October, when hordes of religious pilgrims come and visit Colvá Church, called Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Merces, that was founded in 1630 by the Roiz family and rebuilt in the eighteenth century on the village square.
Colvá was a vast barren uninhabited land with a scenic Arabian Sea beach that had beach plants such as scaevola sericea until a few Goud Saraswat Brahmin settled there as migrants, primarily in the neighbouring village of Benaulim. The mughals, the people of Adil Shahi dynasty preferred the north and hilly regions of Goa, where they built forts and defences, rather than the coastal belt, and hence had not settled the barren land of Colvá. It was the Portuguese conquest which established the western regions of South Goa as a full-fledged human settlement.
Colvá was under Portuguese administration, as the Province of Portuguese-Goa, from 1510 until 1961 (and was still under dispute and represented in the Parliament of Portugal till 1974/75). It was the village of the Portuguese Roiz family, the descendants of D. Diogo Rodrigues, and its villagers. The village had belonged since 1550 to D. Diogo Rodrigues, who was the Lord of Colvá (Landlord of Colvá). He built the first Portuguese architecture residential house in 1551 facing away from the sea and at a distance from the shore to avoid any enemy attacks from the Arabian Sea. The entire beach called Praia da Colvá belonged to him.
In the 18th century, one of Diogo's descendants, Sebastião José Roiz, ordered the village people to plant coconut trees along the entire coastline, which the villagers thought was a waste of time as the soil was white and thus infertile and unable to sustain their growth. However today the shore line is fringed by those plantations of coconut trees. The entire Colvá shore and beach property as far as Betalbatim was inherited by various descendants of the Roiz family until the late 20th century, after which parts were handed over to the Government of Goa under the post-1974 Indian administration following the 1961 annexation of Goa by India. The rest of the land was sold.
Colvá features a tropical monsoon climate under the Köppen climate classification. Colvá, being in the tropical zone and near the Arabian Sea, has a hot and humid climate for most of the year. The month of May is the hottest, seeing day temperatures of over 35 °C (95 °F) coupled with high humidity. The monsoon rains arrive by early June and provide a much needed respite from the heat. Most of Colvá's annual rainfall is received through the monsoons which last till late September.
Colvá is predominantly Roman Catholic and has Hindus as well as Muslims who live there with peace and harmony. The recently constructed Mangueshi Temple is the presence of a growing Hindu population in Colvá. The festivals of all religions are celebrated and enjoyed by all communities. The main village church has various masses and novenas at various times of the year. The traditions of 'saibin' or Mother of Jesus visiting each one's home is still continued. The traditional feast called 'Fama' is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October every year, and pilgrims from around the world take part.