Some say that Goa isn’t ‘real’ India. I agree it’s definitely a far cry away from the rest of the country with it’s slow pace of life, chilled out beach vibes, more relaxed attitudes and abundance of tourists.
That being said, reaching Goa from the hectic north or anywhere else that may have overwhelmed the senses can be a breath of fresh air, literally. I know that after a month of Delhi-Agra-Rajasthan-Mumbai I was ready for a bit of chill time on the beach before we continued on our cultural journey.
As I mentioned in my 2 month itinerary, we stopped at Arambol first and then Anjuna. Both ticked off the beach criteria, the former being the most impressive, but I have to say neither were really my scene. So when we made our way down south to the peaceful, little fishing village of Agonda it felt like we’d found paradise.
Agonda’s mostly palm fringed beach is huge, quiet and beautiful. I don’t think I really have to sell it to you though as the pictures speak for themselves! Not being affected by mass tourism, everything from the bars and cafes to the activities are pretty low-key. It’s really clean and the sea is gorgeous to cool off in after a read on the beach. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt so chilled out, this really is the place to come to unwind and forget about it all. And those sunsets!
There are a few boat guys down the beach who sell trips out to see dolphins and a more secluded beach. To be honest it was relaxed enough for us here so we saved the boat trip until we got to Palolem, the more lively beach 9 or so km further south.
A nice stroll towards the southern end of the beach brings you round to some rocks that you can explore or, in our case, sit on to enjoy the view. I’m sure there’s much more exploring to be done further along the coast but we were using the time to have a rest.
~ Exploring the southern end of the beach
The accommodation here comprises low-scale family run guesthouses in the village, or beach huts belonging to the cafe bars on the beach. We hunted about on arrival and found the huts to be going for around 1,500 – 2,000rs a night. As this was out of our budget we found a double room just over the road from the beach, in someone’s backyard, for 400rs instead! Maybe next time…
Eating and drinking
Agonda certainly isn’t the place to come to party but it’s perfect for casual dining on the beach with a beer or cocktail. One of our top picks was Jardim a Mar, a ‘resort’ type bar/cafe as it also has a hut camp. We found ourselves here almost everyday! They have the best cushioned chill out area over looking the beach; a perfect place to sit back and enjoy a refreshing lime soda in the day or curry and spicy chai in the evening.
~ Where we spent a lot of our time!
~ Masala Chai tea in funky Goan Mugs
Right next to the church in the village is Fatima’s Thali, the place to go for a super cheap and absolutely delicious south Indian Thali. It’s a tiny little place with maybe 4 or 5 tables and is always packed out with both locals and budget eaters. We kept popping by night after night to see if there was a table, but were too hungry to wait around. After about 3 tries we finally managed to squeeze onto another lady’s table to discover what all the fuss was about. It was worth the wait. Adam had the fish thali and I went for the veg – delicious spicy masalas, dhal, roti and rice.
~ Jardim A Mar
~ Fresh lime soda is everywhere in India. Give me one of those over a coke any day!
~ Thali at Jardim a Mar
Agonda is Yoga central and it’s one of the main reasons a lot of people come here either to practice or teach. You can find different types of classes advertised around the village and it’s a popular place to come to join a retreat. Since I knew it was one of the places to do yoga and had got into it before leaving the UK, I was set on doing some whilst here. I found the options a little overwhelming and as we weren’t sticking around for too long, decided to take part in one of the ones Jardim a Mar run. I even managed to drag Adam along!
We joined the Dynamic Yoga class for around 400rs per hour. I don’t know if the heat had anything to do with it but it was way more intense than I was used to! But definitely fulfilling and it got us out of bed at 6am to enjoy the rest of the day!
When to to go and how to get there?
The best time is between November and April; after and before the monsoon season. December and January are peak times and Christmas and New year are when things are likely to be all booked up.
We were coming from Anjuna in north Goa by bus, which actually turned out to be 4 local buses! This involved changing at Mapusa then Margao then Chaudi. There are a few from Chaudi everyday. If the train pulls into Canacona station you can catch a bus to Agonda from here, otherwise it’d be from Margao.
We found the bus experience to be organised chaos. You hop off at a busy station and search for or ask people where your next bus is… only to find the conductor hanging out the door as the bus is almost speeding off, shouting the destination at you, assuming you’re likely headed that way. Like a lot of things in India, don’t ask, it just works!