if you want to do goa for your hols , the first logical question you will ask is what area to visit . i see this question every day . this is the way i saw it . goa is split into sections , look on map.
you have the following distinct areas which are colour coded on this map too :
south goa – agonda , palolem , patnem , cola, polem etc
central goa – colva , banaulim , varca , cavelossim etc
north goa [south of chapora river] candolim , calangute , baga etc
north goa [north of chapora river incl anjuna/vagator] morjim , ashvem , arambol , querim etc
south goa is very chilled , has a few lovely beaches that are cleaner and quieter than elsewhere . agonda , cola , palolem and patnem are within 10-15 mins of each other . relaxing is overall summary . some nice restaurants . roads are very quiet . its not like north goa . agonda and palolem are the 2 main places in the south
agonda – is nicest quietest beach , has classy places to eat , and huts on beach incl really nice deluxe ones ie: h20 , dunhills , whitesands are popular. suit families or couples wanting to relax away from big touristy crowds . it doesnt have big hotels or hotels with pools . accommodation prices vary from a simple room to a designer glass property , and lots directly on the beach . most would say goas cleanest beach . if reading a book , being with family , honeymoon , or quiet drinks and no crowds at night is for you , choose agonda . its a turtle protected beach hence zero late night action bar a quiet cocktail in a shack . you can stay in palolem and day trip to agonda in 10 mins on a moped on a simple quiet back road .
palolem – is main place in south , compared to agonda has a lot more choice of food n drink , more people [but still not by any means as busy as north] , cheap huts on beach , tons of eats , mixed ages and nationalities crowd , beach fun . good as a base camp to visit other southern places . has the main sat night ‘silent disco’ party , and the immense leopard valley jungle party – one of the best in goa for sure on friday nights till 6am . its just got more going on at night in the beach shacks and bars than agonda . you might find beach shacks playing rock , funk , chart edm or pop dance music . youll usually have a handful of bars with people unlike agonda , plus totally quiet places too . there are a few small hotel resorts with pools , but mostly the accommodation is fairly inexpensive huts on the beach or simple guest houses . i stayed here cos of more choice at night and day tripped to the other southern beaches on a moped to mix it up . this is where jason bourne filmed “bourne supremacy” movie and is running along the beach before the car chase . a palm fringed stunning bay .
palolems next door neighbour beach is called patnem which is a quieter and less developed beach than palolem , and has great selection of nice restaurants and quite a young at heart hip crowd with a large section of 30-40 year old southern england hipsters . its a bit more low key , but a small compact stunning bay . good food and cocktails . its kind of in the middle of agonda and patnem in terms of numbers of people and rarely is spoken of . a cool place .
cola – is a little different to a lot of other goan beaches in that it has a big lagoon at one end . you walk down steps to the beach . looks amazing in photgraphs and a top day trip beach . apart from a small cluster of huts and tents over the lagoon there is pretty much nothing else there apart from 1 bar/shack serving drinks and food to people . that is the charm , a robinson crusoe style place to chill . sea isnt really swimmable , lagoon is tho . great day out for sure with some cool pictures . youll be lucky to see 15 people on this big beach . great day trip place unless you want almost total solitude at night .
polem – is a deserted small bay just before you leave goa state . there is nothing apart from 1 shack serving drinks and food to people and less than 5 rooms/huts . not another person was there when i arrived , its totally deserted … your own little beach right off the grid away from tourists ! accommodation and facilities are minimal to say the least . day trip ? totally unspoilt and under the radar .
galibaga is another turtle beach , unspoilt by tourism .
central goa heres are lots of 4 and 5 star resorts , big brand names , big complexes where youll go for all inclusives and lounging around a pool etc . the beaches are big and wide and long . its lots quieter than ca;/cand/baga . i didnt go here , but there are lots of restaurants and hotel bars .
colva seems to be one of the main places for domestics , cavelossim and betalbatim are two more places people enjoy , with big wide open beaches . people who object to goas grimy dirty underbelly [which is half its charm!] can find a lot cleaner and more modern hotels here . i can imagine the beds would be comfy , furniture would match along with the bedding , pools clean , service excellent , neat gardens , lots of staff , gated complexes . heck maybe you might not leave the resort lol [if you do this you will miss a lot] . you also have banaulim and varca . if you cant stand the congested c/c/b resorts , but you need more accommodation luxuries than hut type accommodation , then this might be an area to consider ? plus you can day trip north or south easily and cheaply and have the best of the rest too .
north goa [south of chapora river] is where all the package holidays from britain and russia go – ie tcook/thomson etc , plus some domestic tourists . mass tourism overload ! throw in all the long stay retirees from britain too for long winter stays . if you want mad busy crowds , lively atmosphere , where everyone else goes type of place – this is the place for you ! c/c/b are all within 5 mins of each other . make up , clothes , hair driers , white linen trousers , and pension books will get packed for hols here lol . watch out for the daily bag snatchers and hustlers [very important to be aware/seek info on this if you choose here , particularly candolim] . most places have a 10.30 music curfew except a few indoor clubs in baga . youll find fake bags , cheap prices and lots of options . 9/10 brits go here cos everyone else does
candolim – is a very busy brit resort . beach is packed out with beds , you can get anything you miss from ‘back home’ food wise . its quite dead in evenings apart from karaoke , quiz nites , or places with older people . nite times are quieter than baga cos everyone goes to bed with their coco lol , but still very noisy during the day . some well rated food places . a home from home / chips with everything place .
baga – the biggest resort . has tons of restaurants , bars and people , mostly british and russian clientele and indians out of season , 2 main commercial clubs [“tito”/”mambo”] plus “cubana” nearby , and the busiest beach . everything is close together and easy to access . its the main and busiest resort where the majority go to , so many package holiday tourists and sellers , etc . its extremely noisy and congested . youll find watersports and jetskis and people galore if that is your thing . streets are manic with traffic . there are 2 large nearby sat nite markets , go karts and a waterpark . out of season most people go here , as its busy all year round with a lot of domestic tourists during monsoon . the beaches are packed with beds .
calangute – is again very british/russian but with quite a lot of domestic tourists too . its in between candolim and baga . its dirtier than the other two . and extremely busy . lots of traffic . staying here will give easy access to candolim or baga . dirty seems to be a recurring theme !
north goa [north of chapora river … plus anjuna/vagator/chapora] this is all the resorts north of baga basically . its more independent travellers , mixed nationalities . its cooler than c/c/b . its completely different to c/c/b holidays and nowhere near as busy as c/c/b . technically anjuna and vagator chapora and siolim are south of chapora , or on banks of chapora , but they are not anything like the c/c/b places clientele , so ive grouped them here for ease , ie anjuna is more like arambol than its neighbour baga . its not a package holiday place , more a flight and hotel . why not try a week here and a week there kinda stay
anjuna – is a great base camp for ALL north goa in both directions . has a massive weds daytime into early evening market , a long beach that has mostly 90% nice sand with a small section of volcanic rockpools on the north end , steady with people but not packed or anything like c/c/b . good music venues for cool stuff [live bands,electronic,trance etc] . lots of cheap eats and places to stay . its always fun in anjuna and you can meet interesting people , a bit more left of centre than mass tourism of ccb strip . i stayed here and my haunts where anjuna/vagator and ozran/chapora/siolim all within 5 mins on a bike . its next to c/c/b but totally different and not as old agewise , but with some young at hearts still rocking ! you wont get high heels and make up here as its very casual , more like a pair of cons or flip flops and tshirt/shorts . quite a few travellers too . music doesnt stop at 10.30 , most nites theres a place or two you can rave thats open till 6am with loud music . “anything” goes in anjuna 😉 i stayed here as a base camp , tons of action at nights , plus easy access to baga restaurants if need be , and all the fun beaches north are about 20-30 mins away on a moped …while still having a certain amount of space and less traffic than its noisy neighbours .
vagator / little vagator [aka ozran] – is the next bay along to anjuna and kind of all blends together really , and has two great seperate beaches, 2 main trance clubs holding thousands of people , and along with neighbouring chapora/siolim has several fab restaurants [plus hundreds of others too] , good bars and clubs for music . its not a packed out busy resort , but there are enough people to have fun and people travel in for things like thalassa restaurant or the raves . there are budget and expensive hotels , and restaurants are similar . people just flit between anjuna and vagator 2 mins apart on a moped .
chapora / siolim – just by vagator / anjuna , these ‘hidden’ low key villages have several very good restaurants bars and clubs catering for alternative travellers that are hidden away , plus lots of other smaller places too that are good . its got a fort , no real beaches [use vagator/anjuna] , and its a mix of backpackers , ex pats , hipppies , bikers , bohemian types . chapora is very bohemian , grungy , and people drink on the streets . siolim is a bit of everything [ex pats , domestic , budget and high end] . off the beaten track for sure – nobody ever mentions these places on forums like tripadvisor . thats the charm i guess , under the radar . i mean one of the coolest little electronic clubs doesnt even have a sign ! [bubble brunch] , one is brand new [teso lounge – wow] , and one [last hippie bar standing] very popular tiny pub bar that has happy cakes and stinks of stale ale LOL ! day trip , its minutes from anjuna ? and in 2014 had the ebst 6am club called katzensuppe for tech house music .
… then crossing the chapora river …
morjim – fairly lively resort and has a lot of eastern eu holiday makers . it has some nice restaurants , hotels and bars . and a great beach that gets fairly lively . quite a lot of young people having fun . it is odd as all the loungers have shaded canopies on them which makes beach kind of different . its also a turtle breeding beach if your lucky youll see them depending on time of year . very few british go here which might suit some !
ashvem – next to morjim and some classy places here are springing up , all contemporary and white . its got a great beach that isnt packed . like morjim youll be hard pressed to find english voices . some expensive hotels are to be found with usual type places – jade jagger has a beach front clothes shop and house in ashvem . mandrem beach is adjoining it and they kid of blend together – its also a turtle breeding beach if your lucky youll see them depending on time of year . it also has 2 deluxe ibiza style day [and night] clubs called ‘bardo’ and one called ‘sunset ashram’ both with great pools overlooking the beach , and a similar one called ‘marbela beach’ .
arambol – is so eclectic and unique …. THIS PLACE ROCKS … bohemian backpackers ravers spiritual yoga hippies pot heads bikers gap years … its such a great cosmopolitan mix of people and nationalities . so friendly . good to meet like minded people . its tattoos piercings smoking dreads and beachwear . again you wont find make up and dolly birds from the ccb here whatsoever . surprisingly it gets a little quiet after 10pm , then you go to vagator/anjuna or morjim/ashvem for bars/clubs i guess if nothings on . lots of shops , so many cheap huts [300rps xmas week!] , and food on the beach , fantastic beach entertainment especially sunset hours is absolutely not to be missed [see my blog] . there are 2 sections , arambol and the arambol sweet lake beach aka wagh colomb and both have major reviews on my blog on various days] .
querim – furthest northern beach in goa , in 2011 it was still an almost deserted beach [especially north end by terekhol] , however in 2014 you can now usually find maybe 100 people and 5 shacks on it as its becoming discovered by the newly influx of russian tourists from nearby resorts . great to chill out and nobody bothers you , no sellers . saw a couple of nudists here it was that quiet escpecially on the north end . like polem in extreme south , you can really chill out for a day . its got really clean sand . the south end of bay had just a few eateries , north has nothing but sand !
>> SEE MY BLOG FOR MULTIPLE DETAILED REPORTS , INFO , TIPS , EATS , CLUBS , AND VIDEOS ON EACH PLACE ABOVE
IT REALLY IS WORTH TAKING TIME TO LOOK INTO THE RIGHT AREA/RESORT FOR YOU , THEY ARE QUITE DIFFERENT .
THE MAJORITY OF BRIT PACKAGE HOLIDAY MAKERS WOULD END UP IN CANDOLIM OR BAGA IF THAT MAKES IT EASY FOR YOU TO DECIDE
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