Tag Archives: Agonda Beach

India: Agonda Beach (again!)

March 1 – 11, 2017

Practicalities:

Accommodations: Romance Huts; 1700 INR/night; (agoda.com). We returned because we enjoyed our previous stay at Romance Huts. Better yet we discovered what great food they serve.

Transportation: We took an overnight 2AC train ride from Mysore to Karwar. From there we took a local bus to Canacona then an auto-rickshaw to Agonda Beach. A total of 16 or 17 hours travel but well worth it.

Food: We returned to some of our favourites: Monsoon, Madhu, Velvet Sunset and Duck n Chill. We also tried Dunhills at the southern end of the beach, which had a tasty watermelon martini, but we thought the food rather bland and overpriced compared to other restaurants on the beach. We also visited Zest twice: excellent smoothies (and perhaps the best Chai Masala I’ve had yet but we thought their breakfasts were overpriced. We tried an oyster dish at Suryas on Galgibaga Beach which was pretty good. But the best seafood by far were the meals we had at Romance Huts. Although they don’t have their own restaurant they do serve food for their guests. All three meals we ate there were amazing.

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Tracks in the Sand

Reflections

Agonda Beach drew us back like a giant cleansing magnet. Fresh air, clean ocean, few motor vehicle horns, ocean breezes and very few touts hassling us to buy buy buy.

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Some Popular Activities: Running and Posing

Days blurred together as we simply swam, walked, read books, ate and drank fresh juices and lassis. We did, however, move off Agonda Beach a couple of times. To go to other beaches!

We rented a scooter twice. Riding along the relatively quiet roads on this part of the coast was a pleasure; especially enjoying the cooling breeze (at a leisurely 40kph). The first day we rode north to Cabo de Rama, an old fort on a headland. Vast and rambling there’s little left other than a freshly painted church, the wandering walls, a couple of buildings returning to the land and a few cannon laying around. We went down to the rocky beach and then back up to enjoy the superb views from the high headland.

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View South from Cabo de Rama

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and North

From the fort we rode south, past Agonda and on to Palolem Beach, a long time popular beach in Goa. Compared to Agonda it was much busiers. Tour boats crowded the area near the road access, businesses crowded the foreshore and the crowded beach seemed narrower than Agonda’s. Plus we noticed obviously drunk Indian men leering at Western women, something we’d heard about but never seen before. We actually had one massive fellow strip off right in front of us and flop around in the water. Sue did enjoy a bit of shopping at Palolem but otherwise we did not find it that appealing. More appealing were the back roads surrounding it.

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Boats on Palolem Beach

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Palolem: Church, Boat, Yoga…

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and a Shark!

Another day we rented a scooter and first motored south to Galgibaga Beach, renown for its turtle population. Once again the drive was pleasant as I sought out smaller roads rather than the highway that Google Maps recommended. The beach was huge and pretty much deserted. We didn’t spend a long time on the beach as it was a very hot day and there was little shade. The surf was bigger than Agonda’s (so big it almost ripped my swim shorts off when I tried riding a wave). We walked around the point to see the river mouth and then stopped for lunch at Suryas in the shade amongst the trees.

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Galgibaga Beach looking North

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Ond Lane Bridge on Coast Road

We had plenty of daylight left so rode north and on to Cola Beach, just north of Agonda. The dirt road in was a bit rough but well worth the bumps to get to the beach. Cola Beach has a nice enough ocean beach but also has a fresh water lagoon on its backside. Swimming in it was a sweet change of pace, even though it was lined with resorts (I’m sure the people in the resorts appreciate it when the day-trippers leave in the evening).

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Cola Beach

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Lagoon from the South…

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Panning…

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Panning…

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to the North

Swimming and floating are still two of our favourite activities and we did lots while at Agonda Beach. Sue also regularly attended morning yoga sessions at the Velvet Sunset with Amber, shortly after our morning beach walks. What else?… sunsets, watching the bats, Kings and Kingfishers, relaxing… ahhhh…

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Bats

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Many Bats

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One of my Popular Activities

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India: Agonda Beach

January 22 – 30, 2017

Practicalities

Accommodation: Romance Huts; 1500-1700INR/night; booked through Agoada and then we extended (and extended again when we couldn’t get train tickets); north end of Agonda Beach with the beach in front and the lagoon in back; hut on stilts overlooking roofs of huts in front right on beach; no WiFi; no free breakfast but a very competitive rate for Agonda Beach.

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Romance Huts

Transportation: bus from Panjim to Margao; auto-rickshaw from Margao to Agonda Beach (900INR). There are at least three booking agents here; one of which got us our train tickets to Kerela (it wasn’t easy with all the internet outages).

Communication: free WiFi available at many of the restaurants: if the internet is working and if the power is on! (frequent outages of both). Iffy Vodaphone mobile coverage.

Food: lots of great restaurants. We frequented the Velvet Sunset next door for breakfasts and dinners; excellent, friendly service and good food. Also ate at Monsoon (I loved their Malai Korta and Nepali Thali); breakfast at Fatima’s was good (yummy cardamon lassi and an espresso machine) as were breakfasts at Duck ‘n’ Chill (great Israeli set breakfast). Madhu had excellent cappuccinos and lattes. Although we’re only eating breakfast and dinner, and they’re not large meals, I don’t think I’m losing much weight despite all the walking and swimming. However, I am thinking I may take a cooking course while we’re in Kerela!

Money: There’s one ATM in town but the booking agents do money exchange (with commission of course, but the bank’s money exchange is a pain). The ATM was frequently out of cash. The demonetization has hit the smaller centres the hardest. Hopefully this will get sorted in the near future, although people are saying the government simply hasn’t printed enough new money to replace that taken out of circulation.

Reflections

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Agonda Beach from the South Looking North

As a fellow traveller said to us: “Agonda Beach is India light.” Although far more crowed than Beach we found Agonda to be very mellow with a nice mix of people: Indians, older folks, families and young people. All of them enjoying the sun and sand. The beach is about 2.5km long with huts and restaurants covering the beachfront back to the small road paralleling the beach. Along the road are more restaurants, accommodations and shops. Cows wander freely everywhere and can be quite comical when trying to get into restaurants and bars. I had one youngster sidle up to me and lean into me. She enjoyed a good rub and then we went our separate ways. The scooters, bikes, auto-rickshaws and cars can be a bit daunting for pedestrians on the narrow road. However, that seems the norm in India.

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Road Behind the Beach

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Morning Cow on Agonda Beach

We didn’t do much other than swim, walk on the beach, eat and yoga (Sue). When it was just too hot outside we took some down time in our hut to sleep or read. Life became very simple and very relaxed.

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One of Many Sunsets

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Sunset Photos are Sooo Cliche!

We did venture off to another beach one day: Cola (Khola). We took a wrong route and ended up at a more northerly part of that beach which was OK. And part way on our longer than expected walk we were rescued by three scooters who gave us a lift and pointed out the small road to the beach. The beach, however, had an uninspiring brown scum on the water surface. It made for an interesting change of scenery but we enjoyed swimming at Agonda Beach far more. Often there’s a bit of a surf break but we just went beyond it and swam and floated to our hearts` content.

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Bovines on the Road to Cola Beach

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Our Scooter Cavalry to the Rescue

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Khola Beach?

Apparently Agonda Beach has developed rapidly in the last few years. I know our several years old guidebook referred to it as very undeveloped and uncrowded. Well, the crowds have found it and fortunately they’re pretty darned mellow.

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Morning Crowd Walking the Beach

Another big difference we noticed here was how clean it is. On the ride from Margao we first noticed how clean the roadside is, along with collection points for garbage. Agonda Beach is swept clean daily by roving cleaners who collect all the trash. Plus there are many signs around encouraging proper disposal of garbage and recyclables. I had read a couple of articles about garbage strewn around in Goa, but it seems there’s now an awareness of the problem. Maybe it’s just in the tourist zones but at least it’s a start. We also learned that the lifeguards in conjunction with the local vet spay and feed the unclaimed local dogs. There are many of them and they sometimes sneak people’s sandals or bags off the beach. I rescued a bag left on the beach by a swimmer from two dogs who were having a tug of war with it and dragged it into the water.

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Crab in Camo Mode

On our last day I went for a 2 hour river cruise. Once beyond the bridge the sound of traffic faded and it became very very peaceful. Bird calls, fish splashes.

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River Reflections

The guide poled his way up the river.

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River Guide: Kalidas

We stopped at a large rice paddy for a look just before we turned back.

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A Cashew Tree on the River’s Edge

We ended up staying on Agonda Beach longer than we’d planned but we could have happily stayed even longer. ‘India Light’ can be very relaxing and easy.

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Fish Boats on the Beach

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