There’s the rich history which still lingers in the architecture, with the Portuguese inspired colourful houses to the colonial churches of Old Goa.
There’s the nightlife, with the clubs of North Goa and the Silent Disco headphone parties of the South.
There’s the lush green landscape, a blur of palms and fields.
And of course, there’s the incredible beaches, golden sands stretching for kilometres along the coastline.
When it finally sank in that I was going to be flying to Goa in a week’s time, I realised I should probably look into where to stay and book some accommodation. I’m normally very organised, but for this trip I left everything to the last minute – strangely, I seemed to freak out less doing it this way. Luckily there were still many options when I searched the region on booking.com – but now I had to choose where to go…
I first visited Goa in 2015 and fell head over heels. The north of the state is generally busier with more options for nightlife, whilst the south is known for its opportunities for relaxation. Last time, I stayed in Palolem in South Goa and explored much of the surrounding area on a scooter (including a half-day on Agonda beach). This time, I wanted to go somewhere new, and, with fond memories of Agonda, I decided to bite the bullet and booked four nights at Om Sai Beach Huts. Four nights turned into eight, and I left Agonda feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to embark on my trip of Kerala. Here’s why I think Agonda might just be the best beach in South Goa.
Agonda is pretty much slap bang in the middle of South Goa, if you imagine the south to be anything south of the airport. One of the best ways to explore the area is on a scooter, which can be rented for around 300Rs per day and two people can go on them at once. Easily reachable is the busy beach of Palolem (another beauty) and the more quiet resorts of Patnem and Cola Beach. Also worth a visit is the Cabo da Rama fort. I wrote a little more about nearby beaches in this post.
You can stay in a beach hut. Literally, a hut on the beach. You’ll wake up to views of the Arabian Sea and only need to take fifty or so steps to be in it. What better place is there for a morning swim?
Because Agonda is still relatively ‘up and coming’ in comparison to it’s neighbour Palolem, there is an increasing choice of accommodation options and I found that it was all very reasonably priced. Huts start at around 1000Rs a night (double rooms mean the price can be split between two people remember!) Accommodation that does not face the sea is cheaper. As well as beach huts there are guesthouses and hotels – most of these are not beach-facing.
Many of the beach huts along the beach are similarly built: wooden rectangular structures with a simple ensuite bathroom. Make sure you choose one with a mosquito net that fully covers the bed – and take ear plugs as the crows are noisy even at night (this is the same across most of Goa). Some of the more pricey huts might have air conditioning or even a TV; both of mine had a fan and my own little veranda.
For the first half of my time in Agonda, I stayed at Om Sai Beach Huts, towards the northern end of the beach. My hut was situated in a small garden, still only 30 seconds walk to the beach. The second half was spent at Agonda Waves huts – cheaper, more basic, but still comfortable and much closer to my new favourite café on the planet, Zest.
Choice of food is aplenty in Agonda, with something for every taste. As it’s by the sea, fish features heavily on the menus, as does chicken and lamb. Pork occasionally appears, beef rarely (since cows are sacred in India).
With such a high number of tourists, it’s possible to eat just about anything in Goa. There are western dishes, with focus on Italian and American style cuisine, as well as other Asian dishes like Chinese. Of course you will always be able to find authentic Indian dishes – from northern Punjab dishes to South Indian and the ever-spicy Goan curry. As a vegan I was pleased to find there are heaps of places to eat in Agonda – and I wrote about them in this post.
“Quiet” means different things for different people, so here I will explain what I mean:
You can relax on the beach, without being harassed by hawkers (they aren’t allowed on the beach). So no one will disturb you to ask if you’d like a massage or to sign their petition or to buy something from their shop. You may be given a flyer for a club night on a Friday or Saturday, but that’s the extent of disturbances. Just complete and utter peace.
And you can spend your entire holiday like this if you wish – I had a whole week in Agonda of simply sunbathing, reading and relaxing – and it was pure bliss. The days slowly turned into a week so I made a conscious decision to fly to Kerala, or I might well have stayed there for months!
If all that rest and relaxation doesn’t sound like your thing, don’t fret as there’s lots to do to keep you entertained.
After a couple of days exploring the surrounding area on your scooter, why not try body boarding at the beach when you tire of sunbathing? You can also play volleyball or take a boat trip to see other nearby beaches, with a promise of spotting dolphins en route (please be sure to choose a reputable company who does not chase the animals). There are classes held daily in yoga (and even a teacher training school too), macramé and cookery – so you may very well find a new hobby or skill – and you certainly won’t be bored!
In the evenings you can go for dinner and drinks, there’s live music playing at a number of the bars and restaurants on the weekends, but most places quieten down around 11pm to midnight. If you want a clubbing experience, head to one of the silent discos in the area or stay in North Goa.
Just because I was travelling alone doesn’t mean to say that Agonda is a hotspot for solo backpackers – far from it! Agonda is the perfect place for anyone to stay, unless you want to party hard every night; you won’t be able to do that here.
In Agonda I saw solo female travellers, solo male travellers, groups of friends, families, couples and elderly people. Just about everyone. With its increasing range of accommodation and restaurant options, Agonda has something for anyone looking to enjoy the beauty of the beach and relax over dinner and a few cheap beers in the evenings. Whether you, like me, are coming to Goa to “find yourself”, or you just want a holiday in one of India’s most popular areas, Agonda is the perfect place for you.
Use the booking.com widget below to browse accommodation – I recommend Om Sai Beach Huts.
Thanks for reading and happy travels!
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