Arambol is a large, strung out village by the seashore, approached by a road which winds across the plateau and down through cashew trees. The main beach is a stunning stretch of curving sand still relatively unspoilt. A sign at the cross roads in the middle of the village near the bus stop points down the beach, and the road passes a school and village houses shelteringunder coconut palms.
The villagers are very friendly, and the place less touristy than many which allows you to see local llife ar close quarters, and even though there are hawkers, the usual refrain is the harmless “want to buy drum?”. The relaxed atmosphere and the relative peace is attracting growing numbers of day trippers including motor-cyclists from Anjuna.
To the north you can walk for miles with starfish being washed up by your feet. A well-made track runs round the headland past a series of tiny bays to the second beach, still more secluded and little used. Unlike the headlands around Anjuna, the rocks which run into the sea here are basaltm the hexagonal columns tilted almost horizontal but eroded into jagged shapes clearly visible for miles along the coast. There are sulphur pits and a freshwater lake which some visitors use for swimming.
Calangute is the busiest small beachside town with small hotels and guesthouses. It has a good beach-no rocks and good swimming but at weekends it can get uncomfortably crowded with daytrippers.There is little of interest in the town but for a fish market and a hexagonal ‘Barbeiria’ near the bus stand at the ‘T’ junction. Immediately north, the narrower Baga beach is lined with fishing boats, nets and village huts.
A shallow estuary and little headland separate it from Anjuna. The main Baga road has several streets off it giving access to the sea. Village houses take it guests but it is a 500 meters walk across hot dunes to the beach.
Colva is one of the most popular beaches in southern Goa though not as developed or busy as Calangute in the north.
The beach has beautiful sand, coconut palms gently swaying in the breeze and blue waters (which can sometimes be rough and grey-green). However, beach sellers and stray dogs can be nuisance.
Teams of fisherman operate all along the coast, from here down to Benaulim to the south, with their pitch-boarded boats drawn up on the beach, while motorized crafts are anchored offshore. They provide added interest and colour and it is worth waking early to watch them haul in their nets.
Colva village is rather scruffy. The large Church of Our Lady of the Miracles (1581) houses an image of Jesus alleged to have been discovered on the African coast; Fama of Menino Jesus is celebrated in mid-october with a colouful procession and a fair. Near the church, specially blessed lengths of string are sold, as well as replicas of limbs which are offered to be image in thanks for cures effected.
The beach Miramar is very ‘Urban’ in character, the water is polluted and the beach is not particularly attractive, so it is not the ideal place for a beach holiday. Most of the hotels are on, or just off, the D Bandodkar Marg, the road to Dona Paula along the coast.
South of Agonda, the beautiful curve of palm-fringed golden sand, is one of the best beaches. The search for the remaining unspoilt idyll brought travelers to Palolem a few years ago but it is no longer a deserted bay.
40 kms from Margao via Cuncolim, Palolem is two kilometers off the National Highway. The fairly narrow strip of beach has rather strange rocky outcrops at each end which are locally referred to as ‘Pandava’s drums’ and ‘ootprints’. An added attraction here is the freshwater stream to the north, as well as the small Canacona Island which can be reached by a short swim or by wading across at low tide.
At the north end of Anjuna village Vagator is an attractive little hamlet with its small bays between rocky headlands shaded by palms. It is quiet and laid back, though it can sometimes get crowded with day trippers. The beach is particularly pleasant in the early morning, but the sea is not always safe for swimming.Chapora Fort commands the hilltop at the north end of the bay, only a short but steep walk away, immediately above sterling Resorts.
Now in ruins, the fort on the south bank of the Chapora River dominates the estuary.
It was originally built by Adil Shah. Aurangzeb’s son Akbar, plotted his moves against his father in a pact with the Mughal’s greatest enemies, the Marathas. The Portuguese built it in its present form in 1717 as a secure refuge for the people of Bardez in face of Maratha attacks as well as a defence of the river mouth. Despite the fact that none of the original buildings have survived the fort remains superbly atmospheric and is well worth a visit.
Anjuna is still Goa’s most popular beaches. All night beach ‘parties’ continue to attract crowds and the constant thump of rave/dance music pervades all the way to Vagator. Even during the day there is a constant roar of motor bikes and scooters along the roads. Then there is the Wednesday flea market.