Continued from my previous blog “Places to Visit in Goa – Day 1“
Hope you had a great start to your Trip. Day 1 was an action packed day with you visiting some of the well known tourist attractions in North Goa. For all those who partied hard last night and returned in the wee hours of the morning, fret not, Day 2 is not as hectic as Day 1 🙂
For today’s itinerary you can choose one of the following options:
- PLAN A: Day-2 Itinerary for those who want to explore: Visit to – Vagator beach, Anjuna Beach, Chapora Fort and sunset at Arambol beach and drive back to your resort
- PLAN B: Day-2 Itinerary for those who want to keep it relaxed: Visit to – Vagator beach, Anjuna Beach, Sunset at Chapora fort and drive back to your resort
The plan is to start the day by around 10AM after having your buffet breakfast at your resort. You will visit Anjuna beach first, then move to Vagator beach, Chapora Fort and end the day at Arambol beach amidst the sunset drummers and soak up the festive atmosphere.
Anjuna beach is around 13 Kilometres from Vivanta by Taj – fort Aguada (I have assumed that you will be camping at this resort) and will take around 45 minutes to drive. The drive will take you through Calangute and you should be reaching Anjuna beach by around 11AM.
Anjuna is amongst the most famous beaches in India. This beach is known for its Hippie culture – few things that have not changed over the period of time. It is also famous for its flea markets (on Wednesdays) – one of the major shopping hangouts by the beach. The beach is also relatively calmer here as compared to the other beaches, and swimming here is generally safe. Anjuna has become the destination for rave parties and this place lightens up during the festive season – Christmas and New year.
Anjuna’s beaches are bordered by shallow red laterite cliffs and the surrounding hills are covered with coconut trees, adding a dash of greenery to the landscape. Anjuna thus offers a perfect setting for many a hopping beach parties and also provides a laid back atmosphere with an array of restaurants offering global cuisines. The beach is pretty clean (very dark in colour though) mainly due to the tough trail that one has to walk through to reach the beach.
You can spend about an hour or more (if you are visiting on Wednesday you can spend some time exploring the flea market) here in Anjuna and then head for Vagator which is around 5 Kilometres from here- a 15 mins drive from Anjuna.
Vagator beach used to one of the few beaches which was not commercialized to that extent. I still remember during my first visit to Goa (way back in 2003), this places used to be very different from what it is now. Those days, you would hardly find anyone take the pain of getting down from the red cliffs and venturing into this rocky, yet beautiful beach. This beach was reserved for those who went that extra mile to explore the beauty of the Goan beaches.
Roll to 2015 and the scenario is very different. Vagator beach is one of the hub of tourist activities these days. It has become so crowded that you will have to pay and park your car :). But there is something captivating about this beach that brings me back every year – the unmatched view of the majestic Arabian sea from the cliffs .
The beach is split into 2 beaches – the one that is easily accessible is the smaller one. You will have to hike and cross few rocky boulders to reach the other side of the beach which is the bigger of the two. Most of the tourists do not take the pain to reach the bigger beach at the other side – I guess it is best left for the souls who still retain that wild spirit to explore.
There are loads of eating joints here and you can spend around 1-2 hours at Vagator – an hour if you want to explore the smaller beach and the shops around and couple of hours (or more) if you manage to cross to the bigger beach. There is a small market on the cliff where you can find stalls selling trinkets, clothes, soft drinks and snacks – not a bad idea to refresh yourself.
By now it should be around 2PM and I am sure you will be craving for some good food. Thankfully, Vagator has some great eating joints and where better than having lunch at “Thalassa”.
Thalassa undoubtedly, has to be one of the best places to dine in North Goa. The place is a perfect blend of great food and ambiance. Thalassa is open every day through the season for Lunch, Sunset Cocktails and Dinner and serves authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is perched on top of the cliff overlooking the Arabian sea in small Vagator. This open air restaurant offers breath taking sunset view and a fabulous evening ambiance. The menu offers Greek appetizers, various kebabs and the Classic Greek Salad. You can always opt for the day’s Special – which usually are their signature dishes. The Grill serves very delicious meats which have been stuffed with Greek spices and herbs. The Main Course features Greek favourites such as Souvlaki Wraps, Chicked platter, and various Fish and Vegetarian entrées.
It is totally up to you to decide how much time you would like to spend here in Thalassa. You can easily spend around 2 hours here overlooking the view enjoying your lunch – trust me time just flies by. Try to have your lunch at Thalassa by around 3PM and head towards Chapora fort which is hardly a 10 minutes drive – For those who are planning to skip Arambol beach and wind the day with a visit to Chapora fort, can take the luxury of spending an additional hour at Thalassa.
The Chapora fort was built by the Portuguese in the year 1617 and was intended to be the border watch post at the North. This fort has withstood many raids by the Bahamani kings from the north and Marathas from the east. In 1684, the fort was conquered by Sambhaji – Son of Chatrapathi Shivaji. Due to local resistance, the Maratha’s withdrew from this fort by 1717. The Portuguese took over the fort again and rebuilt it – they equipped the fort with underground tunnels which provided them escape routes during emergency. The fort was captured again by the Marathas in the year 1739, only to be captured by the Portuguese in the year 1741. The Portuguese held this fort for another 150 years before abandoning it in the year 1892.
Today, the fort lies in ruins and has been reduced into an open space with tumbles of stones and as a place where cattle graze. Though there is not much to see in the fort, the fort provides a great view of the adjoining Vagator and Anjuna beach. If you decide to stay back and enjoy the sunset here, I will suggest you to hike through the fort and walk to the edge of the fort. It will take a good 15-20 minutes hike for you to reach the Sunset point – but trust me it is worth it.
You will take couple of hours to visit the Chapora fort and if you planning to visit Arambol beach, you should plan to leave the Chapora fort by 4:45 PM. Arambol beach is a good 20 Kilometres drive from here and it will take roughly around 45 mins to 1 hour to reach. Arambol beach is well known for the beautiful sunsets and the sunset drummers. You should try to reach Arambol beach by around 5:30PM so that you do not miss the carnival atmosphere.
Arambol beach is the most northerly beaches in Goa that is developed and attracts lots of international budget travellers who come to Goa to camp for a long period. There are many shacks which provide budget accommodations on extended periods in their simple huts along the cliffsides. The beach is pretty safe for swimming as the waves are relatively calmer here. Arambol beach provides some breathtaking sunset views and the atmosphere becomes festive when the sunset drummers start playing their drums – add to that, the loud music (usually Gypsie fusion) that the shacks play. A short walk towards the north of the beach will bring you to the little Kalacha beach. This beach is well know for the “fresh water lake” which is close to the sea. Note: few people will suggest you to take a walk to the banyan tree which was close by. The tree and location of the place is good, but during peak season we found this place littered with paper, clothes etc. You can avoid this place if you are visiting Arambol during peak season.
You can enjoy the sunset view from on the shacks and order for few drink and snacks and laze for couple of hours after a tiring day. Plan to leave Arambol by around 7:30 PM as it will take more than an hour (around 30 kilometres) to reach your resort.
Day 2 was all about going back in time and reliving the hippie culture of Goa. In Goa, the hippie culture is frozen in time – with many hippies who moved here in the 70’s living in much the same lifestyle as they did some 40 years ago. The visit to Anjuna, Vagator and Arambol – widely regarded as the soul of the hippie culture in Goa, would have left an everlasting impression on you.
Like my Facebook page for regular updates on travel experiences