From Panjim, North Goa
Nearby Attraction: Baga Beach
Best Time To Visit: December To February A Topping On
mere 45 minute bus ride up the coast from the capital,
Calangute is Goa's busiest and most commercialized resort, and
the flagship of the state government's bid for a bigger slice
of India's package-tourist pie. In the 1970s and early 1980s,
this once peaceful fishing Village epitomized Goa's reputation
as a haven for hedonistic hippies.
The Town And The Beach
The road from the town to the
beach is lined with Kashmiri-run handicraft boutiques and
Tibetan stalls selling Himalayan curios and jewellery. The
quality of the goods - mainly Rajasthani, Gujarati and
Karnatakan textiles - is generally high. Haggle hard and don't
be afraid to walk away from a heavy sales pitch - the same
stuff crops up every Wednesday at Anjuna's flea market.
The beach itself is nothing
special, with steeply shelving sand, but is more than large
enough to accommodate the huge numbers of high-season
To escape the hawkers, head
fifteen minutes or so south of the main beachfront area,
towards the rows of olf wooden boats moored below the dunes.
In this virtually hawker-free zone, one'll only come across
teams of villagers hauling in hand nets at high tide or
fishermen fixing their tack under bamboo sun shakes.
HOW TO GET THERE
Road: Buses from Mapusa and
Panjim pull in at the small bus stand cum Market Square in the
centre of Calangute. Some continue to Baga, stopping at the
crossroads behind the beach en route. Get off here if one can,
as it's closer to most of the hotels.
PLACES TO STAY
Calangute is chock-full of
places to stay. Demand only outstrips supply in the Christmas
- New Year high season, and at Diwali. Most of the inexpensive
accommodation consists of small rooms in family homes, or in
concrete annexes tacked onto the backs of houses. The top
hotels are nearly all gleaming white, exclusive villa
complexes with pools, and direct beach access.
Calangute's bars and
restaurants are mainly grouped around the entrance to the
beach and along the Baga road. As with most Goan resorts, the
accent is firmly on seafood, though many places tack on a few
token vegetarian dishes. Western breakfasts also feature
NIGHTLIFE IN CALANGUTE BEACH
Thanks to repeated crackdowns
by the Goan police on parties and loud music, Calangute's
nightlife is surprisingly tame. All but a handful of the bars
wind up by 10.00 pm. One notable exception is Tito's at the
Baga end of the beach, which stays open until 11.00 pm
off-season and into the small hours in late December and
Unfortunately, the only other
places that consistently stay open through the night are a
couple of dull hippy hang-outs in the woods to the south of
the beach road; Pete's Bar, a perennial favourite next door to
Angela P. Fernandes, is generally the most lively, offering
affordable drinks, backgammon sets and relentless reggae.
Further afield, Bob's Inn, between Calangute and Candolim, is
another popular bar, famed less for its court around a large
table in the front bar.