Especially since the last years the interest for Goa from the west has increased a lot. Goa is famous for it’s Portuguese style houses, nice beaches and of course the trance parties. Goa is very different than other Indian places. If you like to see more traditional and real culture of India, don’t go to Goa. The only things similar are the cows living a free life and the food in Indian restaurants.
However if you like to have a good time and nice weather, this is the right place for you. As far as we have seen, people from all over the world come here to enjoy the sun and music, with most of them being from Europe. Especially backpackers who travel in India, make sure to visit Goa.
The best thing you can do during day time is, rent a scooter and hop between the different beaches. The distances are not very far and perfect to explore with a scooter (note that it’s too far for walking).
In this post we want to give an overview from a few nice North Goa beaches we selected for you with details about the things you can do or events that take place. Next to this we share some useful tips and estimated costs you will be making when you go to Goa.
One of the best things in Anjuna beach is the Anjuna Flea Market on every Wednesday. It’s a place where a lot of people come together to enjoy some drinks, food and buy some souvenirs. There is even live music inside the market. The place is very relaxed and you can find a lot of hippies wandering around. If you love a little shopping, you can find a lot of stuff here. You can buy clothes, music instruments, Indian prints, hammocks, shoes, tea and what not.
Anjuna has a nice beach and a lot of rave parties take place. If you like to party, this is one of the nice party beaches of Goa. Sometimes you don’t even need to go very far, there are a lot of party hostels which have an own bar.
Overall Anjuna looks very cozy with it’s restaurants and bars at night. It’s a lovely place to spend a few days.
Vagator has actually 2 beaches which are divided by cliffs in the middle. The cliffs give a dramatic view. Especially with sunset, you will find a lot of people sitting and enjoying the view. When you walk towards the beaches, the one on the right is more quiet. There are no accommodations or cafes, however there is a fort (Chapora) up in a hill nearby. It takes about 15 minutes to get there. This beach is very nice, we liked it a lot and practiced yoga in the mornings.
The beach on the left side of the cliffs is nice as well. This one is more crowded. There are a lot of bars and restaurant at the beach where you can enjoy a nice beer. The beach is long and has fine sand but you can find big rocks here and there.
Vagator is also known for it’s amazing parties. You can enjoy Goa trance till the morning if you are up for it. There are festivals with a price round 900 – 1,000 INR (13.95 – 15.50 USD). A lot of backpackers enjoy this side of Goa.
From the Morjim beach you can also see the Chapora fort (on the other side of the river). Morjim is a peaceful, quiet beach. There are not much cafes. Only 1 or 2 where you can get some food and drinks. If you like to take things easy and slow, this is the beach for you.
Morjim is famous for the nestling of sea turtles. The nesting season is September and the beach is closed during this period to make sure the turtles don’t get disturbed.
At the north of Morjim lies Ashvem beach. This is a very long one, you could actually walk to the other beaches. In general Ashvem is also nice and quiet, but has more facilities. There are many shacks with nice food and drinks. If you pay attention you might find sea stars at the beach near the water. Ashwem beach is truly beautiful and was one of our favorites.
If you’re looking for a little more action, then Arambol would be better for you. It’s one of the most famous of the northern beaches of Goa. The sand is more white of color and soft. There is more happening at this beach, as there are more places to hang around. Also right next to the beach there are a lot of small shops where you can purchase souvenirs, clothes and more. The place has a cozy atmosphere. Arambol can get crowded though. Especially during the weekends there are also local tourists.
How to get to the different beaches in Goa?
If you go to Goa from other cities, you have 2 options. You can go either by bus or by train. We prefer traveling by train in India, as it is much more comfortable and most of the time faster.
Goa has 3 main train stations: Vasco da Gama, Madgaon and Thivim. The first thing you should do is check which station is the closest to your beach. For the northern beaches you should prefer Thivim.
We took the train from Chennai to Goa. This train – Vasco da Game express -, stops only at Madgaon with Vasco da Gama as it’s final destination. We first wanted to go to Vagator beach. Once we got of the train in Madgaon, we took another one from Madgaon to Thivim. From Thivim we took the bus to Mapusa. Mapusa has a big bus station and connects a lot of lines. From Mapusa we took another bus to Vagator beach. The road may seem long but from Thivim to Vagator it’s less then 20km.
You can also take 3 busses from Vasco da Gamma or Madgaon instead (if you don’t like to take another train). Then you would most likely have to take an additional bus to Panjim (then again from Panjim to Mapusa).
If you won’t use the trains at all but arrive in Goa by bus, then most likely your bus will stop at the Mapusa bus station. From here you can take your additional bus to your final destination.
How much money will you spend in Goa?
Life in Goa is a little more expensive then the other cities of India. This is because there are a lot of western people, especially at the beaches. We want to place a side note; We have seen that a big hotel chain has recently opened in Goa, this could be a trend. At this moment Goa is a real backpack destination, but if there will come more big hotel chains, we predict that the prices could go up from now on.
So far the average prices we have seen are as stated below:
Rent a scooter: 300 INR (4.65 USD) daily
Gas (for scooter): 1lt is 64 INR (3.91 USD)
Meals: Average of 200 INR (3.10 USD)
Water: 1lt is 20 INR (0.31 USD)
Beer: 0.5lt is 55 INR (0.85 USD)
Rum (Old Monk): 45 INR (0.70 USD)
Hostels (bunk bed 1 pers): around 322 INR (5 USD) per night
Busprices: From Mapusa to Vagator (or any North beaches) 20 INR (0.31 USD), Thivim to Mapusa 15 INR (0.23 USD)