Difference between revisions of "Agonda"
Revision as of 09:13, 20 May 2013
Agonda is a great spot for sunbathing, relaxing and swimming, with still relatively few tourists. Agonda is a nice long pristine stretch of beach. Though the waters here might not be the most ideal place for swimming (you have better beaches with calm waters in Goa), Agonda is definitely a place for those who want to quit on a Monday morning. Most mobile connections do not work here (of those having SIM cards easily available to foreigners, only Vodafone does), so that is an added bonus for those looking forward to a quiet and relaxed holiday. Or, if you do need to party sometimes, Palolem is just 15 minutes by motorbike (10 km) away - but Agonda is generally cheaper, quieter, hassle-free and has much less "touristic" feel.
Agonda Beach basically has one long road parallel to the beach line, most rooms and bungalows for rent are located either between them or on the opposite side of the road. In the center of the beach, there is Agonda Church and even a local school/college (funny enough called Agonda University) to the right of it. Many local children go from/to there in the morning. Another road goes up from the church, crosses the river shortly after and goes through the village to the junction with a main road from Chaudi and Palolem, which are both to the right. To the left, this bigger road crosses the village until the beach road joins it near the river mouth and northern end of the beach, then continues on in the direction of Cabo da Rama.
Dabolim airport is about a 90-minutes drive away.
Agonda by road is 15 minutes from the more famous, busy Palolem beach.
Agonda is only a few kilometres from Canacona station, although main train services stop at Margao station, about an hour’s drive away.
Regular buses depart from the Canacona bus station for Agonda (about 20 minutes). Buses from Chaudi and Margao are available few times a day. From Canacona railway, it's about 1km to the Canacona bus stand, where you can get a bus the 9km to Agonda. The bus stand is a large building with a white, curved roof. It is visible from the balcony of the Canacona railway station. To get there, walk up the road away from the train station until you reach the main rd. Turn right (there will be a railway bridge to your left), and walk for 300m, the building will be on your left. Buses start at 7:35am and run about every hour until 6pm-ish. As with any Indian bus stand, you'll have to ask the people around, although the buses heading in that direction do usually stop near the sign at the bus station that says Agonda. Agonda buses leave to go back every 30 mins from the other side of the road to where you get dropped off. The last bus Agonda to Canacona leaves Agonda at 6:30pm. If you miss it, the locals can be persuaded to give you a motorbike ride back to the station for about Rs100.
The bus will drop you off at the northern end of the beach, on a junction near the church. There are a few more buses on the main road, but this means 10-15 minutes walk from the beach center. The price to Chaudi is Rs.7 or 8. To Canacona, about Rs25.
Taxis and auto rickshaws can be taken as a more comfortable and quicker alternative to the public bus. Ask any rickshaw driver or taxi driver and they will take you there from Palolem, Patnem or Chaudi.
One or two tuk-tuks usually stands near the church during the daytime. As always in India, bargain (the normal price to Chaudi or Palolem should be around Rs.50, but many tourists end up paying Rs.100 and more).
Motorbikes and scooters are offered for rent, both by house owners and by tuk-tuk/motorbike guys near the church. A nearly-new Honda Activa or similar should cost Rs.150-200 (200 is an usual starting price, but during the peak period bargaining could be difficult), less if rented for more than a week or two.
Agonda's beach is very simple and natural. There are some sunbeds but when the tourist police or Canacona local government officials appear, any beach shades, sunbeds, chairs etc which are outside the confines of the shacks disappear pronto and the beach looks even more gorgeous and makes you realise why you went there and not to some built up resort.
Agonda beach is famous as a Ridley turtle nesting site. These animals are endangered. Please keep the noise level and the lights down at night at the beach to give them a chance to nest. The Panchayat ( village administration) is very invested in not allowing Agonda to become another overcrowded Palolem. Anything you can do to minimize waste, safe water or electricity will be much appreciated since the village is struggling to avoid environmental degradation and preserve it's beauty for the next generation. It is very quiet place, not suitable for the party crowd.
A typical sun and sand holiday.
There are stores stocking basic supplies in Agonda, as well as internet, phone and currency conversion services. HDFC Bank ATM is located near the church.More shops, a Saturday market and several ATMs are a 20-minute drive away in the local town, Chaudi.
There are no renowned eateries like the big beaches but you can order for most international cuisines. Not all places where you stay will have a restaurant. Nevertheless there are enough to survive upon. Dersey's on the southern end of Agonda beach is one of the restaurants open even during the low season, serving both Indian and local food. There's another (probably year-round) restaurant on the beach road closer to the northern end, but it seems to be overpriced with rates compared or even more than those on Palolem beach. During the high season, more places are opened, but still not too many.
If you do not afraid local food (and there's nothing dangerous in it, actually) and/or want to save money, Niki bar on the road to Chaudi (just where the road to Agonda Beach branches from it to the right) serves good fish thalis for a reasonable Rs.30 in what seems to be a local eatery and an afternoon (as he closes his place around 5 PM) drinking point for a few locals. Foreigners are seen there surprisingly often for such a "local" place.
Some local shops also do have a few tables and prepare basic food (omelettes, fish & veg thalis, tea, juice, etc.) during the high season, but their price tag is usually more "touristic" (less than in restaurants, however, that is Rs.50-60 for a thali). One of them can be found just 50 m right from the church, at the end of the first building with small shops on the left side.
Agonda is a relatively quiet village, and there are much fewer opportunities for a fun evening out there than in Palolem. But, as it is Goa, buying drinks is not a problem, at least before 9-10 PM. Restaurants offer beer at least; also, there is a wine shop around 100-150 m to the right from Agonda church and another one in Dersey's. Just opposite the church on the street leading away from the sea, there is a tiny and cheap local bar (small beer Rs.30 / big 60, they have Old Monk, etc. also) which is open till the evening. Don't expect many people there, however; you can easily be the only customer even in the evening.
Only basic accommodation options are available for stay in Agonda. Outside the main season which is from November to February, you have to arrange for a stay in a Goan family house. Off-season prices there, however, can be really low - for example, in October (when, while it's still humid a bit, most days are sunny) you can rent a room in a nice Portuguese-style villa from around Rs.250 (peak high-season prices for the same could be around Rs.600, or less in the wooden bungalows mostly built between the main street and the beach). While locals are mostly genuinely friendly and there's much less hassle from them than, say, in Palolem, some of them won't think twice before asking three or more times the normal price, especially if they see the person isn't used to the local prices. So, if you're asked much more than expected, bargain or better try another place.
Advance booking, however, is neither really needed (maybe except for a few peak days around New Year) nor saves any money (in fact, often you pay more).
Agonda is a fairly safe place. While you should retain your common sense, lock the door and windows when going out, and not to leave your valuables unattended, chances to have any problems in Agonda are very slim. Even sellers offering useless "souvenirs" on the beach are much less annoying and less frequent here than in Palolem or northern beaches.
Local bus station is in Chaudi. It is useful mainly for going to the south (Karwar, Ankola, Gokarna, Mangalore), east (Hampi via Ankola), or some more remote locations like Bangalore. If you plan to visit North Goa or going somewhere further north - you should go straight to Margao, as from Chaudi it will be your first major stop anyway.
Train station in Chaudi (Canacona) has only a few trains a day stopping on it. Much more trains are leaving or stopping on Margao (Madgaon) station. Check IRCTC web site for details and online ticket bookings.
The nearest (international) airport is at Dabolim, 65 km away. To get there by bus, you'll need to first to Margao, then to Vasco Da Gama or to the airport directly. There is possibly direct bus from Karwar to Vasco/airport also, which stops at Canacona - check in advance whether it's available.
Taxis are advertised in Agonda by some establishments (shops, etc.) on the beach road - mostly for longer trips such as to airport or Margao. Prepaid taxi from Margao (45 km), as of October 2009, costs Rs.600, probably 800 or 900 from the airport (65 km) - so you should negotiate at least comparable, or cheaper price.