Candolim beautiful section of beach in the continuum of Calangute has been largely overrun by tourist shops, restaurants and hotels. Nice area to stay for people interested in shopping and dining close to beach front accommodation. A bit too expensive for the backpacker crowd though.
Apart from sunbathing, shopping for trinkets and eating there is not much else to do in Candolim, which makes for a relaxing holiday.
Candolim beach is another relatively busy soft sandy beach that due to erosion can be narrow in some places. Hawkers selling mostly cheap clothes and along with masseurs offering massages makes the beach a lively spot. A polite but firm no always works ~ though these people can be very interesting to talk to. There are a variety of beach shacks providing plenty of food and cold drink choices along with rickety sun beds and the odd rustic "loo". Towards the Sinquerim end of the beach you can get most forms of water sport activities including para sailing and "See the dolphin boat trips". This is a tour operator tourism place, though it gets very busy with locals at weekends and holidays.
The bulk ore carrier River Princess ended up being grounded some 100 meters from the beach during the 2001 monsoon. Despite numerous pledges by both local and central government, she still lays rusting. Various attempts have been made to salvage or re-float the ship. As of March 2009 the boat is still there. Over the years it has managed to accelerate coastal erosion which has resulted in the changed shape of the shoreline and makes swimming nearby very dangerous due to the strong undercurrents that are caused by the presence of the ship. Promising efforts to remove her started in 2005/2006 but due to the severe rusting the work stopped as the 2007 monsoon arrived. Recently a number of protests by locals and tourists has led to a High Court action calling for the River Princess to be declared a State Disaster.
Lots of places offering tours. I recommend avoiding most of them especially ‘Johns Tours’. I went on the ‘Snorkelling and Monkey Beach’ tour. Snorkelling lasted all of 10 minutes until we were hauled back on the boat for a choppy ride over to ‘Monkey Beach’. This consisted of a cramped cove covered in rubbish! Again, just when I was getting used to the idea of being stranded here for a while (and spotting some monkeys), hauled off to the boat again (after an average meal on the beach). No monkeys on ‘monkey beach’, just poor India kids begging for food. Boat ride back to candolim was scary. Sea was really choppy; everyone felt sick and looked worried. The guys running the tour had to bail out the boat a few times. When we neared Aguada, guys stopped the boat and showed us the local prison and made us wave to the murderers and rapists, this was pretty much the high point of the tour, although my partner didn’t think much of it.
Anyway, once on dry land, had time to reflect on the worst day of my holiday! The guys running the tour were rude, the whole thing just felt like a con. Sad thing is, I went on one of John’s tours back in 2001 and it was great. Things have gone down-hill; actually Candolim has gone down-hill. The beach is still great, but much nicer places to visit. Try Morjim, Madrem. Hire a bike, get out of Candolim and see some other beaches.
Hands down, the best restaurant in Candolim is After 7. Great selection of food and wine (although mainly European) served in a beautiful garden. Great service, very romantic. The chap that owns the place ‘Leo’, super friendly, and very passionate about his restaurant. Opp Pedro Martina Resort, 1/274b, Gaura Vaddo.
Just opened, sister restaurant to After 7, also run by Leo called Posh. Do a great American style brunch. Eggs Benedict, 10/10, best cup of coffee I had in India. Can’t comment on the dinner menu, but it looked great. Opp Nerul Panchayat.
You should try this lovely restaurant called BOM SUCESSO in Candolim. A multicusine the food is great.You should try their Seafood and meat platters and their Tiger Prawns. Good entertainment- live music, karaoke, magic show, big screen etc.With a sound proof music room now the music goes on even after 10 pm.
For good North Indian food and succulent kebabs in pleasant surroundings try Floyd's on the main road just south of the junction to Mapusa. It's a small place with a warm and friendly atmosphere and is very popular.
Coconut Inn, a bit further south and just off the main road (signposted from the junction) is housed in the garden of an old Goan house and serves good food in a relaxing environment at very reasonable prices. Service is friendly and attentive and there is live Portuguese / Goan music on Tuesday evenings.
For excellent food and service (but for some reason to an American rock soundtrack) walk a bit farther south on the main road towards Sinquerim to Flambee. The food is fabulous and the whole tandoori kingfish (huge, so only for groups) is a delicious work of art. The restaurant is open all year round, unlike most in Candolim, which close during the monsoon.
Stone House, again on the main road, has been going for so long that it is now a Candolim institution. It's a multi-cuisine restaurant - steaks are the house speciality - with good blues music and excellent cocktails.
Further south in Sinquerim proper is Allspice, a large and attractive garden restaurant near the Taj Holiday Village. Considering its location the prices are very reasonable and there is live entertainment most nights. They also have regular buffet evenings and are open all year round. It is popular with both tourists and middle class locals.
Sea Pearl Guesthouse, is a family run guesthouse on the quiet part of the Candolim Beach, Sea Pearl
Goanstay, Luxuriously appointed 2 bedroom apartment in the heart of Candolim. Beautifully landscaped gardens,3 swimming pools and close to the beach, restaurant, shops, etc. www.goanstay.com
For a great night out try Bom Sucesso in Candolim.