A 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
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 visitors.
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.
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.
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
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 January.
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.