Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Roadtrip to pristine South Goa beaches || Palolem, Agonda, Cabo de Rama travelogue

Impromptu plans, turn out to be the best! As I sit to write this, it’s already a month gone by from the day we went on this incredible road trip down south. Though Goa is considered a ‘city’ and a very small place, it surely isn’t. When you’re diving, it’s pure driving for hours if you go from the North to the South. Roads, mostly, are good. Though the village roads are narrow and winding, the highways are crowded – you need to decide which one’s you enjoy more!

I had been wanting to spend a long weekend on the beaches down South and it never really worked out. So when my friend was in Goa and suggested a roadtrip down South, I willingly joined in. It was not totally a planned trip, but we had some places like Palolem, Agonda and Cabo de Rama on our itinerary.

South Goa roadtrippin'

So on this particular Thursday morning, the four of us bundled up in a cute little yellow car – Nano (no, I ain’t promoting the brand, if that’s what you are thinking) with Ronaldo on the wheel. As we started from Panjim (or Panaji) it was well past 8.30 am. Our plan was to have breakfast at Margao, but we drove until Navelim until we eventually stopped for breakfast.

My friends (the Mumbai guys) were looking forward to explore the ‘real’ Goa. And Ronaldo and I hoped we could try to get them try as much local food as possible. So the plan was to stop at a local breakfast joint – like a bhaji-pav ‘hotel’ and have chai. But we couldn’t find one while in Navelim, so decided to stop by a bakery (sorry, forgot the name) that served some Goan looking stuff.

We actually stuffed ourselves to a scrumptious breakfast comprising of beef samosas, prawn patties, chicken pan roll, prawn rissois and beef croquettes. Once done, we headed to this little Udupi restaurant for coffee and sheera (because Siddharth was dying to have some and wanted his friend to try it too). And then we began our drive further south on the well-maintained winding roads surrounded by lush forests.

Palolem Beach

Our first stop for the day was Palolem beach – the once secluded beach is become one of Goa’s most sought after beach now, especially among tourists. Lined with fishing boats, it’s slightly crowded – has a bunch of huts and shacks and tonnes of water sports activities going on. There are water sports operators urging you to attempt something or at least hop on the boat for a ride to bat island.

We walked until the far end of the beach. The crowd got lesser as we walked along the shore and it got so much better after a ten minutes’ walk! I am sure we’d love to stay at one of the beach huts (who doesn’t love staying on the beach, in such pretty cottages?), but that had to wait until next time, because this was supposed to be a one day trip!

Agonda Beach

We headed towards our next destination РAgonda beach. A lesser crowded version of Arambol Рthis is the hippie paradise in the South. Beautiful cottages, little resorts and shacks dotted both sides of the road as you neared the beach. The beach market has everything clich̩ sold at every other beach market in Goa Рright from leather goods and beach clothes to musical instruments and tea.

As you step on to this beach – it’s more scenic and untouched. The coastline however, is way larger. Hence you don’t really get a clear view of where the shoreline begins and ends. But the horizon is not cluttered one tad bit. There huts here are more quaint and feature little balconies and hammocks for a leisurely beach vacations. It’s definitely a pleasure to sit and watch the waves hit the rocks!

As we got back on to the road, it was nearing afternoon and we were starving already! But we still decided to head towards our next destination – Cabo de Rama Fort. I believed it’s pretty close, but it was a long drive from Agonda. We had a little adventure trying to drive past a narrow bridge which was only meant for two wheelers to pass by.

Cabo de Rama Fort

As we neared the fort, the place got more secluded with very few houses in sight. And finally we decided to stop by for lunch at a little place called Anshoy Bar & Restaurant right in the middle of nowhere. It was just a little tavern right outside a house run by a villager. The menu featured a Goan thali, some random items and seafood (which depended on the catch of the day).

We settled in for a fish thali and a fried lepo (sole fish). The crispy fish was fried right there by the uncle who doubled up as the chef and waiter himself. He took a while to get us our food, but it was fun just waiting for it to arrive right in the middle of nowhere.

The rest of the journey was pretty chill. We headed towards the fort and basked in the pretty pretty environs. It was pretty much secluded (we were the only people there). We took a walk around the fort and headed towards the viewpoint wherein you could spot the virgin Cabo de Rama beach at a distance. After spending the rest of the afternoon there, we made our way towards the beach.

Cabo de Rama Beach

This beach – unlike the rest, is way smaller and connect to the backwaters. So it’s pretty heavenly here. We spent the whole of the late afternoon there – while the guys got into the water, I just chilled by the backwaters. This doesn’t seem like a place where many people would usually come, but on this particular day, there was a bunch of college kids. But they minded their own business and it was pretty much alright!

This beach has no beach shacks or accommodation whatsoever. When we walked back up (there’s a little hike which I forgot to mention earlier), we were dehydrated and spotted this little hut. Everything he has was water, fresh juice and some eatables, which was a relief.

Majorda Beach

We then began our drive back and got into the city before sunset. We then stopped by at Majorda beach to watch the sunset. After having spent the day at the beautiful beaches down south, this was kind of redundant, but we still had a lovely time. We ended our roadtrip by eating some amazing Goan street food at a street food cart in Santa Cruz.

Since I tried and loved this roadtrip, I would definitely recommend this itinerary to someone looking to explore South Goa in a day. There’s a lot to South, but since most of the people prefer spending their days in the north, heading down South once is definitely a great option (for tourists). If you’re a local, Palolem or Agonda are definitely ideal for a weekend getaway.

Related post: My Gokarna Travelogue

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