Location : Near Mapusa Road, North Goa
Nearby Attraction : Anjuna Beach, Chapora Fort
Best Time To Visit : September To March
Barely a couple of kilometres of cliff tops and parched grassland separate Anjuna from the southern fringes of its nearest neighbour, Vagator. A desultory collection of ramshackle farmhouses and picturesque old Portuguese bungalows scattered around a network of leafy lanes, the village is entered at the east via a branch off the Mapusa Road, which passes a few small guesthouses and restaurants before running down to the sea.
Dominated by the red ramparts of Chapora Fort, Vagator’s broad white sandy beach – Big Vagator Beach also known, as “Little Vagator” is undeniably beautiful, just like a picture postcard.
For better, then, to head to the next cove south. Backed by a steep wall of crumbling palm-fringed laterite, Ozran Vagator beach is more secluded and much less accessible than either of its neighbours. To get there, walk ten minutes from Big Vagator, or drive to the end of the lane off the main Chapora-Anjuna Road, from where a footpath drops sharply down to a wide stretch of level white sand.
At this southern end of the beach, a row of makeshift cafes provides shade and sustenance for a predominantly Israeli crowd. Like Anjuna, Vagator is a relaxed, comparatively undeveloped resort that appeals, in the main, to budget travellers with time on their hands. Accommodation is limited, however, and visitors frequently find themselves travelling to and from Baga every day to find a suitable place to stay.
EATING OUT AND NIGHTLIFE
Vagator’s many cafes and restaurants are scattered along the main road and the back lanes that lead to Ozran Beach. There are also several seafood joints behind Big Vagator Beach, one or two of which serve Indian dishes in addition to the usual fish rich Goan specialties. Nightlife focuses on the Primrose café, out towards Anjuna, which boasts a beefier than average sound system, and a later bar.
HOW TO REACH THERE
Road: Buses leave Panaji (a 55- minute ride) and Mapusa (a 30-minute ride) for Vagator every 15 minutes. From the bus stop it is a 1-km walk over a hill to the beach. Most of the accommodation, restaurants and cafes are located in this area. Panaji, Goa is accessible by air from all the major cities of the country. There are adequate train and bus connections also from other cities.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation in Vagator revolves around a few family run budget guesthouses, a pricey resort hotel and dozens of small private properties rented out for long periods.
OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION
Exchange: The Primrose Café, on the south side of the village, has a foreign exchange license but their rates are well above those on offer at the banks in Mapusa and Calangute.
Medical: If one needs medical attention, contact Dr. Jawarhalal Henriques at Zorin, near the petrol pump in Chapora.