Just chillin in Vagator Beach, Goa
Vagator Beach… Excellent choice to relax! I gathered a lot of information about India before getting there, the places to see, etc… And there was one place I kept reading about, apparently a must see when you go to India : the state of Goa, on the west coast of India. And what’s so special about this Indian state? “You’ll see by yourself, it’s wooonderful!!! You don’t even feel like you’re in India, it’s sooo different from anywhere else in the country! The mentality, the landscapes, the way of life! Just go!” But something disheartened me “Goa is also the state where eveybody goes out of control! Parties all night long ’til the break of dawn, hippies all over the place, hard drugs, clubs playing trance and psychedelic music, debauchery and STD!”
I have absolutely nothing against people who want to party all night long, take drugs, have sex without condoms with people they met a few hours before… They do what they want to do! It’s just that I don’t have the energy I had in my early twenties anymore, and I wanted to go to Goa to chill, not to drink and party all night long. And since I’m sleeping in hostels, it means I’m inevitably going to deal with party animals around me. I don’t want to skip Goa because of a few noisy clubbers but I don’t want to be awaken every night by people completely wasted either, coming back from a night of heavy drinking. So what’s the solution…? Vagator Beach!
I saw that almost all the beaches in Goa where party places, but there are a few exceptions, and one of those exceptions was Vagator Beach, in North Goa district. The beauty of the place, without the crazy nightlife! And another good thing. Let’s say I change my mind and I wanna party, the beaches with all the clubs, loud music… Are not far from here! Perfect!
Goa is located on the west coast of India, and from the 16th century until 1961, it was a Portuguese colony. To this day, the elderly still speak perfect Portuguese. Before getting there, I had a feeling people would be more relaxed here, since we’re next to the beach, the weather is nice… And I was right, people are way more relaxed than in the north here.
No one is staring at me anymore, and I always had to deal with those insistent looks until then (New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur… Indians kept staring at me!). In fact, inhabitants of Goa don’t even feel like they’re Indians. They’re from Goa. In Vagator Beach, I heard a local say “Those Indians, they’re really annoying when they come here!“. In Goa, everyone goes at their own pace, laid back. They take off their shoes before getting in a shop, they chat with the storekeeper for a few minutes, and then leave the place, relaxed… A lot of backpackers here, all enjoying the peacefulness of the area.
Those moments just chillin in Vagator Beach really did me good, after the chaos of the north of India, the crowd, the scams… But everything’s not perfect either in Goa. To them, a black guy has to be a drug dealer. Several times, Indians came to me, asking “Do you have marijuana? Do you have coke? etc…” Not cool! And the other black guys I met there where going through the same things. I was quite surprised, a lot of those black guys I met where coming from Southern Africa : Zimbabwe, Tanzania…
However, there are Indians in Goa who use various stratagems to get money from you. Like this guy who came to me while I was just contemplating the sea “Don’t move, you have something in your ear!“. He touches my ear for a few seconds, then shows me something he probably already had in his hand, and says “This was in your ear!“. Then he says he watched your ear, you have a problem, he can cure your illness, you need to pay him…
The only tourist attraction around here, if we can call it that way, is the Chapora fort, a fort in the heights of Vagator Beach, above the Chapora river. The fort in itself is nothing special, but the place is perfect to have a view of Vagator Beach from above. The best time to go there is, of course, the end of the day, for a beautiful sunset!
I’m going to be honest with myself, just chillin does me good, but I’m quickly bored and there’s not much to do there, apart from sunbathing, visiting the fort, and eating (it’s spicy here, even when you specify “No spicy please!“). So I resolved to go for a look around the neighboring beaches, more famous, more crowded, more festive!
Just to have a quick idea of the beaches around Vagator : Anjuna Beach is THE place to be if you want to party, and people usually head to Curlies, a restaurant/bar/techno club. Many hippies there. A bit more in the south, there’s Baga Beach and Calangute Beach, also festive places but more locals live there, so it’s more business-oriented and of course crowded beaches. In the north, there’s Ashwem Beach, Mandrem Beach and Harmal Beach, with many tourists. And a bit more in the north, Arambol Beach, very popular and a place where you’ll see many Russians and Israelis (actually you’ll see many Russians and Israelis almost everywhere in this area).
Vagator Beach, a good compromise if you want to have some peace, but also party sometime. Quite place, not too noisy, with many backpackers… In my case, I think I made the right decision. If you want to party and have fun, I suggest you to go to Anjuna or Baga! But you can also stay in Vagator during the day, and head to more bustling places in the evening!
- Check the visa policy of India here. Most Western countries can apply for a visa online here, if you plan to stay less than two months in the country. For the e-visa, you’ll have to pay 50 US dollars. Otherwise you’ll have to go to an Indian embassy if you wanna stay more than two months.
- There are many ways to get in the state of Goa. Plane, bus, train… There are many options! If you go there by plane, you’ll have to take a taxi to reach Vagator Beach (or one of the nrighboring beaches I talked about). It will cost about 1400 rupees (19 euros), for a one-hour ride.
- If you want to check the beaches around Vagator, the best thing to do is to rent a scooter. All the hotels propose renting scooters, for 300 rupees (4 euros) a day.
- In Vagator Beach, many restaurants serve good food. I’m especially thinking about the Mango Tree. I went there several times, to eat or to have a drink in the evening, with good background music. But there’s also the Jaws (more rustic), or Oppa (beware of dog!).