The penultimate post of the Goa series. I’ve already given you my recommendation for restaurants you shouldn’t miss. In this one I’ll outline the places that disappointed me (found on many people’s lists), which beaches in North Goa are worth the drive and where to get some pretty clothes and accessories. First up, the places that have lost the glitter.
1) Britto’s, Baga: This place has been a favourite of mine through the years but with each subsequent visit, I find less to appreciate and more to complain about. And that really isn’t what you want when you’re on vacation. What you want is consistently good food, no matter when you visit. That is not what you’ll get here, probably the only thing you’ll get consistent quality with is prawn curry w/ rice and I can’t even eat that because I’m allergic to coconuts! Also, the waiters look at you like you’ve wandered into their house and demanded to be fed. They are almost openly rude and can’t even be bothered to list the specials for you. If you really want to go here, then by all means do – it is a Baga institution – but don’t expect to be treated well.
2) Infantaria, Calangute: If you research this place online and have a look at their menu, you will drool over all the options. You will think you’re going to eat here at least once a day for your entire stay – I did! I had heard so much about it and despite some thumbs down reviews online I dragged my mum and sister here. We went for breakfast and I ordered a chocolate croissant (which still had squares of unmelted chocolate inside), my sister, a butter croissant (which was dry to the point that she couldn’t chew without a sip of coffee – which arrived 20 minutes after the croissants), my mum, pancakes (my mum adores fluffy American pancakes and as she waited in anticipation, she was served a plate of thin, deflated and sandy crepes). When I told the waiter that they were crepes and not pancakes, he looked at me like I was talking gibberish. Oh, I also got the ham and cheese croissant (much recommended by travelers) and this was the best item we had that morning. My mum’s orange juice arrived after repeatedly asking them where it was, and after we had abandoned the by-now-cold and not-so-great food. You really still want to go?
3) Curlies, Anjuna: I have only been here once before and the second visit was a total disappointment. I went there for the batter-fried calamari with apricot dipping sauce. The first time they were good, the second, soggy, rubbery and just not even ok. The cocktails and mocktails weren’t all that great either. Give this place a miss, I’ve heard there are better shacks at this otherwise beautiful beach though.
After all the icky experiences, on to a better one. We had dinner at Café Del Mar, Baga Beach one night and it was the best shack I visited the whole trip. You might miss the name entirely, but walk towards the great English music and the sign that says Bacardi Shack. We had awesome, polite and friendly service here. The drinks and food were exceptionally good. They have many levels of seating and during the peak season, I think there’s a lot of dancing that happens as well. We got complimentary drinks too. They have drinks offers as well and the cocktails are very well made and served in generous measure! Next time, this is the spot for dinner by the beach at Baga for me. I bet you’d love it too!
Next, BEACHES! If you’re going to be at the tourist-centered North Goa beaches, then my review should work for you. I have not a clue about South Goa’s beaches. I’ve heard they’re beautiful and hope to lavish them with attention next time.
1) Baga Beach: The most popular one for tourists, I believe. You will find domestic as well as international tourists flocking to this beach. It has Baga River on the right and the Indian Ocean as far as the eye can see. During peak season, this place is crowded, even off season it isn’t that empty. Almost all the famous shacks can be found along this sandy stretch. I wouldn’t recommend this place if you want to swim (in a swimsuit) and not be stared at by all sorts. They have water sports here though.
2) Calangute Beach: Home to the Souza Lobo shack (which I didn’t like), this beach does not deserve your time. It is just teeming with the home crowd that leches during the daylight hours, let alone after dark. I felt so uncomfortable just walking towards the beach from the main road, that we returned without ever setting foot on the sand. And we were fully covered too. So you know what I’m talking about. Just don’t go here.
3) Anjuna Beach: A bit quieter than Baga beach, wait, actually, way quieter. Chances are you might not be leched at here, but I offer no guarantee. The beach is picturesque and not having to stare over the crowds at the sea never hurts. It is a bit out of the way compared to the first two beaches, which is why I think not many go here. The water is nice to swim in too.
4) Ozran Beach: This is the beach below Little Vagator. I saw many people swimming here during all times of the day. I went in the water in the evening and found the sand very grainy, enough to give you scratches if the waves toss you about. I can’t say too much about this beach because I saw only a part of it. It does have a hippy vibe to it, and you’ll find shacks where chillums are openly smoked.
5) Morjim Beach: It was my first time here and I fell in love with the place. It was so pretty!! This is further North from the previous beaches but totally worth the drive. It is truly expansive and very calming. It’s a long stretch so it isn’t difficult to find your own patch of serenity. The sand is also special here, the waves come in and create patterns in the sand that are simply amazing! Swim to your heart’s content here.
6) Ashvem Beach: Home to La Plage. Enough said. If you missed it, read this post. Ok, so more needs to be said because obviously you weren’t there with me. You can feel absolutely relaxed here. The beach is beautiful, there are sun loungers galore, and a definite improvement in the crowd. No-one will stare at you in your bikini here, it’s exactly what I would recommend for top nosh and water time.
7) Mandrem Beach: We didn’t spend long here, just an evening but it was also a good beach. It’s peaceful and I think a pretty good place to swim though all we did was watch the parasurfers in amazement!
Those are the beaches I visited this time and my impressions of them. Watch out for the last post for the Goa trip tomorrow! It’s the one with the shop deets!
Happy and safe travels, everyone!