Two days in South Goa


South Goa

We spent the last couple of days of our Goa exploration in the southern part of the state, staying in a cosy beach hut on the idyllic Agonda coast at the lovely Cuba Agonda Beach Hotel.  The southern part of Goa is best known as the primary transport hub to the Goan state, home to the Madgaon Junction railway in the northern Salcette taluka,  with its numerous daily connections to and from Mumbai, Kerala and other popular destinations.  South Goa has some of the region most sought after beaches including Palolem and Patnem, as well as hosting a variety of exceptional historic sites such as the Cabo de Rama fortress with its spectacular view of the sea and surroundings.  The following is an overview of our two days spent in the region and the amazing destinations we visited, mostly around the southernmost taluka of Canacona.


South Goa topics

  1. Introduction
  2. Agonda
  3. Cabo de Rama
  4. Palolem and Patnem Beach
  5. Madgao
  6. Cuba Agonda Beach Hotel

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Agonda

Agonda

We arrived to Agonda from Goa’s capital city Panajim in early afternoon, with the sun still shining through.  It took us three different local bus to get to destination, first to Madgaon, then to Canancute and a finally a last one to Agonda, located at the heart of the southern Canacona taluka best known for its scenic natural beauty.  The journey was well worth it, as when we arrived to the Cuba Agonda Beach Hotel overlooking the large unspoiled beach, we discovered a piece of paradise.  Indeed Agonda, sometimes referred to as Turtle Beach, being a strategic location for turtles to lie eggs, is considered one of South Goa must peaceful destinations and the perfect place to get away from it all.  It has a really unique laidback atmosphere, with plenty of travellers coming to meditate, practice yoga or martial arts on the beach.  The town itself is quite small, with only one major road, separating the north from the south, with at its heart the charming white Portuguese Agonda church and its attached school.  Most of the accommodations are located between the main road and the beach, with plenty of good value for money huts and Bed and Breakfast, including the Cuba Agonda Beach Hotel where we stayed.  Most of the restaurants and boutiques are located on the northern part of town, but the nicer part of the beach was on our southern end. 

We spent the rest of the day enjoying this magnificent sea view right from the comfort of our hut facing terrace.  Just before dusk with we went for a nice long walk up to the southern end of the beach where local fishermen hidden inside the cliffs waited patiently for their daily catch.  By night fall we went back to town and opted for My Friend’s Place restaurant to have a romantic candle lighten South Indian diner.

Cabo de Rama

Cabo de Rama

We started our second day in Agonda by jumping into a two wheeler and heading north across small towns and lush forests to reach the nearby cliff top old fort.  Cabo de Rama, also referred to as Cape Rama is an ancient fortress built before the arrival of the Portuguese and considered one of Goa’s oldest forts.   With its very steep cliff drops, it offers spectacular panoramic views of the region including the Canacona stretch and the Colva beach.  It is named after Lord Rama who allegedly took refuge with his wife Sita during his 14 years exile from Ayodhya.  The Portuguese then took possession of the fort and improved it, adding turrets (small towers), large cannons and even a chapel.  The Church of Santo Antonio is still in used today and is in a very good condition.

After a good exploration of the fort, we decided to get back to Agonda, to enjoy a late breakfast at My Friend’s Place restaurant.  After the meal, we went back to the hotel, to chillout on the beach and have a little nap.

Palolem

Palolem

Mid afternoon, after a good session of sunbathing and nicely tanned we got back on our scooter and hit the road again, this time to the southern part of the taluka.   Our first stop was the  charming village of Palolem, a few kilometers from the Chaudi market town and the Canacona bus and railway station.  The coastal village of Palolem is famous for its breathtaking natural bay, packed with a plenty of fishing boats, and numerous tourists enjoying a variety of water sports.  We walked to the northern side of the beach, passing the colourful sea front huts,  before climbing on top of the rocks to enjoy the views of the Kankon island and the other side of the bay.  We returned to the heart  of town passing by a group of cows comfortably sitting in the sand enjoying the beautiful weather.

Our second stop, was the lesser known Patnem Beach, only a few kilometers south of Palolem.  It is much peaceful and quieter than its neighbour, with a limited number of beach huts and restaurants.  The charming Patnem beach shares its coastline with the private Galjibag beach home to the  luxurious 5 Stars LaLiT Golf & Spa Resort.

Before sunset we were back at our hotel, where we showered, changed and went for dinner in the heart of Agonda, at the Tiger Restaurant.

Madgao

Madgao

We had a lazy morning on our third and final day in South Goa.  We woke up late, went for a walk on the beach, and enjoyed a long breakfast with sandwiches and lattes at the German bakery café.  Before noon, we were back to the Cuba Agonda Beach Hotel, where we finished packing, checked out and headed back to the heart of town, next to the Agonda church.  We passed by the local barber to get a refreshing hair cut.  Number 3 on the top and number 1 on the side, perfect for the South Indian tropical weather.  At the town main intersection, we waited for the local bus, which arrived precisely on time and took us to Canacona, from where we took another bus to Margao, where we arrived at mid afternoon.

Margao is one of the most important cities in Goa and the principle tourist hub for South Goa long idyllic coastline home to the primary railway station.  It is the administrative capital of the Salcete taluka and the commercial capital of the Indian state. 

We had a couple of hours before our night train to Kerala, so we had the time to explore this  remarkably clean city. We first spent some time inside the beautiful Margao Municipal Park with its lovely fountains and beautiful flowers.  We then headed north to the Margao’s Holy Spirit church, with its baroque architecture and surrounded by palatial mansions and a large square to the front. 

At dusk we were back at the park, and sat next to the Margao city hall, where we devoured a couple of pakoras and some lovely apple juice, our first snack since breakfast.  By night fall we slowly started headed to the railway station on the eastern side of town, passing by the vibrant covered market and taking the very busy Gandhi Commercial Road longing the rails.  We stopped to get some delicious grapes which we savoured when we arrived to the station.  The train arrived an hour late. We jumped into it and before we knew it we were deep asleep heading to the southern tip of India, the magnificent and unique state of Kerala.

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Cuba Agonda Beach Hotel

Cuba Agonda Beach Hotel

The Cuba Agonda Beach Hotel is a small resort right off the amazing Agonda beach.  When we arrived we received a hut near the road, but after some negotiation with the owner, we manage to get a much nicer one within the main alley leading to the beach.  The huts are quite big, some of them offering  AC and most of them with a hammock and a comfortable chair upfront with view of the restaurant and the beach.  If you are looking for luxury then the huts of the Cuba Agonda Beach Hotel aren’t exactly in that category, but neither are any of the accommodations within the small village of Agonda.  On the other hand if you are looking for a quiet and peaceful holiday away from the crowds, than it is definitely the place.  The staff were very friendly and helpful, but the food wasn’t up to scratch.  You can rent a scooter for 250INR/day which can be helpful to visit the nearby sights such as the Cabo the Rama or the amazing beaches of  Palolem and Patnem.

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