Agonda Beach – the epitome of tranquillity

Agonda used to be Goa’s hidden gem. Although those days are gone and now the beach is lined with mostly posh huts, it is still a very peaceful place. The white sand beach itself is wide and pretty. If you came to Goa to chill, you’re going to love this place. And if you get bored, stunning Butterfly Beach, Blue Lagoon and Portuguese fort are all nearby.

Sea gulls circle above fishing boats returning with their catch, moored at shallow waters of the estuary meeting the sea in Agonda, Goa
The northern edge of Agonda Beach where you can see local fishermen

Why come to Agonda?

There are many reasons for visiting this particular beach. First of all, since it’s a turtle nesting place, sunbeds and loud music aren’t allowed. Those regulations allow a clear view of the sandy beach, unspoilt by ugly sunbeds and shacks. You can be sure it’s going to be serene and peaceful.

A bird eye view at Agonda beach with straw-covered beach huts, palms, golden sand and calm sea
A few kayaks to rent is all the business activity you’ll see on Agonda beach

The vicinity of tiny, turquoise water Butterfly Beach and Cola Beach with the Blue Lagoon make it an even more enticing destination. You can access both beaches by scooter, but walking is possible (though a bit more adventurous). Also Cabo De Rama – ruins of a Portuguese fortress- is just a short drive/ bus ride away.

Large boulders surround tiny sandy Butterfly beach with turquoise coloured water
Tiny Butterfly beach, just a short drive or a long adventurous walk away from Agonda, is ideal for swimming

Getting to Agonda isn’t complicated either: a shuttle from Madgao to Canacona and a short ride on a local bus is all you need. It’s easy to jump from Agonda to Palolem or Patnam if you crave a more lively beach scene.

Backpacker enters a local bus at the Canacona station in Goa
Bus to Agonda from Canacona station

Agonda on a budget

The biggest drawback of Agonda is the high cost of food and accommodation. We did manage to make it low-cost only due to the fact we visited in the pandemic times and we put a bit of effort.

A basic bamboo hut on stilts with a veranda and decoration from colourful textiles stands in a coconut grove on Agonda Beach
Agonda is mostly beach huts, though the budget kind like this constitute minority

Most of the accommodation on the beach is on the high-end side, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find something cheaper. At first, we found an incredibly attractive Agoda deal for what reviews called ‘ a drinking hotel’. It was a bit old and had odd kitsch decor but its only genuine drawback was the lack of hot water. On the other hand, it had an exit almost straight to the beach and a common balcony with a sea view. After two nights spent there, we decided to pay double for a very pleasant but basic hut on stilts. It was located directly on the beach in a coconut grove.

A budget hotel room with old bed and a chaise lounge in Agonda
400 rupees room a few steps from the sea – not bad, right?

Food was a far more complicated issue. Unlike Arambol or Palolem, Agonda isn’t a town, rather just a village. As a result, there are no truly local eateries. You can find some simple food like Maggi, rasa omelette or vada pau for slightly inflated prices. Meanwhile, the cheapest thali (set plate) in places further away from the beach (near either of the bus stops) goes for 150 rupees. There is just one fruit shop in the village, at a short distance inland from the church. There is also just one snack stall at the far southern end of the beach.

A steel plate with a bowl of rice, flatbread, 2 bowls of stewed vegetables, a pulse stew and a bit of salad make a veg thali
150 rupees worth veg thali

Agonda Beach

Agonda is a long and wide, white sand beach. It is located in a shallow bay. Depending on the day, the sea might be just slightly wavey or have waves high enough to jump on them. The beach is perfectly clean – finding any garbage is virtually impossible.

Perfectly white, wide stretch of sand and calm blue sea at Agonda beach
Sea in Agonda on the day when water is calm

There are no restaurants or shacks on the beach. In fact, the guideline is not to build any permanent structure a long distance from the beach, because of the sea turtles. That means most of the buildings in Agoda are huts, all hidden among the palm trees lining the beach. That doesn’t mean finding a natural shadow is easy. Some of the palms lean over the boundaries of the resorts, providing the shadow. If you don’t mind spreading the mat in front of someone’s hut or the wall of a resort, it will work fine in the morning hours. In the afternoon there is no more shadow.

A small grove of coconut palms and other trees offer a shadow on Agonda beach
In the morning you can find some shady places on the beach but after 1pm all is in the sun

At the northern end of the beach, a small estuary meets the sea, creating a small ‘river’. You can easily cross it to get to a small rocky peninsula. It’s a good place to watch the fishing boats leaving for a catch in the morning and at sunset. You might experience some low-key touting for kayaking or boat trips in the estuary.

A small, very shallow river fed by estuary further in the background winds its way through sandy Agonda beach
The ‘river’ meeting the sea at the northern end of the beach

Beach animals

If you’re a fan of animals, you’re going to love this beach. Packs of cuddly, friendly dogs come to you when you set your towel on the sand. Don’t be scared of them – they fight only among themselves. All they need from you is your presence, though biscuits will be much appreciated.

Goan stray dogs accompany Sayak on an empty Agonda beach at sunset
At sunset time, the moment you sit down, the dogs will join you

Also, cows visit a particular stretch of the beach every afternoon. They leave cow dung behind, but it’s very localised to a 10 meters stretch of a beach.

A large pack of cows lies in the sand on Agonda beach
Cows at their favourite chill-out place on Agonda Beach

Walking the main beach road towards the bus stop, you can also pass by a particular tree frequented by flying foxes – the largest species of bats, active in the daytime.

Furry flying foxes bats hang upside down, wrapped in their wings from a tree in Agonda
Flying foxes resting on the tree in the morning

PRACTICALITIES

How to get to Agonda?

The only way to get to Agonda is by bus. It’s easiest to approach Agonda from Madgao (a major railway station and bus hub). Take a bus from Madgao KTC bus stand to Canacona. The journey is around 1h – 1h 30 min. Between 7.30-9.00 am ‘Kadamba’ state buses run every 20 minutes. At the Canacona bus stand, switch to a local bus heading to Cabo de Rama (the names of destinations are written on the platforms). If you happen to arrive outside of the morning rush, you might need to wait for half an hour or more. The journey takes half an hour and the bus drops you just a few minutes walk from the northern end of the beach.

Prices [in Indian rupees as of Feb 2022]*

800 INR beach hut with no sea view, basic but comfortable, with fan and hot water
400 INR double ensuite in the cheapest hotel, 1 min from the beach (Agoda 60% off deal)
160 INR cheapest fish thali in a restaurant near the bus stop
150 INR cheapest veg thali in restaurants further inland
90 INR double rasa (meaty) omelette at the only budget cafe in Agonda
65 5l water bottle
50 INR pau baji (chickpea stew with a roll) at a budget cafe
35 INR regular Kadamba bus Madgao – Canancona
20 INR regular private bus Canacona – Agonda
15 INR vada pau (deep fried snack in a roll) from the only street stall in Agonda

* note those are pandemic-time prices, the normal accommodation rates might differ

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