Butterfly Beach and Cola Beach: mini-treks from Agonda

Agonda has a brilliant location, close to a virgin, tiny Butterfly Beach and pristine Cola Beach with its shallow, freshwater lagoon. Those places can be reached by scooter, by boat, or, if you’re very adventurous, by walking.

A view from above at a turquoise, transparent waters of a small bay and white sand Butterfly Beach in southern Goa
Turquoise blue waters of the Butterfly Bay draw plenty of tourists, arriving mostly by boats

Butterfly Beach

Getting to the Butterly Beach

The most popular way of getting to Butterfly Beach is by boat from Agonda or Palolem beach. Hawkers will offer a trip combining Butterfly Beach and a nearby Honeymoon Beach (accessible only by boat). The major downside of this option is that you get limited time on the beach.
Another option is to hire a scooter/ motorcycle and take a bumpy road to a parking place, just a few steps away from the beach.

Sayak on an overgrown path through the jungle to the Butterfly Beach
What started as a visible path soon turned into a thorny thicket

We decided to walk over the jungle-covered hill as we found a walking path on maps.me app. The main road along the beach carries on to the last homes uphill and the Galaxy Jungle Huts. From there, the dirt road turns into a path through the forest. We hadn’t anticipated that this rarely used route got overgrown with thorny bushes. By the time we reached the beach, we had plenty of scratches on our legs and arms. The walk was picturesque, leading through a few clearings with a distant view of the Western Ghats. However, at times it was hard to find the path – without the app we would be certainly lost. The whole 3 kilometres walk took us more than an hour.

Dry-grass meadow surrounded by the jungle and a view at the distant Western Ghat range
Somewhere between Agonda and Butterfly beaches

Eventually, we reached the parking place, where a group of Indians was collecting garbage into large sacks. It was a lovely volunteer initiative, so we eagerly joined in the efforts. After 2 hours of work, they collected 40 large bags of trash! We were lucky to arrive when they almost finished their job. I guess that normally this beach can be a bit dirty as there is nobody maintaining it.

Local tourists watch by as a group of Indian volunteers pack sacks of garbage onto a boat on Butterfly Beach in Goa
Clean-up action at the Butterfly Beach

The beach and the surroundings

Butterfly beach is a small patch of sand located in a bay, surrounded by large rocks. You can find some shade directly below the rocks closing the beach on both sides. Unlike any other place in Goa, the water is turquoise blue and very clear. Since the bay is enclosed, the water is still, making it safe and comfortable to swim. However, the water becomes deep very quickly and there is some pull. Whenever the sea becomes wavy, be cautious of the underwater rocks which are quite sharp.

The authors swims in calm waters at the Butterfly Beach, a cliff with large boulders rising behind her
Sand and calm, turquoise waters – what else would you need?

The biggest downside of Butterfly Beach is the number of people visiting. We made the mistake of coming on a weekend when locals come for ‘picnics’. It was by far the most crowded beach we encountered in Goa. The constant coming and going of the boats foamed up the water and left the smell of petrol. I’m sure that a weekday would be much calmer.

Man climbing a vertical rock, sandy Butterfly Beach a few meters below him
Scrambling to the top of the cliff

Apart from swimming, you can also climb the cliff for a great view of the bay on one side and the rocky coastline on the other. It requires a bit of scrambling but it’s well worth the effort.

Cola Beach

Getting to Cola Beach

The following day we decided to explore the northern neighbour of Agonda beach – Cola Beach, famous for its ‘Blue Lagoon’. Once again, we thought we could get there across the hill through narrow paths. We crossed the river at the end of the beach and searched for the start of the path. Maps me wasn’t of much help but the fishermen assured us we could get through. As it turned out, the path was again very hard to find. Eventually, we reached through the jungle to a large dirt road used by the scooters. The landscape was quite desolate and there was no trace of shade. Luckily, the walk was short. Soon, we reached the cliff with a spectacular view. From there, we descended the stairs straight into Cola Beach.

A view from the top of a cliff at a virgin sand beach peppered with boulders
View from the cliff just before Cola Beach

Cola Beach and the Blue Lagoon

Cola Beach is a narrow, steeply inclined stretch of golden sand with a scattering of red, porous boulders. The beach is lined with palm trees and closed by a cliff. There are only a few shacks along the coast and even fewer people. All the outside visitors concentrate around the lagoon and don’t venture further down the beach.

Empty Cola Beach: a narrow stretch of golden sand, flanked by a rough sea full of rocks and palm trees on the other side
Totally deserted Cola Beach

The main attraction of Cola Beach is the so-called Blue Lagoon. I’m not sure why is it called blue as the water is more greenish. The lagoon is in fact a very shallow river ends its course just before reaching the sea in a small pool. For me, this place was a bit of a disappointment. The water was too shallow to swim (about waist-shoulder high) and cold. Indian tourists rented kayaks to cover maybe a 100 meters stretch of the river. I found it a rather pointless pastime. The lagoon didn’t have any shade either: we sheltered under a lifeguard’s booth on the beach.

Greenish, transparent waters of a small lagoon, fringed with palm trees from two sides and sandy beach separating it from the sea
Blue Lagoon isn’t actually blue

The return route to Agonda via dust road and a short stretch along the tarmac took us just 30 minutes.

A dusty dirt road leading through dry bushes from Agonda to Cola Beach
A dirt path to Cola Beach

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