Candolim & Sinquerim
At the southern most end of Calangute beach is Candolim. Once a quiet haven, with gentle white sandy beaches, tourism has spread its net here but the budget traveler will find that the accommodation is pricier here as compared to Calangute and Baga. What is visible are holiday resorts, speed boats, jet skis and all the accompanying paraphernalia to keep the tourist occupied.
Further south of Candolim is an extending peninsula with a rocky cliff atop which is the Aguada Fort. Well-preserved, it was built by the Portuguese in 1612 as protection against the Dutch and Maratha raiders. The oldest lighthouse in Asia, built in 1864 is located here, and the view from is quite amazing. Towards Calangute is the Sinquerim beach, where the Taj group built the Fort Aguada resorts, the first 5-star complex, which has since been followed by many.
Lying in the lee of a rocky, wooded headland 10 km west of Mapusa, Baga is now an extension of Calangute and a much sought after destination for package tourists. The Northern end of the beach has varied scenery. A small river flows into the sea at the top of the village from where a dirt track leads through paddy fields towards Anjuna. The old red-tiled fishermen's houses are now surrounded by bars, restaurants, handicraft shops and guest houses. Baga is a more picturesque place than Calangute. With plenty of restaurants and beach shacks, it is ideal for a combination of relaxed holidays and merry-making. There are an increasing number of beach bars that often tend to play blaring techno music.
Across the hilltop from Baga is the secluded rocky Anjuna beach, the favourite hippie haven of the 70's. Now the most notable feature here is the Wednesday flea market that operates in the shade of palm trees behind the beach. The Chapora Fort is close by. However, Anjuna is still frequented by a wide assortment of a fascinating mix of humanity including the ex hippies, artists and writers who find its ambience fascinating still.
A couple of kilometres further north is Vagator. The beach here, known as Big Vagator beach is a wide sandy beach, behind which is a quiet village, a few old Portuguese bungalows, village guest houses, and little else. The little Vagator beach, 10 minutes walk away, has several shacks and is largely preferred by the budget traveler who spends considerable time at Goa. Accommodation here is restricted to basic village guest houses.
Pernem and the Far North
Goa's northern most district of Pernem lies between the Chapora and Arondem rivers and is one of the least visited regions. Pernem's coastline of long sandy beaches, lagoons and coconut plantations has few settlements for visitors. The fishing village of Arambol attracts a trickle of backpackers seeking a sylvan refuge from the resorts south of the River Chapora. North from Arambol, the Terekhol Fort on the Maharashtrian border can be a change from the usual days spent at the beach.
Arambol is a quiet fishing village a few kilometres inland from the main Calangute road across the river crossing at Siolim. There is a church and a few shops on the main road from where a side road leads to the village, which has stores with basic amenities and a travel agency to change money. Further up North lies the beach, with some bays and freshwater pools. The nearby cliffs are popular for paragliding.