: 16-km From Panjim, North Goa
: Baga Beach
Best Time To Visit
: December To February
Calangute 'Queen of beaches' is 16 kms from Panaji (capital of Goa) is the 7 kms. long . Calangute lie on the shores of the Arabian Sea of North Goa in India. It is encircled by Arpora-Nagoa, Saligao and Candolim, in the Bardez taluka, and is just 15 km from Panaji, the capital of the state of Goa. Being a popular holiday resort, the small houses amidst the coconut groves behind the beach are always in constant demand. Calangute seems to be a distortion of the local vernacular word-'Koli-gutti', which means land of fishermen. Some people connect it with Kalyangutti (village of art) or Konvallo-ghott (strong pit of the coconut tree) because the village is full of coconut trees. With the advent of the Portuguese, the word probably got distorted to Calangute, and has stuck till today.
Seemingly not all that long ago, Calangute was the beach all self-respecting hippies headed for, especially around Christmas when psychedelic hell broke loose. If you enjoyed taking part in those mass pujas, with their endless half-baked discussions about `when the revolution comes' and `the vibes, maaan', then this was just the ticket. You could frolic around without a stitch on, be ever so cool and liberated, get totally out of your head on every conceivable variety of ganja from Timor to Tenochtitlan and completely disregard the feelings of the local inhabitants. Naturally, John Lennon or The Who were always about to turn up and give a free concert.
Calangute's bars and restaurants are mainly grouped around the entrance to the beach and along the Baga road. As with most Goan resorts, the accent is firmly on seafood, though many places tack on a few token vegetarian dishes. Western breakfasts also feature prominently.
Nightlife In Calangute Beach
Thanks to repeated crackdowns by the Goan police on parties and loud music, Calangute's nightlife is surprisingly tame. All but a handful of the bars wind up by 10.00 pm. One notable exception is Tito's at the Baga end of the beach, which stays open until 11.00 pm off-season and into the small hours in late December and January.
Unfortunately, the only other places that consistently stay open through the night are a couple of dull hippy hang-outs in the woods to the south of the beach road; Pete's Bar, a perennial favourite next door to Angela P. Fernandes, is generally the most lively, offering affordable drinks, backgammon sets and relentless reggae. Further afield, Bob's Inn, between Calangute and Candolim, is another popular bar, famed less for its court around a large table in the front bar.
Bikes On Rent: Motorcycle taxis hang around the little sandy square behind GTDC's tourist resort, next to the steps that drop down to the beachfront. Ask around here if one wants to rent a motorcycle.
Rates are standard; the nearest filling station is five minutes' walk from the beach, back towards the market on the right-hand side of the main road. Bicycles are also widely available for rent.
There's a State Bank Of India on the main street, but the best place to change money and Travellers Cheques is Wall Street finances, opposite the petrol pump and in the shopping complex on the beachfront. If they are closed, try the fast and friendly ENEM finances in Baga. For visa encashments, go to The Bank Of Baroda, just north of the temple and market area; a flat commission fee is levied on all visa withdrawls.
A Taste Of Indian Heritage
Finally, don't miss the chance to sample some real Indian culture while you are in Calangute. The Ekrkar Art Gallery, in Gaura Vaddo, at the south end of town, hosts evenings of classical music and dance every Tuesday and complete with incense and evocative candlelight. The recitals, performed by students and teachers from Panjim's Kala Academy, are kept comfortably short for the benefit of Western visitors, and are preceded by a short introductory talk.
Tickets are available in advance or at the door.
Note: Wherever one goes, though, remember that Calangute's no nudism rule is for real and enforced by special police patrols; this includes topless bathing.
Calangute is one of the best beaches in Goa. It takes just 45 minutes by road to reach to this busy beach and its resorts. Things have become very commercial at this place as of now. There is a drastic change in the outlook of this place which was once more of a fishing village. But today this place has transformed itself to one of the best tourist spots when it comes to beaches.
Accommodation and Connectivity
The Dabolim airport near Panaji is the nearest landing facility for
Calangute. From Panaji to Calangute, the distance is 16 kms. Another important town Mapusa is located 8 kms from Calangute. By rail, one can travel upto Karmali on the outskirts of Panaji. Regular bus and taxi services operate between Panaji and Calangute.
Being Goa's most commercialised beach, a plenty of accommodation is available in Calangute. Apart from the resorts-a big hit among foreign tourists, economic modes of stay in the form of smaller hotels and guest houses are easily available.
Along with nearby Candolim, Calangute has emerged as Goa's major beach destination for water sports. Similar to Candolim, water sporting activities include parasailing, water skiing and wind surfing.
Those who are not fond of diving into the waters opt for beach volleyball and football.
Shopping at Calangute
From the beach to the town centre, lined up are a variety of Kashmiri-run handicraft boutiques and Tibetan stalls selling Himalayan jewellery. Also available in these small attractive stalls are Rajasthani, Gujarati and Karnatakan textiles of good quality. Calangute is also famous as a shoppers point among tourists
The Calangute Restaurants
At the very entrance of Calangute beach are a plenty of restaurants and gorgeous bars. The popular food joints here serves tempting seafood and the finest of Goan wine.
Vegetarian dishes also rank high in their menus. Also figuring prominently in the menus is western breakfast. As many of the tourists are foreigners, the restaurants take special interest in their likes and dislikes.
Attractions Around the Beach
Located very close to the beach is Kerkar Art Gallery. Here, the paintings and sculptures of many talented Goan artists are displayed. Once in every week, a programme on Indian dance and music is also held. Also nearby the beach is the church of St. Alex with two tall towers and a magnificent dome.
Being the most commercialized beach of Goa, Calangute remains full of tourists the whole year. A long beach, Calangute allows the tourists to indulge in numerous fun activities. Needless to say that the scenic beauty of the beach is always enthralling