Goa is the Ibiza of India! Well... if you believe the hype! Some places in Goa can be pretty disappointing but there is this one place in the south that I really adore. A little North of the popular beach of Palolem there is a hidden gem called: Agonda Beach. In this complete and up to date travel guide you will find everything you need to know before you visit Agonda Beach. Where to stay, where to eat, lovely hotels, hostels, yoga barns, things to do and day trips around.
Why is Goa trying to be the Ibiza of India when it really is not? I may be wrong but comparing Goa with Ibiza is like comparing Barcelona with Manila. May be that is a little unfair as you might know I think Manila is one of the most ugly cities I have ever been. But what I mean to say is that Goa still is for hippies, Ibiza on the contrary is definitely for hipsters!
Don't get me wrong, I might sound negative now, but I just want to be honest and hate when people get disappointed, especially after a long time of travel restriction with this global pandemic that finally is coming to an end. Agonda Beach is a little bit off the beaten path in Goa and still a jewel. Totally worth visiting when you ask me! I am fan!
Last time I was in Goa was after an intense trip to Dudhwa National Park trying to spot tigers in the wild and an exhausting sightseeing trip to Hampi (both really cool adventures, click on the link to read the stories). I really needed a break and some Indian friends pointed me in the direction of Agonda Beach in South Goa.
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Best time to visit Agonda Beach
The peak season for Goa is December till February when temperatures are moderate and there is hardly any rainfall.
I visited Agonda mid April, right before the start of the rainy season. During the day it was getting really hot and temperatures reached 34 degrees, though the sea breeze brought in some cool wind from time to time. To me it was too hot to stay in the sun honestly, so I spent my days in the shadow.
Because April is towards the end of the season there was not much going in terms of nightlife, but I didn't mind. The beach was deserted most of the times and it created the ultimate laid-back vibe I was looking for. Of all the things to do in Agonda Beach I mostly chose to relax and do nothing!
Click here for 8 South India Travel Tips to get the most out of your trip.
Things to do in Agonda Beach
Rent a scooter
When visiting Agonda renting a scooter is one of the best things to do to see the surrounding. There are numerous small beach villages, hidden bays and viewpoints. Renting a motorbike is also the best way to visit the popular beach of Palolem. As there is not much nightlife in Agonda Beach and renting a scooter is ideal. However don't drink and drive. Rickshaw rides are cheap!
Go on a boat trip
Did you know that you can go dolphin watching in Agonda Beach? Yep, it is possible when visiting Agonda Beach and you don't even need a tour for this. You have probably been asked for boat trips by the local fisher men when strolling along the beach. Make a deal with them for an early morning trip on a day when the sea is quiet. There is a big chance you will spot dolphins. An hour boat trip shouldn't cost more than $10.
Bird watching tour
On the North side of Agonda Beach there are some backwaters that you could navigate by boat. You can also ask for more information about a little birdwatching tour at the Treetop Tava Restaurant. They pointed me in the right direction and connected me with a lovely old man that showed me around. He even fixed me a binocular from somewhere. He asked just $6 but I gave him $10 because he was so kind.
Watch the sunset
Sunsets in Goa are magical and one of the best times of the day. Locals and tourists all come out to the beach to enjoy this beautiful phenomenon. Grab an ice cold beer somewhere from one of the beach restaurants or support a local selling cold drinks.
Mostly around sunset you will see a bunch of cows coming to the beach. Not sure if the beautiful sunset lures them to the beach, but I reckon the cooler temperatures is what makes them come to the beach at the end of the day.
Shop for souvenirs
Along the main road there are several souvenir shops. Shopping isn't my thing and buying souvenirs neither, still I recommend you to go and have a look. There is always something interesting to see and think about local businesses. They would LOVE your support, even if it is only a couple dollars.
Wait, don't get me wrong! I am not recommending you to use drugs in India at all! Smoking weed is highly illegal in India and punishment is severe, however a lot of people traveling to Goa can't resist smoking weed. It is commonly accepted to smoke weed on the beach and you will find many travelers smoking.
I am not a smoker myself, but it seems fairly easy to get. Just ask around and I am sure someone wants to help you out.
Visit Cola Beach
Another little hidden gem in south Goa is Cola Beach. It is located a little North of Agonda Beach. It is much smaller and the beach is not that pretty. There are a couple nice places to stay and some restaurants. You can get to Cola Beach via the main road nr.49 and then turn left after a couple minutes. The road down to Cola Beach used to be very bad, but is fixed these days.
You can also ask one of the boats on Agonda Beach to drop you of in Cola Beach and take a rickshaw ride back. A boat ride from Agonda to Cola Beach should not cost more than $3.
If you want to get off the beaten path in Goa then definitely go beach hopping in this part of the state until you find your hidden gem. Palolem is the most popular beach town in South Goa, but depending on the season it can also be pretty quiet. Palolem has much more nightlife so you might wanna visit Palolem just before sunset and stay in one of the many bars along the beach.
Where to eat in Agonda Beach
Zest is by far my favorite Agonda beach restaurant. A vegetarian place that also serves a lot of vegan dishes and is a beloved hangout for international travelers. If you are a solo traveler and want to meet people then I am sure you will succeed at Zest Restaurant. Zest is more than delicious food, it also has a lovely garden setting with sofas and even a little boutique shop. It kind of gave me a Bali feeling.
My trip to Agonda Beach wouldn't have been so great without Zest. I met so many cool people here and I love their healthy dishes and shakes. Be careful that you don't end up going here for breakfast, lunch and dinner! From smoothie bowls to pizzas... they have it all!
When it comes to dining with a view Treetop Tava is by far the best restaurant in Agonda Beach. It is also a little more expensive than other places in Agonda but totally worth it. The views are lovely. It is located on the North end of the beach, a little higher up, hence the name Treetop Tava.
La Dolce Vita
If you are craving some real Italian food then this is your Agonda Beach restaurant. The pastas with seafood are pretty nice and so are the pizzas. Unfortunately they don't have good WiFi here so it isn't the place to bring your laptop.
A pretty hipster place right on the beach is Sea Breeze. They serve India food and their fish curry is my favorite. It reminded me of the delicious fish curries I used to eat when I was traveling in Maldives.
If you are looking for a little cheaper restaurant right on the beach then try Dunehill. Their restaurant has a great location and good place to go for sunset. I tried their Indian dishes several times and I can not say a bad word about it. Delicious food and lovely staff!
A simple but good place to go for food is Fatima's Corner. They have everything from Indian cuisine to pancakes and omelettes and more. The price is right, there is wifi that actually works and it is quick, simple and good. I have tried Momo's here and came back a couple times because I loved them. The staff is lovely.
The WHITE Resort
Even if you are not a guest you are more than welcome to have lunch or dinner at The White Resort. Especially if you have something to celebrate I would recommend you to have a sunset dinner here. A great thing to do even if you don't have anything to celebrate! LOL
Expect dishes like grilled lobster, tiger prawns and many more mouthwatering dishes. Prices are higher than other restaurants in Agonda Beach, but still very affordable.
Where to stay in Agonda Beach
No need to tell you that there is a wide range of accommodation in Agonda Beach, from beach shacks to lovely little boutique hotels. However, keep in mind that Agonda Beach is rather small so don't expect a long list of places that I would recommend.
Let's start with some places to stay in Agonda for a smaller budget and end with my favorite place to stay in Agonda Beach.
Budget accommodation in Agonda Beach
There are a bunch of cheap places to stay in Agonda and you can easily go around on arrival. However, in peak season I recommend you to book your Agonda Beach hotel before your trip.
If you look around you can find some really nice beach shacks or huts. The one on the picture below is called Ramsons Resort, right on the beach. Basic, but great location of course. I stayed here once and the ocean breeze on your little balcony are magical.
Mid Range Agonda Hotels
These are some Agonda Beach hotels with high ratings, like for example: Galaxys Beachhuts, Dersy Cottages, Mariposa Beach Grove. All these hotels can be booked for less than $30 per night. Also for the ones that have a slightly bigger budget, Dunehill with some nice cottages on the beach, is a good option. See the picture below.
Best places to stay in Agonda Beach
Although being a popular place for hippies, Agonda Beach still has some very nice luxury accommodations to choose from. The most popular one is: Agonda Serenity Resort, right on the beach for around $70 per night.
But my absolute favorite place to stay in Agonda Beach is the White Resort. Also the most expensive place and expect to pay more than $100 per night. But trust me as soon as you walk in you will get the holiday feeling. From the airy reception you walk down the path towards the ocean with on both sides lovely white cottages inspired by Ibiza. The White Resort is a fairly new hotel in Agonda Beach that only opened its doors in 2018. Click on the link to check out the up to date prices for The White Resort.
This stylish little boutique resort lives up to its name and is completely white. Summer feelings are all over this place. The White Resort also is the only beachfront accommodation in Agonda with a pool and has amazing dining options. If you are looking for Agonda Beach hotels with a pool than look no further.
The entire place screams CUTE and I bet a lot of ladies want to just stay here to get their Instagram pictures taken. The White Resort surely is the best Agonda Beach accommodation available.
How to get to Agonda Beach
There are multiple long distance busses that connect Goa with for example Hampi or Mumbai. The best way to get your bus, flight and train tickets in India is by using a transportation search engine. I recommend you 12Go Asia, my favorite. Get your tickets direct in your mailbox! Try it out below yourself.
An overnight sleeper from Goa to Mumbai cost $15. Night busses in India are perfectly fine I have used them uncountable times when visiting India. Must say I am a tall European male, but I met a lot of solo female travelers on night busses as well. It is not as bad as the media makes you believe. Another great thing about long distance busses in India is that you meet loads of other travelers.
If you are flying in to Dabolim Airport I recommend you to take a taxi for about 30 minutes. Definitely try to bargain when ordering a taxi from Dabolim Airport to Agonda Beach. Marago is another port of entry for South Goa. The Marago train station is about 1 hour north from Agonda Beach, a taxi will cost you about $12.
Agonda Beach is just 5 minutes North of Palolem and a tricycle ride costs 200 INR ($3).
Where to go after Agonda Beach
Goa is not just a beach town, like I always thought it was. Goa is a small state in India popular for its beaches and notorious for its parties. It has a long coastline with many different bays and honestly I think you need to spend some time here to find out which beach suits you most.
North Goa is where the airport is and here is where mass tourism took over. It is not the prettiest part of Goa but here it is easy to mingle with young people looking to party and cure their hangover with a day on the beach.
If you want to dive some more into history and culture then I can recommend you have a look at my Hampi Travel Guide or check out the nearby Badami Caves.
There are also some really cool places for surfing in North Goa. For more Goa travel ideas check out this South India itinerary for 2 weeks.
My trip to Agonda Beach
Coincidentally I ended up in Agonda Beach instead of popular Palolem Beach and it turned out to be a great choice. This sleepy beach town is way smaller and everything is concentrated around one beach road with some lovely restaurants and beachfront accommodation. Ever since my first visit to Agonda Beach it became a favorite place to return to. Whenever I travel to South Goa this you can find me here.
The kind of little village were so now and then there is a power cut and hardly any phone signal. Precious places and hard to find in 2021! It is the ultimate place to unwind, enjoy the serenity and find peace.
En joy your trip to Agonda Beach!