A Charming Combination Of Land And Sea
Baga, 10-km west of Mapusa, is basically an extension of Calangute; even the locals are unable to decide where ends and the other begin. Lying in the lee of a rocky, wooded headland, the only difference between this far northern end of the beach and its more congested centre is that the scenery here is marginally more varied and picturesque.
A small river flows into the sea at the top of the village, below a broad spur of soft white sand, from where a dirt track strikes across an expanse of paddy fields towards Anjuna. The old red tiled fishers houses behind the dunes have long been swamped by gaudily lit bars, Tandoori terrace restaurants and handicraft shops, but one doesn't feel quite so hemmed in as at Calangute.
The rough-and-ready places dotted around the fishing village usually have space for accommodation. Reasonable budget houses and rooms for rent are also available on the quieter north side of the river.
Baga has arguably the best range of restaurants in Goa, from standard beach shacks to swish pizzerias and terrace cafes serving real espresso coffee. Because of the stiff competition, prices are generally reasonable and the quality of cooking high. For a splurge, splash out on a candlelit dinner at J & A's Riverside Trattoria, or a traditional Goan meal at the eccentric Casa Portuguesa.
Thanks to the droves of predominantly British package tourists who stay here, Baga's nightlife is the liveliest in the area. Most of the revellers end up at Tito's, which has the only dance floor and hefty sound system outside a big hotel for miles. Women are allowed in for free; "unaccompanied" men and couples have to pay.