Four or five years ago, Candolim, at the far southern end of
beach, was a surprisingly sedate resort, appealing to an odd mixture of
middle-class Bombayites, and Burgundy-clad Sannyasins taking a break from
the Rajneesh Ashram at Pune.
Times, however, have changed.
Now, large-scale package holiday complexes jostle for space behind the dunes and the increasingly crowded beach has sprouted ranks of sun beds. On the plus side, Candolim has plenty of pleasant places to stay, many of them tucked away down quiet sandy lanes and better value than comparable guesthouses in nearby Calangute, making this a good first stop if one has just arrived in Goa and are planning to head further north after finding one's feet.
The Aguda Fort
Immediately south of Candolim, a long peninsula extends into the sea, bringing the seven-kilometre white sandy beach to an abrupt end. Aguda Fort , which crowns the rocky flattened top of the headland, is the best-preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa. Built in 1612 to protect the northern shores of the Mandovi estuary from Dutch and Maratha raiders, it is home to several natural springs, the first source of drinking water available to ships arriving in Goa after the long sea voyage from Lisbon.
Candolim's numerous beach cafes are a cut above your average seafood shacks, with pot plants, state-of-the-art sound systems and prices to match. Basically, the farther from the Taj Complex one ventures, the more realistic the prices become. The main road is also dotted with restaurants serving the usual selection of fresh fish dishes, with a handful of continental options thrown in.
Road: Buses to and from Panjim stop every twenty minutes or so at the stand opposite the Casa Sea Shell, in the middle of Candolim. A few also continue south to the fort Aguada Beach Resort Terminus, from where services depart every thirty minutes for the capital via Nerul village. Taxis wait outside the major resort hotels and can be flagged down on the main road.
Candolim is charter-holiday land, so accommodation tends to
be a little expensive for most of the season. The best place to start
looking is at the end of the lane that leads to the sea opposite the
Canara Bank, at the north side of the village.