Agonda is a great spot for sunbathing, relaxing and swimming, with still relatively few tourists. This is a nice long pristine stretch of beach. Though the waters here might not be the most ideal place for swimming (you have better beaches with calm waters in Goa), Agonda is definitely a place for those who want to quit on a Monday morning. Most mobile connections do not work here (only Vodafone does), so that is an added bonus for those looking forward to a quiet and relaxed holiday. Or, if you do need to party sometimes, Palolem is just 15 minutes by motorbike (10 km) away - but Agonda is generally cheaper, quieter, hassle-free and has much less "touristic" feel.
Agonda Beach has one long road parallel to the beach line, most rooms and bungalows for rent are either between them or on the opposite side of the road. In the centre of the beach, there is Agonda Church and a local school/college (funnily enough, called Agonda University) to the right of it. Another road goes up from the church, crosses the river shortly after and goes through the village to the junction with a main road from Chaudi and Palolem, which are both to the right. To the left, this bigger road crosses the village until the beach road joins it near the river mouth and northern end of the beach, then continues on in the direction of Cabo da Rama.
Dabolim airport is about a 90-minute drive away. Agonda by road is 15 minutes from the more famous, busy Palolem beach.
Agonda is only a few kilometres from Canacona station, although main train services stop at Margao station, about an hour’s drive away.
From Canacona station, it's about 1 km to the Canacona bus stand, where you can bus the 9 km to Agonda. The bus stand is a large building with a white, curved roof. It is visible from the balcony of the Canacona railway station. To get there, walk up the road away from the train station until you reach the main road. Turn right (there will be a railway bridge to your left), and walk for 300 m, the building will be on your left. Buses start at 7:35AM and run about every hour until 6PM-ish. As with any Indian bus stand, you'll have to ask the people around, although the buses heading in that direction do usually stop near the sign at the bus station that says Agonda.
Agonda buses leave to go back every 30 min from the other side of the road to where you get dropped off. The last bus to Canacona leaves Agonda at 6:30PM. If you miss it, the locals can be persuaded to give you a motorbike ride back to the station for about ₹100.
The bus will drop you off at the northern end of the beach, on a junction near the church.
There are a few more buses on the main road, but this means 10-15 minutes walk from the beach centre. The price to Chaudi is ₹7 or ₹8. To Canacona, about ₹25.
Taxis and auto rickshaws are a more comfortable and quicker alternative to the public bus.
Ask any rickshaw driver or taxi driver and they will take you there from Palolem, Patnem or Chaudi.
One or two autos usually stand near the church during the daytime. As always in India, bargain (the normal price to Chaudi or Palolem should be around ₹50, but many tourists end up paying ₹100 and more).
Motorbikes and scooters are offered for rent, both by house owners and by the auto guys near the church. A nearly-new Honda Activa or similar should cost ₹150-200 a day. (₹200 is a usual starting price, but during the peak period bargaining could be difficult), less if rented for more than a week or two.
Agonda's beach is very simple and natural. There are some sunbeds but when the tourist police or Canacona local government officials appear, any beach shades, sunbeds, chairs, etc. which are outside the confines of the shacks disappear pronto and the beach looks even more gorgeous and makes you realise why you went there and not to some built up resort.
Agonda beach is famous as a Ridley turtle nesting site. These animals are endangered. Please keep the noise level and the lights down at night at the beach to give them a chance to nest. The Panchayat ( village administration) is very invested in not allowing Agonda to become another overcrowded Palolem. Anything you can do to minimize waste, safe water or electricity will be much appreciated since the village is struggling to avoid environmental degradation and preserve its beauty for the next generation. It is very quiet place, not suitable for the party crowd.
- Cabo de Rama. An old fort built by a Hindu king named for Lord Rama, after a few battles, it was eventually taken over by the Portuguese. It has been abandoned and somewhat ruined, but within the fort is a chapel from Portuguese times that is still in use. Free.
A typical sun and sand holiday.
- Local fishermen take you on dolphin rides. Bargain hard and a boat can take up to people, costing ₹800.
- Hike on the hillocks.
- Ride through the countryside on the way to Cabo de Rama, Cola Beach with its beautiful river which is always warm.
- A meeting place for spiritually interested people. Here is Samdarshi's mediation Ashram in wintertime (Eden-Garden close to the north end) with Satsangs, and free Osho mediation techniques, dancing evenings.
- Cola Beach (or Khola Beach) is a remote, unspoilt beach for those seeking complete peace and relaxation, 10 km north from Agonda. Go north past Agonda, up and down hills, through villages, past the big temple on your left to the place where the bus stops. About 25 m after your exit is the only road sign for Cola Beach. Your exit is a sand and stone road going through the dried out landscape, just follow the main track for a few km’s and you’ll find yourself looking down on Cola Beach. It’s not all that easy to find this place, but it will be worth your effort. You park your bike or scooter where the road ends, and then there’s a 3-minute walk, down to the beach. Cola beach looks beautiful through the trees from the top of the path. The beach is actually three small bays, separated by large rocks. The middle beach covers a lagoon that stretches back into the jungle. When you walk down the stairs you’ll walk straight into the ‘Blue Lagoon’, the only option for eating and drinking on Cola Beach.
- There are a few yoga schools and yoga teacher training centers in Agonda.
There are stores stocking basic supplies in Agonda, as well as internet, phone and currency conversion services. HDFC Bank ATM is near the church. More shops, a Saturday market and several ATMs are a 20-minute drive away in the local town, Chaudi.
- New Noble Kashmir Art, Agonda (near the church). 8AM-9:30PM. Run by two young, very friendly Kashmiris, who sell wall hangings, papier-mâché figurines, silk/pashimna shawls and many other high-quality products from Kashmir. If you spend a bit more time in the shop, they can tell you all about how the things are produced and how their family is involved in the business.
There are no renowned eateries like the big beaches but you can order for most international cuisines. Not all places where you stay will have a restaurant. Nevertheless there are enough to survive upon. Dersey's on the southern end of Agonda beach is one of the restaurants open even during the low season, serving both Indian and local food. There's another (probably year-round) restaurant on the beach road closer to the northern end, but it seems to be overpriced with rates compared or even more than those on Palolem beach. During the high season, more places are opened, but still not too many.
If you do not afraid local food (and there's nothing dangerous in it, actually) and/or want to save money, Niki bar on the road to Chaudi (just where the road to Agonda Beach branches from it to the right) serves good fish thalis for a reasonable ₹30 in what seems to be a local eatery and an afternoon (as he closes his place around 5PM) drinking point for a few locals. Foreigners are seen there surprisingly often for such a "local" place.
Some local shops also do have a few tables and prepare basic food (omelettes, fish & veg thalis, tea, juice, etc.) during the high season, but their price tag is usually more "touristic" (less than in restaurants, however, that is ₹50-60 for a thali). One of them can be found just 50 m right from the church, at the end of the first building with small shops on the left side.
- Blue Planet Cafe, Agonda (off the main Agonda to Palolem road), ☏ . 8:30AM-9:30PM. Family-run organic vegetarian vegan cafe in a beautiful natural setting. Very friendly staff serving great healthy wholesome food. Fantastic juices and smoothies. Vegan cakes and deserts.
- Romance, Agonda (on the beach, about halfway down). Lovely owners. The food is slightly overpriced, but it's clean and tasty and the owners will let you sit there all day on a meal. The banana porridge is pretty good. They also have very nice and colorful (and nice inside) shacks they rent out. ₹60-₹150.
Agonda is a relatively quiet village, and there are much fewer opportunities for a fun evening out there than in Palolem. But, as it is Goa, buying drinks is not a problem, at least before 9-10PM. Restaurants offer beer at least; also, there is a wine shop around 100-150 m to the right from Agonda church and another one in Dersey's. Just opposite the church on the street leading away from the sea, there is a tiny and cheap local bar (small beer ₹30, big ₹60, they have Old Monk also) which is open till the evening. Don't expect many people there, however; you can easily be the only customer even in the evening.
Only basic accommodation options are available for stay in Agonda. Outside the main season which is from November to February, you have to arrange for a stay in a Goan family house. Off-season prices there, however, can be really low - for example, in October (when, while it's still humid a bit, most days are sunny) you can rent a room in a nice Portuguese-style villa from around ₹250 (peak high-season prices for the same could be around ₹600, or less in the wooden bungalows mostly built between the main street and the beach). While locals are mostly genuinely friendly and there's much less hassle from them than, say, in Palolem, some of them won't think twice before asking three or more times the normal price, especially if they see the person isn't used to the local prices. So, if you're asked much more than expected, bargain or better try another place.
Advance booking, however, is neither really needed (maybe except for a few peak days around New Year) nor saves any money (in fact, often you pay more).
- Agonda Beach Huts, Agonda Beach (central part of the beach, about 1km to the right from the Agonda beach road junction), ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: 11AM. Spacious cottages with attached baths and shaded sit outs. ₹800-2,000.
- Agonda Cottages, Agonda Beach Road (South end), ✉ email@example.com. 14 cottages with attached open-air bathrooms and coconut thatched roofs are positioned on the sand beneath the coconut trees. An all-day dining restaurant/bar is available. The cottages have a natural feel and look and inside there is a large double bed (with sprung mattress), wardrobe, table, fan, mosquito net and beautiful soft furnishings. The bathroom is open-air with solar heated hot water and a view of the coconut tree canopies and the stars.
- Agonda White Sand, Agonda Beach (northern end of the beach, about 0.5 km to the right from the Agonda beach road junction), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: noon, check-out: 11AM. Luxury beach cottages. With bar & restaurant. ₹1,800-3,500.
- 1 Agonda Villas, Agonda Beach (Center of Agonda beach), ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: noon, check-out: 11AM. All of the cottages are sea-facing. There is one spacious bedroom and a semi open-air shower/wc room, complete with a rainwater style shower and hot-water. At the front is a shaded veranda that overlooks your private sun-loungers and a view across the sand to the Arabian ocean. From ₹7,700-13,200.
- Cuba Agonda, Agonda Beach. Offers 7 luxury AC beach bungalows and 5 non-AC rooms. With bar & restaurant and sun beds.
- 2 DucknChill-Agonda, Beach road north end (near bridge Agonda), ☏ , ✉ DucknChill-Agonda@Beaches-of-Goa.com. Check-in: noon, check-out: 11AM. Resort hotel on the Beach of Agonda with 12 huts 3 different categories: Budget, Standard and Front with full sea view. All rooms have double bed, mosquito net, attached bathroom, front with hot shower and king size bed. All rooms have a veranda or balcony. Restaurant serves national and international dishes. Hotel also touts its "helpful nice staff" and 24-hour room service. Bikes and scooter for rent, horse riding, kayaks. from ₹1000.
- H2O Agonda, Agonda Beach (central part of the beach, about 200m south of the church), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Stylish and spacious cottages, each with its own balcony. With restaurant. Garden cottages ₹2,000-4,500, sea view cottages ₹4,000-7,000.
- Simrose. Check-in: noon, check-out: 11AM. Simrose huts are furnished simple but comfortable and have table and chairs on the outside balcony. All huts and rooms have private bath rooms with a western style WC and a wash hand basin, fans, and mosquito nets. With restaurant. ₹400-2,400.
- 3 The Bay Agonda (Bay Agonda Resort), Near, Bridge, Salleri, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: noon, check-out: 11AM. 10 sea-facing villas and 11 river-facing villas.
Agonda is a fairly safe place. While you should retain your common sense, lock the door and windows when going out, and not to leave your valuables unattended, chances to have any problems in Agonda are very slim. Even sellers offering useless "souvenirs" on the beach are much less annoying and less frequent here than in Palolem or northern beaches.
Local bus station is in Chaudi. It is useful mainly for going to the south (Karwar, Ankola, Gokarna, Mangalore), east (Hampi via Ankola), or some more remote locations like Bangalore. If you plan to visit North Goa or going somewhere further north - you should go straight to Margao, as from Chaudi it will be your first major stop anyway.
Train station in Chaudi (Canacona) has only a few trains a day stopping on it. Much more trains are leaving or stopping on Margao (Madgaon) station. Check IRCTC web site for details and online ticket bookings.
The nearest (international) airport is at Dabolim, 65 km away. To get there by bus, you'll need to first to Margao, then to Vasco Da Gama or to the airport directly. There is possibly direct bus from Karwar to Vasco/airport also, which stops at Canacona - check in advance whether it's available.
Taxis are advertised in Agonda by some establishments (shops, etc.) on the beach road - mostly for longer trips such as to airport or Margao.