Goa’s most famous secret
Tucked into the hills behind the popular resorts of Baga and Calangute, Arpora is North Goa’s most famous secret. It dishes up a taste of the real India – you’ll still see rickshaws trundling along the leafy village streets and chickens clucking around people’s courtyards. And against a backdrop of paddy fields and palm groves are a scattering of plush hotels and restaurants.
Calangute Beach, known as the Queen of Beaches, is a busy stretch of golden sand around 20 minutes’ walk from Arpora. There’s a real buzz about this place. It’s just as popular with Indian visitors as it is with Western holidaymakers, thanks to gently shelving water, a parade of beach huts, and a great portfolio of watersports. To the north, it blends seamlessly into Baga Beach, where the backpacking set hangs out. Here, you’ll find handicrafts, henna tattoos and Indian head massages up for grabs.
Quite a contrast is the sleepy Baga Creek that threads through Arpora. Along its banks you’ll find a collection of fine restaurants serving up Goan dishes as well as international cuisine. And just north of the river is the Arpora night market that swings open its doors every Saturday. Here, you’ll find row upon row of trestle tables bowing under the weight of must-have Indian handicrafts, plus sizzling street food stands, live Indian classical music, and a late-night bar.
Close to Baga
A 15-minute walk away is Baga, one of the original Sixties hippie hangouts and still one of Goa’s most popular destinations. It’s famous for its nightlife – if you go anywhere, make sure it’s Tito’s, one of India’s best-known nightspots. Visit during the day and you’ll also discover some magnificent buildings, like St Alex’s Church and the Shri Shantadurga Temple.