Anjuna beach is one of the most popular beaches in North Goa and is also called Little Vagator Beach in the south. This was one of the first beaches in Goa to become popular, thanks to the hippie culture of the 1960s and the 1970s. It is now a favorite with many backpackers coming from all over the world. Though it continues to pull in droves of backpackers, mid range and domestic tourists are increasingly making their way here for a dose of hippie-chic.
How to reach Anjuna?
Anjuna is 22.2 kilometers from Panaji, Goa's state capital via the NH 66. The beach is 46 kilometers from Vasco da Gama. The closest railway station is Thivim, which is 19.3 kilometers from the beach. There are local buses from Mapusa to Anjuna which costs around INR 15. The closest airport is the Dabolim Airport. It will cost around INR 1200 to INR 1500 to reach Anjuna by prepaid taxi services available at the airport.
What to do?
Visit the Anjuna Flea Market (only on Wednesdays). It is one of the biggest market attraction in Goa. Stalls selling a variety of clothing, handicrafts and eatables are set up along the road that terminates at Anjuna beach. It was conceived and created by hippies about three decades ago. Foreigners are attracted to these stalls and the stall sellers are from various parts of the world. However you have to bargain hard to get the right price. The market opens in the morning and goes on till 7 PM.
Visit the Saturday night market. There are infact two saturday night markets. One is the Saturday Night Bazaar and the other is the Arpora Night Market. I found the latter one to be better in terms of good sold, music, food and the overall vibe. Both these market are open till 4 AM in the morning. Unlike the Flea Market, most of the shops in the night markets follow the fixed price scheme. The shopkeepers are mostly Indians and a few of them are foreigners who have permanently settled in Goa. A variety of clothes, spices, lamps, bags, healing crystals, footwear etc can be bought here for a very cheap price. Visit the beaches. The Anjuna beach is one of the cleanest and less crowded beach unlike Calangute and Candolim. This beach houses a lot of beautiful beach shacks and is ideal for people who want to have a laid back beach holiday. The Ozran beach is located at a distance of 3.5 kms from Anjuna Beach and is one of the most picturesque beaches of Goa. It is framed by green hills and rock formations and is also the house of the popular Shiva face rock. The Vagator beach is a kilometer away from the Ozran beach. Vagator Beach has dramatic red cliffs looking down on the shore and two fresh water springs within a stone's throw of the sea. This beach has a lot of souvenir shops and decent restaurants. Visit the Chapora Fort aka the famous Dil Chahta Hai fort. The fort is currently in ruins as it has not been used for more than a century, since 1892. Only a portion of the outer walls remain. The barracks are vaguely visible. There are trees and small bushes everywhere. The Chapora fort trail is made of red laterite stones. It starts from the parking area and ends at the other side, passing through the Dil Chahta Hai corner, the Vagator Hill View, and Vagator Delta View. The only thing I didn't like about the place was that there was no information at all about the history of the fort in the premises.
Get a tattoo or a braid. There are numerous tattoo shops on the way to the Anjuna Beach. If you are a tattoo person then get one to commemorate your trip. If you aren't sure then you can get a temporary spray tattoo just like I did. But make sure you google for the best and safe tattoo shops. Also there will be women selling colourful bracelets at the beach and will offer you to braid your hair with colourful threads for a cheap price. You can go ahead and get one if you want cool pictures.
Where to eat ?
The Elephant Art Cafe. This beach cafe has the best ambience in Anjuna. The white sheer curtains, the tropical print cushions, the textured grey wall and the mesmerizing beach view are a few reasons why you must visit this cafe. The path from the road which leads to the cafe is so beautiful. The food is yummmm and their banana pancakes is a must try.
The Artjuna Cafe. Based in a Portuguese house, surrounded by a beautiful garden, this cafe cum lifestyle store is truly worth a visit. It also has an event area, a workshop space and a kids play area. The cafe area is huge and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days. There is also an excellent library. They serve a varieties of salads, sandwiches and a lot of other dishes from the Mediterranean cuisine. They also have a special vegan menu. Their fluffy pancakes, waffles and smoothie bowls are must tries.
Curlies. It is one of the first ever beach shacks, located at the Anjuna Beach strip. What started as a small shack has today become one of the major landmarks in Goa. Expanding over the years, it has developed in its own way to become two floors complex with two restaurants, bars, internet café, Sea View veranda, Tea House, Shopping, Indoor club and fully prepared for hosting a party up to 500 people dance floor.
Here is a list of some of the other cheap shacks and restaurants in Anjuna.
Janet & John's bar and multi-cuisine sea food
Lobos juice bar and restaurant
Fish oven shack
Goa's Ark restaurant
Where to stay?
Since Anjuna is a place which attracts a high number of backpackers, it is very easy to find budget hotels and hostels. Anjuna has some of the best hostels in Goa in terms of ambience, cleanliness, price etc. If you are solo traveler staying in hostels is the best way to make new friends and travel buddies. Here is a list of some of the best hostels in Anjuna.
Craft Hostel. It has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. Providing a garden, the property is located within a few steps of Anjuna Flea Market. The property provides a 24-hour front desk and a shared kitchen for guests. It is hands down the best hostel I've ever stayed in. The host is the sweetest person and she helped me with planning the rest of my trip and gave me some incredible cafe suggestions.
Red Door Hostel. Featuring a terrace and only 500 m from the Anjuna Beach, Red Door Hostel is located in the village of Anjuna, in Goa. It offers air-conditioned accommodations with a garden and free Wi-Fi is in all areas. Other facilities offered include luggage storage, dry cleaning and a laundry. Free private parking is available on site.Featuring a terrace and only 500 m from the Anjuna Beach, Red Door Hostel is located in the village of Anjuna, in Goa. It offers air-conditioned accommodations with a garden and free Wi-Fi is in all areas.
Wonderland Hostel. This is the hostel with the most hippie vibe. Wonderland Hostel provides a ticket service, non-smoking rooms, a garden, free WiFi and a shared lounge. The staff are extremely helpful and the atmosphere is so chilled out.
Click here for the list of all hostels in Anjuna. Use this link to list your properties and earn money. For more such travel on a budget ideas visit www.anurkishnan.com and reach out to me on Instagram. Keep coming back.