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Oct 20, 2015

Your Guide to… Vagator

Vagator, Goa

Vagator is the perfect place to spend some time, no matter what you’re looking for during your stay. Its idyllic beaches, wild jungle and sleepy atmosphere are just part of what makes this place so appealing, combine that with the fact that it is just fifteen minutes away from the party town of Anjuna and you have yourself the perfect destination. Jungle Hostel backs onto, as you might have guessed, Vagator’s very own natural jungle, meaning that you can eat breakfast whilst watching monkeys swing past and enjoy the tranquility which Mother Nature offers. If you can tear yourself away from the oasis of calm which Jungle Hostel provides then head out into Vagator and see what other gems you can discover.

jungle hostel

A room with a view…

There are two main beaches in Vagator, both are worth checking out, with the most popular being Little Vagator. As you come out of the hostel take a right, and continue to walk straight until you hit the ocean, from here head down the grassy hill to your left and you’ll reach a gorgeous beach lined with chilled out shacks and bars. The further to the left you walk the more isolated you will become, especially after heading over the rocks at the far end of the beach, here is the ideal spot for a refreshing dip in the sea and an (almost) uninterrupted sunbathing session. There are a couple of delicious restaurants along this beach, don’t be put off by their unassuming exteriors, as the food is cheap, tasty and the perfect excuse to escape the midday sun. On your way back from the beach you can have a browse through some of the stalls selling souvenirs and clothes, or grab a refreshing fresh coconut water and a delicious corn on the cob (just to keep you going up the hill..!).

Vagator Beach

Peaceful Vagator Beach

The easiest way to explore Vagator and the surrounding area is to rent a scooter, which you can organise from reception at the hostel. This frees you up to drive around at your leisure and head out to some of Goa’s other great beaches. If you are a little nervy then spend some time practising in the driveway of the hostel, there will be plenty of people around willing to help you out and share some handy techniques. The roads around Vagator are relatively chilled out, making it the perfect place to gain some confidence; you’ll find yourself driving like a local in no time!

Once you’ve got yourself mobile then you can truly begin to appreciate all that this awesome part of Goa has to offer. Vagator is surrounded by beautiful nature and stunning scenery and one of the best ways to make the most of this is to head up to Chapora Fort for sunset one evening. The fort is just a short drive from the hostel and is the remains of a fort built in the 1700s. The views are amazing, allowing you to enjoy a more peaceful side to Goa.

Chapora Fort

Chapora Fort

If you find yourself in Vagator on a Friday then a trip to Mapusa market is an absolute must. Try to head out in the morning to miss the midday heat, as it can get pretty hot and sweaty when you’re wandering around amongst the colourful stalls selling clothing, souvenirs, food and other goodies. It’s one of the places to head to if you’re looking for a slightly more authentic experience than some of the other tourist markets offer. You can easily jump on a bus from the bus stop just up the road from the hostel, just ask at reception for bus timings and directions.

Mapusa, Goa

Mapusa Market

Deciding where to eat each evening is probably the most stressful thing you’ll ever have to do in Vagator, there are so many delicious restaurants to try out, although the easiest, and therefore the most popular, is the infamous Mango Tree. Situated just to the left of the hostel, Mango Tree serves up a wide range of tasty treats for a reasonable price.  It’s constantly busy and thanks to its late opening hours it’s a great place to have a few (or several) beers and enjoy the ever changing, and incredibly varied soundtrack, which never fails to entertain. Around the hostel there are a few other places to eat, including Ujwal (directly opposite the entrance to Jungle) which will, if you ask the staff really nicely, sometimes deliver your food to the hostel after you’ve ordered and paid for it.The road leading down to the beach has a few decent restaurant, such as Jaws, which does great dosas for just Rs80 and Tin Tins which has a great menu as well as a comfy seating area. If you fancy treating yourself then head to Thalassa, a beautiful Greek restaurant, with incredible views and delicious food. Although it may not be ideal for those on a budget, Thalassa is well worth a visit, especially at sunset.

Perhaps the second trickiest decision you’ll make is where to let your hair down in the evenings, or if indeed to go out at all. There’s always the option of remaining in the hostel and enjoying socialising with other guests, watching a film or enjoying the BBQ. If you feel like a night out on the town however, then Vagator and the surrounding area has plenty of options to suit all tastes. You’ll find inspiration on where to go each evening through word of mouth or the flyers you will undoubtedly be handed whilst relaxing on the beach. Club Cubana is one of Goa’s most impressive clubs and it’s most popular night tends to be Ladies’ Night which happens every Wednesday during the season. Ladies enter for free and enjoy unlimited drinks all night long, whilst the boys have to pay a cover charge of around Rs1200 (if they are accompanied by a girl) and then can drink as much as they like once inside. The club itself is pretty impressive, with several bars and several dance floors, there’s also a swimming pool and gorgeous views. From Jungle Hostel you can jump in a taxi for Rs400, which, when shared between a few people, is a cheap start to the night. Katezensuppe is one of Vagator’s few late night bars, which is only a short walk from the hostel. Here you’ll find cheap drinks and a range of techno beats which will keep you dancing until the early hours of the morning. There are also a few small, yet extremely lively, bars in the neighbouring village of Chapora. The small, main street is always buzzing and there’s sure to be a bar there which will appeal to you. Look out for the man selling egg sandwiches on the street (he always has a group of people surrounding him), as he makes some of the tastiest fast food you’ll ever eat.

Whether you spend your time in Vagator partying or relaxing (or a bit of both!) you’ll discover that this small town will accommodate your every need, and it won’t be long before you find yourself considering extending your stay.

Jungle Hostel, Vagator

Chill out in the common area at the hostel

written by India Letcher

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