The sun setting over the Arabian Sea and the fishermen folk returning towards the iconic red cliffs of Vagator pose the perfect end to the day for travelers backpacking in Vagator. For those moments in the dusk, you could see almost everyone transfixed as a painter admiring his work. Vagator goes through a magical transformation in those hours. With the sea as the night backdrop, the beach comes alive with lights and music as shacks set up for the night shift. The inner streets of Vagator are lined with hostels, art cafes, restos and bars which host musicians, DJs and other performing artists. As the tourist traffic departs from Vagator, these spots start filling in with their resident travelers.
Vagator beach, the most popular tourist spot in Vagator, is split in two – North Vagator Beach and Ozran (or Little Vagator) beach. The Northern beach has a broader and longer sand area but Ozran is more secluded.
There is a good reason why major music festivals like Sunburn moved base to Vagator. Sunburn and other such fests are held late December or just after the new year. Disco Valley, popular for Goan trance parties since the 1990s, is another reason why travelers from different corners visit this land of Backpackers.
The diversity in the crowds of Vagator is incredible to witness. What unifies them is their like-mindedness about travel, music and culture. Backpackers from all over the world are drawn to this little carefree part of Goa – Vagator.
Best Time To Visit Vagator
The monsoon of Western Ghats is a thing to experience. It transforms Goa into an idyllic place where tourists explore the natural flora and fauna, enjoy long drives and go on river cruises.
The famous ‘Dudhsagar Falls’ are a sight to behold during peak monsoons. Activities like rafting on the Mahadayi / Mandovi river and bicycle tours are quite popular with adventurous types. Even though the beach shacks open only in late October or early November, tourists love walking along the beaches mesmerized at the high waves during the monsoons.
The winter, between November and February, is the prime time for backpacking to Vagator. It is during the peak months of December and January that it sees the most influx of tourists. It is the season of music festivals and New Year parties in India. If you are a backpacker who wants to enjoy the quiet and tranquil side of Goa, visit Vagator in November or February.
Getting to and going around in Vagator
Reaching Goa by air is the most preferred mode for most international tourists. There is good connectivity by road and rail routes to other parts of India. Vagator is an hour’s drive from Dabolim International Airport at Vasco da Gama (46kms).
Sturmfrei Tip – Take a prepaid taxi or get your tour operator to arrange one for you.
The nearest railway station Thivim (17kms) is about half an hour’s drive to Vagator.
Panaji, the capital of Goa, is about 22 kilometers via the NH66. Neighbouring town of Mapusa (10.4kms) is the go-to place for provisions and shopping for locals and long-standing travelers.
Sturmfrei tip – Once you have checked in to your hostel (or hotel) renting out a two-wheeler or a car is the best way to go about Goa. Early morning drives in Goa are soul-refreshing, to say the least.
Hostels, Cafes and Flea Markets in Vagator
Once you are in Vagator, you can almost feel the laid back nature of the town. Even in the peak season, Vagator offers seclusion to its residents. This kind of vibe attracts backpackers and travelers with no fixed itinerary. Over the last few years, backpacker hostels have come up which are building a community for travelers and backpackers with affordable and guest-friendly services. Sturmfrei Hostel is one of the most sought after hostels in Vagator which is attracting backpackers from around the world. Offering comfortable and budget-friendly stay with lip-smacking food, guests at Sturmfrei live their best days in Vagator by celebrating every moment with an attitude of freedom.
Goan cuisine has always been popular with travelers. Vagator boasts of some of the best cafes and open-air clubs like HillTop, Primrose and Sturmfrei hostel Cafe. Vagator’s Thalassa, famous for its Greek food, is located on the cliff overlooking Ozran Beach.
Flea markets are part of the Goa charm and something not to miss out on. The Wednesday Anjuna Markets and the Saturday night flea market in Arpora are the ones that deserve special mention.
Robert’s place, near Primrose, is a 24hour convenience store. Vagator’s very own modest flea market is hosted here.
One can buy fish straight off the fighting boats in Chapora when they come to dock at the jetty in the evening.
Sturmfrei Tip – Brush up on your bargaining skills for the flea markets.
Things to do while in Vagator
Experience the nightlife
The nightlife at Vagator is what legendary stories are made of. During peak season there are trance fests and parties at the beach.
Sturmfrei Tip – HillTop has a party every Sunday evening in the tourist season.
Rent out a scooter and cover all the beaches from Anjuna to Ashvem. They all have a distinct flair of the Goan Hippie mood and
There are a lot of water sport activities that take place in Vagator and are comparatively cheaper than other beaches. Also, don’t be surprised if someone randomly invites you to join a free yoga class.
Visit the Chapora fort, witness Portuguese colonies and culture. Experience Goan cuisine from local food joints. Visit the Siolim Fish Market to see how the local markets operate.
Sturmfrei Tip – Go to banks or MoneyGram or Travelex for exchanging currency. Locals won’t have foreign currency. Also, keep local police and ambulance contact for emergencies.
There are a lot of stories out there, waiting for you to live them. It is time to pack your bag and head to your dream destination. Remember! You don’t need magic to disappear, all you need is a destination and a great backpacker’s hostel!