Anjuna is popular with backpackers, families planning extended stays, and young and old travelers. It has a fairly long, beautiful beach lined with palm trees. It is a little secluded. It is one of the main places in Goa for all-night techno parties. On Wednesdays there is the famous Anjuna Flea Market. Thousands of people come from all over Goa to buy and sell.
Swimming is safer here than at most of the other beaches, especially at the southern end of the beach, where a rocky headway keeps the sea relatively calm. Be careful of rocks when entering the water. This is why you will probably see everyone swimming in the same area on such a long beach.
Tour buses usually park at the north end of the beach, and there is a row of Kashmiri shops and cafes in this area. During lunchtime and in the afternoon, tour buses pull in and Indian tourists get out and walk around the beach.
Theft on the beach can be a problem. Be especially careful of children and vendors. On party nights, you should keep your valuables with you or leave them with the family with whom you are staying. Thieves sometime lift the tiles off houses to break in. The bank has safety deposit boxes.
If you are looking for a room, you could get off at Starco’s Crossroads, near the turnoff to Chapora. Most of the guest houses are located in this area. Near this crossroads are some shops, a motorcycle taxi stand, and it also serves as the bus stand.
Oxford Stores is a small department store sexe “Anjuna” lling Western goods, a good selection of vegetables and fruits, and other items. They also sell and process film. Open daily except Sunday 8 am to 8:30 pm. The small department store across the street often has many of the same items but at a lower price, especially fruits and vegetables.
The German Bakery, which is back from the beach, is a good place to eat and also has an excellent shop that has a good selection of hip clothing. There are a few other good shops near the German Bakery which also sell clothes. Near Starco Junction is a good shop selling Tibetan and fairly contemporary clothes.
Dr Manu Shah (4 to 6 pm), practices at the Orgasmic Restaurant. He is an Osteopath, does acupuncture, and practices natural medicine.
You can rent motorbikes at the repair shop about 1km from the beach (see map). There is a place that rents motorbikes across from the German Bakery. You can also ask in the restaurants about renting a motorbike.
You can often get a good massage at the beach here.
Note It is common for the police in Anjuna to check foreigners for licenses and insurance.
Anjuna Flea Market
During the Wednesday flea market, people come from the beaches all over Goa. There is a large selection of items for sale, and the place has a fascinating atmosphere in its setting amid the palm trees and next to the sea. It is an interesting experience.
If you want to look hip at the all-night parties, this is definitely the place to get outfitted. There is a good selection of clothes (Indonesian styles, etc.) sold or designed by Westerners (they often carry European price tags). You may want to look out for the European-type jewelry made by foreigners, which is often good and cannot be found in any other place in India.
If you plan on buying Rajasthani or Nepali goods, note that the items from these places sold at the flea markets are often double the price you would pay in either Rajasthan or Nepal.
You can get all types of clothes, Nepali goods, Tibetan goods, embroidered items, incense, a good selection of jewelry, semiprecious stones, crystals, fancy knives, handicrafts, hammocks, bedspreads, and other items at the flea market. There are also several people who sell the latest techno tapes, and there are good places to eat Indian, Israeli, or Western food. There are Ayurvedic doctors, professional hair cutters and colorers (foreigners), dreadlocks makers, and nose and body piercers. You can have your hair cut and painted in any style imaginable. You can also have different designs painted on your body which look like tattoos, but which last only a few weeks. I was quoted Rs 150 for temporary henna tattoo, but bargained them down to Rs 50.
Even if you don’t purchase anything, you will enjoy walking around. If you do plan to buy, be prepared to bargain hard.
The flea market opens around 8 am and closes at 6 pm. It is busiest in the early afternoon. Fishing boats depart from Baga to the market—Rs 50 for the trip (I bargained a few people down to Rs 30). Tour buses and taxis come from all over Goa.
Where to Stay
The main season is from early November to late March. During the Christmas season it is difficult to get a room in a guest house. If you want to stay during the Christmas-New Year season, it is best to arrange your accommodations in advance or to first go to Calangute or Baga and then make day trips until you can find a place to stay.
Many people stay in houses and cottages, but most houses are booked months in advance or rented year after year to the same people returning during the season. To find a house, ask in the restaurants, as they usually have contacts. You most likely will have to view several houses and to bargain a bit. The longer you plan to stay, the better your bargaining power will be. Houses are rented on a monthly basis. During December and January, prices for houses will be much higher.
The prices given here are for the high season (mid-Dec to late Jan). Other times, prices are thirty to fifty percent cheaper.
The main hangout place in Anjuna is the Shore Bar, in the middle of the beach. They have a loud sound system and play techno music. The busiest day is Wednesday after the flea market closes and a thousand people come here to listen to the music and watch the sunset. It closes at 11 pm. Late nighters then head to the Guru Bar or to the Primrose Cafe in Vagator, which are open past midnight.
Paradiso is a popular techno dance place. It starts happening after 12 midnight. Frequented by foreign tourists and well-to-do, hip Indians. It is not open every night.
To get to Anjuna from Panaji, take a bus to Mapusa (30 min), then another from Mapusa (20 min, 8km). The bus to Mapusa (every half-hour) begins in Chapora and goes through Vagator. By the time it reaches Anjuna, there are usually no seats left. There are buses every half-hour to Vagator (7 min) and Chapora (10 min).