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Photo of the day: Fort Aguada, Goa

June 16, 2009

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Fort Aguada, Goa

Fort Aguada, Goa

The beaches of Candolim and Sinquerim (below Fort Aguada) are popular with charter and upmarket tourists. The pace is a little less frenetic than at Calangute and Baga up the coast. Independent travellers are rare here, most of the hotels being favoured by package-tour operations. The beach at Fort Aguada is notable for its rocky and attractive headland, while Candolim has the rusting hulk of a grounded tanker, the River Princess – it’s not a very pretty princess. Some of the best-value beach accommodation in Goa lines
the quiet back lanes of both villages.

Guarding the mouth of the Mandovi River, Fort Aguada was constructed by the Portuguese in 1612. It’s worth visiting the moated ruins on the hilltop for the views, which are particularly good from the old lighthouse.
Nearby is the new lighthouse (adult/child Rs 5/3; 4-5.30pm). It’s a pleasant 2km ride along a hilly, sealed road to the fort, or you can walk via a steep, uphill path past Marbella Guest House. Beneath the fort, facing the Mandovi, is the Aguada Jail. Most of the inmates here (including some tourists on compulsory, extended stays) are in on drug charges. Needless to say, it’s not really much of tourist destination.

There are various boat cruises on offer. The best value are John’s Boat Tours (Tel: +91 832 2497450), further up behind Candolim Beach. The half-day dolphin trip (Rs 795, with a no-dolphin, no-pay guarantee) includes lunch and beers on the boat; the popular full-day ‘Crocodile Dundee’ river trip (Rs 995) includes lunch at a spice plantation and free drinks. It also offers an overnight backwater trip on a Kerala-style houseboat (Rs 4000 full board), and a variety of nonwatery trips. The Taj Holiday Village organizes para-gliding and rents jet-skis and windsurfing equipment.

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