A 45-minute bus ride up the coast from Panjim, CALANGUTE was, in Portuguese times, where well-to-do Goans would come for their annual mudança, or change of air, in May and June, when the pre-monsoonal heat made life in the towns insufferable. It remains the state’s busiest resort, but has changed beyond recognition since the days when straw-hatted musicians in the beachfront bandstand would regale smartly dressed strollers with Lisbon fados and Konkani dulpods. Mass package tourism, combined with a huge increase in the number of Indian visitors (for whom this is Goa’s number-one beach resort), has placed an impossible burden on the town’s rudimentary infrastructure. Hemmed in by four-storey buildings and swarming with traffic, the market area, in particular, has taken on the aspect of a typical makeshift Indian town of precisely the kind that most travellers used to come to Goa to get away from. In short, this is somewhere to avoid, although most people pass through here at some stage to eat: Calangute boasts some of the best restaurants in the state.
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