Development in North Goa is concentrated mainly behind the 7km, strip of white sand that stretches from the foot of Fort Aguada, crowning the peninsula east of Panjim, to Baga creek in the north. Encompassing the resorts of Candolim, Calangute and Baga, this is Goa’s prime charter belt and an area most independent travellers steer well clear of.
Since the advent of mass tourism in the 1980s, the alternative “scene” has drifted progressively north away from the sunbed strip to Anjuna and Vagator – site of some of the region’s loveliest beaches – and scruffier Chapora, which still has the feel of a fishing village (although overfishing means few boats actually go out these days). Further north still, Arambol has thus far escaped any large-scale development, despite the completion of the new road bridge across the Chapora River. Aswem and Mandrem, just south of Arambol, are this stretch of coast’s hot tips: still reasonably off-track, though rapidly filling up.