Barely a couple of kilometres of clifftops and parched grassland separate Anjuna from the southern fringes of Vagator. Spread around a tangle of winding back lanes, this is a more chilled, undeveloped resort that appeals, in the main, to southern European beach bums who come back year after year.
With the red ramparts of Chapora fort looming above it, Vagator’s broad sandy beach – known as “Big Vagator” – is undeniably beautiful. However, a peaceful swim or lie on the sand is out of the question here as it’s a prime stop for bus parties of domestic tourists. A much better option, though one that still sees more than its fair share of day-trippers, is the next beach south. Backed by a steep wall of crumbling palm-fringed laterite, Little (or “Ozran”) Vagator beach is actually a string of three contiguous coves. To reach them you have to walk from where the buses park above Big Vagator, or drive to the end of the lane running off the main Chapora–Anjuna road (towards the Nine Bar), from where footpaths drop sharply down to a wide stretch of level white sand (look for the mopeds and bikes parked at the top of the cliff). Long dominated by Italian tourists, the southernmost – dubbed “Spaghetti Beach” – is the prettiest, with a string of well-established shacks, at the end of which a face carved out of the rocks, staring serenely skywards, is the most prominent landmark. Relentless racquetball, trance sound systems and a particularly sizeable herd of stray cows are the other defining features.