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Candolim is a gorgeous section of beach on the West Indian coastline of Goa just north of the Mandovi River. It has a straight white sandy beach with rippling dunes. Whilst popular with many visitors, it still seems to have an air of quietness and can be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle at more animated resorts such as Calangute and Anjuna.
This narrow strip of coastline has accommodation that sits right by the beach, everything from boarding houses to grander resort hotels. If you love shopping, you will love Candolim where you can browse stall after stall of colourful clothes, crafts, jewellery and silverware. Traders are keen to engage you in conversation and will try and charge the highest price first, so haggling is the norm. Whilst conversation can often be fascinating, a firm, polite 'no' will allow you to pass by. Makeshift shacks made from wood and palm leaves are dotted around the beach giving you the chance to chill out with fantastic food and drinks. The delicious, freshly caught seafood, in particular, is highly recommended. Although still great value, the prices here for food and accommodation tend to be about double those in South Goa.
At the Sinquerim end of the beach there are loads of fun activities to keep you busy - parasailing, snorkelling, jet skiing, boat rides. Swimming in the beautiful Arabian Sea is considered safe on this part of the coastline. In contrast to all this strenuous activity, you can also get relaxing massages from the many masseurs who work on the sands. Alternatively you can soak up the sun under one of the many brightly coloured parasols - sun loungers are a real necessity as the sand gets really hot. Many of the hotels offer yoga and meditation classes so you can immerse yourself in peace and relaxation if you want to get away from it all.Aguaga Fort, built in 1612 by the Portuguese to defend the area against the Dutch, is well worth a visit. The views are spectacular, especially at sunset. Nearby is the oldest lighthouse in Asia - also the impressive stained-glass artwork in the sixteenth-century Our Lady of Hope Church has made it a popular place to visit too.
Dabolim Airport, near the capital Panaji, gives you air connections into the country, then there are loads of buses that travel between Panaji and Calangute via Sinquerim. There are taxi stands right by the beach at Candolim with a fixed price tariff, so you can explore the area to your heart's content. Alternatively hiring a bike or a scooter gives you even more adaptability at a great price.
Nightlife at Candolim is varied, from exquisite dining to listening to music in up market bars with great sound systems, there are no nightclubs as such but with the packed bars and shacks there is plenty of activity well into the early hours. Karaoke is well-loved in many bars; you can even experience cocktails and blues nights. December in particular is a great time to visit, with the Feast of Nossa Senhora bringing colourful celebrations and parades.