This trip talks about a journey inside South Goa’s Leopard Valley, to reach a beautiful beach called Butterfly Beach. I had been to the beach before in 2016
The previous trip was through a boat, this one was to explore a forest bike ride and trek to reach the beach. Read on
Cancona, was a place I discovered in 2009, when I did a quick impromptu trip on a Friday evening from Mumbai (where I was living then). Over the years I have found that Cancona is the closest place to Bangalore/Chennai when you enter through the Konkan Coast, and that means lesser time spent on the commute within Goa, and more time on the beaches.
Over the years, I have managed to do a few trips to the Southern part of Goa, around Agonda. The latest Agonda trip that I am talking about is to a beautiful beach between Agonda and Palolem, called Butterfly Island
Here’s a video showing the same. Scroll down further for images and the story of the trip.
Waves Crashing Loud
The sea was loud. The waves were crashing time and again on the coast. It looked like the waves would come anytime for us, staying by a shack in Goa’s southern coast. There’s one small part of me that’s saying that wont happen, and another part of me wanting to get up, but when you are sleeping well, you have to make a choice between continuing the dream you are in, or wake up to the reality that is visible when you open your eyes.
I woke up early at 5 am, and had a look at Nandu. He was fast asleep, but having slept the previous night at 9 pm, I assumed it would not be a tough ask to wake him up at 645 am for the trek planned today. He must have had a relaxed sleep, as he had been running the whole day on the beach, and found companionship with Manny (Kavita and Manveer’s kid- The folks who run Manveer’s Kitchen in Agonda Beach) and his dog ‘Whisky’.
After a little while, I woke up Nandu, and proceeded to drive first towards Chaudi, which was about 8 kilometres from the beach shack/AirBnB I was staying at. The chill in the wind was hitting Nandu, and he asked me to go slower, but that did not seem to help either. So I asked Nandu to go behind me on the 2 wheeler, as we took about 15-20 minutes to find our way to Chaudi. We crossed Leopard Valley, the eventual place of our trip. We were asked by a local to get in after 7 30 am, as he said it may not be safe to be there in the early hours of the morning owing to a recent rape incident in the woods. We stopped at the only eatery open at this time which happened to be a Udupi Hotel. The Goan places, even if opened would usually have buns and samosa, which have never evoked respect from my stomach as morning breakfast. Meanwhile, we stopped at a Graffiti place, because it looked beautiful and haunting at the same time, and a little bit of colour could help Nandu shake off his morning lazyness
Finding Leopard Valley
We drove slowly, wanting to get directions right. Google Maps drains out most of the energy on the phone, and given that I was going to be on the road for a bit, I wanted to save some phone battery for filming my journey, though I also use a Go-Pro and a Drone. We stopped in 3 places, whenever we had the premonition that we were going off tangent. Each of the stops, confirmed that our premonitions were unfounded and wrong, and we finally reached Leopard Valley.
I saw a parking spot, but no humans around. I was not sure, if I had to leave the bike and walk from there. I proceeded to drive further and met a couple of people, who told me that I still had 15 minutes of motoring, post which I had to begin the walk. My journey continued through shrubs, creepers, inclined mud paths before I encountered paradise. You should relive this experience in the video!
Getting to Leopard Valley/Butterfly Beach
The direct train gets only to Madgaon. You need to get down there and take another passenger train that gets to Cancona, or take a bus from Madgaon to Chaudi/Cancona, and from there get to Palolem/Agonda
Board a private bus from Anand Rao Circle that starts by 7 pm. It would drop you at the Kadamba Bus stand (Cancona) at 7 am, from where you go and find your hotel. Take a 2 wheeler and get to the route mentioned.
Alternatively, take a late night bus to any of the coastal cities of Mangalore/Udupi/Kundapura/Gokarna and then take a train at Cancona
If you have a lot of time and city hopping, you could consider staying at Karwar Railway station (in their retiring rooms) and then catching the 6 AM KR2 passenger train, which comes steaming in to Cancona at 6: 20 am. I once did that taking a train from Karwar to Pernem
The best train on a Friday evening is the Gandhidham-Nagercoil express- Train # 16335, that leaves at Vasai Road at 20:40 or Panvel at 22:00 and reaches Canacona at 8 am.