Picturesque Palolem Beach, enclosed by a thick forest of coconut palms in far south Goa, is arguably the state's most beautiful beach. This mile long, shady, semi-circle shaped beach continues to grow in popularity every year, and it's become very lively with the diverse crowd that it attracts.
Palolem is located in south Goa, 43 kilometers (27 miles) from Marago and 76 kilometers (47 miles) from Panaji, the state's capital.
Getting to Palolem:
The closest railway stations to Palolem are Marago on the Konkan Railway and Canacona (also known as Chaudi). Canacona is a 10 minute drive away from Palolem and the journey costs around 100 rupees ($2) in an auto rickshaw. Marago is 40 minutes away and costs 600-700 rupees in a taxi. Alternatively, Goa's Dabolim airport is around one and a half hours away. A taxi from the airport will cost 1,000-1,500 rupees ($20-30). There's a pre-paid taxi counter after you exit the airport, on your left.
The weather at Palolem is warm throughout the year. Temperatures rarely reach more than 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day or drop below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. Some winter nights can get a bit chilly from December to February though. Palolem receives rain from the southwest monsoon
from June to August, and most places on the beach close down during this time (including the beach huts, which get dismantled). The tourist season kicks off in late October, and starts slowing down around March.
Palolem offers both relaxation and adventure. Those who've had enough of lounging on the beach can go dolphin spotting or fishing in a boat, or take an inexpensive boat trip along the backwater canals during high tide. Hiring a kayak is also a good way to explore the surroundings. During low tide, it's possible to walk to Butterfly Beach (which becomes an island when the tide is in) where there are hiking trails and striking sunsets to be enjoyed. For those who like to shop, Palolem also has a market just behind the beach that sells jewelry, clothes, and souvenirs. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary makes a pleasant day trip from Palolem.
Everyone, from long term travelers to package tourists, seems to have found an appropriate place for themselves on Palolem Beach. As a result, there are completely different atmospheres from one end of the beach to the other. The quieter and laid back north tends to attract families, while backpackers congregate in the center and south where the party scene is. The ocean is also gentler in the north and doesn't get deep as quick as in the south, which is safer for small children.
The feature at Palolem is the temporary coco huts, which line the beach from October until May. Some are more basic than others, and can come with or without a bathroom. This guide to the best Goa beach huts
offers some suggestions. In addition, Camp San Fransisco
is known to provide amongst the cheapest huts on the beach. Cirians
, located in the middle of Palolem Beach, has well appointed luxury huts in beautiful surroundings. Rooms are also available in guest houses and hotels set back from the beach. Om Sai Guest House
, located at the northern end of Palolem market, is recommended as an inexpensive alternative to the beach huts. For something really unique and rejuvenating, don't miss Turiya Villa and Spa.
This gorgeously renovated Goan villa is less than 10 minutes drive away in Chaudi, and is haven that you'll never want to leave. Even if you're not staying there, do go for the Ayurvedic spa treatments.
The nightlife at Palolem is as eclectic as the people that the beach attracts. Dance music, live music, reggae, and rock -- it pumps until the early hours of the morning, if not through speakers at least though headphones at the unique Silent Noise Parties
. Silent Noise parties are held every Saturday at Neptune Point, the rocky peninsula on the southern side of the beach. Cafe Del Mar and Cocktails & Dreams (yes, it is based on the movie starring Tom Cruise) have 24 hour licenses, so are the places to be for other late night or early morning action.
Palolem Travel Tips:
Many people wonder whether they should book their accommodation in advance at Palolem, or just turn up and hope they find a beach hut. If you're not too fussy about where you stay, it's possible to do the latter. However, the good places do fill up quickly during peak season in December and January, so booking ahead can be wise. Make sure you bring a flashlight and mosquito repellent. A sweater can also come in handy during the cooler months.