The Bay of Palolem and its crescent-shaped beach are one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa. Located in Goa’s very South, the former insiders’ tip has become increasingly popular with Indian tourists. At the same time Palolem managed to maintain its alternative atmosphere and beautiful atmosphere from paradise.
Beach Shacks and Restaurants at the Bay
Palolem is mainly a collection of beach shacks and restaurants chained along the coastline and offering an ocean view. Wide parts of the beach are largely not built-up. You only find some boats here. Right after the beach line, right under palm trees, the line of shacks and restaurants starts. Even here, you are still walking on fine, white sand.
The first row of hats has an open sea view. Even the second and maybe the third row still offer a veritable view. Some of these wooden shacks have one floor, others even two.
The beach shacks are constructed for one season and get entirely removed during monsoon season. Considering this, their standard is very high. Most importantly, they have water closets and running water. They walls are only thin wooden panels, though. These beach shacks cannot be compared to hotels, they are rather simple hats.
Prices are reasonable even though they tend to vary strongly. For 20 Euro, you definitely find something here, much less in off-season.
A Maze of Hotels Further Inland
A few meters off the coastline you find the first real hotels that means solid buildings with walls and quite often an AC. Most of them are smaller, quite often only 3 – 6 rooms. Some of these hotels are 50 meters from the beach, others a bit farther. You can get good prices here too, 30 to 40 Euros per night.
Palolem has a kind of center and main access to the beach. This is usually where the cabs take you. You have to look for your hotel or shack yourself. That is why you see guests walking along the beach with their luggage all the time. The paths between these hotels are narrow; you can easily walk or use a scooter but not a car. In the beginning, this maze is a bit confusing.
In the center, there are some stores with all necessities but nothing more. Of course, they also sell all kinds of tourist stuff (silver jewelry, scarves, spices, T-shirts, clothes, bags). The quality in the stores is a bit higher than anything the beach hawkers offer.
Restaurants at the Coast
All the beach restaurants can in fact be recommended. All of them offer ocean view; you can sit in the shade and face the water. Quite often, they also have sun beds at the beach and also serve food there.
They offer a vast variety of food you can basically get anything here. There are no big, all-inclusive hotels. That is why all the guests go to these restaurants even for breakfast. You can go to a different place every day, the quality is good everywhere. Sometimes it’s even difficult to remember where you were the day before, these restaurants are all very much alike.
For Indian standard, these restaurants are not cheap but compared to German restaurants, prices are still reasonable.
In addition, there are several restaurants off the beach with all kinds of stuff. You can eat for less money here.
In Palolem, boat tours are popular. There are small wooden boats at the beach with which you can take a trip on the ocean. These tours take place usually mostly for sunrise and sunset but any other time is possible. The sellers find you at the beach, offer their boat tour and how much you pay is part of a bargaining process. The boat takes you off the coast to the ocean. You see the coast from the water probably a dolphin and maybe they take you to a little island in front of Palolem (Canacona). Some more routes go to the river channel close by or a field trip to the “Butterfly Beach”, a beach almost inaccessible from the main land. All of these tours are nice little trips, don’t expect anything spectacular but rather enjoy the view and relax.
Fun Fact: The boats are pulled in and out of the water with pure manpower, there are no machines anywhere. Male beach visitors are often asked to help get the boat in or out.
If, in high season you feel Palolem is a bit too busy for you, you can go to the neighbor beach Patnem. Patnem also is a very beautiful beach with a similar crescent shape, similar restaurants and beach shacks but less busy and quieter. Further south of Patnem, there is a 5-star hotel resort for guests with high demands.