This beach where I experienced peace, fun and tranquility is located in South Goa, Canacona. It's walkable distance from the highway (Edapally Panvel highway). So, in case you are coming in bus from southern part of the country, this arrives just when in enter state of Goa.
So Goa is known for its beaches and mountains. The beaches in Goa offers you variety with beaches. In North Goa it ranges from party destinations to highly touristy beaches and South witnessing secluded beaches. Palolem beach is one hell of a beach which offers something for every type of visitor.
To start with, the lovely beach has everything, that a beach can offer in an interesting landscape - mesmerizing beauty, superlative sunset, few extremely beautiful shacks and beach huts. What essentially makes this beach so beautiful is the 'U' shaped design or the 'crescent shaped' bay of palolem.
Both ends of the beach has small mountain or rocks, which makes this beach sort of a bay. Almost the entire shore is lined with tall coconut trees. This huge flat beach with shallow waters, with lovely goldenish white soft sand makes it ideal for a swim.
The calm waters, lovely waves ebbing and flowing and soothing sound of the waves makes it an amazing destination.
This beach attracts tourists mostly from Britain, Ireland and Europeans in general. It is well maintained and very clean too. However, you do find many many stray dogs and sometimes cows as well.
Northern end of the beach has a fresh water stream and across the stream lies a small undeveloped island that can be reached by just swimming across during low tide or taking a boat.
The morning view of the beach:
We can soak in its breathtaking views from the right end till the other end in one glimpse of the eyes. Both ends have natural rocks which look as though its trying to touch the sea. It has little islands in the north side and a village behind the beach.
Since the beach is a bit flat with less waves it makes it ideal for sea kayaking. We tried hands on kayaking and oh boy! , the view of the beach from the beach side was mesmerising. The U shaped shore with lined coconut trees , Coco huts on a lovely goldenish white sand with very few people was like a postcard picture.
We can see several European tourists walking the shore, few jogging and a few swimming in the morning. But the most interesting is the yoga classes on the beach and a few foreigners just practicing yoga as if there was no one watching them.
I also saw a few adsorbing the abundance of positive vibes by doing meditation facing the ocean. It motivated me to copy the same and meditate in this tranquil location. We then leisurely walked on the soft sand, collecting sea shells, watching jelly fish and star fish on the path.
We were extremely fortunate to see an beautiful sunset on a slightly wet day along with a rainbow. The sunset view between the mountain and the sea is one of its kind. I have luckily captured this view in photo. The rainbow formed just minutes before the sunset was like an icing on the cake. The rainbow looked like it emanated from the roots of the coconut tree and ending into the sea. The rainbow view along with the silhouette of coconut trees was a sight to behold.
While the sun was going down, the rays appeared with various hues of red, orange and yellow. The sun looked like an orange ball, a picture worth clicking with a silhouette figure trying to eat the orange ball. Psst- I tried taking such a pic but my husband didn't understand the angle I wanted!
The southern end of the beach has a two small mountains and the sun was going down in between this place and it looked magical. The northern side of the beach showcased the surreal rainbow and the postcard picture type coconut trees. All this along with the soothing sound of sea waves and sea breeze.
Among all the beaches I have visited in India, I vote it as the best place for Sunset photography in India.
Moonlight and the waves:
I am not sure if my next description holds good for every night. But this night view of the sea is something I will never forget and have captured it in my mind. I saw the moonlight make the waves glow blue in colour. When the waves cut to the end , water froths was sparkling with electric blue and white light appearing like pearls. This phenomenon is apparently called as bioluminescence which makes the sea shimmer. Alas! This could not be captured in any photo.
Waves were friendly, not too aggressive not too calm so it was truly dreamy and spent hours watching this rare view.
Activities on the beach:
Apart from sea kayaking, yoga and meditation, the beach offers few typical tourist activities as well. One can take a boat ride for dolphin spotting and visit butterfly island and monkey Island. We didn't go for these trips as they were yet to be operational in early October. You can also get a foot massage or Ayurvedic massage as well.
The road just behind the beach/ parallel to the beach has a line of shops that sells the usual funky jewelry and gems, beach fashion, accessories and souvenirs. The road also has a few cafes and restaurants as well.
This too was one of the highlights of this beach. This place called 'silent noise' comes to life only after the sun goes down. As South Goa maintains its reputation of being more silent and maintains local peace, this unique party place is must visit. This place is located on the southern end of the beach called Neptune point, slightly elevated on the rocky side. The customers are provided with headphones which has different channels to be selected from. We can just put on these headphones and dance the night away under the twinkling stars and watch pearl like waves under moonlight.
Place for all types of visitors:
An interesting observation is that this beach offers different themes and something for everyone, say a long term traveller to a package tourist. Each type of visitor has found an appropriate place for themselves here. So, you can see a different type of atmosphere or feel from one part of the beach to another.
The northern end attracts families, while backpackers are generally in the center and party scenes in the southern side. The ocean appears to be bit safe and gentle in the northern side and doesn't get deep as quick as in the south, which is safer for small children. This is where the sea kayaking is offered.
This beach has been shot in the famous movie Bourne Supremacy starring Matt Damon which released in the year 2004. In the movie, it was the hiding place for the hero in India. Coco hut with the beach view can be seen and also hero jogging/running and exercising on the beach one morning, and this scene captures the beauty of this beach extremely well. Oh, the stray dogs on the beach too have been part of this Hollywood movie!!!
It is in the village Canacona and the closest railway is Margao. Margoa is about 45 Kms from here and panjimis about 75kms. Canacona is a 10 min in auto from palolem beach and might cost around rs200 in auto. It's a bit far from Goa airport and can cost upwards of Rs2.5k
How we Reached:
Plan to Goa in Oct 2019 and particularly palolem was last minute so we didn't doing any prior booking and just booked a private sleeper bus from Bangalore.
My parents lived in Goa, so I used to visit Goa quite often during 2013 - 2015 and lived like a local. Therefore, I knew every road that leads to beaches.
I asked the bus driver to stop after Canacona bus stand and a junction where a small road goes towards palolem beach. We got down and since it was very early in the morning, there were no auto-rickshaw available still. Else it is just a 5 to 10 min ride to reach this beach. So, we had to actually walk that distance, Which wasn't that difficult.
After a good 35 mins walk we reached the market area, the road just behind and parallel to the beach.
Looking for accommodation:
Palolem is known for its famous Coco huts. There Coco huts are built right on the beach and provides you sea view from the hut. These huts range from very basic facilities with thatched roof to air condition rooms as well. But during monsoon almost everything here is closed down. So the month of September/October is when these huts are built for tourist season.
We planned to take accommodation in such Coco huts, but since it was just start of October, very few were built still. However, there is a beautiful boutique hotel named Ciarans , right in the centre of the beach which offers you combination of a Coco hut plus proper cemented rooms with amazing beach view. This hotel had just started operations few days back.
Even at Ciarans, they were still building the Coco hut but they had others regular rooms too. We took one of these rooms and since it was just start of the season, we got it a cool price of 3k per night for A/C room. Two steps from the room entrance and you are welcomed with the beautiful sea view. You can see the clean blueish green beach in full pomp just 100 meters from the room.
At any given time there are no fancy hotels here and yet it has a lovely vibe.If you like to spend your holiday in the sunshine on the beach and picture postcard views, this is the place to be
Review of Ciarans:
This is slightly upmarket place and gets quite expensive during high season. We had an excellent stay - Ciarans is in our opinion the best place to stay in Palolem if you want the best accommodation bang on the beach. Friendly and nice staff, excellent seaview huts and they have other room options too. It is truly a boutique hotel and gives little bit of resort feel. As we went pre-season their restaurant and breakfast facilities had not started. Like other shacks this restaurant is facing the sea too.