There are things in life that are like a litmus test; they tell you who you are. Palolem beach is like one of those.
This stunning stretch of beach is located in a small fishing village , recognized not for its rowdiness but for its breathtaking gorgeousness, and, despite the high-season crowds, it is still arguably the most beautiful beach in Goa.
If you’re not a big traveller, this may sound terrifying to you. Okay, actually in a lot of cities, the idea of arriving with no accommodation booked would usually terrify me as well . But when I arrived in Palolem for the first time I had no idea where I’d be staying for the next three days.
And I recommend you do the same if you ever head to Palolem!
Why? Because that’s the best way to find the cheapest accommodation. For this beach-bum village, arriving with just your bags and doing some old-fashioned legwork is the best way to avoid paying the very steep tourist tax.
Palolem is touristy, but it’s the kind of town where the restaurants don’t have websites and residents don’t have email addresses. There aren’t any hotels, only huts. Because of this, the only places you can book online in advance are the pricy ones – the “fancy” huts. And because every May through October Goa gets hits by an intense rainy season, all of the structures on the beach — the bars, the restaurants, the huts, all of it — have to be taken down and rebuilt every year.
As soon as you reach Palolem , you will find people approaching you for rooms and huts ,one needs to bargain to get the best deal. It ranges from 200-700 Rs per day depending on the location of the hut and its facilities.
The beach looks more like an island in Thailand than it does a part of India. It has amazing cafes where you can meet a lot of independent travellers, couples and families of which the majority is European whereas in North Goa the majority is Russian and Israeli .
The cafes serve really appealing food which varies from Seafood, Indian traditional to continental , European and middle east. Tandoori king Fish and banana honey pancakes are a must try in ‘Cafe Del Mar ‘. The ‘Banyan Tree’ serves amazing Thai food. There are endless cafes on the beach which have different ambience and music. Some of them are open 24X7. Like other places in Goa the beach road has plenty of liquor shops which open till 11 pm , otherwise alcohol is available in all the cafes which open till late.
The morning is beautiful from the sunrise to sunset, the beach is lively, early morning, people doing yoga , some of them taking long walks , preparing for fishing to late afternoons where people are reading books , drinking beer and some of them taking a swim. The cafes open for breakfast and remain open throughout the day. They have umbrellas and relaxing chairs which don’t have any extra charge. A very exciting activity you can do is hire a kayak which is like 100Rs an hour and go kayaking to the nearby islands like butterfly island , monkey island. The water is very calm and clear , ideal for a swim. Mornings at palolem remain so refreshing but nights are more exciting.