After over 10 cancelled plans, I finally made it to the Palolem Beach. Having heard so much about its powdery sand, bluish green waters, sea facing shacks and Butterfly Island, I had always wanted to visit this beach. It took me this long to make it here because I belonged and always hung around North Goa. Baga, Anjuna, Calangute, Arambol, Vagator and Morjim are few of the popular beaches towards the north of this tiny state. Yet, South Goa has pretty beaches and the count is equal if not more. One among these is the Palolem Beach.
Palolem is often treated like a weekend beach destination due to its tucked away location. It is distanced at over 80 km from North Goa. But, if you are unwavering in your decision to make it here, you soon realize it is worth it. Palolem Beach fits the bill for both types of tourists: 1) Those that want to be found among fellow tourists; 2) Those that prefer nature and unpolluted places.
Until few years back, Palolem was only visited by locals and some hippies. But with the tourist explosion in the state, this number has increased greatly. Palolem, today, is a popular beach in South Goa. Kids playing soccer in powder white sands, foreigners reading books while soaking up the sun, few others sipping chilled beer at laidback restaurants and the rest gone for a dip in the sea; Palolem beach is prettier than you have heard or read about. Regular commercial trappings of an idyllic Goan beach with the likes of motor scooter, parasailing, kayaking, dolphin viewing, boating in its backwaters, beach shacks and multi-cuisine restaurants are all present here.
Palolem beach is also quite popular for the Butterfly Island and its magnificent sunset views. Serene backwaters adjoining the beach are a prominent site for bird watching. Boating in the backwaters of Palolem also offers a view of an interesting rock atop a hill that looks like it is balancing itself. Boat trips are conducted regularly in the backwaters to enjoy these sightings. Make sure you strike a good deal with your boatman as the price is quoted on the higher side. We bargained to pay Rs. 250 for three of us for a 40 min boat ride; which I think is decent enough.
If you are a group of friends visiting Palolem, try to spend a night here, preferably in the sea facing shacks. Colourful shacks line up the shore all year round, barring 3 months of monsoons. Living in one of these shacks or similar ones elsewhere near a beach is considered an ideal way of spending a Goan holiday.
Food options are plenty with presence of several cafés and restos in and around Palolem Beach. Also adorning kilometers of both sides of the road nearing the beach are stalls selling clothes, bags, handicrafts, shawls, sunglasses, tattoo shops and practically whatever souvenir you’re looking to take home. Just remember to bargain and bargain hard.
Palolem beach falls in the Canacona taluka. Goa International Airport (or Dabolim Airport) is 60 km away; Margao is 36 km away, and the capital city – Panjim is 70 km from Palolem. Transport in Goa is unreliable, so it is best to travel with your own vehicle or a hired private vehicle. Many tourists from Karnataka visit Palolem beach over the weekends since Karwar – a chief town in Karnataka is just 40 km away.
How I’d summarize…..
Yes! Palolem Beach is tucked away in one end of Goa. Yes! It is commercialized to a certain extent (mainly weekends). But, reasons to visit this beach still out-do the cons. What worked for me? One – The thrill of travelling the radius of Goa to discover a much talked about beach; and two, the beach itself didn’t disappoint with pretty sights and sufficient doses of sun, sea and sands. A win-win!
As a bonus, check out the unspoiled Rajbag Beach just 3 km from Palolem. It has pristine waters, powdery white sands, sea shells and even a river adjoining the sea. The beach is secluded and tagged as an exclusive beachfront resort of ‘The Lalit’ (5 star Hotel). A tucked away entrance at the end of the road towards ‘The Lalit’ lands you here and offers spectacular views. It is said that the famous Golmaal series of the Rohit Shetty franchise have been shot here.
(Note: All prices mentioned above were correct at the time of publishing this post)
Have you been to Palolem Beach and/or Rajbag Beach? What did you think of it?
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