In the early 1980s, Palolem was not that well known except for the few hippies who began coming to the Palolem Island and staying there for months. Palolem is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa and as a result, it often becomes overcrowded during holiday season. Palolem is flooded with a mix of nationalities and has a unique culture of beach cottage accommodation. Many of the cottages are right on the beach, facing the sea.

Palolem Beach

Sunset at Palolem Beach

Palolem’s long and stunning beach, lined with towering coconut trees, was another of Goa’s undiscovered gems as recently as 15 years ago. It then slowly became a magnet for in-the-know backpackers, a lovely bolthole with a few beach huts. Nowadays, it is no longer quiet or hidden, or especially mellow, with development picking up the pace and swarms of holidaymakers coming year after year. Palolem is now 100% mainstream.

Palolem beach bars & restaurants in the background

Palolem beach bars & restaurants in the background

The depth of the sea at the beach increases gradually, being shallowest at the northern end of the beach, making it safe for the average swimmers. The currents are not fast, too. The beach is also featured as the Goan residence of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in the film The Bourne Supremacy (2004).
At the top of the island adjoining Palolem beach, there is a stone sculpture created by an American artist called “Give if you can – Take if you have to”, also called the Money Stone. It has become a pilgrimage destination. At the low tide, it is a tough jungle walk and a guide is recommended. People can leave or take money at will at the Money Stone. About 9 km south of Palolem is the beautiful and secluded Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary.

Tea flavors & spices at Palolem market

Tea flavors & spices

Palolem is also ideal for young families as the atmosphere is relaxed, friendly and safe. Restaurants in Palolem are varied and due to the amount of tourist flow, generally of a very high standard. You can get anything from local Indian delights to authentic Italian pizza and pasta, and an added bonus is that alcohol is completely legal and very accessible. Don’t miss the trip to dolphin bay as any boat owner on the beach will take you there for INR 600 per head during high season or you can take part in yoga classes or get an Ayurvedic massage. The Ayurvedic head massage is the most popular.

If you are looking for a good place to stay, rest a while, swim in calm seas and that too without expecting a quiet, rustic beach side scene, Palolem may well be the ideal destination for you.