South Goa is known for its pristine beaches and quiet, serene ambience. Palolem beach, located 62km south from Panjim once used to be a quiet beach but is now filled to the brim with tourists! It’s still less developed than the north of Goa so it’s much more relaxing and has a hippie charm to it.
After a tiresome week at work, I really needed a relaxing weekend so a friend and I made the last minute plan of driving down south and staying at Palolem for the weekend. I had actually been wanting to go there for the longest time but I never got around to doing it. This wasn’t my first time at Palolem though, I’d actually been there once before but that was during college and all I remember was beachside bbq and booze galore!
This time around, I decided to do a little bit more relaxing than partying. My liver thanked me for it. So here’s a small guide to spending a short weekend in Palolem.
1. The Drive
I drove from Panjim to Palolem on a Saturday afternoon. I always had it in my head that the drive to Palolem would be really long and tiring, but turns out its not that long if you have good company and a killer road-trip playlist! It took us 2 hours to reach Palolem, not accounting for the quick lunch stop we made at Margao. We reached our destination just in time for check in.
If you don’t have a car, the best way to get there is either rent a car. The self drive cars start from Rs 1,200 per day. Joey’s Car Rentals in Panjim is the best for this. If you’re a solo traveler and looking for a budget option. The best way you can get to Palolem is by catching a bus at the Panjim bus stand. It’ll take you about 3-3.5 hours to reach and cost you somewhere between Rs 60-Rs 90. Another really economical way of travelling to Palolem is the shuttle from the Hostel crowd Panjim. They provide a shuttle service from their Panjim hostel to their Hostel in Palolem if you’re staying with them.
Since we were just two girls traveling, we didn’t want to get an Airbnb or a guest house. We thought it’d be more fun to stay at a Hostel in Palolem so that we could meet other like-minded travellers. We stayed at the Summer Hostel by the Hostel Crowd. We booked a private room rather than a dorm because we just thought it’d be more comfortable to have an ensuite bathroom. For Rs 2000/- a night, the room was extremely basic. There were two twin beds, both with clean bed linen, a pillow and a towel. There was a mirror and a small dresser, a clean bathroom with hot water. The typical amenities that you’d expect a hostel to have, but I feel like for the price we paid, the value we derived was too less.
We also had free breakfast at the Hostel which consisted of Coffee/Tea, Cereal, Milk, Toast, Fruit and Boiled Eggs. A very basic breakfast but you can’t really expect much more from a Hostel so we were satisfied.
The location of Summer Hostel was pretty awesome! It was located just before the lane that leads to the beach. A 5 minute walk to the beach, you’ll find all sorts of cafes, restaurants and shopping stalls on your way.
If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, if you can go for a bed in a 8 bed dorm room which will cost you about Rs 650/- per night. If you’re travelling in a group, it definitely makes more sense economically to stay in a guest house or service apartment.
3. Things to do
There are loads of things to do in Palolem, among which we did some sunset Kayaking, street shopping and café hopping. There’s also beach yoga and cooking classes that we didn’t attend but heard really good things about.
A Kayak for two people will cost you upwards of Rs 200. The Kayaks can be rented from the beach itself. Be sure to bargain with the vendors. They charge a little higher during Sunset. We paid about Rs 300 for an hour. Kayaking at Palolem is safe and a great experience but make sure you keep your belongings in a safe place. DO NOT take them with you because they WILL get wet. I made the mistake of taking my phone and camera along. I did put them in plastic bags so that they wouldn’t get wet and I got some great shots while Kayaking but I couldn’t completely enjoy the experience because I was so paranoid about my camera getting wet. So do keep that in mind while kayaking. Also, wear your swimsuit while kayaking because you will 100% be soaking wet once you’re done!
The sunset from the Kayak was really gorgeous and it’s something you shouldn’t miss while you’re in Palolem.
Another beachy thing you could do while you’re there is visit Butterfly Island. I really wanted to but we didn’t have enough time so we couldn’t. Next time for sure though!
Shopping in Palolem is something I wasn’t expecting to do because most of the roadside shops are really touristy, but there were so many Boho things being sold, I couldn’t help myself. I picked up two make-up bags, one for me and one for my mom. I bought them for Rs 100 each after some heavy bargaining! There was also a dress I really liked but I didn’t pick it up because the store owner was quoting too much for it. There were so many pretty things among which I found a crockery and cutlery store selling all sorts of quirky hand painted items that were soooo gorgeous! All in all, you’ll find some really pretty gems in Palolem. All you have to do is be good at bargaining.
Enjoy the beach
Palolem beach is a really long stretch of shore. If you’re there to relax, just find a beach bed, order a drink and read a good book. Orrrr, build a sandcastle and play in the sea! Whatever it is you decide to do at the beach, please be mindful of the waste you’re creating and make sure you dispose it right.
There are yoga instructors a plenty at Palolem! Mostly beach yoga happens during sunrise or sunset. I’d recommend taking a class and going for a morning session so that you feel nice and refreshed all day. This is something I really wanted to do but my lazy ass couldn’t wake up that early so we skipped it.
You’ll find all sorts of cuisines at Palolem. From traditional Goan to Indian, Continental and more. Vegan food is really popular here as well. Here are a few places I’d recommend for good food:
Zest Cafe: Zest has a wide variety of healthy food. I really liked the vibe of the place. It had beautiful decor, very polite staff and a lovely peaceful ambiance. Would definitely recommend it if you’re in the area and looking for healthy food. Try the Hummus on toast, it’s really delicious!
Little World: Little World is located on the lane that leads to Palolem beach and it stands out from the rest of it’s surroundings because of its quirky decor. We made a quick stop here to quench our thirst and were wowed by their colourful decor and calming ambiance. We ordered the Chilled Tender Coconut and the Watermelon juice, both really good! I’d love to come try out the food next time. I’d definitely recommend this place for the vibe. It’s also super instagram-friendly
German Bakery: German Bakery has cakes, bakes and more! You can smell their freshly baked goods even outside this little cafe. I’d recommend going here for Breakfast or dessert.
Ciarans: Ciarans is located right on Palolem beach! They’ve got the perfect ambiance for a dinner date with their beautiful live music and candle lit tables. Their food was tasty, but the quantity too less and the prices, too much. Their service was not the nicest to be honest, but the food was pretty good. If you’re in the mood for Indian food, these guys do a great butter chicken. Their cheesecake is really good as well!
They also charge an additional amount of money if you decide to pay by card instead of cash, which is not the most convenient. So keep that in mind if you plan to go here.
My staycation in Palolem was a really fun and relaxing experience and I’d love to go spend another weekend there just to do the few activities that I missed out on ANDDDD try a few more cafes. Have you guys been there? What’s your favourite thing to do in Palolem?