While driving down along the picturesque road towards Palolem, our weekend plans were nearly thwarted when the car tyre burst! But, with the help of a few locals and a new tyre we were back on the road heading towards Palolem beach, at the southern tip of Goa.
This long crescent shaped beach bay attracts a variety of tourists. Be it kayaking or a yoga retreat, this self – contained beach hub is a hive of activity during the tourist season. It offers a variety of accommodation to suit all budgets ranging from beach huts facing the sea, guest houses in the bylanes and hotels. There are plenty of shops and boutiques if you like to shop. It’s best explored on foot and is a great weekend getaway for both, those living in Goa as well as travellers heading here.
Breakfast With A View
Start your day with this view!
Early mornings are quiet and peaceful, so have a lengthy breakfast sitting in one of the beach shacks or restaurants. Also, tucked away in the bylanes are quite a few cafés. The German bakery is a popular choice and fills up fast in the mornings. For eating out there’s plenty of choice. A surprising number of restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options (maybe it’s the presence of yoga retreats). Having read good reviews, for dinner we tried the wood fired pizza at `Baba’s Little Italy’. It turned out to be a Punjabi restaurant. Nevertheless, the pizza was good though served on steel plates in true Punjabi dhaba style!
Explore Isolated Beaches
What makes Palolem unique from the other Goan beaches is its proximity to some isolated beaches along the coast which are accessible only by boat. Also, the sighting of dolphins is another attraction!
On our evening walk we were approached by a boatman who was sending out his boat for a last trip and we decided to hop in.
Switching off the engines in the deep sea, the boatman announced that we’ll soon spot dolphins. Sure enough, five minutes later we could see a bunch of them jumping out for air!
Watching the sunset from the boat, we made our way to Honeymoon Beach. A quiet, clean and serene stretch of beach (the tourism department has thoughtfully placed some dustbins). It’s a great place to get into the water.
Our next stop was at Butterfly beach, a sandy stretch of beach sandwiched between two hills.
Swimming In The Sea
Whether you can swim or not get into the water!
The sea is the highlight of any beach destination and the waters of this crescent shaped bay are warm, calm and inviting. Being a fairly long bay, it’s a great place to try your hand at kayaking. If your adventurous, you can venture out into the sea and take a round of Monkey Island.
Visit Neighbouring Beaches
Hire a bike and explore the neighbouring beaches…
Patnem beach is a sleepy version of Palolem. At the most you will find a handful of people on the beach. If you’re looking for a quiet beach stay then you could consider Patnem. Here again, there are a fair number of stay options and restaurants.
Further down south is Rajbagh beach. A quiet and clean beach stretch, mainly frequented by guests staying at the resort adjoining the beach.
Tasting a Cashew Apple
In the months of March and April the air is filled with the fragrance of cashew fruits. Visiting in March, the road lined with cashew trees were laden with ripened fruits. If you like the taste, the fruit is best eaten sliced, sprinkled with salt.
Anyone visiting Goa would have heard of Feni – the local Goan fiery brew made from cashew. The lesser known Goan Urak is best described as the taste of summer. Local Goans brew Urak from the ripe cashew apple in the summer months of March to May. It’s the first distillation of the cashew apple. It has an extremely short shelf life and hence is unknown to many tourists. If your in Goa between March and May, taste this drink which is best had with Limca. Then of course, there are the crisp cashew nuts. Try the different varieties – plain, salted, pepper and chocolate!
Palolem is approximately 62 kms from Dabolim Airport. For a more picturesque drive take the route through Cavelossim. There are no ATM’s in Palolem so make sure you have money with you. The nearest ATM is a 10 minutes drive at the local town of Chaudi.