Palolem trip report

4 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


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Date of travel

March, 2023

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Product country

India Goa

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A few thoughts on Palolem, for those who aren’t sure what to expect, or for those who are interested.

I stayed 9 nights in early March 2023 at Dreamcatcher. I didn’t book and had my pick of accommodation when I arrived, though Ciaran’s was full. I checked three or four different places. I paid 800R for a large hut without bath but could’ve bartered it down if I’d known I’d be there for 9 nights.

Dreamcatcher and its sister, Temple Garden, are very well run. Upsides are the landscaped grounds, peacefulness (ie away from beach bars playing the same trance / reggae CD), good service, clean etc. Downsides are the volume of mossies – much worse than some beach huts, the noise some of the birds / animals make early morning (though I liked this initially), the walk to the beach past shabbier establishments, and that the attached restaurant/bar was a bit of a ghost town. I would go back, but would also split my trip among a few other places, like Ciaran’s perhaps, or Big Fish, or Patnem beach.

Initial impressions of Palolem were mixed. Having stayed in Varkala two years back I knew roughly what to expect but was still slightly surprised by the size and density of the resort, which was higher than I thought. Everyone was grumbling about how quiet it was and the restaurants at night – of which there are many – were often very empty. However in the day the beach was quite busy and I wouldn’t want things that much busier. Also boats took up a lot more of the beach than I was expecting, and much more than at Patnem. Patnem is worth considering but was v quiet. Palolem beach better than Varkala’s. Agonda nearby and some folk said that was quiet and good.

It’s a beautiful bay but there was a bit of litter about. Also a lot of dogs, which are a nuisance – I don’t know why the restaurants etc keep them, they’re not all wild. They fight and howl day and night and once you’ve seen a few shitting on the waterline it sort of takes the shine off swimming in the bay. Despite that it’s a big ocean and it’s a great bay for swimming. Good depth, few waves, nice bay.

Plenty to do – hiring sea kayaks and bodyboards, boat trips, massages, hire motorbikes etc, the usual. Lots of sunbeds in front of the restaurants if you want to use them, mostly free of charge, just buy a drink at some point. There are a lot of hawkers and a few beggars on the beach, which can become tiresome (think of 20 or so approaches for sarongs / jewellery etc in a few hours), but it’s to be expected.

Nightlife in early March was limited and a bit disappointing. Mostly centred around Cafe del Mar and a newer 24 hour bar called Cocktails and Dreems (sic) which wasn’t as good. There was a good party at Sundowner though we all got soaked crossing the river back to the main beach. There are “headphone” parties twice a week at Neptune’s Point, which is the closest things get to a club. Also a few bars/pubs on the main road worth checking out. People were too thinly scattered for any real momentum to build. The only place to easily meet folk in a bar environment was Cafe del Mar, and it did get repetitive.

Food was mixed. Sometimes very good, sometimes absolutely awful, and of course pricier than you’d normally pay in India. My advice is to try a few places and then just stick to the better one or two exploring the menu. I had terrible food at Cheeky Chapatti and Hare Krishna. Just awful. Indifferent but acceptable food at Mamoo’s and a few other places I can’t remember. I can really recommend Cozy Nook and Banyan Tree for their food. That’s partly because I was up that end of the beach and tried those places a few times. Cozy Nook was particularly good and did Indian tapas too. Dropadi was always busy. Service is often slow and forgetful – yes I know it’s a relaxing beach and everyone’s supposed to be all chilled, but I saw a few people get annoyed after waiting one hour for a simple dish.

Good mix of people staying – a few families, lots of older backpacker couples, lots of couples actually, groups of gap year girls and boys, and the fringes of the trashy British element that favour package tour Goa. There were a lot of Brits in Palolem, perhaps the majority.

Enjoyed it. V relaxing, superb and reliable weather, and it was great that I could go to some really good yoga classes (200R for 90 minutes).


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