Palolem is located at 15°00’36″N 74°01’24″E, within 2.5 kilometres of the market town of Chaudi in South Goa, and about 40 minutes from Margao, the district headquarters.
Palolem beach is largely unspoiled and is inhabited by both local fishermen and by foreign tourists who live in shacks along the shore or in the main village itself. It is about one mile long and is crescent-shaped; one can view the entire beach from either end. Both ends of the beach consist of rocks jutting out into the sea. The depth of the sea increases gradually, being shallowest at the northern end of the beach, making it safe for average swimmers, and the currents are not fast.
The beach is featured as the Goan residence of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in the film The Bourne Supremacy (2004). The initial footage in the movie gives a good idea of the natural beauty of the beach – the distinctive tree covered rocks at one end (known locally as Green Island – to which tours are run) and beach shacks. At the top of the island adjoining Palolem beach there is a stone sculpture created by an American conceptual and land artist Jacek Tylicki called “Give if you can, Take if you have to” also called the “Money stone”. It became 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. Click here to read more about the Money Stone.
The nearest airport is Dabolim Airport which is about 67 km away. Margao railway station is at a distance of 43 km. There are bus services at a regular interval of 30 mins from the beach to Margao Main Bus Station (Kadamba Transport Corporation Bus Stand). The nearest KTC bus station is at Chaudi, Canacona.
In the early 1980’s, Palolem was not that well known except for the few hippies who began coming to Palolem and staying there for months. Palolem is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa and as a result, it is becoming more and more popular as a holiday destination and attracts tourists from all over the world. Besides Palolem Beach, you will find Colomb Beach and Patnem which are hardly at a distance of 1 km from each other.
Unlike the northern beaches of Goa, such as Calangute and Baga which are to overcrowded and touristy, Palolem offers the perfect balance of serenity, privacy and nightlife. Palolem is a little slice of heaven and the village which despite the influx of tourists every year has managed to remain a local and traditional village just with a few added souvenir stalls.
Things to do
1. Watch dolphins while eating breakfast. If you are lucky you can watch them from the beach but if not take a trip on a fishing boat, not expensive.
2. Go exploring. At the far north of the beach is a small island that looks like a set from Jurassic park and is well worth exploring. It is possible to walk at low tide.
3. Help the fishermen pull in the fishing nets and haul the boats on to the beach. When the locals are bringing in their catch, they’re always grateful for a helping hand.
4. Go for a shave. Indian barbers are highly skilled with a sharp knife and do a fantastic head massage too. Well worth it.
5. Take a yoga lesson, begin Tai Chi, Chi Qong, Meditation or even Bollywood Dancing. Also comes highly recommended are the Ayvedic massages.
6. Dance to silent music parties take place at various locations throughout the week and are well worth a visit.
7. Shopping. There are lots of souvenir shops selling all sorts of things, most notably some pretty cool t-shirts. Of course you can find all the traditional handicrafts from all over India as well.
8. Go out fishing. Catch a fish and take it to a restaurant for it to be cooked for you, can anything be more satisfying?
9. Charter a boat. You can charter a traditional fishing boat an sail up the spectacular coastline. Go fishing, drink beer or visit deserted beaches.