From My Beach Hut…A Quick Guide to Palolem Beach, Goa

Derek India, Videos 141 Comments

Beach Huts on Palolem Beach, Goa

It’s high season here in the laid-back, popular tourist destination that is Goa, India. And despite the fact that most locals I’ve met have told me that this is the slowest high season they’ve seen in a while, there is still no shortage of tourists, both foreign and Indian, roaming around the beaches.

I have chosen to spend my time in South Goa, on a two kilometer stretch of sand known as Palolem Beach, with its thousands upon thousands of leaning palm trees (just as there is supposed to be on a tropical beach) and about fifty or so restaurants and beach hut operations scattered in between.

Palolem is touristy for sure and it looks more like an island in Thailand than it does a part of India. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with spending some time in a touristy location, especially when we need some rest and relaxation, which is exactly what I was in need of after two months of traveling around North India.

And so far, I love Palolem Beach. It’s friendly, super-relaxed and enjoys a diverse mix of tourists – independent travelers, couples and families – that helps create a most pleasant atmosphere. It’s certainly not a wild party place but it’s certainly not a boring, nothing-to-do destination either.

Cow on Beach (Goa)

Palolem is also relatively inexpensive, something that definitely surprised me, especially considering the time of year and the large number of vacationers who fly straight to Goa for a 7- or 10-day holiday and then fly straight back home.

Accommodation Options

My friend and I are staying in a basic hut right on the beach. It has an attached bathroom, comfortable mattresses and plenty of room to move around. And when we walk out the door and down a few steps, we are on the sand. From our balcony, and pretty much anywhere inside the hut, there is a clear view of the Arabian Sea, and the soothing sound of the waves is the only sound we hear.

This hut costs 1500 rupees per night, about $30 USD. That’s $15 per person which is a bargain for such a setup during high season here.

However, you could stay in Palolem for much cheaper as well, even during this time of year. I met two female travelers who are staying in a standard hut with shared bathroom for 500 rupees per night ($10 USD) and they are still only a one minute walk to the beach. And then I met another traveler who is staying in a simple, clean room in a small house, with his own bathroom, for only 300 rupees per night ($6 USD) and again, he is about a two minute walk to the beach and one minute walk from the main strip in town.

That’s cheap.

View from Balcony (Goa)

Restaurant & Huts on Palolem Beach (Goa)

(My hut is the one on stilts to the right of the restaurant!)

Food Options

As for food, I must admit that it took me a few days to find the inexpensive options and at first, I thought that I was going to spend a lot of money on meals. I even checked an online guide to Palolem or two and still couldn’t find any good recommendations. The dozens of restaurants that line the beach are not so cheap by India standards, with meals in the 200 – 750 rupees range ($4 – $15 USD). But it turns out that there are a couple of cheaper places mixed in, such as Royal Touch, Chinatown and Rockit restaurants, all of which offer great food on the beach for about 100 – 300 rupees per main dish.

And then, if you leave the beach and walk one minute into the village itself, while there are still plenty of expensive eateries in this area as well, there are a few standout cheapies too.

My daily routine now involves waking up at 8:00am and walking down the beach in order to grab a double omelet sandwich with vegetables and a chai from a street stall on the main road, a hearty breakfast that costs me 25 rupees (50 US cents). For lunch, I’ll often head to a fruit stall in town, buy a pineapple, a large watermelon and ten bananas for about 125 rupees total, then return to my hut and eat it all on my balcony. And for dinner, I usually alternate between the Calcutta Restaurant, which serves very tasty fish thalis for 100 rupees and the Sai Shiv Restaurant that offers excellent punjabi thalis for 100 rupees, fish thalis for 60 rupees and many other delicious items at very cheap prices. There are also food stands hidden in the main parking lot near the beach that serve up fried rice and chow mein noodles for 50 – 70 rupees a plate.

In the evenings, usually around sunset time, and after my third daily swim in the ocean, I’ll enjoy a drink or two with some other travelers from one of the beach bars near my hut, something that costs me 80 Rps for a large Kingfisher Beer or 70 Rupees for a whiskey with lime soda.

Sunset on Palolem Beach (Goa)

And since I’m in more of a relaxation mood than a party mood right now, I’m typically back at my hut by around 10pm, more than ready to fall asleep to the sound of the waves outside my door.

This is how I’m spending my time in Goa, while getting some work done in between of course, and I couldn’t ask for anything more right now, especially for the price I’m paying. It feels like some kind of end-of-the-year therapy every time I look at the ocean or step foot on the sand, a therapy for both my body and my mind, and the result is an inner excitement and eagerness to discover where life shall lead me once the new year begins.

Video Tour of My Beach Hut

Ready to step inside my beach hut?


(For those reading this post via email, click here to watch the video over on my site.)

Other tips for Palolem Beach:

  • many of the restaurants put beach mats and umbrellas in the sand early in the morning and anyone is free to use them…they don’t cost anything
  • there is a small island at one end of the beach that is full of monkeys and you can walk here during low tide, otherwise, you can hire a kayak and paddle over
  • beware of the coconuts (seriously, beware, something I learned first hand)
  • bargain hard for accommodation here as there is an abundance of beach huts and rooms available

Have you been to Palolem or anywhere else in Goa? Are you interested in visiting Goa at all?

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Comments 141

  1. Mudit

    Hi Earl,
    I found the essence of Palolem Beach in your article and i must say i have read many articles about Goa but this one is surely one of the best article. Arambol, Morjim and Vaghator are few more peaceful, less crowded and remote beaches in Goa that i have seen but i always prefer Anjuna Beach to stay as access to the least crowded to the most crowded beaches from Anjuna is quite easy. If you love to live like a junkie Anjuna is a place for you.Shiva’s valley UV Bar Hippies Lilliput are few places on Anjuna where you will find a different beach shack party culture. When you want to find some peace you can easily go to Arambol Morjim and Vaghator from Anjuna or if you are looking for the most famous party places in Goa, Baga Beach is just 5 kms away from Anjuna. I hope my suggestions can help few of your readers, Keep traveling mate. 🙂

  2. kelly

    Hi Earl thanks for all the info…most helpful!!
    I have a question for you, i have visited Goa 3 times but always stayed in the North in Callangute. I fancy a change….what would you say are the main differences.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Kelly – Palolem is more quiet and laid-back and just has a nice mix of solo travelers, expats, families, couples and Indian tourists. There are bars and a club or two but it’s not wild at all. There are some local restaurants and a few international places as well. I haven’t been to Callangute in a while though so I’m not too sure what it’s like now.

  3. Dominik

    Thanks for the feedback man! Im actually in India right now but wont get to Goa for a little bit still.

    How’s it like gettin internet on a usb dongle there? Im in allahabad right now and staying with family and working on my online business as my sister married an indian but when i go to goa ill be by myself for quite some time.

    Do you think its possible to organise a donlge to use in goa as i think the dongles in india are restricted to each state and you always have to get a new one for each state.

    What sre your thoughts? How did you work your online business when you where there?

  4. dan

    looking for long term lets beach huts etc any good websites ?? il be relocating with my family and your accom looks amazing

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Dan – For the best deals in Palolem you’ll just have to show up and negotiate with the hut owners. Most of the operations are quite small and don’t have websites…only the expensive hut operations have a site.

  5. Alexandra

    Hi Earl!

    What’s a pleasure to get a real story about Palolem! Thanks for informations, looks so cool! 🙂
    I’m going to Goa in 1 months. It will be the monsoon period… I want to stay at Palolem. Do you know if it’s still nice during the monsoon?

    Thanks,
    Alex

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Alex – Unfortunately, everything in Palolem is closed during the monsoon. All of the beach huts and restaurants close and they actually take down all of the huts and structures so that they are not blown away by the monsoon. Goa isn’t really the place to be during that period of the year.

  6. Dominik

    Hey Earl!

    I’m about to set off on my advernture on June 28th and I’m leaving to corporate workd for good. I’ll be on the road forever like you 🙂

    I’m just curious if you think Goa is still doable for $300 – $400/month these days?

    Thanks
    Dom

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Dominik – I guess that’s possible but it would be tough. Where I stayed (Palolem), the cheapest rooms were set back from the beach and cost about $150 USD for the month. They were very basic but livable. And with food expenses (there are no supermarkets so you would have to eat out or cook very basic meals), it would add up to another $150 I’d say. Possible but a bit challenging.

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  8. Jenny

    I am heading there in April/May. Where do I find out how to book one of these beach huts? Is there a website or do I just rock up and hope for the best? I’m looking for one with an adjoining bathroom/toilet but basic is pretty fine with me. Your hut looks perfect!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Jenny – Most of the places on Palolem don’t have websites so you can just show up and walk up and down the beach, asking all the beach hut operations for their prices and checking a few out. But I can say that of all the places I looked at, where I stayed (Beach Huts de Palolem) were the best value that I found. It’s located in the middle of the beach, right behind the “Chinatown Restaurant” that everyone on the beach knows.

  9. Rahul

    Hi Earl

    Could you recommend some good stay options around the north end for around INR 1000-1500 per night. Stayed at Dreamcatcher last time around (and quite liked it) but want to try something on the beach this time around.

    Cheers

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Rahul – I’m not sure really. I just liked where I was so I didn’t really remember the names of any of the other huts I looked at.

  10. Ciaran Redmond

    Hey man, this looks sweet! Stoked to get down there myself, I am in Jaipur at the moment making my way south, and expect to be in Goa in about 3 weeks. Was kind of sketched to be there in peak season as I just spent 4 months in Nepal, and enjoyed my low season peace. But I think I will just be content to be on a Beach after my stint in North India. I definitely am still getting used to peak season prices as Nepal was so damn cheap!

    Maybe me and my travel buddy will bump into you on the beach!

    Cheers!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Ciaran – Hope you have a great trip down to Goa and you’ll have many beaches to choose from, some of which will be very crowded and others, like Palolem, that will be far less so (and much cheaper as a result). Luckily, there’s a beach for everyone depending on what you’re looking for.

      I’m actually leaving India late tonight so it looks like we’ll miss each other but if you have any questions about anything in Goa or other parts of the country, just let me know!

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  14. Robert

    Another great article, thanks for the info and suggestions of where to stay and eat. It’s no wonder why some of my family members keep returning to GOA over and over! We were in Thailand last year, this sounds even better!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Robert – I would almost have to say that Palolem is better than any beach I’ve been to Thailand as well but it all depends on what one is looking for of course. But perhaps next time you should join your family members and get a taste of it yourself 🙂

  15. Brian Eckert

    Hey Earl, am thinking about spending some time in Goa next year, but I’ll need an internet connection to work. It doesn’t appear that your hut is wired for the Web…if that’s the case, where do you go for Internet?

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Brian – There is WiFi at my hut here and most hut operations on the beach, at the least the operations that have more than a few huts, have free WiFi as well. And there are restaurants all along the beach that offer WiFi too so it’s not too difficult to get connected. There is also a great cafe – Cafe Inn – in on the main road one block from the beach that has fast WiFi and great coffee, making it ideal for an office, as you’ll see from all the other foreigners on their laptops there!

      However, the problem here in Palolem is that there are frequent power outages, so there can be no internet for periods of 1 -3 hours at a time. Usually it only lasts for an hour but a few times it’s been longer.

  16. Andrea Karrick

    Loved the video….just great!

    The sound of the waves….best sound ever! Too bad I would have to spend most my time reapplying sunscreen….which probably costs more than $30 a night!

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  18. JauntyTom

    I’d never guess just by looking at the first two pics that they’ve been actually taken in India. I’d rather go for SE Asia…

    … and then the ‘cow photo’ popped in. Everything’s clear as the morning sky in Himalayas during the dry season 🙂

    Earl, thank you for just another very well written post, I really like the aura of peace and warmth you spread around, excellent word choice I’d say, not to mention the location choice!

    As it is also my first comment on your website, I’d like to say big ‘Namaste!’ to you and everyone who follows you on your nomadic path!

    1. Wandering Earl

      @JauntyTom – Namaste to you as well and yes, remove the cows from the beach and it really could be in SE Asia. Hope your new year is going well so far and thank you for commenting on this post!

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  20. Lindsay

    I’m will be there next month. Which beach huts are you staying at? I was looking online and they all look the same. Didn’t know if it made a difference staying on the north end or the south end. Looks like a great place to relax!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Lindsay – I’m staying at Resorts de Palolem and so far, after looking at pretty much every beach hut operation, these are the best I’ve seen. It’s right in the middle of the beach and that’s the best area in my opinion as it’s the quietest. The North End is pretty crowded with boats as that is where all the boats are brought in the evening so I’d stay away from there. But the rest is all beautiful stretch of sand with plenty of hut options!

  21. Phil Porter

    Hey Earl,

    I never really had much of an interest in India before reading your blog. But now you’ve really made me want to go. What are your travel plans for 2013?

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Phil – Beyond a visit to South Africa at the end of January and having to be in Mexico in March for my next tour, I’m not sure of my travel plans as of yet. I have some ideas but need to sort them out and make a general itinerary! And glad to hear you’re interested in India now…it doesn’t get as fascinating as this place!

  22. Carolyn

    Hi Earl!

    I’ve been a silent reader for quite some time now but i’ve never commented on any of your posts. Goa sounds like my cup of relaxing tea. I’ve read it’s the party capital of India but seeing how you’ve managed to avoid the party scene and stay for cheap, it’s really sparked my interest! Hopefully my boyfriend and I can get down there some day 🙂

    Happy New Year!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Carolyn – It probably is the party capital but luckily, that’s only on certain beaches. There are plenty of other beach areas that are as quiet as anyone could want. There is some nightlife here in Palolem, but not much…which is ideal for me 🙂

  23. George Bezushko

    Earl, I was there a couple of years ago. Somewhere within walking distance of the beach is a pile of discarded terra-cotta (?) pottery. Have you discovered any info about it? ALSO: You are about 40 kilometers south of a very unique ethnographic museum, Goa Chitra Museum (Monddo Waddo, Benaulim, Goa, India 403 716, info at http://www.goachitra.com), just a little south of Margoa. My understanding is that it is the only one of its kind in India. I encourage you to visit, as I know you will not be disappointed. I rented a moped from Palolem and found it with minor difficulty. Please tell Victor Gomes and his wife I say hello!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Benjamin – I won’t be heading to Gokarna this time around but I have been there on previous visits to India. I actually just recommended it to a friend who is looking for a slower pace of life than Goa. It is a great place but I just don’t have the time unfortunately!

  24. Will

    Earl,

    I think this post has been my favorite so far! The beach looks clean, not crowded, and obviously relaxing.

    How do you keep your computer and electronics secure when you are not in the hut?

    Will

    PS Have a great 2013!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Will – I just lock my stuff up in the hut (the door has a big padlock and there is no other way to get in) but every beach hut operation has a set of safety lockers in the main office that guests are free to use as well. It’s quite safe here though and I haven’t worried about anything!

  25. Annie Miles

    Hi Earl
    OMG…only looking at Goa today thinking about a trip in Feb. I have always pre-booked accomodation so when you say ‘barter for accomodation’ WHO do you barter with? Is it obvious who is letting the accomodation???
    Sorry to be so naive but am thinking about throwing caution to the wind and taking 1st solo trip and could do with all the help I can get 🙂
    Enjoy!!!
    Annie

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Annie – You simply walk up and down the beaches and there are beach hut operations everywhere. It’s like a bunch of hotels…each one has an office near the beach with a sign that says “Rooms/Huts Available” and then you just approach the office and one of the staff will help you out. And every fifty meters is a different set of huts owned by a different person/company. It’s very obvious once you’re here!

  26. Steve C

    Earl, When you first said you were going to Goa, I was hoping that you’d do a blog such as you just did. Lots of simple information that conveys what it’s all about, and a video too! I’ve been researching Goa and it seems that there’s just about everything available on all levels. I didn’t get that far south on my one and only visit to India, but It’s certainly on my must see list for my next visit. This is very much my kind of place!

    All the best for you in 2013! Happy Trails

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Steve – I think many people are surprised when they get to or hear about Goa as there are so many beaches that everyone should be able to find their own ‘paradise’ depending on what they’re looking for. I’m certainly having a hard time getting away from Palolem!

  27. Sofie

    Earl, I’ve been following you for some time now and you’ve been raving a lot about India, showing us pictures of busy streets, amazing buildings, iconical monuments and yet… This is the India post I like the most up until now. Maybe because this time I can actually picture myself there. Not for the touristy part, but the beach, the waves, the food. And especially for the calmness with which you seem to have written this post.
    It might be just an idea, but just reading this I get a feeling you’ve come to relax.

    Happy 2013!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Sofie – You have no idea…this visit to Goa is all about relaxation right now. And it really is a completely different India than just about every single other place I’ve been in this country. It’s peaceful, it’s clean, it’s crowd-free…it really is difficult to believe that this is still the same country as what one finds in Delhi or Varanasi!

  28. Andre

    Oh Man! We came close to flying there for the holidays. We used to rent a flat at Columb Beach between Palolem and Patnem. Great relax place… Have fun!

  29. Earl from iPadNomads

    We didn’t get a chance to explore Goa on our trip this year but I’ve been a couple of times before and it is a great place. Love the sound of your relaxing days. Definitely a good way to spend time and a very cost effective way to do it. We thought our 3kg watermelon or 1 kg of cherries and strawberries was a good amount for lunch (we never did them at the same time). Your pineapples, watermelon and 10 bananas, even if they are the small Indian ones, is impressive! Enjoy the R&R and best wishes for 2013!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Thanks Earl and that’s funny because I did have a 3kg watermelon today without the bananas and pineapples! I haven’t seen any cherries or strawberries yet but if I do, I’m all over that. Wishing you a great 2013 as well my friend!

  30. Dyanne@TravelnLass

    Nice to take a peek of your personal haven, Earl. Special thanks for the ruble details. It’s so true that when you first arrive someplace, it take a bit to ferret out the cheaper eats and sleeps. But even in the “tourist” spots, there’s always bargains to be had.

    All the best in your 2013 “Wanderings”, Earl!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Thanks Dyanne and the longer I stay here (as is always the case and I’m sure you can attest to) the more cheap places for food and accommodation I’m finding!

  31. Pernila

    We all need a little break sometimes, and you certainly seem to be enjoying yours;)
    Happy new year Earl! Looking forward to continue reading about your adventures in 2013.

  32. Dani

    We went to Palolem last May and all the beach huts were in the process of being demolished (apparently they are rebuilt every year after the monsoon season) – I have to say the beach looks quite different with all the colorful huts! Our favorite restaurant was the Smggler’s Inn on the main road – good food at decent prices! Enjoy a Kingfisher for me 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Dani – Thank you for the recommendation, I saw the sign for Smuggler’s Inn but haven’t gone there yet. I shall do that tomorrow! And I’m enjoying a Kingfisher for you right now 🙂 Have a great New Year! And same to Jess!

  33. M

    Ok: It’s official ~ Earl is a hottie! 😉
    I have always wanted to check out Goa. Now i want to go there even more! Thanks for this informative post!

  34. Avid Blogster

    I am in Goa too right now and you are absolutely right it is amazing. However, I am here for a music festival Sunburn 2012. It started yesterday and I am not kidding you it is awesome! Its at Candolim beach. You should come by!
    I am not staying in a hut thats why I am not having an experience similar to you but Sunburn is sure as hell a crazy place. You will love it here.
    If you ever get into a partying and dance mode swing by Candolim Beach. You’ll be able to hear us from a mile away!

    1. Wandering Earl

      @Avid Blogster – I’ve heard of that festival and was just reading about it today. If the mood does change, I shall be there!

  35. Willsteed

    The vid was most entertaining! 🙂

    p.s. What’s you accent Earl? You seem to have one, but your About page makes no reference to it… if you intentionally omit the history… no problem eh, just ignore my Q 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Willsteed – Well, I’m originally from Boston but my accent (at least what I’m told) is not fully Bostonian anymore. It seems to be a mix of Boston and Australian accents with a sprinkling of my special simple accent that I try to use whenever I’m in non-English speaking countries so that I’m understood better. So, to answer your question, it’s a mess of an accent and doesn’t derive from one particular place 🙂

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