Well, we suppose we knew it had to happen eventually, and happen it has. We hereby (with a sniffle) officially declare Palolem…100% mainstream.
Palolem’s long and stunning crescent beach was, as recently as 15 years ago, another of Goa’s undiscovered, unlittered gems, with few tourists and even fewer facilities to offer them. It then slowly became a magnet for in-the-know backpackers, a lovely, languid bolthole with a few beach hut operations and a distinctly alternative vibe, until some three years ago it was just reaching saturation point. Nowadays, it’s no longer quiet or hidden or especially mellow, with development picking up the pace, swarms of holidayers come high season, and prices rising breathtakingly year after year.
Some people are less fond of the recent developments in the area, dismissively labelling the Palolem of today ‘Pálaga’, making reference to a certain Spanish concrete-block holiday destination – and it’s true that it’s becoming increasingly rare to get an inch of sand to yourself. With the advent of cheap charter flights from Britain you might also see signs of the stag-weekend phenomenon: groups of lads, in football shirts and fairy wings, escorting a sozzled groom-to-be down Palolem’s main strip.
With all these caveats in mind, however, Palolem’s still a great place to be, outside the choc-a-bloc calamity that is Christmas and New Year. The nightlife remains mostly low-key, aside from the occasional late-night beach bar and ‘silent party’. If you’re looking for a good place to lay up, rest a while, swim in calm seas and choose from an infinite range of yoga, massages and therapies on offer – without expecting a quiet, rustic beachside scene – Palolem may well be the ideal destination for you.