Patnem beach is an appealing alternative to south Goa's popular Palolem beach for those who don't want to be right in the middle of the action but still want some entertainment. It's lined with beach shacks and huts, yet there's plenty of space for everyone.
Patnem is located in south Goa, 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Marago and 78 kilometers (48 miles) from Panaji, the state's capital. It's only 5 minutes from Palolem beach, with Colomb beach situated in between. The region's main town, Chaudi (also known as Canacona), is conveniently a couple of minutes away in case you need to go an ATM or buy supplies.
The closest railway stations to Palolem are Margao (also known as Madgaon) on the Konkan Railway and Canacona. Canacona is a 5 minute drive away from Patnem and the journey costs about 150 rupees in an auto rickshaw. Magao is 40 minutes away and costs about 1,000 rupees in a taxi. Alternatively, Goa's Dabolim airport is around one and a half hours away. A taxi from the airport will cost about 2,000 rupees. You'll find a prepaid taxi counter near the exit of the arrivals area.
Unfortunately, popular app-based taxi services such as Uber and Ola have been prevented from operating in Goa by the taxi union. Goa Tourism has introduced a local taxi app called GoaMiles. Don't expect cheap fares though!
Alternatively, regular train and bus services are popular ways of getting to Goa from Mumbai.
When to Go
Patnem has warm weather throughout the year. Temperatures rarely reach more than 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day or drop below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. Some winter nights can get a bit chilly from December to February though. Patnem gets rain from the southwest monsoon from June to September. The beach huts are dismantled during this time, and most places close down. The tourist season kicks off in late October and starts winding up late March.
What to Do
There are a few popular yoga retreats at Patnem. Bamboo Yoga Retreat (formerly Lotus Yoga Retreat) is perfect for a yoga holiday, with healthy food and accommodations provided in bamboo huts. There's a range of flexible classes for all levels (read reviews) Yin Yoga Teacher Training is also offered. Kranti Yoga Village Beach Resort is for more serious students. It offers intensive Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa Flow plus 200 and 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training (read reviews).
The nightlife in Patnem is very laid back but sometimes there will be live music in the beach shacks, which encourage tourists to bring their instruments and play. If you are looking for a party, you'll need to head to Leopard Valley near Agonda, or the Silent Noise headphone parties near Palolem beach every Saturday.
The main attractions at Patnem are just lazing on the beach and swimming.
There are a few shops lining the road leading up to the beach if you feel like shopping. They sell the usual tourist fare -- silver jewelry, hippie clothes, and bags. For something more upmarket and different, La Mangrove boutique stands out. This shop stocks a range of funky bohemian beach fashion and accessories.
Head to Jaali Boutique and Cafe, set in cottage amid a tropical garden behind the beach, for gorgeous designer clothes, contemporary Rajasthani jewelry, textiles, vintage furniture and other handicrafts.
If you're interested in learning how to make a variety of traditional yet healthy Indian dishes, try Yoga Cooking Classes.
Feel like exploring further afield? Visit secret Galjibag beach a little further down the coast.
Where to Eat
The cafe at Jaali serves yummy small plates of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern inspired food. Plus, great coffee, cakes and cocktails. The garden setting makes it delightful place to hangout.
April 20, at the north end of the beach, is possibly Patnem's best restaurant. The cuisine is refreshingly different and the cocktails are creative. They also have premium beach villas and huts. Don't miss the mouthwatering specialty roast New Zealand lamb at Nada Brahma, which specializes in fusion dishes. Their cocktails are also professionally crafted. Vegan and vegetarian food is served there as well. Magic View is recommended for Italian cuisine including pizza. Home is another tourist favorite.
Where to Stay
The majority of accommodations at Patnem consist of beach huts. Although Patnem is quieter than Palolem, it tends to be a bit more expensive. Turtle Hill, set atop the hill, has gorgeous two-level bungalow huts that are perhaps the best in Patnem. Patnem Dwakra has luxury cottages. Tantra Cafe has some outstanding tree hut accommodations. Cuba, which has popular huts at Palolem beach, also has a huts on Patnem beach (the apartments are more like 10-15 minutes walk from the beach rather than the claimed five minutes though).
You'll find the cheaper huts located at the quiet southern of the beach. Try Bougainvilla there.
If you don't mind staying a bit away from the beach, Secret Garden is delightful and homely. Turiya Villa is a beautifully renovated 100 year old villa in nearby Chaudi/Canacona village. It's a unique and peaceful haven for relaxation.