Sri Lanka Beaches: From Hikkaduwa to Mirissa
After having seen many tropical beaches I would almost say I am a professional beach hunter . Fine sand, crystal clear water and coconut palm trees are what we are going after. And on our recent trip to Sri Lanka we found such a beach, which wasn’t quite easy. But we still had fantastic holidays in Sri Lanka.
So get ready for loads of beach impressions. In our first part of the story I will tell you about our tour along the south-west coast of Sri Lanka, starting from Hikkaduwa and heading up to Mirissa.
1. Beachin’ in Hikkaduwa
After landing in Colombo we were picked up by a private driver, who was booked directly by the owner of our first accommodation. The drive to Hikkaduwa took about 2 hours and cost 9.000 Sri Lankan Rupees (~55 EUR).
Hikkaduwa itself is more of a village, spread out along the main road behind the coastline. There are several nice restaurants. But clearly the main attraction and center of all life is the beach. Mostly it is a very wide beach with fine sand, but heading north the beach suffers from erosion. The palm trees create natural views because most of the flat buildings are hidden behind the tree line.
At the evening many restaurants feature tables in the sand and fresh seafood BBQ. At night you can see the fishermen at the sea, they all have a little light. During daytime they come back and sell their catches to the restaurant owner.
2. Unawatuna – our yoga getaway
On day three of our holiday we arrived in Unawatuna. We again organized a private driver and paid 2.500 Rupees (~15€) for the 45 minute trip from Hikkaduwa. Unfortunately we did not immediately fall in love with the beach we found there. If you search the internet for pictures of Unawatuna, you will mostly see the untouched Unawatuna from several years ago – a very beautiful, pristine beach with many coconut palm trees. But the fine white sand got carried away and there was not much beach left, so in 2015 the government rebuilt the beach with tons of sand from Negombo. But that sand has a different color and is not as fine. Now the beach is pretty wide, but the entrance to the water is very steep, so you almost immediately need to swim. All in all the beach lost its old charm because you just see the restaurants at the beach instead of palm trees.
Nevertheless there is a nice beach nearby – Jungle Beach. We hired a scooter for just 800 Rupees a day and drove about 20 minutes through the jungle hills until we arrived at this nice small bay. This could be such a beautiful spot if they could handle the trash issue.
Unawatuna itself is an entirely touristic place, but that is why you will also find some lovely restaurants. A stylish, laid back spot in the midst of a tropical garden is Bedspace. We highly recommend the pork belly sub – so delicious. For dining at the beach we recommend the Black and White which is run by a group of friendly local guys. You better try the jumbo prawns! Another wonderful place for hanging out and drinking a good coffee, which by the way is hard to find, is the Sunil Garden Café.
One of our highlights were the morning yoga classes we took. We are both absolute beginners in yoga but wanted to try it on Sri Lanka. Because of the proximity to India there are supposed to be many excellent yoga instructors. Our yogi was Ranga. In a pavilion in midst of a tropical garden, with a small creek, cute monkeys, squirrels and less cute lizards we practiced our yoga skills for 1.5 hours every morning. My whole body was sore, but you feel so great after each session. From day to day we got better, until I managed the head stand.
3. Strolling through Galle fort
Unawatuna is very close to Galle, so we took a Tuk Tuk for only 300 Rupees (~1.80 EUR) for a return trip. The Galle Fort is historic heritage monument where you can experience a bit of the former dutch colonial era. You can have a lovely stroll along the huge sea side walls, the lighthouse and through the pretty streets.
4. Mirissa – a must see!
Originally we wanted to stay three nights at Weligama and three nights at Mirissa. Unfortunately we didn’t like Weligama that much. It is great for white water surfing but that’s about it. In the long bay of Weligama you also find some places where you can get fresh seafood prepared and cooked perfectly, but apart from that the place isn’t very charming. Thus, after the first day of Weligama, we went by tuk tuk to Mirissa, which is only 4 kilometers away and cost like 200 Rupees one-way.
Arriving in Mirissa we felt like being somewhere completely different. There are two small bays with a big rock/peninsular separating them. The water shines bright and turquoise and the waves were not too big having a swim. The view of the beach lined with palms and the small island off the coast are incredibly picturesque. The smaller bay to the side was more of a surfing spot and due to the rocks and reef not suitable for swimming. A wonderful place.
5. Don’t do Whale Watching
We love to see wild animals in their natural environment, which is why we wanted to go whale watching to see a blue whale. The promises of the local operators are huge, but the disappointment so much bigger. The tour starts at 7 am in the harbor of Mirissa and you are supposed to be back at 11. Instead of 4 hours the tour took 7 hours. 7 hours on an over-crowded boat, sea sick, puking people everywhere, no chance to hydrate because you can imagine how the toilet looks after just 1 hour. Apart from the horrible conditions, we didn’t see anything for hours.
Shortly before a rebellion of the few still conscious tourists they supposedly saw a whale. A dozen of boats gathered in a small area. When the whale came up for a short moment, the boats wildly went after it. Poor animal…
My advise is: don’t go for a whale watching trip. It is really not worth it and a terrible experience.
In my next article about Sri Lanka I will show you the most beautiful beach near Tangalle and the fantastic hotel Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle.
This post is also available in German