With nearly 1600 km of palm fringed Coastline baked to perfection surrounding the country Sri Lanka is the ideal destination for beach bums worldwide. May it be windsurfing, kayaking, yachting, water skiing, scuba diving or just lazing around for the perfect tan, Sri Lanka offers it all.
The two monsoon winds providing rain to the two corners of the country at various periods, making Sri Lanka’s beach holiday a year round prospect. The north east winds make the south western coast sunny and the sea calm from November to March. The South West winds make the East Coast waters quiet with the constant sun shine happily in agreement.
The best of the Southern beaches include Tangalla, Beruwala, Mirissa, Bentota and Unawatuna with varying options including chic boutique hotels, glowing coral reefs, gentle sandbars and undiscovered corners of paradise.
Although Sri Lanka’s southern beaches has been long discovered by the International traveler the east coast is yet to be fully discovered. The most known among the Eastern beaches is the Arugam Bay, the high church of surfing enthusiasts’ in the region. Once a mere rumor, Uppuveli beach is also open to the sun seekers after a three decade long civil war.
On the Western corner of the country to the north of Colombo is the Negombo lagoon. Its beaches, an old favorite with local and foreign visitors and lagoon famed for lobster harvesting. Despite having a ring of sandy beaches surrounding the country, Galle Face Green, a half a kilometer stretch between Galle Road and Indian Ocean is the playground of the Colombians.
Negombo, is a characteristic fishing town north of Colombo and is a mere 8 km from the International airport. Set amidst lush groves of coconut palms, it breathes the spirit of the sea. Negombo is a gourmet paradise with sea food in plenty. Old - world fishing craft, like the outrigger canoe and the catamaran, bring seer, skipjack, herring, mullet, pomfret and amber jack, while lobster and prawn are caught in the lagoon.
Mount Lavinia, is a lovely beach conveniently located just 15 minutes and 12 km from the Commercial Capital of the Island “Colombo”. It is also a largely a middle class and mostly residential suburb that had until now escaped most of the damaging industrialization of neighboring cities and urban centers. Famed for its "Golden Mile" of beaches, it has often been a hot spot for tourism and laid back nightlife. It is dotted with many seaside restaurants which serve freshly caught seafood and exotic cocktails that combine to create a peaceful yet exotic relaxation experience
Beruwela, on Sri Lanka’s west coast maintained its small fishing village charm despite being next to the major beach resorts of Bentota. If you’re lucky, you would see the fresh catch brought to shore by the colorful fishing boats early in the morning, stroll over the idyllic markets and enjoy one of the longest beaches in Sri Lanka.
Beruwala, has excellent water sport facilities such as jet skiing, wind surfing, water skiing etc. While the bay beach is safe for swimming during November to April, it also provides opportunity for deep-sea fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving.
Bentota, is one the favorite tourist hot-spots located on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka. This is a romantic rendezvous of river and sea famous for its long lazy beach that stretch for miles with plenty of beachside restaurants, many water-sport activities, hotels, little boutiques, pubs, and restaurants dotting the area amidst the clusters of palms overlooking the golden beaches of Bentota. The sea is safe for swimming during November to April, it also provides opportunity for jet skiing, water skiing, wind surfing, banana boat riding, deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving and river safaris on the neighboring Bentota River.
Kosgoda is a small coastal town located in Southern Province in Sri Lanka. The area is now becoming one of the most vibrant tourist areas in Sri Lanka. The main reasons for this would be the beautiful beach, the lagoon which is an ideal place for bird watching and boat safaris and mainly for being a famous for the Turtles Conservation Projects. These projects are operated by the Wild Life Protection Society of Sri Lanka. It was established in 1988 to protect Sri Lanka’s turtles from extinction. Since then it has released about 3.5 million baby turtles into the wild. The hatchery pays fishermen for eggs that they collect at night along the long sandy beach. Although October to April is the main laying season, some eggs (mostly green turtles) can be found at Kosgoda throughout the year.
Ahungalla on Sri Lanka’s west coast is a more of a laid back beach resort without too much hustle and bustle. It also maintains its small fishing village charm despite being in close proximity to the major beach resorts of Bentota. If you’re lucky, you would see the fresh catch brought to shore by the colorful fishing boats early in the morning, stroll over the idyllic markets and enjoy one of the longest beaches in Sri Lanka.
This is one of the most popular beach resorts in Sri Lanka. Hikkaduwa is mainly famous for its hip culture and happening nightlife. It also boasts of gorgeous coral reefs and sub-tropical fish. The reef, which runs parallel to the shore and is only a few meters below the water, can be explored with snorkel and flippers, or in a glass-bottomed boat. There are several wrecks in the area, which offer interesting dives. Scuba equipment and the services of licensed instructions are on hire from PADI centers. A little further down the coast, there’s good area for surfing and bodysurfing. There is a generally community of International surfers in and around Hikkaduwa.
Galle, is a dreamy coastal town where the Dutch presence is still visible. This was an ancient port (said to be the legendary Tarshish of the Bible) and our first International commerce and trade centre. Today Galle is the bustling provincial capital and administrative centre of the south. It is famous for its lovely Unawatuna Bay, where the sea is reef protected and therefore safe for swimming. The old Dutch “Star Fort” (a UNESCO World Heritages Site) covering 36 hectares, the well-preserved Groote Kerk (Dutch Church), The Marine Museum, The Dutch Government House, the New Oriental Hotel (built in 1684) old bell tower and a tide-based sewage system, also introduced by the Dutch. In Galle they still make the Dutch ‘pillow-lace’ and do fine ebony carving and gem polishing.
Unawatuna, beach is a crescent shaped shallow beach situated further south from the famous town of Galle. It is protected by a natural reef from the open sea and due to the semicircle shape of it forms a perfect natural swimming pool with aquamarine color. Sea food is plentiful and to die for. It is the perfect holiday spot for all your sea bathing and water based activities such as surfing in search of myriads of coral fish, angel fish & puffer fish diving for beautiful and out of this world coral reefs, scuba diving, underwater photography and sailing. Whale and Dolphin watching expeditions from the neighboring town of Mirissa is the latest attraction between November and April. The uniqueness of this beautiful beach cove is that given any time of the day one can get in to the shallow waters without fear of opening out to the open sea and also the level of water which keeps a natural gradient forming a shallow and a deep end on this natural swimming pool.
Weligama, is where you would see the famous stilt fisherman of Sri Lanka. Each fisherman has a long pole with a crossbar that is stuck in the seabed close to the shore. The fishermen wade or swim out to these poles at times when the sea and fish are running in the right direction. They then perch on the crossbar, cast out their lines, and wait patiently for a nibble. The origin of this unusual fishing technique is unknown, but it is so successful that each stilt position is highly prized and handed down from father to son.
Mirissa and its breathtaking sandy beach can transform your dreams and visions of a tropical paradise into an everyday reality with its perfect beach, the most stunning sunsets and sunrises makes it the perfect place to sit back, relax and forget about your monotonous lifestyle a thousand miles away. The sunsets are breathtaking as each sunset could be different as it takes on various shades every day. You can walk out into the water for about 20 meters before the water becomes waist deep. About 95% of the beach is sandy and rock free. The rocky bits are at both ends so if it’s snorkeling that you like then head there. The shoreline is blanketed with coconut trees giving you the feeling that you are on a totally deserted beach somewhere. Whale and Dolphin watching expeditions are done between the months of November and April.
In the deep south of Sri Lanka, you will find Tangalle, known for its tranquility, deserted beaches and the unique eco system. Here you discover the real Sri Lanka, away from the tourist masses of the west coast, offering you a unique experience of this beautiful country. Even the journey here is breathtaking. The diving is superb – but there are also plenty of other activities like fishing, snorkeling and surfing etc. You could also watch a moving ritual inscribed for millions of years in the genetic heritage of sea turtles. Turtles lay their eggs (when they also hatch) at night between 1900 hrs. and 0300 hrs. on the neighboring Rekawa Beach. If you like to witness this, the best time to go is between January and July when an average of 17 turtles a day come onto the shore at Rekawa. (They come in smaller numbers during the rest of the year.) Of the seven species of marine turtles in the world, five nest at Rekawa and most of these are green turtles.
Trinco as it is commonly called, has been a sea port since the days of the ancient Kings and one of the British Empire's most important ports in Asia during the second world war. From 1941-45, Trinco had been the headquarters of Lord Louis Mountbatten Allied Southeast Asia commander. Also Trinco is a natural deep water harbor that attracted great sea farers like Marco Polo, Ptolemy and sea traders from East Asia from ancient times. Nilaweli and Uppuveli 16 km and 6 km north of the city respectively are among the best beaches in Sri Lanka. Knee deep shallow seas spreads out hundreds of meters towards the sea making this an ideal place for sun bathing, snorkeling, surfing and whale watching during the months of May and November.
The place located in south east of the country 116 km from Colombo is a fine beach near associated with fishing villages. It has been identified as the best surfing beach in Sri Lanka and 4th best in South East Asia. It also comes in the top ten best surfing beaches in the world. Wide sandy beaches and lagoons associated with neighboring Kumana bird sanctuary, Lahugala National Park and Yala National Park are located within close proximity and are value additions to the visitor going to Arugam Bay. Magul Maha Viharaya (Buddhist temple), Kudumbigala Temple (Buddhist temple), Shastrwela Buddhist Temple, Okanda Hindu Temple are some of places with heritage values. In addition to beaches, wildlife and cultural heritage sites make Arugam Bay a unique tourist attraction in Sri Lanka.