Mirissa, Unawatuna or Hikkaduwa? Where to spend a couple of weeks on the south coast of Sri Lanka
With so many serene beaches on the south west coast of Sri Lanka it’s hard to choose which one to visit. Surfers paradise Mirissa, foodie heaven in Unawatuna or the beautiful reef at Hikkaduwa? Here’s the low down on each.
Mirissa is relatively new on the scene of Sri Lanka’s must see beaches. With it’s wide, palm fringed beach and trendy surf restaurants and bars it’s not hard to see why it’s become a hotspot for young backpackers. Surfing is the draw for most. The waves here are great for beginners and there are some great spots for more experienced surfers. Lessons can be arranged on the beach along with jet ski and snorkelling trips.
If surfing isn’t your thing do not fear! There are plenty of other ways to spend your time. Coconut tree hill is a great place to watch the sun set and has become Insta’ famous for its palm fringed views, you might even spot a turtle in the bay below if you’re lucky! Secret beach is another great spot a short 10minute tuk tuk drive will take you to a steep path, trek downhill and you will discover a little slice of paradise. Foodies will love the No.1 Roti shop, famous for the best Rotis in Sri Lanka, the resourceful family ended up turning their house into the restaurant after troubles with local land owners. Last but not least, whale watching. Surely it’s the main purpose of a visit here for most people and for good reason. Chances of seeing a couple of big blues are pretty high and a once in a lifetime experience for most.
Unawatuna is a little more established but don’t let that put you off. Read international cuisine at high standards, great dive operators and generally a good place to hop on a free sunbed and relax the day away. The beach here is the main attraction and when it’s this beautiful why go anywhere else?! From the delicious pies at Toms deli to the fresh croissants at Le Cafe Francais it really does have, in my opinion, the best choice of cuisines in Sri Lanka. If you really have to leave your sunbed there are places nearby to explore. Frog rock at Wijaya beach is worth a trip on the local bus, the Koggala lake and sea turtle hatchery are full of wildlife and the beautiful colonial town of Galle is just a short 10 minute drive up the coast.
If it’s snorkeling you’re after Hikkaduwa is the number one choice. Dip in the warm waters of coral garden teaming with sealife. Or for a pretty much guaranteed swim with a massive sea turtle or two head futher down the beach. A few resident turtles hang around just outside the Hika Tranz Cinnamon hotel waiting for obliging tourists to feed them seaweed from the shallows. There are plenty of hotels to choose from all providing tasty seafood. A favourite is Mamas beach coral hotel known for playing live music into the night. If you’re after something different head down to the Nordic burger house for the best burgers in town! For avid divers there are a few sites accessible from here including a 1800s shipwreck. Or jump on a local catamaran and snorkel around the rocky outcrops for some bigger fish varieties that you wouldn’t normally find at the beach.
All three towns are worth a visit with Mirissas charm, Unawatunas food or Hikkaduwas turtles. They are all linked by the coastal railway which costs just a few dollars so why not do all three?! The choice is yours but whatever you decide you can’t go wrong!