Beaches of Sri Lanka
Whether you are looking to just relax in the sun and get the perfect tan or if you are looking for more action such as surfing, diving or jet skiing, Sri Lanka has much to offer with its world renowned best beaches. Come visit Sri Lanka, the wonder of Asia.
Unawatuna is a cautionary tale for the rest of Sri Lanka’s south coast. Where there was once a flawless crescent of golden sand that swept along a palm-lined shore with turquoise waters that had just enough surf to make for ideal swimming conditions, there is now one of Sri Lanka’s less appealing beach towns.
The beautiful water is still there and you can still find decent patches of sand, but in several places greed has replaced good taste and common sense. Bulldozers have pushed huge boulders right up to and beyond the high tide line, allowing for the construction of some especially ugly hotels and cafes. Ironically, authorities have actually enforced setbacks on the west half of Unawatuna’s beach and the result is much more salubrious.
Unawatuna makes for a good, quick beach escape from Galle’s Fort: it’s only 6km southeast. Otherwise it offers a cheap and cheerful sandy idyll, at least on the bulldozer- and boulder-free west end.
Pasikuda And Kalkuda
These spectacular back-to-back beaches, 34km north of Batticaloa, present as stark a juxtaposition as you could imagine.
On one side of a narrow peninsula, the breathtaking white sands of sickle-shaped Passekudah beach are being developed as a kind of mini-Cancun, a government-driven ‘Special Economic Zone’ with 14 luxury hotels ultimately planned to ring the bay. Fishermen have also been ordered to move their boats away from the main beach. Sure, it’s a glorious stretch of sand, but for the next few years the immediate surrounds are a mess, resembling a building site, as edifices in various stages of construction emerge from scrubland.
Passekudah’s extremely shallow water heats up to bathtub temperatures on sunny days (you’ll have to wade out some distance for a good swim). There’s also lots of sharp coral mixed in with the sand, so take care if barefoot. You’ll often find busloads of Sinhalese tourists here; try walking north along the shore to avoid the crowds.
In contrast, Kalkudah beach, 2km away over the headland to the south, is deserted – save the odd fisherman and his boat. This fabulous stretch of golden sand was once lined with hotels, but these were destroyed in the civil war and 2004 tsunami. There’s little shade, but it’s a delight to explore; just wander along the shore until you find your own private patch of sand.
Negombo is a modest beach town located close to Bandaranaike International Airport. With a stash of decent hotels and restaurants to suit all pockets, a friendly local community, an interesting old quarter and a reasonable (though polluted) beach, Negombo is a much easier place to get your Sri Lankan feet than Colombo.
The Dutch captured the town from the Portuguese in 1640, lost it, and then captured it again in 1644. The British then took it from them in 1796 without a struggle. Negombo was one of the most important sources of cinnamon during the Dutch era, and there are still reminders of the European days.
The busy centre of Negombo town lies to the west of the bus and train stations. Most places to stay, however, line the main road that heads north from the town centre, running almost parallel to the beach.
Wadduwa and Kalutara initially developed as resort areas due to their relative ease of access to Colombo Airport. Transfers using the Southern Expressway usually take between 2 and 2.5 hours depending on Colombo traffic.
A string of 3, 4 and 5 star resort hotels line the beaches to the south of Colombo. At the northern end, Wadduwa is the closest to the capital with Kalutara being located to the south, a beautiful location where the Kalu Ganga River estuary meets the Indian Ocean in a huge lagoon.
• The beaches are long and straight with lots of coconut palms and a thickly populated coastline of fishing villages and market towns.
The Kosgoda beach is a popular destination for marine life enthusiasts, as it is home to many marine turtles and turtle hatcheries. The marine turtles come ashore at night and lay their eggs in tiny holes. Then they cover up their eggs and return to the sea before dawn. Many turtle hatcheries have been set up along the coast to protect the eggs and turtles from predators. The hatcheries care for the turtle hatchlings till they are about 2-4 days old and then released back to the sea. October to April is the main laying season, but some eggs can be found at Kosgoda throughout the year
Beruwela And Bentota
Beruwala and Bentota are popular exotic beaches along the Colombo- Galle road located about 65km from Colombo. The Bentota lagoon stretches parallel to the beach adding a vista of tranquillity, with its tropical greenery and islets rich in bird life. Beruwala and Bentota are havens to tourists with accommodation to suit every budget, a range of Ayurveda treatments, and an array of water sports leaving the adventurer spoilt for choice! This tourist destination offers you water skiing on the rivers or estuaries, snorkelling, scuba diving, wind surfing, parasailing, fishing and a host of other activities to suit your mood.
Trincomalee , Nilaveli And Uppaveli
Trincomalee is a world renowned natural deep water harbour, located 257kms Northeast of Colombo. The bay is large and secure and is accessible by all types of crafts in any weather. The Trincomalee beaches are popular for whale watching, fishing and scuba diving. Apart from its tranquil beaches, the city boasts of the largest Dutch fort in Sri Lanka, its naval bases and its air force base.
Nilaveli is a quiet pristine beach on the Northeast coast of Sri Lanka. It is a tranquil haven with soft waves, pure white sand, and the soothing sound of the sea.
Uppaveli is another beautiful and serene beach close to Trincomalee, which offers plenty of comfortable accommodation in the area, for those who can’t seem to get away from bliss.
The delightful sandy beach of Mirissa was once a well-kept secret, but not surprisingly, more guesthouses, inns and bungalows are now opening up to visitors. Mirissa boasts a safe, gently sloping beach where the sea is free from rocks, with coconut palms growing right to the edge of the sand as if in imitation of a postcard of the perfect tropical beach. Off the coast of Mirissa, the gentle giants of the sea Blue Whales frolic with bottlenose Dolphins, Sperm Whales and Humpbacks