Famous Beaches in Sri Lanka, hotels and water sport centers

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Best Beaches Sri Lanka

The island nation of Sri Lanka is essentially a rather small body of land in the vast Indian Ocean. Travelers however, will all agree that this gorgeous little island has some of the best beaches in the world. When looking for the ideal place for your beach holiday, make sure you have Sri Lanka at the top of the list. With nearly 1600km of coastline that surrounds the island, your beach agenda can never be ruined, as if the weather turns monsoon-like on the Eastern Coast, the Western Coast will be bright and sunny, and vice versa.

Not only do most resorts have many beach activities for you and your children - apart from sunning yourself and playing in the surf (many beach resorts have a private beach), you can also independently go on exciting excursions such as deep sea fishing, whale watching , kite surfing, deep sea diving or even wreck diving.

Here is a breakdown of what the locals (and some travelers) have decided are the best areas you must visit as a part of your beach package.

  • Arugam Bay
  • Alankuda Beach
  • Bentota Beach
  • Hikkaduwa Beach
  • Kalkudah Beach
  • Kalpitiya Beach
  • Mirissa Beach
  • Mount Lavinia Beach
  • Negombo Beach
  • Passikuda
  • Pigeon Island (Trincomalee Beach)
  • Tangalle Beach
  • Unawatuna Beach
  • Uppuveli Beach

Arugam Bay

The dry specifics of Arugam Bay are that it is a bay situated in on the southern coast of the Island. The bay holds many beach attractions and is a regular with many of the local surfing enthusiasts as well as international visitors. This surf beach is located approx 320 km to the East of the capital of Colombo.

There are plenty of other things to see apart from the gorgeous stretch of surf and sea (yes really!) The ‘off season’ is generally from November – April, but this is only because things get pretty quiet around some areas of the Bay. There are some amazing restaurants facing the ocean, comfortable beach houses as well as a totally mellow air about the whole place that just begs you to relax and unwind. You may be one of those guests who prefer the tranquility and lush green inland excursions during this time.

Alankuda Beach

The Alankuda stretch of beach has been a closely guarded secret for a long while. In recent years, since the development of hotels and resorts off the West Coast of Sri Lanka in Kalpitiya, this pristine beach has come to light as a great place to spot pods of dolphins and whales and also kite surf. Visitors to the area are also encouraged to go on an early morning safari trip and then enjoy some down time on this romantic beach.

Bentota Beach

Just 64 km from Colombo is the #2 ‘Best Beach in Sri Lanka’. The beach sprawls several kilometers towards the south of Sri Lanka, the sea is clear as glass and the water so warm and inviting. Quite a few boats dot the ocean offering tube-riding, boat trips and canoeing. The Colombo – Matara railway line is also tucked between land and sea, and a lot of holidaymakers use this mode of transportation to travel in from Colombo for the day.

In addition to working on your tan, there is so much more to do in Bentota. There are many deep sea divers in the area offering a range of PADI and CMAS courses and dives. There are also a host of centres that offer wreck diving, deep-sea fishing and also night dives. You can alternatively go on Bentota river cruises, snorkeling trips, windsurfing, waterskiing, as well as jet skiing.

Hikkaduwa Beach

Hikkaduwa beach or ‘Hikka’ as it is nicknamed is a popular venue that came to light in the roaring 60’s. Since then, this coastal town has developed and become a major source of income for quite a few villages that have blended into the environ and are and are happy to oblige with their knowledge of the area. Only an hour away North West of Galle, this fun coastal town boasts glass-bottomed boats and remarkable coral sanctuaries. In fact, you can literally watch many species of fish and large turtles when deep sea fishing or strolling along the Hikkaduwa Beach.

Wreck diving enthusiasts will be happy to note that there are no less than four different shipwrecks to be explored – and there are dive shops offering PADI courses and equipment for those who wish to do this. ‘Hikka’ has also been informally crowned as the second best surf spot in Sri Lanka by the local and international board-riding set. The best news is that even though Hikkaduwa is quite well known, the resorts and beaches are not over crowded.

Kalkudah & Passekudah Beach

Many new visitors to the Batticaloa area in the North East of Sri Lanka, are hypnotized by the allure of this beautiful stretch of beach. Passekudah itself is actually more of a Bay that is so shallow and safe that it is a popular bathing spot for many of the resorts that dot the shoreline. Snorkeling and fishing is very popular in the area and so is some wreck diving. There are some coral replanting programs taking place in Passekudah Bay, and so you can plant a coral as well as wade shoulder deep right up to the reef and observe the beautiful and colourful designs.

Kalpitiya Beach

Kalpitiya Beach and Dutch Bay are relatively ‘new players on the Beach’. Once the word was out that schools of spinner dolphin (hundreds of them) and regular sightings of Sperm Whales and Blue Whales frolicking in the warm waters off the North Western shoreline, there were plenty of visitors wanting to catch a glimpse of these gorgeous mammals by diving up close and also by boat safari.

Said to be one of the best Kite Surfing spots in all of South Asia, Kalpitiya also is on the cards to be developed into a mega beach destination in Sri Lanka. Interestingly, in the midst of all this development, there are also a few wind farms being utilized in the peninsula as it is a perfect location to add some extra watts to the national grid. The best time to catch a glimpse of the Blue Whale is between December and mid-April. We would recommend visiting the Kalpitiya Beach between October and May.

Mirissa Beach

This beach is the type you see on those tropical island postcards. Wait, that picture on that postcard IS of Mirissa Beach. Mirissa has a long history and has some folklore attached to it as well. Many believe that the explorer Marco Polo arrived at this island way back in the 14th century and had declared it to be, “undoubtedly the finest island in the world.’ Mirissa Beach is one of the famous beaches of Sri Lanka and is located only 200km away from the equator on the Southern tip of Sri Lanka. Enjoy idyllic days and nights eating sumptuous sea food, indulging in beach tours, and other beach attractions. A perfect location to indulge in a sea bath, the water is beautiful and warm.

Mirissa boasts quite a few boutique hotels and your destination Sri Lanka beach wedding would be perfect here. Most of these resorts have private beaches that will ensure that you and your guests are left undisturbed.

Mount Lavinia Beach

Ensconced on the outskirts of Colombo City, Mount Lavinia boasts a beach that is a huge draw on weekends and public holidays. It is also a very popular spot for sea bathing and can be visited year around for this purpose. A word of warning however, as sometimes the undertow is quite strong and the sea is quite rough as a result. Always keep a keen eye on children and pets if you decide to pop them down on the beach.

There are a few great beach-front places to eat as well as the more high-end hotels to chose from. Mount Lavinia Beach is perfect for that romantic evening stroll, as the sunsets are pretty spectacular. If you don’t want to venture too far out of Colombo but are determined to have a beach vacation, then this is definitely the area that you want to ask us about.

Negombo Beach

The City of Negombo is primarily know for its thriving fishing industry and busy early morning markets. Interestingly, the name ‘Negombo’ was first used by the Portuguese. However the Sinhala name Mīgamuva actually means a “Group of Bees". It is said to have been named a few hundered years prior to the Portuguese’ arrival during the time of King Kavantissa. The Kings army located some bee’s honey in a canoe that was moored to the beach, and he immediately gifted this honey to Viharamahadevi who was pregnant at the time with Prince Dutugemunu. As a result, the area was named, ‘Mee-gomuwa”

Negombo has one of the best beaches in the West Coast of Sri Lanka. Many international visitors stop over to or from the nearby international airport and enjoy the quiet stretches of private beach maintained by the resorts and hotels in the location. The public beaches are very busy with local fishermen unraveling their nets, and preparing for the next days fishing. You can also enjoy some water (including diving to a flourishing coral reef as well as a half-century old shipwreck.

Pigeon Island (Trincomalee Beach)

Pigeon Island consists of two islands, known as large and small pigeon island – so named after the rock pigeon that has settled there and made itself at home. It is one of two marine national parks in Sri Lanka ( the other being Hikkaduwa National Park). This national park contains some of the islands best remaining coral reefs. Sadly it was affected by the 2004 Tsunami that hit Sri Lanka and it did affect the marine ecosystem and biodiversity of the area, which is finally recovering.

Many still use the area for ornamental fish collection off the reef as well as for fishing. A lot of scuba divers in the area also prefer to use Pigeon Island as a dive site.

Tangalle Beach

Tangalle Town has a slightly sleepy air about it..its really a place of unexpected beauty and long stretches of beautiful white sandy beaches. Situated in the South West of Sri Lanka, this beach gets a very special mention for a very special reason. Rekawa Beach holds a quiet attraction for hawksbill, green and even leatherback turtles who bravely come ashore to lay their eggs (mostly during April to September).

There is a Turtle Conservation Project (non-profit) run by volunteers and locals. A must see if you are travelling with children, and even if you are not.

Unawatuna Beach

Discovery Channel voted this beach the “Best Beach in the World” back in 2004. While there are still some traces of this pristine beach that was raved about in 2004, we have to mention the multiple new developments that have taken place during the last decade.

We particularly love and recommend the West End of the beach as it has been conserved and brought back to its pristine glory. “Una” as it is fondly known, has so much to do in terms of diving, beach water sports, beach hotels and beach resorts as well as the ideal place to honeymoon and romance the love of your life.

Uppuveli Beach

Just a stones throw (that’s 6km for non-stone throwers) from Trincomalee, and the Trinco Beach, Uppuveli is a little dot on the coastal community that you would miss if you blinked. But this little gem has a gorgeous beach of golden sand, a handful of places to stay in and simply the most delightful, freshly caught seafood.

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