The Southern Province of Sri Lanka is possibly my favourite place on earth. Well known for its surf, it’s a haven for those who enjoy the sport and the culture which surrounds it but this isn’t limited, the golden beaches, the friendliest people, sea turtles, palm trees and everything else this fantastic stretch of coastline can offer for anyone and everyone.
Mirissa is home to one of the most quintessential images of the Southern Province; the Mirissa Coconut Tree Hill. I knew the coconut tree hill would be busy so we headed here first, not too early as we enjoyed breakfast first. To be honest, it wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be and there was somewhat of an orderly queue to get that photograph. I didn’t join the queue and took some snaps against another tree and enjoyed the view to the surfers riding the waves and the street dogs enjoying the rising sun. We got a tuk tuk here from Weligama but it is sign posted from the road so if you’re in the area, you can find this place easily yourself. Our favourite beach in the Mirissa area was the ‘secret beach’ or not so secret beach as it’s quickly becoming. It’s a small cove hidden down a track and sheltered from some of the larger waves around the coast. We ventured here after a recommendation and we spent the afternoon sitting in the warm pools and collecting shells from the beach. The water here is lovely and warm but the sand is gritty and large so best come prepared with either some water socks or waterproof flip flops for getting in and out of the sea. There’s a beach bar here too should you need some refreshments or some shade whilst you enjoy the beach. Mirissa has a lovely main street running through it with cafes, hotels and shops to enjoy an afternoon of strolling. When we visited there was a festival on so a lot of the shops were closed! There’s also a lot of beautiful street art on the walls to enjoy.
We stayed in Weligama for two nights at the brilliant, Ceylon Sliders. This place is right on Weligama beach and we enjoyed walking along the sand to our desintations. Weligama is a large bay with reasonably calm waters to frolick in; we saw a lot of locals splashing about and enjoying the sea which was lovely. There’s a lot of surf rental companies along the beachfront so if you want to surf, head here and you’ll have no problem finding a board. Our hotel recommended a beach near to Cape Weligama called Jungle Beach, we were lucky enough to have free bikes and took a leisurely cycle down. Weligama is a good place to base yourself to explore the Southern Province, there’s also a lot of cafes and shops in this area, some of our favourites include Nomad (try the fish tacos, yum!), Deli Ceylon and Ceylon Sliders. One thing you must do, head along the beachfront and find the Vegan Icecream truck, we shared a ‘pina colada’ and they are fantastic! Vegan icecream with coconut flakes on top, the perfect hot day treat.
Just along the coast from Weligama is the sleepy town of Ahangama. This place is a bit less commercial and more local living. We stayed here for two nights and stayed at The Kip, we absolutely loved it and have a full review of the beautiful place. Ahangama is also a very popular place for surfers and offers further hotels and surf stays such as Dreamsea. We enjoyed a quiet cove on Ahangama beach which was a little too rocky for surfers so was nice and quiet. You can also stroll into Dreamsea Surf to enjoy their pool and bar if you wish, they have direct access to Ahangama beach which has beautifully soft sand and brilliant surf. If you take a stroll along the roadside, you will find some stilt fisherman in the water catching their daily fish. There’s a train station easily located in Ahangama to allow exploring along the coastline or to take you up to the capital, as we did. If you’re in this area, definitely head to The Kip for breakfast, plus there’s Maria Bonita which is a lovely space.
We had to visit Dalawella, not for the infamous swing or that photo on the rock which everyone takes, but to try and find giant sea turtles. I’ve never seen wild turtles before and it was something I was so excited for when adventuring around Sri Lanka. We headed to Dalawella mid afternoon and the tide was in so there was no swinging to be done! But we did manage to get out to sea and I saw a beautiful turtle swimming below me! I managed to get a glimpse on my camera, I was too excited at first. The beach here is lovely, the current is quite strong so good swimmers only to go out when the tide is in. We walked from Unawatuna down to Dalawella and couldn’t work out how to get to the beach, it was through a little alley between two houses but ask the locals and they’ll guide you!
Unawatuna is a really lovely coastal town, whether to just visit for the day or to stay here. We visited from Ahangama and spent half a day here, the beach is large and beautiful, soft sand and warm waters to swim around in. There’s plenty of beachfront bars offering shaded loungers and tables if you require. Once we were done on the beach, we strolled the streets which are lined with gift shops selling local goods, clothes, sun hats and lots of lovely cafes. We went into Hideout which offers a beautiful view across the town and to the rocky surroundings. There’s also Skinny Toms where I am desperate to try their hoppers and The Social here which come highly recommended. There’s plenty of transport around here, we walked from the train to the beach which took about 30 minutes and then walked along to Dalawella. It is a tiresome walk in the heat but when a refreshing dip in the ocean greets you, it’s all worth it!
Which beach is your favourite? There’s plenty more to explore, I can’t wait to go back!