Unawatuna Bliss: Your Complete Beachside Adventure Manual

Introduction

Unawatuna is a popular beach destination in Sri Lanka, renowned for its scenic beauty and leisure activities. Located in the southern part of the country, it offers a stunning combination of clear turquoise waters and white sandy shores. The beach is well-known for its vibrant atmosphere, attracting both locals and tourists alike. 

Unawatuna is a great place for those seeking adventure. The beach and the reef offers various water activities, such as snorkeling, diving, and scuba diving, allowing visitors to explore the vibrant marine life surrounding the area.

For those in search of relaxation and tranquility, Unawatuna Beach offers the chance to take an early morning yoga class, providing a peaceful start to the day while being surrounded by the natural beauty of the beach. 

In addition to its stunning beach, Unawatuna also boasts an interesting cultural history. The Unawatuna jungle  beach is located near Rumassala hill, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the local heritage and traditions.

Before the 2004 tsunami, the Bay was for sure one of the 10 most picture-perfect beaches of the world. Swimsafe all year and with a stable and wide beach. Now the beach has been repaired (but the sea currents keep on threatening it) and it’s still protected by a good reef, but less protective due to ‘leaks’ caused by Tsunami.

Unawatuna is however far, far more than the Bay. A major attractiveness is not only that the Bay is over 500 m from the noisy road that pesters e.g. Hikkaduwa and Mirissa, but that between Bay and road is a maze of smaller lanes and by-lanes and along all of those lanes are lots of guesthouses (far fewer larger hotels) and along the main lanes also shops and (often garden-filling) restaurants; there are some hills between beach and main road which act as further sound isolation.

How to get there?

Unawatuna is located just 5km from Galle and 145km away from Colombo. It is a 2-3hr drive via the southern expressway from Colombo. Galle is well connected with the rest of the country so it is easy to get here if you’re coming from other parts of the country,

If you’re using public transport it is easier to take a Highway bus to Galle (EX -01) and take a tuk from there.

Unawatuna has a train station too 03 express trains which run to Beliatta daily make a stop here. Although trains can be crowded.

Location

Unawatuna is renowned for its stunning coastline, featuring a picturesque crescent-shaped bay. The beach is bordered by lush green palm trees, and the calm, clear waters of the Indian Ocean gently lap at the shore.

Roomassala and jungle beach area can be seen from the Galle fort. The crescent shaped bay with the Unawatuna beach is on the other side of the peninsula.

What are the activities available in Unawatuna?

The region offers a wide range of water activities that cater to various interests and skill levels. Here are some of the water activities available in Hikkaduwa:

  • Sea Swim

    Swimming is possible in Unawatuna beach all year around. Although the sea is most calm from December to March.

  • Surfing

    At the reef outside the Unawatuna beach extending towards Dalawella beach is suitable for surfing in November to April; also Jungle beach has some surf extending even up-to Galle Fort across the fishing harbor.

  • Snorkelling/Diving

    Best in Unawatuna beach area (even from shore) Christmas to April, offshore it’s a bit longer season. Outside of season one may have lucky mornings with strong ebb tide causing a clear visible sea over the reef, but generally the water is simply too muddy to snorkel.

Are there restaurants/bars available?

Jungle Beach : hardly eateries here (and one large hotel plus the odd homestay).

The Bayside restaurants. Generally low-profile beach bars (no real ‘shacks’) and restaurants. Can be noisy on Friday and Saturday night with parties, during the week rather family-friendly.

Land area : The restaurants (often with garden) and odd bar throughout the maze of back lanes

Thalpe beach restaurants. The further away from the Bay towards Dalawella beach have lesser the density, many are the restaurants of the beach hotels and guesthouses here.

Bottom line here is that ‘party animals’ gather near Unawatuna beach bay area especially at weekends, but different types of tourists can dine and relax almost undisturbed by them in the back-lane areas. 

What is the best time to visit?

December to March and Mid July to September are the peak seasons in Unawatuna.

December to March is the dry season and you can expect to have warm temperature and calm seas which is ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving and swimming. Mind you this time is also the most crowded and costly so If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting in December or early January.

if you’re looking for a quieter and more budget-friendly trip and don’t mind occasional rain, you can still visit during this season, particularly in August and early September when the weather starts to improve.

What are the nearby attractions you can visit from Unawatuna?

  • Japanese Peace Pagoda

    Perched on a hilltop overlooking Unawatuna, the Japanese Peace Pagoda offers a tranquil and panoramic view of the coastline. It's a great place for meditation, relaxation, and enjoying breathtaking sunsets.

  • Rumassala Mountain

    Legend has it that Rumassala Mountain is part of the mythical Sanjeevani Mountain brought by Hanuman in the Ramayana epic. It offers hiking opportunities and a chance to explore lush forests. The mountain also has caves and panoramic viewpoints.

  • Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya

    This ancient Buddhist temple is known for its stunning rock carvings and cave temple. It's a peaceful place for spiritual reflection and offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka's religious and cultural heritage

  • Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex

    Located in Koggala, this museum is dedicated to the renowned Sri Lankan writer Martin Wickramasinghe. It provides insights into Sri Lankan rural life, culture, and literature.

  • Koggala Lake

    Just a short drive from Unawatuna, Koggala Lake is the largest natural lake in Sri Lanka. You can take boat rides on the lake, visit the Cinnamon Island to see cinnamon cultivation, and enjoy birdwatching.

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