Unawatuna is regarded as the most popular touristic destination among the south beaches in Sri Lanka. This place is a special place for swimming and it is widely known as a family-friendly beach. The place consists of a small bay, which is protected by coral reefs and you can actually discover Unawatuna on foot instead of dodging on buses on the bustling main road. The entire atmosphere of the place is unperturbed, which brings a lot of Russians and Europeans to the place.
The location of Unawatuna is on the south coast of Sri Lanka and as stated earlier that it is protected by a wide curving; the bay is located five kilometers from the city of Galle. The legends say that Unawatuna was made from a piece of earth from the Himalaya, which had fallen from hanuman in the Ramayanaya epic. Whatever the legends say, this place is exciting and it is perfect for snorkeling in Sri Lanka and driving activities. So, let’s have an in-depth look at the Unawatuna travel guide.
Things to see in Unawatuna
Unawatuna Beach: The Unawatuna beach is a quiet place that sets the tone of a wonderful location to enjoy the tropical beauty. The beach is the breeding ground of turtles and it is ideal for snorkeling as well. Not to mention that the beach is perfect for swimming as there are lots of good waves in the water. Besides, the sands are clean and white with the coral reefs at the nearby Rumassala is waiting for to be explored. The place is becoming a popular bird watching location as well.
Galle Dutch Fort: The Galle Fort is a major tourist attraction that carries important archeological reserves and cultural heritage. The fort is an ancient fort in Asia, which has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside the fort, you will get see a lot of attractions like the Dutch Museum. This museum is rich in classic paintings, images, furniture’s of the old refurbished Dutch Church.
Eco-Tourism: Unawatuna is affluent in its biodiversity with more than sixty species of endemic birds are sighted in the remaining marshy area as well as in the Rumassala Hillock. These endemic birds include – Herons, Sandpipers, Kingfishers, Asian Palm Swift, White Breasted Waterhen, etc. Also, you would observe magnificent flora and fauna in the place, which altogether make Unawatuna a great place of eco-tourism.
Japanese Peace Pagoda and Mangrove Sanctuary: Unawatuna has two unique elements that demand a visit and these are the Japanese Peace Pagoda and Mangrove Sanctuary. The Japanese Peace Pagoda is a marvelous creation, which was gifted by Japanese. It is located on a hill around two kilometers from Unawatuna. In addition to this, the Mangrove Sanctuary a small area where there is a mangrove forest. The forest is not developed properly, but it is a still a touristic draw that brings a plenty of travelers.
Things to Do in Unawatuna
Diving: Unawatuna is a major diving destination in Sri Lanka with two kilometers beautiful and white sandy bay lined up along with the coconut palm trees. All these things will offer you an unforgettable diving experience. There are also diving schools placed around the beach to help you to make contented with you single or introductory dives. In addition to this, there eight wrecks within close proximity including an ancient wooden English ship. So, you will have a plenty of diving elements in Unawatuna.
Snorkeling: Snorkeling in Unawatuna is a popular activity and around one kilometer offshore; you will get the best chance to snorkel. There is a Submarine dive school from where you can buy or hire snorkeling equipment. Before starting to snorkel, make sure that all the equipments are in tip-top shape.
Rent a Motorbike: In order to see Unawatuna perfectly, you should rent a motorbike. It will allow you to see the entire place easily. Also, you can visit the nearby places such as the Dutch fort as well as the surrounding areas. The price of renting a bike is US $5 per day, but it will worth the money as you will get to travel and see everything quite easily.
Whale watching: Whale watching in Unawatuna is another exciting activity that all the travelers do. You can go to Mirissa, a nearby place to Unawatuna. Here, both whales and dolphins flock together in the closing area of the coast because the warm coastal waters off southern Sri Lanka integrate with the colder waters of the continental shelf (which is just 10 nautical miles offshore). You can see sperm whale, humpback, killer whales, etc. along with big pods of dolphins. However, the most enthralling fact would be the presence blue whales which gather near the Mirissa.
Shopping in Unawatuna: Though Unawatuna is not a great place for shopping, you can still shop in the closer area like Galle. Also, the across the beach, you will find a host of souvenir shops that are selling wooden masks, handicrafts items, jewelers, etc.
Accommodation in Unawatuna
The accommodation facility in Unawatuna consists of Unawatuna Beach Resort and this is the only classified hotel from the local Tourist Board. However, there are other tourist board approved places like – Milton Hotel (A Grade Guesthouses) and Seaview Guesthouse, Rumassala Hotel, Sun ‘n’ Sea, Dilena Beach Resort, Araliya (B Grade Guesthouses). With that said, the Yaddehimulla area represents the best accommodation facility in Unawatuna where you can find resorts that offer the best part of the beach.
Eating and Dining Options in Unawatuna
In Unawatuna, the main foods are the fresh seafood, which can be found on the beach at Unawatuna. The cheapest food here is the Yellowfin tuna and it is considered the famous choice at most of the restaurants. At only US $6, you can enjoy tuna steak, fries, and simple salad in any restaurant. Besides, there are several top-notch restaurants in Unawatuna where classic Asian foods are served.
How is the weather in Unawatuna?
The weather in Unawatuna is a little bit hotter and the temperature usually, ranges from 21.9 to 31.45 (Celsius). The average rainfall in the area is not so high with the highest rainfall being 188 mm in November. What’s more, the average humidity in Unawatuna ranges from the mid-70s to mid-80s. The rainy season in Unawatuna consists of October, November, and December. On an average, the coolest month is January and the warmest month is April. Besides, the wettest month in Unawatuna is November and the driest month is February.
Useful Tips for traveling in Unawatuna
Generally, there are no ATM booths in Unawatuna. So, you have to bring a lot of cash with you.
You can purchase the yellow king coconut drink for only 40 rupees in every shop. Besides, coconuts are also sold in the beach and the price for each coconut is 140 rupees.
From the bottle shop (located on the main road at the northeast part of Unawatuna), you can buy alcohol at a cheaper rate.
While walking down the beach or road, you should avoid any passerby as you can be scammed.
The free Wi-Fi will not work properly even when a signal is present.
In Unawatuna, the mosquitoes are a big problem, but you can be safe if you buy spray and coils from the local shops.
Getting Around in Unawatuna
By tuk-tuk: In order to get around in Unawatuna, you should take the help of tuk-tuk because they are the most accessible rides in Sri Lanka. Before, you ride on a tuk-tuk; you must deal with driver properly.
By private transportation: You can travel around Unawatuna through private transportation systems as well. There are car rental companies from which you can rent a car or van for an entire day.
By bus: The buses are the most used public transportation in Sri Lanka and in Unawatuna; it is the cheapest mode of transport as well. So, you can easily get around in Unawatuna by public buses.
How to reach Unawatuna?
You can reach Unawatuna by the following mode of transportations –
By Bus: You can reach Unawatuna from Colombo by bus and the total distance between these places is 124 kilometers or 58 miles. The exact route of this journey would be the following –
- Colombo – Bentota – Galle – Unawatuna
- Colombo – Galle – Tangalle (Southern Express Highway) Maththala – Hambanthota –Tangalle – Matara – Unawatuna
A new direct bus service from the Hill Country has been launched that will stop at different locations along with the south coast – stops at Mirissa and Unawatuna before going to Galle.
By Train: You can also reach Unawatuna from Colombo by train as well. The exact route is – Colombo – Galle – Unawatuna. First, take the Matara-train (with ocean-view) from the Colombo downtown and drop down at the Galle (will take almost three hours, 180 rupees). After that, you will need to take either a tuk-tuk or local bus from Galle to reach Unawatuna.
By Plane: Usually, Unawatuna is 150 kilometers far from Colombo’s Bandaranayke International Airport. So, you will land in this airport first and afterwards, you will take the public transport to reach Colombo first. Finally, just follow the above bus and train routes to reach Unawatuna.
To finish off, Unawatuna is a small yet wonderful place where travelers would go crazy. There are a plenty of sightseeing opportunities along with exciting local activities that will surely drive the tourists mad. So, pack your belongings and set your journey to Unawatuna!